Centerville man named Ohio’s “Big Brother of the Year”

Centerville resident Mike Brush has been named Big Brother of the Year for the State of Ohio.

“He just awesome,” said Matt McDowell, director of partnership and fund development for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley.

Brush, an attorney at Freund, Freeze & Arnold in downtown Dayton, has been paired with his little Carlos, a 15-year-old Dayton Public School student, since 2011.

“Without Mike, Carlos wouldn’t have a positive male role model to look up to. Mike is the only person, outside of the family, who has ever taken an interest in Carlos,” said Deb, Carlos’ grandmother and guardian. “Mike is a very positive person. He is very lovable and is making a real difference.”

Ohio’s 25 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies nominate candidates for Best Big Brother and Best Big Sister in the state awards annually.

The awards were created to recognize mentors in the program whose contribution of time, service and support go above and beyond in transforming the life of a child.

Brush’s selection marks the first time in recent years a participant from Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley has won the state recognition, McDowell said.

Brush is now eligible for the big brother of the year for the entire nation.

He will be recognized at local and state events.

Besides mentoring Carlos, McDowell said Brush routinely helps recruit his colleagues at the law firm to the program.

In September he raised $11,000 as part of the of Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Miami Valley’s Over the Edge rappelling fund raising event. The previous record was about $6,000.

Brush and Carlos faced their fears together and rappelled down the 27-story KeyBank building in downtown Dayton, according to McDowell.

Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Miami Valley had 531 adult mentor and child “matches” in 2013, up from 462 in 2012. McDowell said the organization hopes to increase the number of pairs by 10 percent to 580 this year.

For more information about the organization visit or call (937) 220-6860.

Contact this columnist at or