The True Story of Arthur O' Kostendt
My name is Arthur Oliver Kostendt. I was raised in a sleepy subdivision in Hudson, Ohio.
The occasional family trip to Cleveland was always the perfect cure for suburban doldrums --- the density, the energy, the ELECTRICITY.
Most especially, the accessibility for pedestrians, transit users, and bicycle riders – if I’d only lived in the city, I wouldn’t have been dependent on Mom and Dad to get everywhere!
Providing for their children was always the top priority for my mother and father. As the youngest of four kids, in a single-income household, I often went without luxuries my neighbors enjoyed. My father was a solo practitioner in real estate appraisal, and my mother found sporadic weekend work as a nurse. At settling-up time, the ends rarely met.
But, thanks to their sacrifices, I had amazing opportunities to explore, grow, and learn.
We took advantage of the excellent public schools in our community. I played saxophone in The Number One Band in the Land, the Hudson High School SWING Marching Band, from 2005 to 2009. I also represented the Explorers on our varsity tennis team.
I was blessed with the opportunity to go to college in South Bend, Indiana, at the University of Notre Dame. In my dorm room each year, I hung a panoramic photo of downtown Cleveland, with Jacobs Field at center-frame and Lake Erie as the backdrop.
Of course, the blessing of a Catholic education came with an astronomical price tag. In 2011, I joined the United States Army as an ROTC Cadet to help cover the cost.
The benefits of serving our nation proved to be much greater than just financial assistance. I learned to plan, organize, lead, and fight. Each of these skills was rigorously tested before I received an officer’s commission from the President of the United States in 2013. On the same day, I graduated with a Finance degree. After spending four years away at college, I wished for nothing more than to return to Cleveland.
So, I returned to Cleveland. I chose to serve my country and community by accepting a position in the Ohio Army National Guard. I was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 107th Cavalry Regiment as a scout platoon leader.
In between weekend drill duty, I found a full-time job at the Lakeside Avenue office of B&F Capital Markets. There, I helped small business borrowers manage the risks posed by changing interest rates.
I moved into a little apartment in the Warehouse District, just across W. 9th Street from the office. I found a family in faith at the St. Malachi Catholic Church, a short walk over the Detroit-Superior Bridge, on W. 25th St.
With my workdays and weekends occupied, I didn’t make productive use of the evening hours until 2014, when I enrolled as a night student at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. For four years, I balanced work, study, and service in the city of Cleveland. I earned my law degree in 2019, summa cum laude (“with highest honors”).
I took an internship at the Public Square office of the Staff Counsel of the Cincinnati Insurance Companies. I then took a second, concurrent, internship with Schuster & Simmons, LPA, headquartered at Clinton Ave and W. 29th St., in Ohio City.
Five months prior to graduation, my National Guard unit received notice that we would be activated for a tour of duty in the Middle East. By this time, I was the Logistics Officer for the 1st Battalion, 145th Armored Regiment in Stow, Ohio. Full time training began two weeks after I received my law school diploma. Four months later, armed with an unloaded M4 carbine in the early morning darkness, I stepped off a plane at Kuwait International Airport.
I served in Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. We endured a New Year’s Eve missile crisis with Iran, and the international Coronavirus Panic of 2020. We supported coalition force detachments across Southwest Asia. Then, I came home to Cleveland, ready to lead our city into a new era -- the era of a city government that serves all of our neighbors, and a Mayor who never fails to ask "What Can I Do For Us?"