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Level One donates $50K for blue turf



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October 24, 2012 - Oxford's blue turf group received a huge boost to pay off the synthetic field when Level One Bank stepped forward last week with a $50,000 donation.

The donation means that about $150,000 is still owed on the turf, but fund-raising efforts are underway throughout the community.

Since mid-August about $150,000, which includes the donation from Level One, has been raised to help pay back thefive private individuals who guaranteed the $400,000 loan from AstroTurf.

Level One Bank is one of Oakland County's largest community banks and is in the midst of acquiring Oxford Bank.

David Walker, an executive vice president and chief financial officer at Level One, said his firm first learned about the blue turf efforts after seeing a story in the Wall Street Journal.

He said bank officials contacted Oxford Schools to learn more about the project and determine if it would be a good place for a community donation.

"We saw the story and then met with the turf committee along with Dr. (William) Skilling," Walker said. "We were impressed with the school's efforts and programs. You could just tell they were really into improving the community and that's what we are all about at Level One.

"We thought how can we help out? We worked with them and we want to be a part of this community for a long time. It was just a great way to contribute."

Walker said many of the other communities in Oakland County where Level One has locations are similar to Oxford. Level One has locations in Clinton and Bloomfield townships, Northville, Birmingham and Ferndale.

"This is what community banks all about. All of us at Level One Bank came from larger banks and we want to get back to the community level. This is a great way for us to become involved here in Oxford."

Superintendent Dr. William Skilling said the donation was important to help the district.

"It has always been our goal to provide high-quality, challenging education to our students," said Skilling. "Level One's contribution will further ensure our priorities remain realities. Their generosity - to our school and our community - is valued greatly." 

 Partick J. Fehring, Level One Bank President and CEO, said that as a locally-based bank it part of their beliefs to be involved at local levels.

"Having seen the dedication Oxford has for its students in focusing on academics, the arts and athletics, we felt compelled to join in their efforts.  We clearly recognize a community interested and dedicated to the development of its students. As a locally based company, that interests us. Just five years ago, our board began to build a bank with ties to both community and business. We're proud to play a role in what Oxford School is accomplishing in this region."

Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.
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