It was a tough call for many party organizers, but life went on last week in spite of America's tragedy.
Events gave concerned citizens a chance to share their feelings, appreciate their fortunes, and give back to the community.
Some recalled their experience of former wars, while for younger guests, it was a first time to be touched by such overwhelming tragedy.
Nearly everyone commented how the events seem so surreal -- like a movie -- especially since it happened on the USA's turf.
Despite the shock and disbelief, patriotism was strong. During social events, candles were lit and moments of silence marked these events.
Emcee Suzanne Witherell, an MS victim, said after a lot of talk and soul searching organizers decided not to let the terrorists ruin their night that celebrated people who make a difference.
Sr. Karen Zielinski, also an MS victim, gave the prayer that included: "We pray for peace in our hearts and homes ... we seek a peaceful alternative to violence ... reconciliation not revenge. ...'' Then amid the green plants, fresh flowers, and candles, was a moment of silence.
CHAMPIONS: Ann Marie Loutzenhiser, left, and Robert Savage receive awards from Liz Ference, chairwoman of the Dinner of Champions: Triumphs and Treasures. The event benefited the Multiple Sclerosis Society and was held at the Pinnacle.
Author Barbara Petee, replacing the featured speaker who was grounded because of the attacks, compared her book One Step from Grace to the challenges of MS and the tragedy, saying, "The challenge is to move forward."
Robert Savage, who was honored with the Silver Hope Award, is a noted community philanthropist who grew up in Toledo and is proud of it. Although he has had offers to move elsewhere, he said he has chosen to stay here.
The devoted man drove all night from St. Petersburg, Fla. to get back in time for the dinner. Mr. Savage credits his success to strong values, work, faith, and his wife, Sue. Others view him as a role model, friend, motivational speaker, business leader, religious man, and a family man with a good sense of humor, who always seems to have time for everyone.
Anne Marie Loutzenhiser, honored with the MS Achievement Award, is an MS victim. She decided that her disability would take a back seat to everything else in her life. Husband Larry, daughter Samantha, and son Michael, in her eyes, take top priorities.
She said, "I am a person first," who happens to have MS. But she has taken the time to give back to the community. As a voice for people with disabilities, she has assisted with diversity training, served on the government affairs committee for the chapter, and has been active in lobbying on behalf of the disabled.
Chairwoman was Liz Ference and honorary chairman was Bob Maxwell. Board president is J.R. Toland.
Event organizers for the homeless shelter thought it important to have the party, as the needs of the homeless -- like the needs of the attack victims -- will continue.
So, palm trees, beach balls, and all, guests dined on a chicken barbecue dinner as they bid on auction items. Major sponsors were related to the housing industry, including Bill Schoen, Jerry Welter, Pat Cary, and Kim Mussman. The shelter is celebrating its 80th birthday this year, according to board chairwoman Bonnie Berry.
FUR FLIES: From left, Aimee Faykosh, Aimee St. Amaud, and Michelle Paled keep grips on Belle and Rags, canines ready for adoption at the Toledo Humane Society's Furball.
Dog bowls held fresh-flower arrangements topped with cat and dog silhouettes. Dog biscuits scattered on tables and catnip sparkled by candlelight as guests sipped and supped on delights representative of an international celebration of animals.
Cool cats and top dogs barked up a storm as they sipped champagne and bid on silent and live-auction items — but not without a moment of silence in honor of the national nightmare.
Seen were Judy and Fred Lang, Karen and Carlton Fraker, Craig and Stephanie Harris, and Mark and Jean Wagner. Joanna and Norm Koenigseker were with their son, Aaron, who was waiting for a flight back to Ft. Carson, where he serves the nation in the Army.
Event chairwoman was Pat Nowak. Chairman of the board is Steve Serchuk.
The awards program at Bowling Green State University's Olscamp Hall was founded by IMAGE of Northwest Ohio, a Latino advocacy organization, to celebrate the influence Latinos have had on U.S. history, values, and culture. Classy guests chatted quietly over cocktails as the Chavar Oglesby Jazz Trio played.
The awards banner flanked with U.S. flags said it all. Guest speaker Latino poet Victor Hernandez Cruz was not present because of transportation problems resulting from the terrorist strikes.
A moment of silence for victims preceded the tasty dinner complete with BGSU's legendary coconut cr me pie.
Then it was down to business. Honors went to BGSU student and president of the Latino Student Union Irasema Resendez; Defiance resident Francisco Torrez, an artist with the prevalent theme of native American and Mexican culture; Robert Torres, an active community volunteer and Hispanic advocate; Rolando Andrade, a specialist in Latino studies and associate professor of ethnic studies at BGSU, and Gabiel Marquez, a BGSU student who founded the BGSU Latino Cultural Arts Committee.
Spotted were University of Toledo President Dan Johnson and his wife, Elaine; BGSU president Sidney Ribeau and his fiancee, Paula Whetsel; Delia and Ricardo Cardenas, Al and Jo Beth Gonzalez, Margarita DeLeon, Manny Vadillo, Rebecca Fitch, Jon Bragg, and Jesus Sandoval.
FOR THE CHILDREN: From left, Meira Zucker, chairwoman Margo Maxwell, president Karen Kerr, and Patricia Appold at the first fund-raiser for Equipped Kids, Inc., got the message out.
Leaders of the organization hesitated to hold the "Get the Message" event, but opted for a moment of silence in recognition of those who were affected by Tuesday's tragedy.
The main focus of the fund-raiser was the auction of cleverly customized messages for individuals' telephone answering machines.
The five voice messages auctioned off were by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, former Tiger player Kirk Gibson, Tiger manager Phil Garner, former Tiger Dave Bergman, and Wally Amos the Famous Amos Cookie man.
Guests nibbled on scrumptious foods as they roamed the silent auctions tables and listened to Voodoo Libido band. Cruising the crowd was event chairwoman Margo Maxwell. Seen were Molly and Bob Mack, Pat and Jim Appold, Kelly and Mike Holtman, and Beth and Charlie Sheets.
Barbara Hendel is The Blade's society editor. E-mail her at email@example.com.
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