Whether it was loading and unloading baggage and sound equipment for youth choir trips, ensuring that churchgoers could view Sunday services from their homes, or keeping Denison University sports statistics up to date for public consumption, Jack Hire was committed to those endeavors and more.
For his dedication, Hire was presented the Dr. Allen Avery Service Above Self Award on Dec. 5 by the Rotary Club of Granville.
Hire, a Denison employee for nearly 50 years and a 1974 DU graduate, is currently a member of the Advancement Communications team in the university’s Division of Institutional Advancement. He was lauded for his volunteerism at the Granville First Presbyterian Church and going above and beyond expectations at the university.
As a member of First Presbyterian Church, Hire has shared his technical talents for years, said Rotarian Sue Cherney during the award presentation. This was especially the case during the COVID-19 pandemic that kept churchgoers at home for several months.
“When the church moved to live-streaming the worship services, he took on the technical challenges with grace and finesse,” Cherney said. “When the world shut down with COVID, he rose to the challenge of creating a live stream that felt engaging and worshipful and had a very polished and professional look and sound.”
First Presbyterian Pastor Karen Chakoian went so far as to say this about Hire’s expertise: “Without most of the live-streaming or the quality of the livestream, we would not have been able to worship together. It is not an overstatement to say Jack helped save our church during COVID.”
Cherney continued that two and a half years later, the church has gone to four cameras, and there are still nearly 100 online worshipers each week in addition to the members worshipping in person. Recently an individual even joined the church from his home in New York where he worshiped online, she said.
“Jack is so devoted to this ministry that he works his travel and vacations around the Sabbath so that he can be in the balcony to provide worship for those who cannot attend in person,” she said.
Hire is also integrally involved in helping produce special events like the recent Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour event at the church, Cherney added. Rev. Chakoian said she also relies on his advice for communication of sensitive or difficult church issues.
When his wife Joy established the Angel Choir 29 years ago, a youth choral group at First Presbyterian, Hire was supportive, Cherney added.
“From the beginning, there was nothing that wasn’t openly and thoughtfully considered by Jack,” said Joy Hire said, who was recipient of the Service Above Self Award in 2013.
His technical expertise, in fact, enabled the choir to make beautiful compact disk recordings that many people have enjoyed over the years, Cherney said.
“Jack takes time off from his job at Denison to travel on choir tours throughout the country driving vans on long trips, making props, loading and unloading baggage, music, and instruments, and setting up sound systems in unfamiliar venues,” Cherney said. “The members of the Angel Choir are well aware of the amount of work and thoughtfulness that Jack devotes to the choir as well as the example he sets as a husband, father, and Christian who gives freely of his time and talents.”
Hire holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and has pursued graduate level work in organizational behavior at The Ohio State University, Cherney said.
Early on, his love for sports, writing, and his alma mater made him the perfect candidate for offensive line football coach at Denison as well as Sports Information Director under the legendary football coach Keith Piper.
“Although he was a staff member, he voluntarily spent many hours over and above the expectations of his positions putting in long hours, many times working all night to make sure that the information on the athletic teams was sent and posted professionally and promptly,” Cherney said.
Over the years, Hire has held a number of positions at Denison and, according to staff members, has generously given of his time and talent as a writer, editor, and communicator to help the college on several fronts including athletics, public relations, student recruitment, fundraising, and alumnae engagement.
“‘Go ask Jack’ is a near constant refrain around the office because Jack knows the college well, its people, and its history and can always be depended on to help without expecting accolades,” Cherney said. “At times, he could be seen standing behind a video camera at commencement or on the roof of Slayter Hall helping to take a cool picture of the new class, or showing up for important events on campus, even practicing for weeks with area musicians to play in the band Old School for Denison Alumni weekend.”
Perhaps the best way to sum up his way of living is, Cherney said in summary: “No matter, how long it takes, how much sleep is lost, what it costs, what has to be sacrificed, or whatever is necessary to arrive at a successful and beautiful outcome, Jack makes it happen without any expectation of reward or recognition. The happiness and satisfaction of others takes priority with him.”
The award was a complete surprise for Hire, as he stated, “I am both honored and humbled by it. I am just happy to have an opportunity to be of help others in some meaningful way.”
He added, “This club honored my wife, Joy, with this well-deserved award nine years ago, and I like to think that I have learned from her how to serve within a community, whether it’s with this club, our youth, the university, or the church. I need to thank Joy, too, for her patience and grace if I have overextended myself in service from time to time.”
Information submitted by Rotary Club of Granville.