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Chamber of Commerce picks award winners

by HEATHER BEYER | reporter Published: May 14, 2014 12:00 AM
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Macedonia -- The community is invited to help the Nordonia Chamber of Commerce recognize a Nordonia Hills resident, a business, and a local organization who have demonstrated leadership in community projects and organizations and are involved in the betterment of the community through active civic participation.

The Chamber's 17th annual awards luncheon will be at 11:30 a.m. May 15 at Spennato's restaurant 10446 Northfield Road in Northfield Village. Those who wish to attend should RSVP by calling the Chamber office at 330-467-8956 by the end of the day May 14. The cost to attend is $25 at the door.

Chamber CEO Laura Sparano said the annual awards are a great way to recognize those who go above and beyond to help others and the community.

"I think it's important for people to be acknowledged when they do more than what's expected -- and these people certainly have," Sparano said.

'Small Town Hero' founded non-profit

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Dolores Resch, of Macedonia, will be awarded the Small Town Hero Award for her work for the nonprofit organization, Camp Huddle.

Founded in 2012, Camp Huddle's primary goal is to recognize the abilities of individuals with disabilities.

Resch said the organizations mission "is to create a day of sports and play for individuals with and without special needs by fostering acceptance and inclusion of all people."

Joyce Hunt, executive director of the Emergency Assistance Center, nominated Camp Huddle for the award.

"This worthy organization saw a great need in the community to provide fun opportunities that can empower individuals, with and without special needs," she said. "Camp Huddle helps to promote lasting friendships and encouragement within a safe environment."

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Camp Huddle's first sport camp took place Sept. 16, 2012, when 33 students participated in flag football stations. High school football players, from Nordonia and surrounding high schools, were matched up with a participant and they went through the stations.

"The tears were flowing," Resch said, as she recalled the teamwork between the high school students and camp participants.

"The high school students wanted to be there," Resch said. "Their patience and involvement was genuine. Seeing a football player with his arm around a participant just speaks volumes."

Resch said this recognition means everything because it celebrates the accomplishments of Camp Huddle.

"It's all about celebrating inclusion and bringing everyone together," Resch said. "Just because someone might have a limited ability, you still want to recognize they are capable of so much."

'Small Business of the Year' recognized

Molon Labe CrossFit is a fitness facility dedicated to making a difference in the community, said co-owner Eleni Manousogiannaki-Nolan, adding CrossFit is not just a strength and conditioning program but it is also about community and camaraderie.

"We have always believed that we were here to make a difference in our community," Manousogiannaki-Nolan said May 12. "With CrossFit we have been able to make that difference: Members become part of our amazing family where they are encouraged, empowered and cheered on daily."

She was at home alone in her kitchen when she received the letter announcing the award.

SDLqI was so excited I started jumping up and down," she said. "I could hardly wait to tell Mark. I took the letter to the gym where I read it to my husband in front of a room full of members."

Manousogiannaki-Nolan and her husband, Mark Nolan, are dedicated to supporting the Battered Women's Shelter of Summit County and the Emergency Assistance Center.

"Mark and Eleni want to use their business as a platform to help others who may be in a life-threatening situation," Sparano said.

Manousogiannaki-Nolan said it's an affirmation every time one of their members tells her or Mark they have lost weight since they started working out.

"Every time someone walks in looking like they had the worst day of their life and they leave smiling and exhausted after a workout, but the look on their face says that they know they now have the strength to face one more day -- that's a sign we are doing the right thing," she said.

'Star of the Year' noted for volunteering

Betty Schneider was named the Chamber Star of the Year for her volunteer work for the Chamber of Commerce over the past few years.

Humbled by the recognition, Schneider said the award was completely unexpected.

"It just shows me how much I'm appreciated," she said "I don't do things because I am going to be rewarded, I do whatever I do because it is my opportunity to pay back for the life that I have. I don't expect anything like this, I prefer to stay in the background and do what I do and call it a day."

Schneider is retired from Print One Digital. Previously she worked with ICON for seventeen years.

"Betty has been working in the Chamber office for about two years now, but she's been a dear friend for about five years," Sparano said. "She is the perfect administrative assistant."

Sparano nominated Schneider for the award because of her strong work ethic.

"The Chamber Star is an award I give out each year to the person who has helped the Chamber the most," she added. "It can be the person who brought in the greatest number of new members, someone who started a new event and chaired it successfully, someone who helps me in the office continuously, just someone who has made a difference in the Chamber."

Heather Beyer: 330-541-9433

hbeyer@recordpub.com

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