Early in the first term of Mayor Frank P. Celeste-on May 15, 1956-a meeting was held in his office to discuss plans for Lakewood citizens to attend President Eisenhower's Conference on Traffice Safety to be held in Chicago on May 23-24 of that year. Attending the meeting that afternoon were Harlan Bartels, City Engineer; William M. Nelson, Jr.; Patrolman (now Detective) James W. Mackenzie, Lakewood Police Department, and Mrs. William Steffens, then Safety Chairman of Lakewood Council of PTA.

Part of the discussion of those five people was the organization of a Safety Council in Lakewood and Mayor Celeste asked the group to consider a proposal for a Safety Council and make further plans for it. Bill Nelson was appointed acting chairman of the proposed Council.

Five years have passed since the meeting that May afternoon in the Mayor's office and the Lakewood Safety Council, in that five-year period, has won national acclaim for the outstanding safety programs which have been developed and executed under its guidance.

The first year, however, much of the activity of the Lakewood Safety Council was concentrated in organizing in a sound and workable manner-and by September 26 of that year, a committee composed of L.F. Letak, Sam Fritz, and Bill Nelson presented a constitution to the group for approval. At the same meeting, a nominating committee headed by Mrs. William Steffens and including John Mandeville and M.F. Froberg was prepared to present a slate of officers.

At the September 26 meeting, revisions were suggested in the proposed constitution and by laws and it was decided to wait until these had been fully evaluated and approved by representatives of all organizations cooperating with the Council to submit a slate of officers.

Thus, it wasn't until November 7, that the constitution was adopted and officers were selected. In the unanimous ballot George Usher became Lakewood Safety Council's first president, with D.W. Leckler, first vice president; Mrs. William Steffens, second vice president; Mrs. Meldrum W. Berkey, secretary, and William Nelson, Jr., treasurer. Members of the first Governing Board were Howard Cumler, Paul Hoover, M.E. Froberg, John Mandeville, Charles Geiger, Ralph McGrew, Louis Gegenheimer, John Sommerlatte, Sam S. Dickey, and Mrs. Omar Ranney. Later, Mrs. Ranney resigned from the Governing Board and was replaced by Brother Barry, principal of St. Edwards High School.

Activities of the Safety Council during its first year included expansion of the Bicycle Safety program to include parochial, as well as public, school children. The Council's Traffic Safety Committee already was becoming active by working closely with the Lakewood Police Department in an effort to solve serious traffic problems and had supported financially the attendance of Lt. Joseph McMahon of the Police Department at the Northwestern University Traffic Institute.

A special emphasis program directed against jaywalking and hitchhiking was being supported in the interest of youth safety and plans were being made to distribute the Safety pledge in printed form to Lakewood school children for the school term to begin in September 1957.

The Green Cross drive was successful, indicating to the group that Lakewood citizens and organizations were prepared to support the activities of the Council.

Displays were prepared and featured in store windows and a Safety Information Library was begun as part of the Safety Educational program.

Even the first year of the Lakewood Safety Council was one of much activity. Through the years, it was to become even more active and effective. From a meeting one May afternoon evolved the Lakewood Safety Council. Though in its youth, it was already an active agency of promotion and continuation of good safety practices in what would become an even more safety-conscious Lakewood.




The year 1957-1958 was the second year of the Lakewood Safety Council and the organization was well on its way in developing and executing safety programs which were to bring it national acclaim in succeeding years.

Regular inspection of rental trailers was recommended by the group to the City Council after a child was killed at the corner of Gladys and Detroit Avenues by a rental trailer which had become detached from a vehicle due to the safety chain's having rusted through. Council approved the Safety Council's recommendation and the ordinance was enforced by the Lakewood Police Department.

The Safety Council was supporting the Police Department's campaign against jay-walking and bike-riding violations by discussing this problem with parents through P.T.A. groups.

Throughout the fall and winter of the second year, many panel meetings on safety were held for the benefit of mothers of pre-school children, with Detective James W. Mackenzie of the Lakewood Police Department and Captain George Weymark of the Lakewood Fire Department actively participating in these panels.

