By SCOTT COTTOS
Former Fostoria police detective Jeff Huffman’s family is establishing a remembrance of him in his very nature.
“I think he was always proud when he could help somebody,” Jessica Huffman, his wife of nearly 19 years, said.
Jeff Huffman died last Dec. 10 of esophageal cancer at age 52, just six weeks after his diagnosis. In his memory, the Jeffery J. Huffman Memorial Scholarship has been established at Terra State Community College in Fremont, where Jeff went through police training and later worked.
To raise funds, the family will host the Jeff Huffman Memorial Car Show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Tiffin.
Jeff Huffman, who with his family lived in Tiffin, met regularly on Wednesday nights at the restaurant with the “Car Guys” to discuss their interest in high-performance cars, which included displaying them at shows.
Funds raised by a $10 car registration fee will go to the scholarship fund, as will money from a 50-50 drawing. The recommended donation is $10 for the 50-50 drawing. Door prizes will also be available. Trophies have been donated as show awards, and Buffalo Wild Wings has donated the use of its parking lot and sound system.
While muscle cars are the norm at a show, this one will accept any vehicle.
“Someone asked me if they could bring an older truck that they had restored,” said Jeff and Jessica’s daughter Jena, a sophomore member of Tiffin University’s golf team and the coordinator of the car show. “I said, ‘Sure. We don’t discriminate. We love all cars equally.’”
Jessica Huffman said she talked with Cory Stine, director of the Terra Foundation, about establishing a scholarship shortly after her husband’s death.
The number of recipients and amounts of the grants are to be determined, depending on available funds. The goal to get the scholarship started is $10,000, with the next step being $50,000. Students in any field of study will be considered, with preference being given to students with a connection to law enforcement or the military.
After 18 years with the Fostoria Police Department, Huffman retired due to a back injury. The U.S. Army veteran then worked as a special investigator for the Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office and as director of campus operations at Terra.
“Some people had said something about wanting to donate some money,” Jessica Huffman said. “Then we wanted to do a car show because he loved cars. We decided to have a car show and use all of those funds to help try and build up the foundation.”
“I just thought, ‘What a great way to honor Dad because he was always out there working on his cars,’” Jena Huffman said, noting he had a particular fondness for Chevrolet Chevelles. “He loved cars. It’s just a great way to raise some money and have a fun day honoring Dad.”
Even before graduating from Hopewell-Loudon two years ago, Jena, who plans to become a dentist, earned an associate degree from Terra. The Huffmans’ relationship with the school will continue with the scholarship.
“That’s where he went through the academy and got certified to be a police officer,” Jessica Huffman said. “And then working there and working with the students — a lot of times he would be asked to go into the classrooms and do demonstrations and talk to them about his experiences. (He enjoyed) just having the chance to interact and mentor some of the students coming up.”
His enjoyment of being a police officer in Fostoria was similar, Jessica said.
“Anytime he could solve a case or help someone in need or recover something … he always prided himself on it,” she said. “There were a few individuals who, during the funeral services, came up to me and said they were there to pay their respects. Because of Jeff, they had turned their lives around. It was because of him that they were where they were at now. So, that was nice. Even if there were some individuals he had arrested, if they came back later and they needed help, he was always willing to help. He gave anybody a chance.”
Contributions to the scholarship fund can be sent to: Terra College Foundation, Attention: Jeffery J. Huffman Memorial Scholarship, 2830 Napoleon Road, Fremont, OH 43420.
By SCOTT COTTOS