VERSAILLES - Harold and Deb Pohl have been named Honorary Poultry Days Parade Marshals for the 2014 Poultry Days Grand Parade which will be held at 11 a.m. on Sat., June 14.
Harold was enrolled to be a freshman at Versailles High School in the fall of 1952, the year of the first Versailles Poultry Days. Harold’s grandfather, John P Gasson, was a leader in the poultry industry in the Versailles area all of his life, and he also passed down his love of the industry to all of his family.
His oldest son, Paul, was one of the many people who worked hard to form and start the first Versailles Poultry Days. Harold’s father, Ed Pohl, and mother, Margaret Gasson Pohl, were involved in the celebration of Versailles Poultry Days all of their active years, starting in 1952. Harold and his brother Kenneth Pohl were volunteered by their parents to help with Poultry Days in the early years.
They would help out in any way that they could. This included helping to empty the trash barrels full of remains from the chicken dinners and cleaning of the grounds after the event. During the early years, Versailles Poultry Days were held on Thursday afternoon and evenings at the grounds of the former Versailles Elementary school at West Ward St.
Harold’s father was on the Versailles Exempted Village School Board, starting his term after the start of construction of the Versailles High School, which is now the Board of Education office and gym. One of the task that he arranged for Ken and Harold, was to take the rock wagon from Gasson Poultry Farms to the future front lawn area of the new High School and pick up all of the rocks to allow the soil to be leveled and seeded with grass. This is the location where the Versailles Poultry Days are now held.
After graduating from High School, Harold went to Los Angeles, California for a one year course in Diesel Mechanics. After graduation in September 1957, he returned to Versailles, Ohio and started to work for Subler Transfer Inc. as a diesel mechanic. Subler Transfer Inc. was a carrier hauling mostly refrigerated foods, especially meat products. Harold worked as a mechanic, mostly on the semi-tractors, but over the years was involved in all aspects of the trade. Harold worked there until 1983, at which time the new owners, Bray Truck Lines, sold and liquidated the company.
Harold married Deb Grilliot on Sept. 28, 1968 and they are the parents of four children, David (Brenda), Christi, Brian and Rebecca (John).
In 1983, Harold purchased the property at 9394 McGreevey Road and started his own maintenance company, Harold J. Pohl Inc., performing all of the required maintenance on semi-tractors, trailers, refrigeration units, tires and related work. Harold was also in the leasing business of semi-tractors and trailers to the local trucking companies. In 1991, Harold started Pohl Transportation Inc., which is a Common Carrier trucking company, hauling truckload dry type freight in the eastern half of the United States. This company has grown to 130 tractors and 360 trailers and employs 140 people. In 1998, Harold started Pohl Logistics Inc., which is a truckload brokerage firm.
Harold is a 50 plus year member of the Knights of Columbus #1756 and Eagles Lodge #2347 of Versailles. Harold served on the Versailles Volunteer Life Rescue Squad Inc. Board of Directors for 29 years. He served on the Versailles Exempted Village School District Board of Education for two terms (8 years). He is very proud to have been instrumental in the purchase of the 35 acres from Paul and Marsha Rhoades where our new Versailles K-12 school building is now located. He served on the St. Denis Parish Council for 2 terms. Harold was also a member of the Versailles Lion Clubs for 3 years.
Harold retired in 2013, with 55 years in the transportation industry. Before and after retiring, his hobbies have been lawn care and landscaping at his residence, tending to his large garden, roller blading (which he finally gave up a couple of years ago), bike riding and now motorcycles. He also has a gym in his basement and enjoys staying physically fit.
Deb has been in many activities since she was a student at Versailles High School (class of 1965). She started serving chicken dinners in the food line in the 1960’s and was involved with many high school clubs and organizations. While their children were in school she worked in many capacities through the years on Poultry Days, such as music boosters’ tent (co-chairing one year), selling ride and chicken dinner tickets, and Mothers Club booths and wherever else she was needed.
She was a Girl Scout helper with her friend and Girl Scout leader, Jan Donnelly. She also was a member of the Athletic Association, Versailles Music Boosters, and has been a Versailles Tigers’ fan since grade school. Her blood runneth orange and black people say!
Deb has also been involved in many civic organizations over the years. She was on the founding boards of the Versailles 5 Cs Swim League, The Friends of Worch Memorial Library, Rhythm Company, and her latest effort, the Versailles Area Historical Society and Museum, where she currently holds the office of President. She also was a driver for the Versailles Life Squad for eight years. She served many years on the board of the Versailles Council of Churches, a member of Towne & Country Players, delivered Meals on Wheels, St Denis Church Council member for one term and was a member of the Modern Mothers Club. Deb also served on the Versailles Alumni Association and help several years with the Alumni weekends.
In 2013 the Versailles Chamber honored Deb as the Versailles “Citizen of the Year.” She is the oldest daughter of the late Betty and Francis Grilliot. She has one sister, Pam Groff. Deb’s hobbies are scrapbooking, traveling and of course, enjoying her grandchildren.
Deb and Harold now have five grandchildren (Dean, Ryan, Lauren, Cord and Elijah) and are involved in their activities, as they were when their own children were younger.
Said Deb and Harold, “We would like to thank the Versailles Poultry Days Board for bestowing this honor on us as we are very proud of this community and all it represents, “People Pride Progress”. And we invite everyone to come and enjoy “Cluck Dynasty”, The 2014 Versailles Poultry Days!”
The Versailles Poultry Days Board of Directors and the Village of Versailles would like to invite you to the 63rd annual Poultry Days festival June 13, 14 and 15th, 2014. This year’s festival theme is “Cluck Dynasty.” Please visit the website www.versaillespoultrydays.com for event details and schedules.