Visual educational aids used by the Council that year were safety posters affixed to telephone poles; a safety display in the Lakewood Hospital emergency room which was part of the hospital's Golden Jubilee celebration; flyers on safety, printed by the Safety Council and distributed by the Cleveland Transit System, Westlake Cab Company, Auxiliary Police, Senior Patrol, and school guards, were displayed in busses, taxicabs, and on police cars throughout the West Side of Cleveland. The Safety Council also agreed to purchase pamphlets entitled, "The Religious Side of Traffic Safety," for distribution to all churches in Lakewood. In addition, a moving car demonstration which was obtained through a commercial outlet and entitled "You Can't Stop on a Dime," was presented to students at St. Edward and Lakewood High Schools. Later, the Safety Council furnished funds to purchase equipment for the Police Education car as a continuation of the "You Can't Stop on a Dime" demonstration.

Over 1000 Lakewood children received bike streamers at the kick-off rally of the Bike Safety Campaign. Big Wilson of KYW was Master of Ceremonies at the rally which was held at the Hilliard Square Theater. Following the rally, bicycle inspection was held at the Junior High school playgrounds by the Council, assisted by the P.T.A. and the Auxiliary Police.

Members of the Lakewood Police Department and the Board of Education attended the American Automobile Association's Safety Patrol workshop that year, conducted for the purpose of assisting them in instructing teachers assigned to safety patrol in methods of handling, operating, and developing safety patrols.

The Council also supported the Police Department in its idea to replace male school guards who resigned with female school guards; they recommended that the Refuse Department discontinue the practice of parking and stopping in east bound lanes of Clifton Boulevard during rush hours; awarded courtesy cards in recognition of courteous driving habits to youthful drivers, and assisted the Safety Chairman of the P.T.A. Council with publicity for the planned driver training series.

The Council paid special recognition to Boy Scouts who delivered notifications of the Green Cross Drive to merchants. Also recognized by the Council were members of the Senior Patrol who collected money during the Green Cross Drive that year.

Four Council members, Donald W. Leckler, Marion R. Steffens, Howard G. Cumler, and Detective James W. Mackenzie, were sponsored by the Council to attend the Regional Meeting of President Eisenhower's Committee on Traffic Safety held in Chicago. Council also sponsored Detective James W. Mackenzie to the National Safety Congress, also held in Chicago.

Don Leckler and George Usher were elected to the board of the Cleveland Safety Council and the Safety Council submitted Howard G. Cumler as nominee for the Carol Lane award for safety which is sponsored by the Shell Oil Company.

At the annual meeting of the Lakewood Safety Council, held June 18, 1958, plaques were awarded the Lakewood Fire Department, The Lakewood Police Department, Arthur G. Hopkins, and Marian R. Steffens for outstanding contributions in safety working in the community.

Officers of the Lakewood Safety Council during its second year were: Donald W. Leckler, President; Marian R. Steffens, 1st Vice President; Detective James Mackenzie, Secretary; W.E. Nelson Jr., Treasurer.

Members of the Governing Board were: John R. Mandeville, Sam S. Dickey, John Sommerlatte, Ralph W. McGrew, Brother Barry Lambour, Mrs. Meldrum W. Berkey, Roy Towne, J. McCabe, George Usher, M.F. Froberg, A.G. Hopkins, Edgar V. Tassler, and Al H. Gagenheimer.




"The Safety Forces in Lakewood have made great strides in their efforts to provide increased safety for the citizens. They must, however, have continued support of the citizens to be effective. This Council has continously supported these forces in their work, and has pride in the accomplishments of the Lakewood Police and Fire Departments.

"The safety of this community is dependent upon the combined efforts of city officials, police and fire departments, schools, citizens. Valuable contributions of time, effort, interest, co-operation and monetary support have come to the Lakewood Safety Council this year. For all this help and co-operation, the president expresses the appreciation of the entire Board."

With these words at the annual meeting held in June, 1959, Howard G. Cumler, President of the Lakewood Safety Council during its third year, paid tribute to those actively contributing to Lakewood's safety.

Humility usually is the trademark of persons or organizations of outstanding achievement. As the Safety Council gave credit where it was due, so did those recipients of the organization's praise commend the Lakewood Safety Council.

Requests from other communities in the county, other cities, and other states were directed to the Safety Council for details concerning the "Red I" program in January, 1959. A red letter "I" had been placed on front doors and bedroom windows of elderly and invalided Lakewood citizens.

The "Red I" would mean increased safety for these Lakewood citizens since it provided immediate identification of their presence for Lakewood's safety forces. The Lakewood Fire Department and the Lakewood Safety Council each gave credit to the other for this program when submitting material to the State Fire Marshal and the Ohio State Safety Council for state-wide usage.

The Annual Report of the Lakewood Police Department showed a reduction of 57.8% in bike accidents in the City of Lakewood for the year 1958 and that report gave credit to the Council for its bike education program. In its Annual Report, the Safety Council indicated that it was the Police Department which was responsible because of its obviously effective efforts in reducing this type accident.

The Lakewood Safety Council received national recognition in October, 1958, when Marian R. Steffens was named third place winner in the Carol Lane Awards for 1958. The Carol Lane award is the only such honor made to women for meritorious service in the field of Traffic Safety, and is made by the National Safety Council through a grant of the Shell Oil Company. Marian Steffens had been active in the bike safety program. So had the Lakewood Police Department and the Council of P.T.A. and, once again, it was pointed up that the success of the Safety Council was predicated upon cooperation and coordination of activities between the organization and Lakewood's public and private citizenry.

Eleven schools were granted safety awards by the National Safety Council. They were: Emerson, Franklin, Garfield, Harding, Hayes, Lakewood High, Lincoln, Madison, McKinley, St. James, and Taft.

Detectives James W. Mackenzie was speaker at two of the sessions of the four-day Ohio State Safety Conference held in August of 1958. In October of that year, Mackenzie attended the National Safety Congress in Chicago, along with Captain George Weymark of the Lakewood Fire Department, Marian R. Steffens, Howard G. Cumler, and Harold Shaughnessy.

Approximately 200 junior and senior high school students enrolled in the "Baby Sitter Training Course" sponsored by the Safety Council on cooperation with the Pre-School P.T.A., and the Lakewood Council of P.T.A.

During the third year, Buckeye Traffic Safety Bulletin, which is published by the Ohio Department of Highway Safety, carried a story on Lakewood's Bike Safety Campaign Traffic Safety Magazine, published by the National Safety Council, carried a story on Lakewood's Pedestrian Campaign by George and Janice Ghetia, was sent to the National Safety Council at the suggestion of the Cleveland Safety Council. In addition, the Greater Cleveland Council requested the Lakewood Council to prepare a pamphlet on Bike Safety for distribution to all fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students in the county, in an effort to promote bike safety on a county-wide basis.

During Fire Prevention week posters drawn by Lakewood school children were displayed in store windows; students receiving the best grade on a written examination about Fire Prevention were named honorary Fire Marshals; "home inspection questionaires were distributed to public and parochical school children; Cleveland Transit System displayed fire prevention posters in all vehicles; posters with the message "Report every fire at once" were placed on all telephone poles with fire alarm boxes; schools, churches, apartments, stores, theaters, and factories were inspected by the Fire Department.

The first "Safety Patrol Training Day," sponsored by the Council for patrol officers from each school in Lakewood, was held September 27, 1958, at the River-Bay Day Camp. The program included trained personnel speaking about the organization of safety patrols, basic understanding of patrol duties, special patrol problems, meetings, and recognition of patrol members.

A "Safety Exhibits Contest" was inaugurated and sponsored by the Council during the third year. Groups submitting displays for competitions were; Lakewood Pre-school P.T.A., Lakewood Council of P.T.A., Grant School P.T.A., Lakewood Hi-Twelves, Youth Traffic Council (St. Edward's High School), Lakewood Senior Patrol, St. Cyril and Methodius School, and St. James Ladies Guild. Noncompetitive displays were submitted by the Lakewood Police Department and the Lakewood Safety Council.

These were just a few of the many activities of the Lakewood Safety Council during the third year. Through cooperative effort, the Council had been recognized nationally many times during the year.

In addition to Howard Cumler as President, Edgar V. Tassler served as Vice-President; Marian R. Steffens, Secretary, Roy H. Brown was Treasurer. Governing Board Members included these officers and Sam S. Dickey, Arthur G. Hopkins, Harry King, Brother Barry Lambour, Don Leckler, James H. McCabe, Ralph McGrew, John Mandeville, Mrs. Sally Soeder, George Usher.




On March 9 of the fourth year of the Lakewood Safety Council, the members voted in a general meeting to "actively support and campaign for the passage of the Charter Amendment."

The Charter Amendment was requesting voters' approval for a one mill taxation which would provide funds for additional manpower and adequate wages for Lakewood's Safety Forces.

The vote by the Lakewood Safety Council to support the one-mill levy was determined after much deliberation. Following the policy of the National Safety Council, the Lakewood Safety Council was not concerned with political matters and there was a danger that the public might consider the levy a political matter. The Lakewood Safety Council had decided to take a chance of public misunderstanding, however, since the members had learned that a serious safety factor was involved.

They had learned that both the police force and fire department were functioning with insufficient manpower and that Lakewood's low wage structure was making it virtually impossible to attract the proper caliber of men to the safety forces. In addition, Lakewood was repeatedly losing its trained firefighters and law enforcement officers to higher paying jobs.

A fire at Lakewood Motors on April 2, 1960, pointed up the seriousness of the safety factor involved in insufficient manpower.

The fire alarm for explosion and fire at Lakewood Motors was answered by Number 2 Station (Kenilworth Avenue) and Headquarters (Warren Road) at 10:59 a.m., bringing 16 firemen, two pumpers, and one hook and ladder to the fire. At 11:09 a.m., a second alarm for the Lakewood Motors fire sent five additional men from Number 3 Station (Hopkins Avenue) to the scene, bringing the total manpower to 21, with three pumpers and one hook and ladder. At 12:20 p.m., the first company returned to the Headquarters Station.

With all available manpower and equipment fighting the fire at Lakewood Motors that day, there had been no fire protection for Lakewood citizens between the hours of 11:09 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. Had fire broken out elsewhere in the city, there was no available manpower to fight such a fire during that hour and 11 minutes.

The Safety Council compared annual reports of the police department for the year 1929 and 1959. The comparison was staggering. Patrol strength was 10 less in 1959 than it had been in 1929! As for work volume-in 1959 police had answered 1,107 ambulance calls. There had been only 36 ambulance calls in 1929. Calls for police service and complaints had totaled 1,488 in 1959 and there only had been 167 such calls in 1929. Police had prepared 427 photostats and photographs for City Hall in 1959 compared to none in 1929.

Progress and advancement had increased police work volume and the patrol strength of the Lakewood Police Department was 10 less in 1959 than it had been in 1929. The Safety Council was deeply concerned when it learned that it sometimes was impossible for police to answer calls and that Lakewood was actually relying on luck to keep the city and its citizens safe.

Citizens of Lakewood approved the levy at the polls on May 3, 1960. Additional funds provided by the levy made it possible to hire sufficient manpower to bring personnel of Lakewood's safety forces up to 1957 standards.

The activities of the Safety Council which had been inaugurated and continued in previous years gained impetus in the fourth year. Fire prevention, traffic, pedestrian, and bike safety, and the Council's many activities were continued but were becoming more effective and more effectively executed each year.

New programs included the organization of a Youth Division of the Safety Council. Comprised of boys and girls of Lakewood's three high schools under the guidance of Erna Berkey, the group was working toward its objective "to promote traffic safety among people of their own age group."

Also under consideration was a new program for pre-school children called "Safetown." Members of the Safety Council visited "Safetowns" in other communities to interpret whether this program would be a positive addition to the activities of Lakewood's Safety Council.

The Council further recommended a new type resuscitator to be available at all Lakewood swimming pools.

Being discussed was installation of fire signalling devices in all Lakewood schools and institutions. This was to require much detail work, legislation, and positive action on the part of the Council and Lakewood's safety forces.

During the summer-long pedestrian safety campaign, Girl Scouts had distributed 20,000 handbills, and the Auxiliary Police, Senior Patrol, and School Guards had distributed 3,500 conscience cards.

The Lakewood Safety Council found that the fourth year had been a year of progress. Occasionally, they learned facts that indicated that the safety message was being received and remembered, particularly by school children. They would see even more evidence of this in the year to come.

Officers of the Lakewood Safety Council during 1959-1960, the fourth year, were: President, George Usher; First Vice President, Arthur J. Hopkins; Second Vice President, Edgar D. Martin; Secretary, Sally Soeder; Treasurer, Don Leckler. A new member joined the organization during the fourth year and she, Arda Jane Talcott, was named Parliamentarian.




June 14 of this year will mark the end of the fifth year of the Lakewood Safety Council. On that evening, the Council will hold its annual meeting, which is open to the public in the Civic Auditorium of Lakewood City Hall, 12650 Detroit Avenue, at 8:00 p.m.

In addition to a film presentation dealing with bathing, boating, and fishing, the Council will have as guest speaker Paul Jones who is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of safety. A dynamic speaker, Jones will attack all phases of accidents in his talk "Blueprint for Life."

Between now and the coming annual meeting, one of the major activities of the Lakewood Safety Council will be enlistment of Lakewood residents into the Lakewood Army of Safety.

The Green Cross fund drive began May 1 and will continue through May 31. Funds derived from the campaign are used for the purpose of educating Lakewood, and particularly its youth, in sound safety practices. Lakewood residents who contribute to the Green Cross are, in effect, providing ammunition in the form of educational materials to fight against accidents and loss of life.

