SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP – As Springfield Township’s longtime planning consultant prepares to start cancer treatments, he is heartened to know that many people are praying for him.
“That was the best ambush ever,” a grinning Rick Grossman said at Tuesday night’s supervisors’ meeting, where officials and residents offered their support.
Grossman was asked to attend the meeting to share some input on a zoning issue. Instead, he was pleasantly surprised by the comments and well wishes that made for an emotional start to the meeting.
Grossman has advanced esophageal cancer and will soon be starting chemotherapy and radiation.
He has led the way for planning and zoning in the township, said John Trant, Springfield’s acting administrator.
“We wanted to acknowledge Rick and his good work with the township all these years,” Trant said.
Supervisor Dave Swartz said that Grossman is an exemplary community planning professional who has made important contributions to the township.
He recognized Grossman on behalf of current and former supervisors and planning commission members, noting how his efforts have guided the township through significant growth and development with a continued emphasis on the community’s rich farming heritage.
Grossman said he’ll keep serving the township for as long as possible.
Former supervisor Judy Hassler told Grossman that she learned a lot from him during her 18 years as an elected official.
“Your knowledge has been invaluable to me,” she said.
Stone Helsel, a member of the Springfield Township Planning Commission, first worked with Grossman when he was appointed to the board as a junior member at the age of 16 in 2017.
It’s been an honor to serve with Grossman, who has been a great mentor, Helsel said.
Tim Dumbroski, a former planning commission member, has known Grossman for more than 20 years. He’s helped with many planning, zoning and land development issues, and he’s a dedicated professional who takes residents’ concerns into account.
He’s a “real gentleman with never a harsh word for anyone, a man that I am very proud to call my friend,” Dumbroski said.
Randy Patterson, the commission’s current chair, has known Grossman for about 50 years.
“I can’t stress enough how much we hope you can battle and win with what you’re dealing with, and God be with you,” he said, with Grossman thanking everyone.
After the meeting, Grossman said that he was diagnosed soon after Memorial Day, right around the time that he and his wife Katherine were moving from a farm just outside of Slippery Rock to Grove City.
He was having trouble swallowing, and the doctors initially thought it was indigestion. A tumor was found, and Grossman is ready to begin his treatments.
He is confident that he’ll be able to make the best of the time he has left thanks to his loved ones – he has a daughter and three grandchildren – and the people who represent the municipalities he serves.
“It was really touching. It was a nice surprise,” he said of Tuesday’s meeting.
Grossman has worked as a planning consultant for 30 years and also assists Grove City borough, and Pine and Slippery Rock townships. He’s served many other towns over the years.
He is thankful to live in this area surrounded by so much support, which includes Grace Anglican Church in Grove City; the parishioners helped with the move to Grove City.
“This is just a great community,” he said.