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Ben Schwartz channels volunteerism to PTA

The Schwartz family: Ben, Michelle, Julia and Ricki Lea. CONTRIBUTED
The Schwartz family: Ben, Michelle, Julia and Ricki Lea. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Ben Schwartz appreciates Madison’s lifestyle including parades, festivals, Fourth of July at Dublin Park, hiking on Rainbow Mountain and mini-golf at Insanity Complex.

He enjoys sports at Dublin and Palmer parks, board games at Madison Public Library and affordable cost of living.

Ben finds the geographic location perfect: four seasons without temperature extremes. Beaches, mountains, big cities and amusement parks are in driving distance.

“City government is responsive and does a great job with limited resources. Education is a top priority,” he said. Ben does miss the expanse of cotton fields, steadily disappearing as houses sprouted.

He grew up in Tampa and attended Tufts University in Medford, Mass.

Ben then lived near Boston. “Traffic was unbearable, people were as cold as the weather, and it was very expensive. I love visiting New England but couldn’t imagine living there again.”

Enrolled in college in New England, Ben and future wife Ricki Lea knew about Huntsville because Ben attended Space Camp. He decided to finish college at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

“In December of my senior year, we packed a moving van (while snowing, naturally) and put Lynyrd Skynyrd on the stereo,” Ben said. “We chose Madison for the school district since we were starting a family. It turned out perfectly!”

Ben and Ricki Lea’s children are Julia, 9, and Michelle, 7.

A lifelong volunteer, Ben now channels his time to education. With Ricki Lea’s service on West Madison Elementary School’s PTA Board, Ben has had ample opportunities at fundraisers, carnivals and even as Holiday Shoppe elf.

“Just an hour of your time can make a huge difference and is always appreciated,” Ben said. This year, he served vice president of Madison City Council of PTAs, which organized municipal election forums and worked with the school board on resolving the Limestone County tax issue.

At Northrop Grumman, Ben “helps design systems that fit the intended user’s needs and enable them to effectively achieve their goals.”

The family owns pet rats, Dolcha and Rattie, adopted from Animal Trax.

In music, Ben likes country and classic rock. He likes to eat at Main Street Cafe, Saigon Vietnamese and India Garden.

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