9th Annual Cleveland International Hall of Fame Induction Banquet
On Tuesday, April 17th, we attended the 9th Annual Cleveland International Hall of Fame Induction Banquet that took place at the newly renovated Grand Ballroom of the Marriott at Key Center in downtown Cleveland.
As the program notes explained, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame a person "must have made significant contributions to one or more of the ethnic communities in Cleveland or to the overall ethnic community."
This year the inductees were:
****Sister Alicia Alvarado, OP of Puerto Rican heritage; she was inducted by Mr. Jose Feliciano.
****Ms. Sheila Murphy Crawford of Irish heritage; she was inducted by Mr. Gerry Quinn.
****Dr. Atul Mehta, M.D. of Indian heritage; he was inducted by Mr. Richard J. Buoncore.
****Mr. Abdullah (Abby) Mina of Lebanese heritage; he was inducted by his son, Mr. Michael Mina and Mr. Pierre Bejjani.
****Judge Ralph J. Perk, Jr. of Czech and Italian heritage; he was inducted by former U.S. Congressperson Mary Rose Oakar.
****Judge Ray Pianka (posthumous) of Polish heritage; he was inducted by Cleveland City Councilperson Anthony Brancatelli and the honor was accepted by his wife, Mrs. Karen Pianka, and his daughter, Ms. Kirsten Pianka.
For bios of these worthy people, please see http://clevelandinternationalhalloffame.com/
During their acceptance speeches, the inductees (and/or those inducting them) acknowledged their ethnic roots and how the values instilled in them at an early age were an important factor in their own personal success as well as inspiring them to give back to their communities by serving others.
We want to note that Ms. Margaret W. Wong was inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural 2010 class. She also advised the co-founders, Mr. Dan Hanson and his sister Ms. Debbie Hanson, in the course of its creation as did several other notable people.
On this occasion, "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" was a silver sponsor.
For us, one of the highlights of the evening was listening to Mr. William Clarence Marshall III sing both the National Anthem and another number titled "Hark from the Winds" that captured the immigrant experience in terms of being sadly separated from one's family. The program notes described Mr. Marshall as being "an accomplished opera singer and Broadway veteran whose talent has graced stages all over the world."
The emcee duties were performed by Mr. Chris Tanaka of Channel 19 News who said that hopefully we would leave the banquet "wiser, more caring and a little bit more alert" about the cultural diversity of Cleveland.
To be sure, we think his wish was granted.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC