Bill Koch (sitting center) and members of his family at the fish fry they hosted for the fellow residents of Kalida Meadows.
Bill Koch (sitting center) and members of his family at the fish fry they hosted for the fellow residents of Kalida Meadows. (image submitted)

PUTNAM COUNTY — Recently, Bill Koch, resident of Kalida Meadows, retired salesman, and former Mayor of Columbus Grove, was enjoying a day of fishing with his sons at the Kalida Fish & Game Club. “I was just sitting there, fishing all day,” he said, “And, I thought, ‘Well, why don’t we have a fish fry?’ So, I thought about it. I talked to a couple of my sons about it. ‘Yeah, let’s do that, dad. Why not?’”

“My boys, my sons, they’ve had fish fries in the family, and with neighbors. And, we caught a lot of fish, my boys and I.”

Every Friday at 3 p.m., the nursing home hosts a happy hour for its residents. Mr. Koch thought this would be the perfect time to host a fish fry for his fellow residents.

Aside from catching, as has been reported, a decent amount of fish (including a 30-inch channel catfish, he points out), Mr. Koch was asked why he would want to make the effort of hosting a fish fry. “You know, they’ve treated me well,” he answers. “I just thought it would be kind of nice. Why not? I don’t know if it’s ever been done before.”

Joe Wardzala, Director of Food Service for Kalida Meadows, was happy to lend a hand. “His family is bringing in the fryers,” he says. “We’re going to be overseeing all of the cooking, making sure everything is the correct temperature and cooked properly for the residents.”

When Mr. Wardzala was asked, from his perspective, how the fish fry came about, he provides a good-natured answer, saying, “[Mr. Koch] wanted an excuse to do some extra fishing. And, his family wanted to share all of the extra fish that he caught with the other residents, with the staff, and with whomever could enjoy it. We thought that was a great idea.”

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Wardzala adds a short time later. “It’s their home, and we want them to feel that way.”

Mr. Koch seemed to have a similar opinion, saying, “It’s something to do, I guess. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong. I’m kind of a pusher. I’ve been in sales all my life, and I’ve talked to people all my life. I just enjoy it.”