Annual Luncheon of Recovery Resources; Heights-Hillcrest Chamber of Commerce (HRCC) Business Expo
On Thursday, May 12th, we attended the annual luncheon of Recovery Resources which was held this year at the Holiday Inn on Rockside Road in Independence.
Margaret W. Wong and Associates has a special relationship with Recovery Resources since it provides us with the cleaning crew for our office. We talked to Mr. Kevin Beaver who, as Manager of Social Enterprises, oversees that division. In fact, last year at the 2015 luncheon we shared a table with him. Mr. Beaver told us that such endeavors operate under the auspices of Recovery Resources as car detailing, lawn care, custom picture framing, carpet cleaning, and running a café out of the main office on Pearl Road.
We also encountered Mr. Vic Voinovich, Sr. who helped us obtain the building that houses our offices on Chester Avenue. Mr. Voinovich has been involved with Recovery Resources for 18 years and has been granted the title of "Life Director."
Two other people that we talked to before the program started were Ms. Anita Gray, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League and Ms. Bonnie Barrett, Vice President and CFO of the Cleveland Food Bank. We told them about the presentation that we had seen Wednesday night at the Maltz Museum regarding the Adolf Eichmann trial and the "Operation Finale..." exhibit.
Unfortunately, Ms. Pamela Gill, President and CEO of Recovery Resources was not able to attend the luncheon due to a death in the family so our friend, Ms. Renee Holcomb Hardwick, Senior Vice President at KeyBank as well as Secretary of the Recovery Resources' Board of Directors, welcomed us all on Ms. Gill's behalf.
Then Mr. Michael G. Riley, Chair of the Recovery Resources Board of Directors, praised the Recovery Resources staff and acknowledged the dignitaries who were in attendance. He said that Recovery was "financially strong" but there was an operational review underway that will make things even better particularly in light of Medicaid re-design.
Next Ms. Tracey D. Collins was honored as the recipient of the 2016 Woman of Strength Award. Among her other accomplishments, was the founding of the Circle of Strength giving club composed of women philanthropists devoted to supporting the mission of Recovery Resources. It's most recent endeavor was the establishment of Monarch House which offers a healthy living environment for women in recovery.
Ms. Collins' husband and three daughters were present to watch her receive her award. She recalled that when she told her family that she would be receiving the honor, one of her daughters told her that she was "a pile of mush who cries at everything." Ms. Collins readily acknowledged that this was true but she did believe that crying was a sign of weakness; instead it was a sign of caring and it helped to connect her with other people. She went on to say that Recovery Resources might be an entity with a mission statement but it also had heart which is what made it so special. Ms. Collins displayed wisdom as she concluded by saying that a person should not worry when he/she is moved to tears but should worry when the he/she is no longer moved and the tears stop.
Next Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge David T. Matia was honored as the recipient of the 2016 Exemplar Award. Judge Matia's family have been jurists for three generations now and he has served on the bench for 18 years. As the program notes stated, he was "recognized for founding Cuyahoga County's first felony drug court in 2009. His drug court enjoys a 12 month recidivism rate of fewer than 10%."
Judge Matia thanked his family and his wonderful staff which included several women whom he deemed "women of strength." He also expressed his high regard for Recovery Resources and said that he loved that name-in fact, he believed that we need more resources in our community to aid people in recovery. He said that among the best qualifications that a jurist can have is to be a behavioral health specialist because it would help the defendant as well as the community he/she will ultimately be released back into. As he said, his work with the drug court "really opened my eyes and changed my life."
Judge Matia urged everyone there who worked in the helping professions (and he included jurists in this equation) to make full use of community resources and advocate for more. He reflected on how we all love to watch movies and read books wherein the underdog beats the odds and wins in the end. Thus, he believed that we should celebrate and applaud the person who beats his/her dependency as well.
He then concluded by recalling that his high school motto (an all-boys school) was "men for others." He said that everyone at this luncheon should be take pride in themselves because by being there they have displayed compassion and understanding. "You are men and women for others," said Judge Matia to great applause.
To be sure there was more to the Recovery Resources program, we were sorry to have to have missed the "State of the Agency" report that Ms. Holcomb Hardwick would give on behalf of Ms. Gill and, particularly, the featured speaker of the program who was Dr. Jason Jerry, an addiction psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic's Alcohol ad Recovery Center.
But we had to leave the luncheon early to hustle over to the 700 Beta Banquet and Conference Center in Mayfield to set up for the Heights-Hillcrest Chamber of Commerce (HRCC) Business Expo which featured 102 vendors including Margaret W. Wong and Associates. Our table was located between those of U.S. Bank and the Chagrin Natural Health Clinic.
Right across the way, though, was a "Best of Mexico" table staffed by Ms. Jaistemmi Fernandez who offered tortilla chips and three kinds of salsa. We resisted partaking as long as we could before we succumbed. Ms. Fernandez immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico two years ago and someday hopes to open a restaurant. If her salsas are any indication of what she can do, then she should do quite well.
Throughout the afternoon and early evening, we visited other tables and/or people taking a break from tabling as well as attendees stopped by to visit us. Our conversations included those with:
***Mr. Pierre-Jacques Brault, Artistic Director of the Mercury Theatre Company which is located at Notre Dame College. We talked about three very promising upcoming productions of "Beauty and the Beast," "Finian's Rainbow," and "The Little Mermaid."
***Ms. Allison Lukacsy, designer and artist, who works with "Arlene's Arts and Crafts" in the Collinwood area and runs a gallery in the Waterloo Arts District. She told us of plans to revitalize East 185th Street which is just a few blocks from where we live in Euclid Beach.*Ms. Destiny Burns, owner of "CLE Urban Winery" a working winery and tasting room which will officially open on July 1st on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights almost directly across the street from the Cedar Lee Theatre where we love to go to view foreign and outside-of-the-mainstream movies.
***Mr. Giovanni DiLalla, the President of American Copier Solutions, Inc. located on St. Clair Avenue not that far from Margaret W. Wong and Associates. Mr. DiLalla immigrated here from Italy some 50 years ago and started his business in 1985. It now employs 17 people and is quite successful. To be sure, Mr. DiLalla is familiar with the work of Ms. Margaret W. Wong and admires her a great deal. Accordingly, he invited us to the lasagna party that he organizes for his clients every December.
All told, for us the HHRC Business Expo was a time to make good contacts and good friends and to learn about exciting happenings on the horizon.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.