Irish American Archives Society's 2015 Walks of Life Award Dinner
On Thursday night we attended two gatherings in the flats which took place right across the street from each other so we only had to find one parking spot for our car. The first event was the annual COSE meeting at the Music Box Supper Club which must have been attended by 80 people or so (but many more on the way) when we were there. We encountered Mr. Lee Krost, Business Development Manager with Energy Efficient Facilities, who recalls working with Ms. Margaret W. Wong 15 years ago when he was with AT & T and says hello to her. We said hello to many old friends from other chambers like Mr. Joe Roman from Greater Cleveland Partnership, Ms. Linda Reed from Painesville Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Michelle Tomallo from Plexus, and Mr. Phil Stella from Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce, We met Mr. Christopher King with Enmobile which supplies mobile software to companies throughout the United States and learned that it also has connections to overseas companies in Malaysia and Romania. We also spoke to a person who just hired an assistant from China who might wish to remain in the United States so we exchanged contact information. Lastly we spoke to a person who is the CEO for a company that has an office in San Paulo, Brazil which employs 15 people. He took our contact information because eventually several of those employees might chose to come to the United States to work in the Cleveland office and eventually become citizens. We then hurried over to the Windows on the River for the Irish American Archives Society's 2015 Walks of Life Award Dinner which was attended by at least 200 people. Mr. Thomas Corrigan, President of the Board, delivered the welcome in which he explained that the Irish American Archives Society (IAAS) was founded in 1994 by the late Dr. Thomas F. Campbell of CSU to preserve and protect information about "our grand history not just for Cleveland but for the world on behalf of the people who came here from Ireland to start a new life." He went on to praise the humanity of the Irish people and said that wherever there is a troubled spot in the world the Irish seek to send some kind of aid due to their wish to meet human needs and in remembrance of the suffering of their own ancestry. The three prominent people of Irish descent who were honored this year were Mr. Terence P. Joyce, Business Manager of Building Labors' Union Local 310 and president of the Cleveland Building Trades Council; Ms. Linda M. Kane, Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Forest City Enterprises; and Mr. Patrick M. McLaughlin, Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. In addition, a new award titled the Thomas F. Campbell Award was established this year to honor people who are not of Irish descent but "have advanced the mission of the Irish American Archives Society" and the two people chosen to be the first recipients were Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone and Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka for their support of the Johnny Kilbane Sculpture Project in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. We recalled attending its unveiling and how beautiful that it was. We saw a lot of old friends there like Mr. Joseph Meissner (who served in Vietnam with Mr. Patrick M. M. McLaughlin), Judge Nancy Fuerst, Mr. Thomas J. Scanlon, Judge Brendan Sheehan, Ms. Irene Morrow, and Mr. Jack Kilroy who we saw earlier in the day at the North Coast Chamber of Commerce. We met Ms. Meg McGarry who remembers serving with Ms. Margaret W. Wong on the Euclid Women's Caucus around 1978. Ms. McGarry said that she would love to come to one of Ms. Wong's holiday parties so we obtained her address and told her that this year she will surely receive an invitation. We sat with Mr. Lynn Lustig and Ms. Carole Semuniak from Ashtabula who helped to put together the 50 year reunion for their class at St. John Cantius which was attended by former classmate and Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich. We remembered meeting Ms. Bridie Joyce last year at the West Side Irish American Club when she was honored as the Mother of the Year. When we mentioned to her that we worked for Margaret W. Wong and Associates, Ms. Joyce brightened and said that Ms. Wong once helped a relative of hers immigrate to the United States from Ireland. We had a long talk about immigration with Mr. John C. Myers who is the immigration chair for the state of Ohio for the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. Mr. Myers traveled to Washington, DC last year to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform last year and plans to take a another group there to lobby next week. He told us that the bill that was passed by the U.S. Senate but turned down by the U.S. House of Representatives would have increased the number of people allowed to immigrate from the United States from Ireland to 10,000; as things currently stand less than 100 people, for various reasons, were allowed to immigrate to the U.S. from Ireland last year. Judge Frankie Goldberg proudly showed us a photo of her son who just completed his basic training in Israel and is a member of the press corps in addition to being happily engaged. Judge Goldberg pointed out that her son has a pair of "Harry Potter" glasses just like the ones we have and told us that our glasses inspired her to urge her son to obtain a pair just like ours. We must say that they did look good on him.