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Eastern European Month Celebration

Our event for Tuesday, April 10th, was the Eastern European Month Celebration which took place at the Holy Spirit Party Center on West 54th Street in Parma.

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"Margaret W. Wong & Associates" was a Bronze Sponsor of this special event which was largely organized by our friend, Ms. Laurel Tombazzi of the "Eastern European Congress of Ohio" (EECOH) which, as its website states, "culturally unites the people of Ohio whose ancestry and heritage are from Eastern Europe. It fosters discussions and events through bipartisanship to advance Ohio's Eastern European awareness, economic development, and education." (see http://www.eecoh.org/)

Indeed a bipartisan group of elected officials sent citations in honor of this occasion and the fact that April is "Eastern European Month" in the State of Ohio. These officials included U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman; U.S. Congressperson Jim Renacci; and Ohio State Senator Joe Schiavoni (District 23).

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In terms of attendees, Mr. John Ryan from U.S. Senator Brown's office was present and we shared a table with Ms. Caryn Candisky from U.S. Senator Portman's office and Mr. Joseph Benny from U.S. Congressperson's Renacci office. Other people at our table were entrepreneurs Mr. Ronald and Ms. Judi Zivic of the "Cropel Group" which is an international business firm; Ms. Marta Liscynesky-Kelleher from "United Ukrainian Organizations of Ohio"; and Mr. Jeffrey Allen of the "Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage" who was accompanied by his wife, Jenna, a college professor.

(Let us mention at this time that Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell (District 23) and Ohio State Representative Nickie Antonio (District 13) were not present but they provided the celebration with a tasty collection of appetizers which included some veggie options.)

In the course of the evening, a special honor was presented to Dr. Bela Bognar who was active in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against the Soviets before he ultimately immigrated to the United States where he attended the University of Wisconsin and, as the biography we were given stated, "wrote four textbooks and countless articles on health and aging policies" amongst other accomplishments in the service of humanity.

Unfortunately, Dr. Bognar could not be with us so his award was accepted by his good friend, Ms. Eva Lazear of the "Magyar Club of Dayton and SW Ohio". Ms. Lazear talked about how Dr. Bognar never forgot his homeland and thus established scholarship funds to aid Hungarian students and/or students of Hungarian descent as they pursue higher education both in the United States and abroad.

The evening closed with a thoughtful speech by our friend, Mr. Paul Burik, President of the  Cleveland Chapter of the "Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences" and Vice President of the "Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation". Mr. Burik, himself, fled Czechoslovakia with his family after the 1968 Soviet invasion.

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During his speech, Mr. Burik reminded us that this year, 2018, was very significant because it was 100 years ago that World War I and the countries of Eastern Europe (previously monarchies) embarked on  a journal towards self-determination and democracy which was a pretty radical notion at that time.

In fact, Mr. Burik compared it to us, the attendees at this celebration, suddenly being asked to arise from our seats and take a trip to and a tour of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in self-driving cars. Mr. Burik was right; we would be nervous and apprehensive to say the least.

Mr. Burik concluded his speech by stressing the importance of the EECOH as he said, "while cultures and histories of many of these new nations have been overlooked and even suppressed in many instances, it is purpose of this organization to reverse and bring light to these peoples and their identities."

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC