WEST MILTON — When the Milton-Union High School band typically plays, it’s to cheer on the football players to victory. But on Wednesday afternoon, the band performed the Ohio State fight song for another special reason.
William Jay, former custodian at Milton-Union schools, had requested the band to come to the Hospice inpatient unit to perform the OSU fight song for him.
“For each of our patients we grant them a wish, and Mr. Jay’s wish was to hear the Milton-Union band perform in his unit for him,” said Hospice of Miami County Executive Director Heather Bolton.
However, because of space, Jay was brought to Milton-Union and surprised to see his family and the Milton-Union community, as well as get to drum along to the band with the M-U Alumni band drum.
According to Jay’s younger son Tom Jay, his father — who also served the community on the West Milton Fire Department for 60 years and is an Army veteran — is a huge Ohio State band fan.
“He’s just always loved them,” he said.
Tom Jay added that his father was involved with the Milton-Union Alumni band since it first started and played bass drum in high school. As the high school band was playing, Jay was drumming along with them on the drum held up by his older son, Bruce.
Jay was surprised and thanked the band for performing for him.
“I am appreciative for what you have done,” he said.
Milton-Union High School Principal Scott Bloom said Jay was active and served the school for five decades and that it was hard for anyone to not know who William Jay is because of how active he was in the community.
“He would come out here, he ran, he subbed, he maintained the buildings, helped park cars for football games, he would drive kids as a van driver when they needed to go someplace, just about everything that the district and community could ask of him,” he said.
It was the dedication to the students and the community that Bloom said best summarized Jay’s impact.
“He is a Bulldog,” he said. “When you think about the spirit of the community, I think it’s embodied in Bill Jay. He was always there to help and serve somebody else. If we had a characteristic that is all it should be.”
The Milton-Union Marching Band performs several songs under the direction of Zach Roberts Wednesday for former custodian William "Bill" Jay.
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Troydailynews.