Thursday, Jul 28, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel


Women making a difference

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Paula Fall and Luci Gorski at the Crosby Awards.


From small groups to larger gatherings, women are joining forces to help others. Here are a few such events that took place recently.

The 9th Annual Crosby Award Luncheon under a giant tent in Toledo Botanical Garden recently recognized women who make a significant difference in the community through gardens, the arts, nature, or education. Ladies, most all in lovely hats, sat at tables each decorated by different vendors. I sat at a colorful garden-themed table set with Jan Pugh Pottery. Men took time off their day jobs to serve the ladies. Nothing like a handsome gent pouring wine!

Paula Fall, lovely in a beautiful black-and-white striped hat, introduced the awardees, Lucille "Luci" Gorski and Molly Reams Thompson.

Mrs. Gorski, a native of Maumee and a Central Catholic alum, is a retired registered nurse and a community philanthropist. She and her late husband, Ted, started NAMSA, a local medical devices business. Mrs. Gorski, who lives in Perrysburg, has served on several community boards, given generously to organizations such as the Valentine Theatre, created scholarships to local schools, and continues with the Toledo Opera, where she has been a member since its inception 50 years ago. She and her husband gave the opera a $1 million grant in 1992 through the Gorski Family Foundation.

PHOTO GALLERY: Women making a difference

Mrs. Thompson, raised in Ottawa Hills, came back home in 2009 after college and work kept her away. She and her husband, Scott, reside in Perrysburg with their children. She is on a mission to educate people about nutrition to promote healthy lifestyles and to sustain a community. As the youngest person to receive this award, she said she is still growing and sees all the former recipients including her mother, Susan Reams, as inspirational role models. Mrs. Thompson founded Feeding Creativity, an organic consulting firm, and is employed at Veggie U, a nonprofit organization that "introduces the concepts of sustainable agriculture, good nutrition, and culinary arts to elementary schoolchildren." She volunteers on community boards, including Women's Initiative of United Way and is on the advisory committee of Owens Community College's Urban Agriculture program.


The winner of the fabulous shoe contest Kimarra Sanders at the Alpha Kappa event.


The Zeta Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. hosted its Second Annual "In Her Shoes" charity luncheon June 9 at Brandywine Country Club. In keeping with the theme, guests were encouraged to wear their most fabulous shoes, and the winner of the shoe-walk-off won a gift card to DSW Shoe store. The event benefited the Polly Fox Academy, which assists teen mothers with their education and guides them to become responsible citizens, according to chapter president Deborah Washington. Event attendees provided gifts estimated at more than $1,000 in value.

"Come Fly With Me," a benefit for Camp Courageous for children with special needs, was started by a few generous ladies and they recently hosted their fifth annual event in the E.S. Wagner Co. hangar at Metcalf Field. More than $21,000 was netted, according to committee members Alicia Wagner, Debbie Paul, and Phyllis Deaton.

Special guests were annual campers Maggie Hunt, daughter of John Hunt, president of the board of Camp Courageous, and Vijay Seth, son of Ann Seth.

Women's Initiative of the United Way, which goes by its motto "Mobilizing Women to become leaders, philanthropists, and advocates on issues that concern us as women," has invested more than $1 million in community programs since its inception in 2001.

The group's spring event, "Gather Give Grow" presented by Health Care REIT, featured speaker Stacey Bess, teacher, author, and advocate for the educational rights of impoverished children. Her book Nobody Don't Love Nobody focuses on the importance of teaching self-worth, personal power, and courage and was the inspiration for the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Beyond the Blackboard.

The event, held at Notre Dame Academy Performing Arts Center, raised $11,000.

Among the nearly 250 attendees were event chairman Meg Ressner, co-chairman Adrienne Green, and Sara Jane DeHoff, Carol Gee, Mary Kennedy, Kate Keating, and Erika Rizzo. A private dinner was held after the event at Health Care REIT. Seen were Rita Mansour, Cindy Dana, Margy Trumbull, Judy McCracken, Leslie Chapman, Christy Stone, and Margaret Danziger.


Holly Bennett, Debbie Paul, Alicia A. Wagner, Belinda Cavins, and Phyllis Deaton of the Camp Courageous Committee.


The totals are in for the Cherished Friends of Ahava eighth annual Charmed & Cherished Wine Tasting and Silent Auction: An Evening to Celebrate Why Hearts Matter held at the Toledo Club. More than $21,100 was netted to help restore hope and healing for individuals with cancer, said treasurer Carol Schwartz. That's thanks to the more than 300 attendees and the committee of all women, including event chairmen Stacey Rycheneer and Mary Lou Nadaud and the many sponsors.

The Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center's 12th annual spring luncheon at Inverness Club raised $24,000. Emcee Sashem Brey of WTVG-TV, Channel 13, kept the event on target while the featured speakers offered inspiring stories of their road from despair to success. Event chairmen Jonna McRury and Martha Wheeler were assisted by a host of ladies passionate about the cause.

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