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21st Anniversary Asian Services in Action, Inc. Gala & Fundraiser; Cleveland Chapter of The Swedish Cultural Society 90-Year Anniversary

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Compassion for immigrants was a central theme of our other event for Friday which was the 21st Anniversary Gala & Fundraiser for "Asian Services in Action, Inc." (ASIA, Inc.) held on the third floor of the Student Center at CSU.

Throughout the course of the evening, the two emcees who were Mr. Wayne Wong, Vice President of Administration at the "Organization of Chinese Americans of Greater Cleveland" (OCA); and Ms. Jennifer Auh, News Reporter for "Channel 5" as well as Mr. Michael Byun, CEO of "ASIA, Inc." talked about how much the number of people using/needing the services of "Asia, Inc." has grown over the past several years from 12,000 to 58,000 and how essential it is that they obtain these services.

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Many of these people have immigrated to the United States from an assortment of other countries, not only those regarded as Asian, and the legal assistance on immigration matters that it provides to these foreign-born people is very important as well as help in locating suitable housing, culture-appropriate food, and gainful employment.

Ms. Auh, herself, shared the experience of her parents who came here from Korea years ago and how much they needed guidance in the first few years after they arrived. In fact, one of the high points of the night was the showing a short film entitled "First Steps" that shared immigrant stories in such a way that those of us who are U.S. born could really relate to.

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As for ourselves, we were proud to represent "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" which was a gold sponsor of the event and are happy to report that, thanks to the skills of veteran auctioneer Mr. Bob Hale who made an impassioned plea for extra donations, an additional $10,800.00 was raised before the live and silent auctions even got started.

As for "Asia, Inc." itself and all of the people who are involved in some capacity, we believe that Mr. Byun was quite right when he thanked them for all of their "time, love, and passion."

The topic of immigration came up again at our only occurrence for Saturday, October 21st, that was a combination of the 90-year anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Cleveland chapter of the "Swedish Cultural Society" and a tribute to Mr. Michael Miller who recently retired from his post as "Swedish Honorary Consul of Ohio" a position that he had held for 40 years in addition to his career as an attorney at "Calfee, Halter & Griswold, LPP".

It all took place at the "Cleveland Yachting Club" in Rocky River and among the loving speeches given on behalf of Mr. Miller was one by Mr. Jim Hornyak, President of the "Swedish American Chamber of Commerce", in which he outlined the duties performed by Mr. Miller throughout the years. These included providing assistance to Swedish people residing in Ohioan either temporarily or permanently on immigration matters; escorting Swedish officials visiting the area and networking with Swedish businesspersons giving considerable thought to the establishment of a location here; arranging for Swedish cultural exhibitions of all kinds to be displayed; and, most importantly, taking the initiative to perform other duties to help the Swedish people both here and abroad which is something that Mr. Miller distinguished himself by consistently doing over his long tenure.

Indeed, Ms. Malou Monago who replaced Mr. Miller the Swedish Consul, acknowledged the fact that Mr. Miller held his post longer than perhaps any other Swedish Consul in U.S. history (one Consul in Texas might have served a wee bit longer) and that he would always be an inspiration to her.

When it came time for Mr. Miller, himself, to say a few words he thanked the people present (and some who were not present) for the confidence that they placed in him over the years and for the support that they had given him. Especially, he thanked his wife, Ms. Lynn Miller, who he has been married to for 55 years and his longtime assistant of 23 years, Ms. Grace Loudenstein but he acknowledged the other assistants that he had over the years and talked for a moment about the other Swedish Consuls of Ohio starting with the very first one appointed in 1895.

Speaking of history, we were grateful to Mr. Rolf Bergman and Mr. Bo Carlsson for providing us with quite a lesson about the background of Swedish migration to the United States.

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During cocktail hour, Mr. Bergman talked to us for ten minutes about the motives for the Swedish people wanting to immigrate here which in the late 1800's concerned a shortage of land but now is mainly for re-location of jobs (their Swedish employer opened a branch here) or familial relations.

During the program, itself, Mr. Carlsson gave an impressive, well-researched speech about the history of the Swedish people living in Cleveland around 1900 (where they lived, where they worked, etc.) and how the "Swedish Cultural Society of Cleveland" came to be established in 1927 even talking about the people who figured prominently in its founding.

In no way, however, was the evening all about speeches but instead was a joyful gathering of three renowned Swedish organizations which were, of course, the "Swedish Cultural Society" and the "Royal Order of Vasa" along with the "Swedish American Chamber of Commerce".

The ambiance at the "Cleveland Yachting Club" was very upbeat and Mr. Bengt Gerborg, the emcee, kept things moving at a leisurely pace as he took the  time to lead us in several numbers of song (all in Swedish which we do not speak but everyone was understanding) and show us a couple of slide shows set to music about the history of the "Swedish Cultural Society" and Mr. Miller's career.

Said Ms. Margarita Gerborg, "we all have a lot of fun together" and, after spending an evening with the membership of the three organizations, we second the summation.

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

 

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