Who could have guessed that a baby boy born January 1st, 1745, near Paoli, Pennsylvania, would become our city’s namesake? Yet here we are 276 years later celebrating Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s birthday.
The General “Mad” Anthony Wayne Organization Inc., a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit whose mission is to enhance area education about local history, made sure the general’s birth date was not forgotten. COVID-190 restrictions were in place New Year's Eve for the ceremony at Chestnut Hills Golf Course clubhouse. Bob Jones, Fort Wayne’s Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne living historian, was presented with an elaborate birthday cake provided by Hall’s Takes the Cake.
Jones, a longtime Fort Wayne educator, has been serving in the role for years, appearing at special events, in schools, and in 2019 riding the float in the Three Rivers Parade. It is a role Jones enjoys but will soon relinquish as he is promoted to the role of General/President George Washington.
Jones said he has been humbled to appear as Gen. Wayne. " ... the part of it that I have most enjoyed, as a retired educator, was performing before students,” he said. “They are inquisitive, and they have a yearning to know more about the general, and the naming of a fort in his honor, as well as the growth of the city of Fort Wayne.”
The organization will conduct auditions for Jones’ replacement on Saturday, Jan. 23, 1:30-3 p.m. at Spiece Fitness (The Epic Center), 5310 Merchandise Drive, Fort Wayne.
The organization also announced that it is planning to present a new annual award, the Legion of the U.S., to a person chosen from among nominations nationwide. The chairman of the group, J. Michael Loomis, announced that the national award is intended to honor “excellence in education” and “dedication to community service.” The group will accept nominations for the award on Aug. 20, 2021. Three finalists will be chosen, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 31 to commemorate the general’s birthday.
For more information about the organization, and to get an application to audition to be the new General “Mad” Anthony Wayne living historian, visit madanthonywayne.org.