The President's Corner - Parma's Coolest Dad
Many Parma residents, including myself, have been curious about the caravan of children often being towed up and down the Ridge Road area just south of Snow Road in recent months. The children, as many as 18 or 20, are being pulled by a series of three or four wagons – accompanied by music - by a young father who is in excellent shape – seemingly because of all of the weight he is pulling. This mystery will be solved in this month’s column.
Living close by, I have seen what I described above several times. Unfortunately, I have always been too busy to stop and say hello and get the scoop on this unique sight. That changed one night recently when my wife saw several postings on Facebook inquiring about this man and all of the kids he is hauling. So, I went to work researching and eventually visited the home of Jeremy Bahner. Upon entering his driveway and introducing myself, I knew by his welcome greeting and handshake that he was a good man. After a short talk, I asked if I could stop over one day soon to bring pizza for all of the kids and interview him for this article. He kindly and quickly agreed.
Jeremy, as all of the parents and children call him, is a stay-at-home father who has a true love for children, especially two of his own. He explained that when his eldest daughter entered kindergarten at Renwood School, “I drove her to school the first day. After that, driving was over and I have pulled her to school everyday since then, regardless of weather – come snow, rain, wind, etc.” In fact, he has coverings for the wagons that are used in inclement weather. With time, more and more kids joined his caravan, which is battery powered.
On the afternoon I visited Jeremy’s home, there were 14 children and several parents. “We are a big family,” one of the mothers told me. “We always know where our kids are because he has a GPS tracker on the wagons,” she added. Another mom explained, “I have picked my kids up after work from Jeremy at the Ridgewood Splash Pad and the West Creek Reservation.” These are just a few Parma landmarks Jeremy likes to take the children.
As a veteran schoolteacher myself, I appreciated the good ole-fashioned fun the kids had the afternoon I visited. They spent their time riding bikes, playing in the backyard, and swimming in the pool. It seemed Jeremy had thought of everything, including the fact that each child has their own cup with his or her name on the bottom. I was also impressed with how well-behaved the children were. One of the mom’s made an excellent point: “These kids are not in front of screens all day. It’s like a modern day ‘Lil Rascals’ over here,” she added.
Jeremy credits his own father for being a good role model. “People always say that the children are our future – we need to make sure we are doing right by them,” Jeremy said. “My dad used to do all kinds of cool stuff for us when I was growing up – I know all of the Metroparks like the back of my hand.” He explained that he does make sure he calls ahead when he is bringing his group of 18 or 20 to do a craft class at West Creek. “They appreciate the heads-up,” he laughingly added.
In closing, it is clear that Jeremy is officially Parma’s “Coolest Dad.” As a father of two grown children, I have no regrets, however, I will concede that Jeremy is way more cool than I was. By the way, if you happen to see him and the kids, feel free to honk your horn. “We often count the number of people who honk,” he explained, adding, “The kids love the attention.”
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan