The Suburbanite
  • Chamber honors four with Community Salute Awards

  • Hundreds gathered Wednesday night to heap kudos and warm wishes on winners of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Community Salute Awards at the annual dinner event.

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  • There was a seasonal chill in the air Wednesday night. But inside The University Center of  Kent State University of Stark, hundreds gathered to heap kudos and warm wishes on winners of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Community Salute Awards at the annual dinner event.
    Ronald J. Manse, certified professional accountant and retired tax partner at Bruner-Cox LLP, took the highest honor, the Award of Merit. Manse, an active civic volunteer for more than 35 years, currently is chairman of the North Canton Medical Foundation board of directors. He recently ended his more than 30-year tenure as chairman of the Chamber’s business excellence awards committee. He also is a board member and past chairman of the Jackson YMCA.
    Manse called his civic involvement “a passion.”
    “You can’t go into something half-hearted,” he told the full house. “You have to give your all.”
    Just as  his parents taught him to give back, he said, he expected new employees of his firm to give back to the community that provided so much.
    “I was the first child from a blue-collar family to go to college. I had to do something to make things better. And I thank my wife for her giving heart,” Manse said.
     Community Salute Award of Appreciation winners included Aultman’s Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Program; Bev Jordan, licensed social worker, founder and chief executive officer of Stark Social Workers Network Inc., and Robb Hankins, ArtsinStark chief executive officer.
    Registered nurse Linda Brunk, coordinator of the Aultman WOW program, said she and her staff take health screenings and education on the road.
    Loading into the WOW van, they stop at senior centers, schools, organizations, churches and festivals. “We like to create monthly visits so that we can assess if our outreach is making a different in citizens’ heath,” she explained.
    The WOW program was the 2010 recipient of the Stark County Minority Health award.
    Bev Jordan well remembered the  story told about her finding three siblings rooting through a dumpster for food. She and her staff made the youngsters  their personal “project” finding them food, shelter and supplies.
    “Years later, a policeman came up to me and said, ‘You probably don’t recognize me but I was one of the kids digging in the dumpster. Well, I’m a policeman, my sister’s now a nurse and our little sister is getting her life together,’ ” Jordan recounted.
    What she  and her organization do is gratifying work that has no end. Helping solve society’s problems is her life’s work, she  said.
    “You want to make your kids do better in school? Add more art. You want to make your community better? Add more art. You want to make  business better? Add more art,” said Robb Hankins, ArtsinStark chief executive officers.
    In his seven-year tenure in Canton, 27 art galleries have opened doors in Stark County.  During a brief video of Hankins’s accomplishments, one of his supporters commented,“He seems to have brought artists out of the ground in Canton.”
    The Chamber’s Awards of Merit began in 1946; Awards of Appreciation in 1959.
    Sponsors of this year’s event included The ArtsinStark board of directors, The County Arts Council, Aultman Health Foundation, Bruner-Cox LLP, the North Canton Medical Foundation, Walsh University and The Repository.