19 Apr Honoring John Shaffer, RMH Akron Founder and First Board President
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio is saddened by the recent passing of John Shaffer, one of the founders and first President of the Board and Trustee Emeritus of the Ronald McDonald House of Akron.
John worked alongside Bill Considine, CEO Emeritus of Akron Children’s Hospital, community leaders and local McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators to bring a Ronald McDonald House to Akron. They began fundraising in 1982 to build a home-away-from-home for families of children being treated at Akron Children’s Hospital.
On January 13, 1985, the 20-bedroom, 17,000 square foot House became a reality. No longer would weary families need to sleep on cramped waiting room chairs or the floor to be near their sick children.
John often shared proudly that the Akron House was one of a very few to open debt-free, and within two years of formulating the first board. It truly earned the nickname, The House that Love Built.
“My overriding feeling is one of joy—just to see the families using the House. After so many hours of work by so many people.
“The community has done a great job,” John commented on the first anniversary of the opening. He added that he was struck at the importance of the mission when visiting with a father who was staying at the House earlier that year.
“I knew the House was doing what it was supposed to do when this father said, ‘John, I didn’t realize there was this much love left in the world.’”
Since opening, the Ronald McDonald House in Akron has continued to provide comfort, support and resources for thousands of families with sick children…just steps from the hospital. In fact, the need has continued to grow. With increasing demand and an ever-growing waiting list, the Akron House needed to consider expansion.
John was there once again, participating in strategic planning that led to the opening in 2018 of a 48,000 square foot addition with 42 new guest rooms.
We are forever grateful to John Shaffer for helping turn the original vision for a House in Akron into reality and continuing to serve on the board throughout his life. His dedication helped make a difference in the lives of thousands of families over the past thirty-six years.
As we continue to serve families at the House John helped build, we are reminded that there is indeed, much love left in the world.