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North Coast Chamber of Commerce/Power of More Veterans Day Luncheon; Vesyolij Varenik Russian Dinner

On Friday, November 11th, we attended a Veterans Day luncheon that was put on by the North Coast Chamber of Commerce/Power of More at the 100th Bomb Group restaurant on Brookpark Road.

img_5940Attendance was quite good and there were at least 12 people there who had served in the U.S. Armed Forces in some capacity. These people were honored with a resounding ovation and were given special pins as a token of appreciation.

We really enjoyed talking with Mr. William Hill, who was there with his wife Cheryl, whose extensive military career took him all over the world. We asked him what countries he liked living in the most and he replied that they were Thailand and Germany but he really liked Korea too. Cheryl smiled and said that was the one he liked to talk about the most.

We also had an informative conversation with Ms. Mary Ann Augustine and Ms. Carol Lyn Fraecking of "Holy Love Ministries" which is an ecumenical organization in North Ridgeville composed of "115 acres of beautiful shrines and lakes" that attracts people of all faiths from all over the world and brings them together. Like us, Ms. Augustine and Ms. Fraecking came to the 100th Bomb Group to honor our veterans.

Highlights of the Veterans Day program included:

****A slide show put together by Mr. T.J. Worsencroft that illustrated his service in the U.S. Coast Guard. Mr. Worsencroft did his basic training in Cape May, New Jersey and from there went on to be stationed in such places Marquette, MI; Port Clinton, Ohio; South Korea; Cairo, Egypt; New York City; Manama, Bahrain's capital; and finally Marblehead, Ohio. Earlier in the day, Mr. Worsencroft had given the same presentation to students at Claugette Middle School in Medina.

****Another presentation, this time by Mr. Nathan Gradisher, Provider Relations Manager from Hospice of the Western Reserve. Mr. Gradisher told us about a program offered by the Hospice called "Peaceful and Proud" that helps fulfill the unique needs of veterans who are advancing in age. He showed a brief film titled "Charlie's Journey" about a veteran who was suffering because had recently lost his beloved wife but had his spirits healthily boosted by a visit to Washington, D.C. through the "Honor Flight" program.

****Lastly a very moving poem titled "What is a Veteran" was read by Mr. Brian Barnes who served for 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and now volunteers with Hospice of the Western Reserve where he assists fellow veterans.

We are thankful that the role of women in the U.S. Armed Forces (while always vitally important) has been increasingly recognized and growing more prominent in recent years. On this day we visited with two women veterans who were Ms. Sara Marble who is still active in the Air Force National Guard as well as being a Lorain County Veterans Service Commissioner and a VP at Fifth Third Bank in North Ridgeville, and Ms. Karelyn Darvas a former U.S. Air Force sergeant who is now a small business owner.

On Friday night we went to the Shynok Restaurant on State Road in Parma to attend "Vesyolij Varenik" a dinner that img_5942 the Russian American Cultural Society put together for the purpose of, as the flyer indicated, "the needs of the displaced children of Ukraine through the 'fund for assistance of the ROCOR'' which is the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

The two key organizers of the affair were Mr. Georg I. Abakumov and his wife, Ms. Tatiana N. Abakumov. Mr. Abakumov assured us all that the Russian American Cultural Society had excellent, very trustworthy connections in Europe and that the funds raised on this occasion would definitely go where they were most needed and would be wisely spent. Mr. Abakumov gave a short talk in which he reminded us that our lives are all good and how fortunate we were to live in a country that our families hadimg_5944 immigrated to years before but now was a time to remember that other people in the world such as the Ukrainian children do not have things as good as we have so it is our responsibility to constructively help them.

When we arrived, Ms. Ala Abakumov came forward and told us to be sure to convey her appreciation to Ms. Margaret W. Wong, her good friend. Soon afterwards we met another acquaintance of Ms. Wong and her family who was Mr. Brian Adams, now a very successful realtor. Mr. Adams recalled that when he first came to Cleveland some 30 years ago he worked as a waiter at the "Pearl of the Orient" in Shaker Heights and told us to be sure to say hello.img_5945

We really liked sharing a table with Mr. George and Ms. Lucy Balasko who we got to know when we tabled at the Russian Festival at St. Sergius Russian Orthodox Cathedral and see frequently at various cultural events in the Cleveland area. Also sitting at our table was Mr. Willy P. Kulhanek who shared with us what it was like to be a small child growing up near the German/Swiss border during World War II.

Delicious food didn't come to the table all at once but at various intervals throughout the night thus we had the opportunity to take a turn on the dance floor between courses. We were pleasantly surprised when we discovered that one of the entertainers was Ms. Beata Fedoriouk who we know from our visit to the First Catholic Slovak Union (FCSU) in Independence a couple of years ago. When she is not working at the FCSU or taking care of her family, Ms. Fedoriouk loves to sing and share her talents with others.


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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