Atonn Smeltzer, has big goals and dreams to make the world a better place, starting right here in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Smeltzer, a 40-year-old who grew up in Brunswick, Ohio, has lived in Bowling Green for roughly 17 years. He graduated from BGSU with double majors in music and computer programming. He currently owns two businesses: a wedding business and an independent financial planning practice.
Smeltzer got involved with BRAVE because of his friend Anthony King.
“This was something that just kind of happened—we found that there was a real need for this type of an organization in Bowling Green,” Smeltzer said.
Being a part of BRAVE, Smeltzer brings a different identity with innovative ideas to this group.
“Now my goal is to use my privilege to dismantle it and to try and use my whiteness to infiltrate systems where, again, someone who is a person of color couldn’t or it would be much more difficult,” he said. “And so to try to use that to try and take down those systems and to make it more equal.”
Smeltzer said he wants to be a part of the change that needs to happen in our systems regarding race.
“It’s one of those things that for me it’s literally the least I can do,” he said.
Smeltzer is a husband and a father to a 4-year-old son, which keeps him very busy. With little to no free time, Smeltzer puts his time into different activities and organizations. He manages and performs with an a cappella group, he’s involved in the Rotary Club and the Freemasons, sings in his church choir, co-hosts a wedding planning podcast and is a part of BRAVE.
Smeltzer is a very positive person and everyone around him could agree, especially his wife, Jodie Smeltzer.
“He has a big heart and is probably one of the most charismatic people I have ever met,” Jodie said.
Not only is Atonn involved in many activities, he uses his extra time to volunteer. Smeltzer has ridden in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society fundraiser, “Bike to the Bay” and raises money for them in doing so. He fundraises for the American Cancer Society, specifically helping in their “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign. Planning to incorporate some volunteerism opportunities into the organization, BRAVE will soon be looking for people to help coordinate events. These are only a few examples of how much Smeltzer is involved and loves to make changes in the world.
The true Atonn can be seen in any of his extracurriculars. He compares himself to Superman, in wanting to save everyone and anyone.
“What my wife loves to tell me is that I always forget that I’m not Superman,” he said. “I’m always trying to save the world.”
The couple both said the differences in their personalities makes their marriage successful.
“I like to have a plan and know what is going to happen when, and he just goes with the flow,” she said. “That is probably why we work so well together; we balance each other out.” Smeltzer said. "Yeah, we balance each other out. It works that I like being around people and she kind of gets shy.”
With all of his involvement, Atonn begins in the small town of Bowling Green and looks to thrive in making big changes in the world.