PIQUA — For its fourth year of honoring those of outstanding Christian faith in the local community, the Piqua Association of Churches (PAC) honored the late Pastor Michael G. Gross of Trinity Church as this year’s Hero of Faith.
Paul Green, president of PAC, presented Gross’s wife, Rhonda, and son, Shaun, as well as friend and Trinity Church board member Loretta Grise with the Hero of Faith award during PAC’s annual dinner held on Monday evening.
Gross was serving as the pastor of Trinity Church in Piqua when he passed away suddenly at the age of 60 on Jan. 20.
“They deserve to be honored for what they do,” Green said about Hero of Faith recipients.
Last year, PAC decided to open up the award to honor those who had already passed away, as the organization felt a strong pull to honor community member Susan Reed of Cyrene AME Church.
“This year, there isn’t any difference,” Green said.
Green commended Gross for his faith, humble attitude, sacrificial spirit, and more.
“He never gave up. He always opened up his door to anybody,” Green said, explaining that Gross welcomed everyone at Trinity Church.
Green also said that Gross hosted Men’s Breakfasts that were open to men from all churches and denominations. Gross also participated in PAC.
“The man loved souls,” Green said.
Green added later, “We will miss him terribly.”
“Pastor Mike was a loving man,” Grise said. “We want to thank you for this award … I do think he deserved it.”
“He was a very humble man who loved everyone he met,” Rhonda Gross said. “He never knew a stranger. He just loved people. He loved serving his community and his church, and we miss him very much. He was a good man. He lived what he preached in his home and in his community.”
Grise added that people were drawn to Gross.
“He’d be out in Walmart … no matter where he was at, people were drawn to him and … they just knew he was a pastor,” Grise said. “He loved them. You could see the love in his eyes.”
“He had compassion for everyone,” Rhonda Gross said.
“He was never too busy for prayer with anyone,” Grise said.
Gross’ passion was his faith and his compassion for others.
“No matter how you were dressed, what you were doing, where you came from … he would hug you with open arms,” Shaun Gross said.
Gross also loved his family, who is still feeling his loss. In addition to his wife and son, Gross had two grandchildren, Hunter and Tadyn, and he often referred to his daughter-in-law, Misty, as his “favorite daughter-in-law” as she was his only daughter-in-law.
Gross joined the U.S. Army when he was 17 years old and earned his high school diploma from S. Louis High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, while serving on active duty. He attended Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and was a graduate of RHEMA Bible School.
In addition to serving as the pastor at Trinity Church, Gross was also employed as a maintenance supervisor at Brookdale Senior Living, where he found joy in his job and with the Brookdale staff and residents.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org