Steven S. Brooks

First Energy's announcement on Wednesday that it was coming as the title sponsor for the All-American Soap Box Derby is fantastic news for our entire community. With such a prominent title sponsor, the Derby has the ability to attract other sponsors and give it a real shot to returning to the national spotlight.

In its heyday, the All-American had participants from around the world and had extensive national media coverage. It was a weeklong community celebration with parades and festivals leading up to the actual championship races. Racers, their families and supporters went back to their home towns dazzled by the welcoming nature and vibrancy of our community.

Derby President and CEO Joe Mazur has been working diligently with the board over the past year to re-invent the All-American and make it relevant to modern day life. With its new focus on an educational tie-in, the Derby has already seen a significant growth in participation and support in new communities. Although there is still much to do, this is a great start and First Energy is to be thanked and congratulated for stepping up in such a big way.