By Angela Huston
Special to The Gazette
Nov. 2 was a beautiful day for Habitat for Humanity of Medina Countyâ€™s Celebration of a Home. The Rev. Carlson Hall of Grace Baptist Church in Brunswick delivered an invocation, then several members of Habitat welcomed and thanked those who made this new Wadsworth home possible for Jami Smith and her daughter Olivia.
Dan Shumaker recognized board members Pat George, Larry Wells, Tom Knitter and Kathy Brown, and retired members Becky McClure and Steve Rodgers. Everyone joined in song before Shumaker continued.
He gave heartfelt thanks to the volunteers and all the businesses and sponsors for their generous donations: All Seasons Insulation, Architect Andy Lung, Baker Sand and Gravel, Brianâ€™s Landscaping, Cabinet S Top, local churches who provided the volunteer workers with food, the City of Wadsworth, Surveyor Corey Marvin, John Benson, Kichler Lighting, Mark Thompson Excavating, Medina County Plumbers Union, Moen, Fred Woods with Operating Engineers, Sealy Mattress, Styx Valley Fencing, Thrivent Financial Lutheran, T.J. Shannon Construction, Valspar Paint, Whirlpool Appliance, Wooster Brush, and finally Westfield Insurance, who not only had their employees volunteering in teams of 15 for Westfield Wednesdays, but also made a $5,000 cash donation and gave Habitat a construction trailer.
Westfield was represented by Dan Sondles, Charles Hawk, Gretchen Long, the programâ€™s grant manager, and Jani Davis, director of community investment. Davis said it was an honor for Westfield to be associated with Habitat and its focus on community revitalization.
Mark Miller presented the Community Champion Award to Kichler Lighting, a company that â€œhas an unselfish desire to be a community-minded enterprise that supports those working to improve the community.â€
Next was the Larry Woosnam Award, named for Habitatâ€™s construction supervisor of many years until his untimely death. This honor was bestowed on Bill Haldiman.
In presenting the house key to Smith, John Sobotincic quoted, â€œMany hands make light work,â€ praising the collaborative efforts of all involved.
He and Tom Stoner both expressed pride in being part of this program.
The group sang another hymn, then Hall led the blessing of the home. Janet Payton of Holy Martyrs Church in Medina offered a final blessing and closing prayer before guests entered to tour the home and have refreshments.
Attendees included Tom and Mary Uhl, Chuck Ruhlin, Pat Neal, Stacy and Jackie McGlocklin, Smithâ€™s grandparents George and Sandra Lenhard, Tom and Judy Goodson, Cheryl Shumaker, Rahna Fahringer and her children Blair and Brock.
The Fahringers will receive the next Habitat-built home in Brunswick.
Habitat homes are not free, but are made available at a greatly reduced cost to the new homeowner who invests at least 300 hours of â€œsweat equityâ€ in the building process.
â€˜Piece of the Puzzleâ€™
To recognize those who give so much of themselves, Hospice of Medina County chose the theme â€œHonoring YOUR Piece of the Puzzle,â€ for the Oct. 30 Volunteer Appreciation Banquet at the Sharon Event and Party Center.
The emphasis was on the how all the pieces fit together to form a complete and successful operation.
The Rev. Beth McGuire delivered the invocation, and Janie Parish introduced guest speaker Mike Grace of the Mary Grace Memorial Foundation, describing him as a hero who found it in his heart to give back to his community after losing his wife.
Graceâ€™s words were moving and inspirational; he admitted he was not sure he could get through this kind of speech.
He praised Hospice for their support during his familyâ€™s ordeal, and told how and why the foundation came into being: giving and helping are consistent with what Mary always did.
Each presenter â€” Parish, Fran Cordell, Anna Guy-Leach, Wendy Klubnik and Executive Director Pat Stropko Oâ€™Leary â€” added a piece to the puzzle as she introduced the honorees, totaling hundreds of volunteers who have made the choice to help: on the Community Advisory Committee, at Lifeâ€™s Treasures Thrift Shop (which just opened a Christmas Boutique), on the fundraising committees that raised more than $117,000 last year, and behind the scenes to perform a variety of tasks, for a total of about 4,500 volunteer hours.
Among the attendees were Carol Anderson, Dave Archer and his fiancÃ©e Jill Hamaker, Robin Beard, Kathy Boehnlein, Al Bon, Lorraine Boyd, Jerry and Marilyn Brown, Sue Brown, Karen Carlson, Judy Cross, Linda Dâ€™Amico, Mary Dunham, Jane Garrett, Medina County Commissioner Pat Geissman, Pete Hansen, Fred Hatch, Chuck and Sue Hawley, Greg Hoover, Sarah Jane Ingraham, Dave Kersten, Shawn Klubnik, Jennifer Kotalac, Betty Lynham, Goldie Mack, Nancy Marquard, Dr. Ken McCormick, Shannon McGuire, Tammy Motko Pat Perkins, Linda Pfaff, Rose and Rollie Platz, Dennis and Pat Reedy, Jane Riegger, Bob Smith, Vivian Staufer, Charlcie Towne, Denise Vaca, Greg Vincent, Amy Wermer, Pat Wood and Carla Zickel.
Stropko-Oâ€™Leary thanked the Hospice staff, present board members Dale Boehnlein, Curtis Perkins, Don Poest and President Fred Schwab, and former board members Cross and Dick Lynham.
The Kidney Foundation Memorial Service was held Nov. 1, All Saintâ€™s Day, to remember loved ones lost during the past year.
Those who â€œcherish the special place in their hearts always reserved for loved onesâ€ shared the day of remembrance among families and friends.
Candles for grief, courage, memories, love and hope were lit by Foundation President Sunny Ledford as Jean Daniel read appropriate poetry.
The Rev. Tim McCullom of Sharon Center United Methodist Church delivered a message of hope, and local harpist Deborah Holzworth played several selections, including Rhett Barnwellâ€™s â€œAngelâ€™s Hymn.â€
Special thanks were extended to Home Instead Senior Care for handling the service, the Western Reserve Masonic Community for the use of the chapel and volunteers Deb Lougheed, Pam Myers, Bea Nagy and Gail Wahl.
Those who took part in the service â€” Director Jean Holland, Bob and Donna Goessler, Gwendolyn Eagleson, Bob, Joyce and Sharon Hall, Matt Jakopak, Diane Jayjohn, Janet Redden, Teresa Schempp and Joyce Timic â€” shared a common bond, the memory of loved ones lost to kidney disease.
Huston may be reached at email@example.com.