FREMONT — This week, State Representative Gary Click (R-Vickery) of District 88 hosted a press conference to introduce legislation designating the Route 20 Bypass in Fremont as Charles Woodson Way.
Woodson, former all-pro football player and Fremont native, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.
The conference took place at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium on Wednesday, March 10, and the Fremont Ross High School football team, of which Woodson is an alumni, was present. Also in attendance were State Senator Bill Reineke, Fremont Mayor Daniel Sanchez, and Fremont City Schools Superintendent Jon Detwiler. Woodson and several of his family members attended via Zoom.
In Woodson’s speech, he urged the students in the audience to believe in themselves.
“All the kids in Fremont, just know: you are somebody special, and nobody can take that away from you,” he said.
Click also explained his reasoning for the introduced legislation, which he submitted to the House after the conference.
“Inspiring the next generation to exceed expectations is one of the most significant things our generation can do to ensure success for generations to come,” Click said. “We have a role model from Fremont who has been that inspiration, and this road designation ensures that Charles Woodson will continue to be that inspiration for generations.”
This wasn’t the first time Click sponsored legislation about designating days, roads or bridges to significant figures. Since his inauguration in January, Click has co-sponsored four other bills to honor people, including the bill for Ohio Tuskegee Airmen day, Eugene F. Kranz day, the Don Manning Memorial Bridge and the Officers Dennis Bennington and Robert Seiffert Memorial Highway.
Click was right about Woodson being an inspiration. Sophomore student athlete Bryson Hammer cited Woodson as an important role model in his life.
“Charles is a great role model for young men like myself,” Hammer said. “He has not only shown excellence on the field, but off the field as well. I believe commemorating the Route 20 Bypass would be a great tribute to Charles and an honor for Fremont.”
Several other students voiced the same sentiment. So did Mayor Sanchez.
“I was that 12-year-old kid in Fremont that Charles made a direct impact on,” Sanchez said.
As the legislation was just introduced, it will likely be months before the bill is voted on. Regardless of the outcome, it’s clear that Woodson has already impacted Fremont locals spanning multiple generations.