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Harvesting Hope: A Celebration of Good Taste

On Monday night, September 26th, we went to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for "Harvesting Hope; A Celebration img_4803of Good Taste" which was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. We are glad to say that "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" bought an ad in the program for this occasion

There was a silent auction and food stations containing cuisine prepared by nine prominent Cleveland chefs who were Ms. Mia Amidi, Executive Pastry Chef with "Zack Bruell Restaurants"; Mr. Ben Bebenroth, "Spice Kitchen and Bar"; Mr. Jonathan Bennett, Chef at "Moxie and Red Steakhouse"; Mr. Adam Bostwick and Mr. Brian Okin, Owners of "Cork and Cleaver Social Kitchen" and "Graffiti"; Mr. Jeff Jarrett, co-creator of "Dinner in the Dark"; Mr. John Selick, Chef for University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center; Mr. Vince Thomascik, Executive Chef at "Warren's Spirited Kitchen"; and Ms. Wendy Thompson, Owner of "A Cookie and a Cupcake."

Mr. Selick was serving a meat dish but when we told him that we were vegetarian he stopped what he was doing and prepared for us a sampling of lemon curd with a dash of raspberry mint relish. Likewise, Ms. Courtney Koenig was staffing the table offering  "Tito's Homemade Vodka" to the attendees. When we told her that we did not drink, Ms. Koenig urged us to try some hibiscus tea partially consisting of ginger and honey. And, after just one sip, we wanted more.

One of the people on the Executive Committee for this event was our friend, Dr. Richard Crepage who we see quite frequently at various occurrences around Cleveland. He introduced us to Mr. Baron and Ms. Mary Miller and Mr. Joe and Raydelle Clement and we had a most enjoyable visit.

We also spoke with several representatives from the American Cancer Society who were Mr. Paul Stabile, Senior Manager of Distinguished Events; Ms. Kristy Short, Director of Major Gifts; and Ms. Angela Kaloush, Health Systems Manager of Primary Care.

We learned that a large percentage of the proceeds from the "Harvesting Hope" fundraiser would be directed to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Program. We looked it up in our program notes and learned that this "provides free overnight lodging to cancer patients and their caregivers who have to travel from home for treatment." All told, the patients/caregivers usually stay at a Hope Lodge for four to six weeks and save a lot of money in potential hotel costs.

We sat down for a minute and spoke with Ms. Donna Detwiler, a cancer survivor who would be speaking later in the evening. She had an amazingly positive, upbeat attitude and reminded us of Mr. Joel Griffin, a survivor of a debilitating disease who we met at the Ursuline Piazza Clambake over the weekend. Ms. Detwiler introduced us to her husband, Jerry, and said, "I want to live life as fully and as happily as I can."

We left soon afterwards deeply choked.

Part of the reason that we left early was that we wanted to watch the first Clinton/Trump U.S. Presidential debate at a party organized by Ms. Julia Shearson of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR Ohio) at the First Cleveland Mosque on East 131st Street in Cleveland.

We arrived just before the proceedings started but earlier there were Maghrib Prayers and a good supper. Several of our friends were also present including Mr. Isam Zaiem, Ms. Janet Loehr and Amir Khalid A. Samad.

Due to the controversial statements regarding Muslims made in the course of the campaign, we wanted to watch this debate with this community to show support.

Just as the new reports indicated, we thought Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump sparred with great intensity throughout their encounter. The debate watchers at the Mosque including ourselves believed that Secretary Clinton came out ahead but the matters of immigration policy and Islamic relations were largely passed over at this time.

There will be two more debates between the U.S. Presidential candidates, however, and one debate with the U.S. Vice Presidential candidates so it is inevitable that these issues will be focused on eventually.


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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