Barhite: The men who make Toledo the ‘manliest’ cityWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
How fitting that Toledo was named the manliest city in Ohio just before Father’s Day.
The reasons for this accolade are linked to the number of home improvement stores, monster truck rallies and motorcycles per capita. Cleveland is the second manliest city in Ohio and Cincinnati is the third, according to the study released by Bert Sperling and Combos Snacks.
But the real test of a man has nothing to do with Harleys, going to Lowe’s or the lack of girly nail salons and boutiques in Toledo.
My dad gets the manliest man award because he had three daughters and never once said he wanted a son. People always teased him about the drama of three girls, but he dismissed it with a shrug and said he was happy with us three. That’s a real man.
My husband’s grandpa gets a nod because he married into a family with four young children and raised them as his own. That’s a real man.
A friend gets the award because he moved away from the Toledo area to live in his wife’s hometown after her brother died in Iraq. That’s a real man.
At the Zepf Center in Toledo, I recently learned about more real men. They graduated from the Nurturing Fathers Program, which is a 13-week training course that teaches parenting and nurturing skills to men. The classes provide skills for healthy family relationships and child development. It also helps the fathers with career development and assists with employability.
Statistics show that states with fatherhood programs see an increase in child support compliance, employment rates, incomes and time spent with children, according to the Zepf Center.
Real men ask for help.
New father Vince Guerrieri will celebrate his first Father’s Day this year. He channels “The Godfather” when it comes to real men.
“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man,” Guerrieri said.
Longtime Toledo resident Matt Zaleski thinks back to all the men he saw as he was growing up. They worked hard to support their families, had a spiritual direction and still managed to spend time with those they loved.
And then there is father of five, Troy Johnson. For him, real men are strong. But not just strong in the “I can open that jar for you” way. Real men are strong enough to ask for help, strong enough to put family first, strong enough to come to the aid of their community.
All these men live in Northwest Ohio; all these men are the reason why we are the manliest in the state.