Service to Mankind
David Berelsman, Class of 69
Hello DSJ Alums. I wish to thank the committee members for this nomination. I accept it only as a way to highlight and thank all the people from Delphos and St Johns who have given me the ability and the opportunity to do more. I have been away from Delphos for quite a few years, so allow me to tell you a bit about the miles on my odometer.
I grew up on a small farm halfway to Spencerville, the oldest of eight children. My parents - Linus and Leona Berelsman, a carpenter and superwoman - always stressed the importance of good education, especially our DSJ Catholic education. Setting an example for us, my father, would sometimes study correspondence courses even after a long day working in the sun. And my mother would hold coaching sessions for her children in the kitchen - while she cooked, did dishes, or ironed. They were amazing mentors for us.
While I was far from the best student, I certainly benefited from my time at St Johns. I have many fond memories of my classmates from 1969, and my teachers especially: Charlie Geddert, John Gunder, Dan Rupert, Robert Arnzen and the Sisters of Notre Dame - all of whom made a lasting impression on me. After graduation, I began studies for a few semesters at OSU. Ten years later, I moved to Washington DC and returned to college. First attending Georgetown, and then George Washington University. Years later when I moved to Florida I did some graduate work on my MBA. And now, even though I have always been a solid C student, I am privileged to serve on the board of a local college and award scholarships to students. Life is funny.
My work career started at WLIO in Lima in 1970. In 1975, I moved to Columbus to continue in television with the local ABC station. Then in 1979, I was invited to join ABC News and moved to Washington DC. I had the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest in the industry including Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, David Brinkley and other staff who had attended the top schools in the country. My team earned an Emmy for some of the work we did during those years. From my first job washing dishes at the Wheel Inn, to years later working around the White House, the lessons I learned on the farm, at St Johns, and in Delphos have held up well. My Minnesota-born better-half, Lyn Cameron, and I met in DC. In 1998, she was offered a chance to start a company in Australia, so I quickly resigned my position at ABC, and we boarded a plane headed to Sydney, and I became one of her first employees at AOL- Australia. We spent several years building this internet company in “the land down under”. It was an amazing time, and a turning point in our lives.
In 2000 we returned to the USA and settled in the Orlando area to start the next chapter in our lives: living back. My wife is a cancer survivor and one of our first projects was working with our local hospital to create an information center for others newly diagnosed with the disease. Lyn and I have always known that we had a responsibility to repay our community when we could. With the help of my family members, we began awarding scholarships to students at St Johns and Jefferson. We also started working with students to help them make the transition to college. About 2010 one of our earliest scholarship recipients, Jefferson graduate Dulton Moore and I created a lecture for parents and students that we named “The Student Success Seminar”. We held them at the Delphos Library for a number of years before the pandemic. We were able to donate thousands of dollars to graduates heading to college, and hopefully helped them save thousands more with our tips. In closing, I know much of my success has been due to growing up in Delphos, the support and guidance of my parents, and the help of my family, friends, and teachers. I am especially grateful for the things I learned here at Delphos Saint Johns