Just how effective is this war on accidents? Tangible proof that any constant educational effort is successful is difficult, but Lakewood was given that proof on February 2 of this year. It was on February 2 that fire struck the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Brown, 18134 Clifton Road. Mr. and Mrs. Brown had dined out that night in honor of their 17th wedding anniversary, leaving their sons, Dale, 11, and Jeffrey, 8, in the care of their daughter Laurel, 14.

Around midnight the children were awakened by the smell of smoke and Laurel remembered the lessons of fire survival she had learned as a student at Horace Mann Junior High School. She found stairways blocked, so gathering clothes and blankets, she led her brothers through a window onto a roof. Neighbors heard the children's shouts and called the firemen who carried the children from the roof to safety.

Most of the material possessions of John and Nancy Brown were destroyed in the estimated $30,000 fire, but their irreplacable possessions-Laurel, Dale, and Jeffrey-were safe and unharmed.

The Browns were lavish in their praise of the Lakewood school system and the Lakewood fire department because of the fire survival lessons which are taught to Lakewood school children.

Green Cross funds had provided educational materials necessary to get the fire survival message across to Laurel Brown and a 14-year-old girl and her two younger brothers were alive because of that education.

The members of the Lakewood Safety Council could be proud of the proof Laurel Brown had given them and could have decided that the job was finished. But those members, who have given so much of their time and effort to support safety in the community, instead thought only in terms of continuation and expansion of the safety message.

Expansion has come this fifth year in the creation of Street Lighting and Home-front survival committees. Just last week, a group of Lakewood women met at City Hall to discuss the formation of a Women's Division with particular emphasis on home, school, and traffic safety.

A bike safety film dealing with local ordinances presently is being developed by the Council and the annual bike safety campaign is scheduled for this month. Grant School PTA is using the Lakewood Safety Council bike safety outline in lower elementary training for tricycles and bikes with learner wheels.

The Youth Division has developed a panel discussion and will present Safety Assemblies to each of Lakewood's three high schools to be concluded by safety checks of student automobiles during this month. The Youth Division is advised by an adult member of the Safety Council, but governs itself and its purpose is to promote traffic safety among people of the high-school-age group.

Fire signalling devices were installed in all Lakewood schools and institutions during the past year. These devices are especially conceived so that their alert immediately informs Lakewood's fire department that the alarm is coming from a school or institution.

Final results have a way of sounding simple, but the Lakewood Safety Council had spent many months in seeing that these fire installations became a reality. Legislation had to be can be long and drawn-out. enacted, for instance, and due process of the law sometimes.

Safety Town, which was being investigated in the fourth year of the Safety Council, became a reality in the fifth year. Complete with buildings, streets, sidewalks, parking areas, crosswalks, and traffic control signals and devices, the simulated town (with the element of danger removed) was being used in instructing pre-school children in coping with daily usage of the streets. Certificates were awarded to 167 boys and girls who passed tests determining their comprehension of this safety message. Parents were informed of needs in educating students who did not measure up to standards set in this program.

A fire evacuation drill was held on a Cleveland Transit school bus during fire prevention week. The bus, which was located at Bunts Road and Detroit Avenue, was evacuated in 15 seconds. Finalists in the Honorary Fire Marshal contest included 31 Lakewood school children and 22 children were judged winners in the fire poster contest.

At the annual Safety Patrol Training Day on September 17, 37 pupils were in attendance. The idea for Safety Patrol Day had been suggested originally by Montgomery Will, principal, Lincoln School, and had been instituted by the Council as an annual activity.

Officers of the Lakewood Safety Council during the fifth year are: Mrs. Meldrum W. Berkey, president; Captain George Weymark, 1st vice president; Mrs. David Ruetenik, 2nd vice president; Mrs. C.E. Talcott, recording secretary; Mrs. W.H. Steffens, corresponding secretary; Edgar Martin, treasurer.

It is hoped that when the Safety Council holds its fifth annual meeting this coming June 14, that it will be able to report outstanding support of safety education and practices by Lakewood residents who contribute dimes and dollars to the Green Cross fund May. Every Lakewoodite can provide educational ammunition and declare war on accidents by joining Lakewood Safety Council's Army of Safety.

The mailing address of the Lakewood Safety Council is Lakewood City Hall, 12650 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood 7, Ohio. Green Cross contributions should be addressed to Howard G. Cumler.