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About our Founder & CEO - Rick Bannister

Rick Bannister founded neighborhood bridges and launched the 501(c)(3) organization on Martin Luther King Day, January 16, 2017.  Since its inception neighborhood bridges has grown to serve 37 communities in Ohio and Alabama and the charity has directly impacted more than 218,000 students and families.

Rick Bannister is a 47 year resident of Westerville. He and his wife Diane began dating while seniors at Westerville South High School and continued dating through their years at Ohio State. They have 4 daughters, 3 of whom are now college graduates, and their gift, Riley is a senior at Westerville South this year.

Rick served across two terms on the Westerville Schools Board of Education, chaired 7 school levy campaigns and has coordinated a total of 15 campaigns and served on numerous boards in Westerville since 1993.

Now in his 19th season, Rick serves as the volunteer Public Address Announcer for Westerville South football as well as boys and girls basketball. He is also in his 12th year as the PA Announcer for Ohio State University’s women’s softball team and has announced men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling, volleyball, and hockey for the Buckeyes over the years. Rick has announced more than 1,200 athletic and special events in Westerville, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, for Otterbein University, and for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

In 2012 Rick was inducted into the Westerville South Alumni Hall of Fame and the Westerville Board of Education created a Community Service Award in his name.

In 2016 Rick was honored as the Westerville Sunrise Rotary Community Service Award Winner.

In 2018 Rick was inducted into the Westerville South Athletic Hall of Fame and became the only person from Westerville or Westerville South High School to be inducted into the Student, Alumni, and Athletic Halls of Fame.

In 2019 Rick was named a Friend of Education by the Ohio School Boards Association.

In September of 2019 Rick was recognized by the Columbus Dispatch as one of Central Ohio’s 2019 Everyday Heroes.

In February of 2020, Rick was notified by the City of Westerville that he was named the 12th Champion of Westerville. The city of Westerville, in coordination with the Westerville City School District has placed a Champions Plaque for Rick at the entrance to Wildcat Stadium.


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