Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

For all their hard work, they’re ‘distinguished’

One of the great pleasures in life – at least in my life – is paying tribute to modest and unassuming yet deserving people who enrich the lives of others while making their communities better places to live, work and play.

So I am very pleased to offer some insights and background about the Distinguished Citizens and Distinguished Civic Organization that will be honored Jan. 30 by the Willoughby Rotary Club as recipients of those honors for the Willoughby area.

Please take note of the date — Jan. 30. It was printed incorrectly in the original announcement.
I am also pleased to invite you to take part in the festivities by being present while accolades are bestowed upon:

* Tom and Sue Roseum of Willoughby Hills. The couple will be honored as Distinguished Citizens – a dual honor that is not without precedent. In the 56-year history of the program eight couples have been so honored. Four other couples have also been honored, but in separate years.

* Lake Health Volunteer Services. This is an organization devoted to helping patients and other visitors at all the facilities operated by the Lake Health system.

Before you read any further, however, pick up the phone and call Andrea at Jerry Merhar’s Nationwide Insurance Agency in Willoughby and order your tickets for the Jan. 30 “distinguished” luncheon. Although the ceremony and the honors are a function of the Willoughby Rotary Club, the invitation goes out to everyone within driving distance.

That means you — except, of course, for my loyal readers in Mexico and Argentina. The plane fare might be prohibitive.

Luncheon tickets are $20 each. You can reach Andrea at 946-2040. We’d like you to pay in advance to avoid confusion at the door, but if you insist you can pay at Pine Ridge.

And we will commence eating at 11:30 a.m., so please be there on time.

There is not enough space on this page to enumerate all the good deeds that the Roseums are involved in on virtually a daily basis. There are at least eight community organizations – probably more – that include them among their valued disciples.

Many of their activities are centered on South High School and the Willoughby-Eastlake School District. The interest in music runs deep throughout the entire family, to such an extent that they donated a 48-foot semi-trailer to transport band instruments.

The South High Boosters Club, the Band Boosters and the W-E Schools Foundation are among their other interests – but their passions don’t end with the school system. The Kiwanis Club, United Way of Lake County and Lake County Society for Rehabilitation are also high on their list of involvements.

The reason people are cited as Distinguished Citizens is that they do things for the community they don’t get paid for doing in their everyday jobs. For example, Tom is a contractor and Sue teaches chemistry at South, but those activities have nothing to do with the awards.

It is the “above and beyond” efforts that count for the selection committee as it studies possible recipients of the prestigious award.

The volunteer corps at Lake Health involves between 1,100 and 1,500 people like you and me who voluntarily give of their time — about 115,000 hours worth each year — to make the health system a better and more caring place to perform its primary function of maintaining the good health of area residents.

The program is directed by Loretta Kruse. The work her minions perform should make every resident of the area not only pleased with their efforts, but also to live in the area served by Lake Health.

For example, when you walk into one of the system’s many award-winning hospital facilities, the first person who will greet you at the reception desk is a volunteer. If you stop in at a gift shop, you will be assisted by a volunteer. If you see someone pushing a patient in a wheelchair, it is almost always a volunteer.

The list of their multiple duties is practically endless.

And the amount of money they save Lake Health in funds it would otherwise have to spend on paid staff members is difficult to calculate. But it is a lot.

You can help pay tribute to all these deserving “distinguished” winners by being present at Pine Ridge on Jan. 30.


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