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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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dale H. Fellows earns well-deserved honor from Willoughby Rotary Club

I would be hard-pressed to tell you how many Monday meetings of the Willoughby Rotary Club I have attended since 1961, when the club was chartered, but I have no trouble choosing the one which is my favorite every year.
It is the last meeting in January, because that is the one at which we honor a distinguished citizen and a distinguished civic organization.
This year that meeting will be Jan. 26 (it is always a Monday) and I want to tell you something very important right up front before we proceed.
That would be when and where it will be held, how much the tickets are and the fact that it is open to the public, meaning you and your friends are invited.
So mark this down in your date book. But don’t delay, because time is of the essence.
It will be a luncheon meeting, beginning at 11:30 a.m., at Pine Ridge Country Club in Wickliffe. Tickets are a bargain – $20 per person.
You can reserve a place by calling Kelsey at the Merhar Insurance Agency, 946-2040. Or send a check to her at 4077 Clark Ave., Willoughby, 44094. But hurry, time’s a-wasting.
The honorees this year are very special, which is to say they are in the long-standing tradition of selecting only the very best citizens and organizations as “distinguished.”
The distinguished citizen is Dale H. Fellows of Willoughby Hills. He embodies the very essence of true distinction.
He is possibly best-known as chairman of the Lake County Republican Party, a role in which he has excelled for many years.
(Why, you may wonder, would the Republican chairman be honored and not the Democratic chairman? Well, Dale lives in the western section of the county, which is the area served by the Willoughby Rotary Club. The Democratic chairman lives in the eastern section of the county. It would be some other group’s responsibility to honor him).
The list of Dale’s accomplishments is virtually endless. He has served as a Lake county commissioner, 20 years as a member of the Lake County Board of Elections, a trustee of Lakeland Community College, where he is a member of the Hall of Fame, several boards and commissions in Willoughby Hills, and that is only the beginning.
He has served in leadership roles with the Friends of James A. Garfield Historic Site, the Adoption Network of Cleveland, the Lake County Farmland Preservation Task Force, as a lector at St. Noel Parish in Willoughby Hills, as a board member of the Salvation Army and Boy Scouts of America, he has been a cubmaster and a scoutmaster, a member of the Lions and Rotary Clubs and so many more that I don’t have the space to list them all.
The list of special awards and recognitions he has received is equally as impressive.
Suffice it to say that he hasn’t missed much in the last 60 years. And his wife, Nancy, is a member of Willoughby Hills City Council.
I don’t know what they talk about at the dinner table, but it is unlikely there is ever a lull in the conversation.
Recipient of the second “distinguished” award, the civic organization, is the McKinley Community Outreach Center, at the former McKinley Elementary School on Lost Nation Road in Willoughby.
The spirit of goodness, mercy and helping those in need exudes from the center.
I hope you read the feature story about the center by Amy Popik in the paper Jan. 8. To say the story was comprehensive would almost be an understatement.
One of the good-hearted people who run the center is Pastor Mike Currier, but he has plenty of help. It is not in any sense a one-man operation.
He is pastor of the Body of Christ Church in Willoughby. Also meriting top billing are Don Perks, pastor of Willoughby United Methodist Church, and Eric Leissa, associate pastor of the Body of Christ Church.
They and their associates dispense food, clothing and tons of paper products to the deserving in the community which find themselves in need and have no place to turn.
I have been through the facility, and I cannot find the words to describe the multitude of good deeds that are performed in the name of charity, human decency and help for God’s creatures who are in desperate need of a helping hand.
If charity begins at home, it also begins at the northern end of Lost Nation Road.
The school was a great place when I went there in eighth grade, and it is an even better place now because of the good deeds and generous acts of kindness being done there on a daily basis.
I hope you can find the time to attend the “distinguished” luncheon at Pine Ridge Jan. 26.
And since the food there is catered by Dino’s,  you just know that it is going to be first rate. It could be the best $20 meal you’ve ever had.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dale sure looks a lot like Jerry Osborne.

January 17, 2015 at 2:47 AM 

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