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National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Luncheon; Fundraiser for Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell

On Wednesday, September 7th, we attended a luncheon at the Spaghetti Warehouse on South Main Street in Akron put on by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Summit County in preparation for its annual NAMI Walks event that will take place on October 22nd, at the University of Akron to "raise funds, combat stigma, and promote awareness" regarding mental illness which affects, as NAMI's literature tells us "one in 5 Americans, or nearly 60 million people across all racial, ethnic, age, religious, and economic groups..."

We were invited to this event because we met Ms. Leslie Powlette Stoyer, one of the executive directors of NAMI in Summit County, at a City Club program back in May, 2016 in which author Mr. Pete Earley talked about the problems one of his children had with mental illness and the struggles that he faced when he tried to obtain treatment for his child. We had asked Ms. Powlette Stoyer to add us to NAMI's contact list which she so graciously did.

Over the years, Margaret W. Wong and Associates has been a big supporter of the NAMI chapter in Cleveland so we were happy to receive the invitation to this luncheon so we could see what was going on in a nearby county. On this day, we were warmly greeted by Ms. Stoyer Powlette as well as Mr. Ron Rett, her fellow executive director. Most of the program was devoted to coaching the leaders of the October 22nd event on how to encourage people to sign up for the walk and ways to raise funds.

We told Ms. Powlette Stoyer and Mr. Rett that, due to our schedule, we couldn't be a team captain but we could certainly participate in the walk. In fact, we ducked out to our car to double-check our schedule to make sure that we were available on that date and put ourselves down for it.

Our good friend Mr. Dick Russ also attended the luncheon and we met several nice people there including Dr. Fred Frese who has been working with NAMI for years and Ms. Darletta Logan who works with Coleman Behavioral Heath that has done a lot to help refugees and immigrants with mental health matters.

The name of Margaret W. Wong was familiar to several people; in fact one of them said that several years ago she assisted a friend of his who immigrated to the United States from Mexico and was having difficulties with his/her immigration status.

So, all told, even though the air conditioning wasn't working too well in the Spaghetti Warehouse, we still had a smooth trip out to Akron, got to mingle with good company working on behalf of something both meaningful and vital, and a delicious meal of angel hair pasta with chunky marinara sauce so we consider our time well spent.

Our second event on Wednesday was a fundraiser for Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell (District 23-Democrat) which was held at Massimo's on West 25th Street. Senator Skindell was introduced by his good friend, Cuyahoga IMG_4341County Councilman Dale Miller who hailed him as someone who works hard each day for working people.

Senator Skindell talked about several statewide issues that warranted addressing like unemployment compensation, renewable energy, public transportation and the opium/heroin epidemic. He introduced his family including his young nephew Noah who he took with him to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. After U.S. Congressperson Marcia Fudge was named permanent chairperson of the convention, Noah got to meet her and have his photo taken with her. Understandably, this was a big thing for Noah and Congressperson Fudge realized it; in fact she thoughtfully asked Senator Skindell how Noah was doing when she saw him recently at an affair for Hillary Clinton.

Senator Skindell also mentioned that he has relatives in Canada, Austria and Germany and they are very troubled about the heated political rhetoric about the United States and its relationship with other countries that is unfortunately becoming a staple in this year's U.S. Presidential election.

While we were at the fundraiser, we had some good discussions about the current political climate, the Ohio Supreme Court races, and the need for immigration reform with Mr. Mark Schneider, Assistant Law Director and Assistant Prosecutor for Parma Heights, and with Mr. Chris Ericksen, Vice President of Utility Workers of America, Local 270. We have known Mr. Schneider for a long time and Mr. Erickson remembered meeting us at the City Club of Cleveland and at the Labor Day picnic last Saturday.

Finally our good friend, retired Judge Diane Karpinski, Court of Appeals 8th District, shared with us the welcomed news that on this very day President Obama announced that he had nominated the first Muslim-American to be a federal court judge. The nominee is Mr. Abid Riaz Qureshi, an attorney noted for his work in the areas of health care fraud and securities. If approved, he will become a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. We respect our President for his commitment for diversity and extend our best wishes to Mr. Qureshi and hope that he is confirmed in the very near future.


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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