He’s helped to launch and lead two of the biggest annual events in Granville that benefit a large number of people.
 
But Bruce Westall’s contributions to the community don’t end there, and they go much deeper, his admirers say.
 
Westall, owner and operator of the Porch House Bed and Breakfast at the corner of South Pearl and East Maple streets, was presented the Granville Rotary Club’s prestigious Allen Avery Service Above Self Award on April 25.
 
The award is given annually to a Rotarian or member of the Granville community who consistently demonstrate “exemplary humanitarian service in any form and at any level, with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others.” 
 
Westall, owner and operator of the Porch House Bed and Breakfast at the corner of South Pearl and East Maple streets, was presented the Granville Rotary Club’s prestigious Allen Avery Service Above Self Award on April 25.
 
The award is given annually to a Rotarian or member of the Granville community who consistently demonstrate “exemplary humanitarian service in any form and at any level, with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others.”
 
Westall retired last fall after leading his tenth Granville Turkey Trot, the annual Thanksgiving-morning event that raises thousands of dollars for the Food Pantry Network of Licking County.
 
Westall was also the key leader in the Great Granville Garage Sale for its first seven years, before it was taken over by the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce this year.
 
As big an impact as those events have, Westall has had more community endeavors up his sleeve, three that benefit children. He hosts a Beer and Barbecue at the Porch House, raising money to help buy school supplies for needy children. He invites parents and children to a summer book club that meets on the porch of his B and B discussing what each has been reading. And the Porch House has awarded a $1,000 scholarship annually to a Granville High School senior anticipating a career working with children.
 
Elsewhere, the retired middle school English teacher reads, tapes, and delivers the monthly church newsletter to a handicapped parishioner and hosts a yearly “Meet your New Neighbor” open house in his neighborhood.
 
“Bruce deserves every accolade that has been or can be heaped upon him,” said Steve Applegate, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, sponsor for the Turkey Trot and originator of the Great Granville Garage Sale. “He is a true impresario.  Flo Ziegfeld had nothing on Bruce.”
 
“Bruce took an idea presented to him ten years ago and has transformed how Thanksgiving is celebrated in Granville onto an entirely different level,” said Rotarian John Weigand, who nominated Westall for the award. “The first Granville Turkey Trot had 320 participants and raised $4,000 for the Food Pantry Network of Licking County.” Last year’s, Weigand pointed out, raised $110,000 and had 2,500 participants.
 
“What makes the Turkey Trot work is that people have fun while doing good,” Applegate said. “They open their wallets and pocketbooks, fish out their credit cards, give their money, and smile while they’re doing it. And I would argue that this simple formula is the hallmark of a Bruce Westall event.”
 
Weigand said Westall’s leadership in such events goes even deeper.
 
“To Bruce, it’s not all about the money that is raised for the Food Pantry,” Weigand said. “It’s about getting people involved to help the great cause and using their many talents.  It’s about thinking outside of the box and dreaming up and implementing big ideas.”
 
“Bruce somehow makes it look easy to have fun while doing good, but it isn’t easy,” Applegate said. “It takes vision, and persistence, and the ability to ask for things you need, and a rare aptitude for knowing when to lick your finger and stick it up in the air to determine whether the wind is blowing in a favorable direction or not.” 
 
Granville Mayor Melissa Hartfield, a neighbor of the Porch House, said Westall has coordinated meals for families with sick family members and in need of support from the neighborhood.
 
“Bruce planned out the days to bring meals and each of us signed up for a night to provide dinner,” she said.
 
She added that Westall has coordinated and hosted the meet-your-new-neighbor cookout at his home to make people feel welcome, “and also so they can get to know those who live around them.”
 
“Bruce’s ‘service above self’ is driven by a passion for those who do not share in the abundance most of us enjoy,” Applegate said. “It makes him grumpy. The Turkey Trot exists because Bruce thinks it’s crazy that people are hungry in this county. The Great Granville Garage Sale grew out of Bruce’s belief that people should have a decent place to live.”
 
Granville Rotary has presented the Allen Avery Service Above Self award each year since 1963.  Recent recipients have included Diarmuid “Dee” McSweeney, Steve Schneider, Dr. Donald Schilling, Joy Hire, Dena McKinley and Mary Lee Van Meter.
 
Granville Rotary meets every Monday at the Granville Inn, 314 E. Broadway.  For more information about the club, visit their website at www.granvillerotary.org