COMMENTARY

What are you doing to make a difference?

1/20/2013
BY BARBARA HENDEL
BLADE SOCIETY EDITOR
Committee members Megan Martinek, left, and Bethanie Cherry, right, pose for a photo with Melissa Belcher and her son Aden at the Miracles 4 Melissa Fund-raiser. The event raised money for Mrs. Belcher who is in the mid to late stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Committee members Megan Martinek, left, and Bethanie Cherry, right, pose for a photo with Melissa Belcher and her son Aden at the Miracles 4 Melissa Fund-raiser. The event raised money for Mrs. Belcher who is in the mid to late stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Now more than ever, nonprofits, food banks, health-care agencies, and youth organizations need assistance through financial donations or volunteer service. Museums, the zoo, the symphony, the opera, libraries, schools, shelters, the Scouts, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and more wouldn't be possible without individuals who give of their time, talent, or money. And many times, those who make a difference do it in their own quiet way without expecting recognition.

A good example is all of the local fund-raisers. They don't just happen. It takes sponsors, volunteers, and donations from vendors for flowers, photography, and food. Bob Lubell and Stevie Grand, owners of Grand Lubell Photography, and Labib and Karyn Hajjar, owners of Beirut Restaurant, are just a few who come to mind. So next time you are in need of services for a personal soiree or are headed out to dinner, thank these generous folks by supporting their businesses.

Karyn and Labib Hajjar, here with their daughter Marie Hajjar Russel, right, are among the many community leaders who put in much time and effort to benefit the area.
Karyn and Labib Hajjar, here with their daughter Marie Hajjar Russel, right, are among the many community leaders who put in much time and effort to benefit the area.

Also there are big corporations that give, such as the Hylant Group, Mercy, ProMedica, Healthcare Reit, Fifth Third Bank, The Andersons, and Block Communications, Inc. and community philanthropists including Mary and Fritz Wolf, Sara Jane and Bill DeHoff, Jim Findlay, Bob and Sue Savage, and Dorothy MacKenzie Price.

Friends created the Miracles 4 Melissa Fund-raiser held Jan. 12 at the Elks Lodge on Holland-Sylvania Road. Melissa Belcher, 40, a former teacher at Northview High School and volleyball coach at Central Catholic High School, is in the mid to late stages of Lou Gehrig's disease. Friends raised more than $15,000 to help with her care. WTOL-TV's Chrys Peterson, a friend of Melissa's, was the emcee.

Among the supporters were Brad and Laura Rieger, Jeff and Tamara Goetz, Doug and Brenda Dymarkowski, and Nick and Renee Stack. Megan Martinek was event chairman.

Jim Murray, left, and Bob Buschur serve as bartenders at the Farm Fresh Dinners event at Bittersweet farms.
Jim Murray, left, and Bob Buschur serve as bartenders at the Farm Fresh Dinners event at Bittersweet farms.

Community leaders recently helped provide awareness of Bittersweet Farms, which serves adults with autism. The Farm Fresh Dinners event was organized by Kay Murray and Dana Fike-Brass. Jim Murray and John Horns donated their services as bartenders. Alan Brass drove guests from the parking lot to the happy hour in a golf cart. Among the guests were Sue Savage, Ed and Michelle Beczynski, Kathleen Merrill, Jon Ahlberg, Ed and Laura Harmon, Phyllis and Jerry Deaton, Rita Mansour, Margy Trumbull, Bob and Kathy Chirdon, Nic Thakur, Becky Carr, and Ed and Carol Bardi.

Equilla Roach and sister Druscilla Griffin.
Equilla Roach and sister Druscilla Griffin.

Nancy Amato, a six-year survivor of pancreatic cancer with metastatic cancer in her liver, created a platform to thank all the people who have supported her through this journey. She bakes rum cakes and sells them with half the profits going to pancreatic cancer research. Go to NancysRumCakes.com.

Wilma Brown, left, and Denise Blackpoon at the 48th Annual Debutante cotillion presented by the Toledo Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional women's Clubs, Inc. at Stranahan Great Hall.
Wilma Brown, left, and Denise Blackpoon at the 48th Annual Debutante cotillion presented by the Toledo Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional women's Clubs, Inc. at Stranahan Great Hall.

Toledo area residents Mary Lou Fox, founder of Fox Marketing, LLC and Joe Rideout, a partner in the law firm of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP were honored by International Samaritan, a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by Fr. Donald Vettese, president at St. John's Jesuit High School at the time. He said it was formed "to alleviate the gross poverty in garbage dump communities across the globe and raise consciousness about the living conditions of the poor in the developing world."

Howard Madigan, a nonagenarian, is an honorary member of the Toledo Symphony League, one guy among 100 or so women. A former Toledo Symphony board president who long ago retired as a teaching physician at the former Medical College of Ohio, he is the widower of league member Mary Madigan. Through the years, in support of the symphony and the league, Dr. Madigan volunteered with mailings, calls, and more.

Beverly Karp and Suzy Bond were among the acution co-chairs at the Toledo Museum of Art Ambassadors' luncheon and auction. The auction raised more than $6,200 for the Ambassador Endowment, tripling the profit of past auctions.
Beverly Karp and Suzy Bond were among the acution co-chairs at the Toledo Museum of Art Ambassadors' luncheon and auction. The auction raised more than $6,200 for the Ambassador Endowment, tripling the profit of past auctions.

Equilla Roach and her twin sister Druscilla Griffin, members of the Toledo Symphony League, have volunteered for years as ushers during the Young People's Symphony performances.

Karen Fraker, who retired a year ago as head of Fifth Third Bank's marketing and public relations department, isn't just relaxing in the sun, partying, and spending time with family. Mrs. Fraker still finds time to support community causes, whether it is attending an event, spreading the word about an event, or volunteering.

Wilma Brown has been chairman each year for the Cotillion for young women presented by the Toledo Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club's, Inc. And it's all volunteer time.

Toledo Museum of Art Ambassadors, an organization founded 55 years ago, provides volunteers and has an endowment fund to support museum programs. The president of the group of nearly 200 members is Cindy Rimmelin.

Younger folks are stepping up to make a difference, too. Nicole LeBoutillier, Leslie Chapman, and Molly Reams Thompson, along with other friends, started their own group of women that helps the community, including Lambie's Legacy, in memory of their friend Lambie Guyton Stout who died of breast cancer. Other men and women are involved in the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, EPIC Toledo, an organization to attract and retain young professionals and develop future business and community leaders. And still others have formed young professional groups that host parties for causes such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association where young professionals including Dock David Treece, Rebecca Shope, Kristen Mollenkopf, Josh Cooper, Amir Kahn, TJ Swigart, Emily Florian, Bruce Douglas, Katie Chioran, Greg Trabbic, Michelle Sterling, and Rich Shurfeld were seen.