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First Friday Club luncheon at the City Club

Our next event was a "First Friday Club" luncheon at the City Club wherein we were seated with Ms. Jan Hesselton and Mr. Gerald Arnold who work in the finance office of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Naturally, immigration was on our minds so we discussed it for a moment and learned that Ms. Hesselton's her sister once worked with the Migration and Refugee Services Department of Catholic Charities where she assisted Sudanese refugees and found it to be a very rewarding experience. Ms. Hesselton also told us that she had met Bishop Nelson Perez who will be installed as the 11th Bishop of Cleveland this September and there is a great mood of optimism about his upcoming tenure. 

Also seated at our table was Sister Juanita Shealey who we hadn't seen for a while because she was out with an illness. We are happy to say that Sister Juanita told us that she was feeling a lot better and everyone was glad to have her back. During the program the speaker was Bishop Neal James Buckon who was a proud member of the United States Army Chaplain Corps from 1996 to 2010 when he retired and, as such, had served in many countries including Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Iraq. In the course of the Q and A, Sister Juanita extended a personal thank you to Bishop Buckon for his service and dedication because many of her family members had also served in the United States Armed Forces so she could appreciate the importance of chaplains in terms of sustaining the morale and morals of our soldiers.

The latter point was one of the things that Bishop Buckon spoke about during his presentation as he reviewed the history of the chaplains in our Armed Services and the role that they have played in terms of providing emotional and spiritual comfort to our soldiers often in very perilous circumstances. We didn't know it until today but nine chaplains have been awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor and five of these have been Catholic chaplains. We liked hearing the biographies of some of these brave people including Father Francis Patrick Duffy who served in "The Fighting 69th" during World War I and Father Elias Washington Lindesmith who went out of his way to help educate the immigrant soldiers who were part of the Union Army during the Civil War.


What's more, Bishop Buckon, himself, seemed like a very nice man as he walked around to the various tables before the program started in order to greet us all. We told him that we worked for "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" and, on the subject of immigration, he believed that "the important thing is to have laws that work" which, to our mind, is a wise opinion, indeed.



Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC