AVON — A heart attack propelled new Mayor Bryan Jensen to run for office last year.
The 53-year-old said his heart attack in 2009 drove him to take a closer look at his life. Full of survivor’s remorse after his friend’s death nine months prior, he knew he wanted to help others.
“I think that was the point where you say to yourself, ‘I want to make a difference,’” Jensen said.
Jensen discussed the impact of friend George Spiroff’s death on his life prior to Thursday’s ceremony, in which he was sworn in as mayor.
Spiroff, a star baseball player and Lorain Sports Hall of Famer, died at the age of 29 in August 2008. Jensen said Spiroff was a neighbor.
Jensen said he hasn’t experienced health problems since his 2009 heart attack. As mayor, he hopes to focus his energy on recognizing those who have a positive impact on their community, including 9-year-old Gabriella Enourato, who recently raised money for St. Jude’s Hospital by caroling in her Avon neighborhood.
Jensen, who officially took office Thursday, spent years as a city councilman before former Mayor Jim Smith announced his plans to not seek re-election after 21 years with the city.
Jensen said he decided to run after rumors that Smith would retire.
Smith backed Jensen, who defeated three other candidates with 44 percent of the votes. Smith said Jensen was the best choice because of his volunteer efforts and close community ties.
Jensen thanked those who came out to Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony, despite heavy snowfall throughout the day.
“I just want to thank everyone for coming. I kept getting calls all day long from people saying, ‘Are you going to cancel? Are you going to cancel?’ I thought it was Halloween,” he said, laughing. “I appreciate my family and everyone who came out through this whole process, and I couldn’t be more happy to be working for a group of people who I respect.”
City Council members were also sworn in on Thursday evening.