Celebration of Human Services

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Celebration of Human Services was Friday, October 20, 2023

Community Solutions marks our 110th year in 2023! Celebration is a great way to connect with community leaders and other professionals while enjoying inspiring and uplifting presentations. The luncheon featured our W.T. McCullough keynote speaker and the winners of our three annual awards. Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award, Most Treasured Volunteer Awards, and The Community Solutions Award for Public Service in Honor of John A. Begala.

2023 Award Winners

2023 Award for public service in honor of John A. Begala: Director Ursel J. McElroy, Ohio Department of Aging

For more than 25 years, Ursel McElroy has served the public in key positions in local and state government. Her visionary leadership has a deep focus on the well-being of older and aging Ohioans.

Ursel McElroy was appointed as Director of the Ohio Department of Aging by Governor Mike DeWine in January, 2019. As the leader of Ohio’s State Unit on Aging, McElroy represents the interests of older Ohioans including the coordination of long-term services and supports.

Among her many accomplishments, McElroy chaired the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission, managed the establishment of the Ohio Elder Justice Initiative, planned and hosted Ohio’s first Summit on Aging, the state’s first Elder Abuse Research Symposium, and the Elder Financial Exploitation Symposium. She has presented at the White House Conference on Aging.

Her tireless work, from the expansion of PACE to the introduction of the new Healthy Aging grants, will propel Ohio towards becoming an exceptional place to live and age, benefiting countless families in the state.

Most Treasured Volunteer + Anisfield-Wolf

Connie Schultz delivered the 2023 W.T. McCullough lecture

This year’s keynote speaker, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and Penguin Random House author Connie Schultz, delivered the W.T. McCullough lecture.

About the Speaker

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and Penguin Random House author, with well-received non-fiction works …and His Lovely Wife, and Life Happens. Her recent novel The Daughters of Erietown became a New York Times bestseller and her children’s book, Lola and the Troll, is forthcoming. In August 2023, she joins Denison University as a Professor of Practice in Journalism.

Before joining Denison University, Connie served as a professional-in-residence in the journalism school at Kent State University, her alma mater, as well as a columnist for USA Today.

She lives in Cleveland with her husband, Sherrod Brown, and their rescue dogs Franklin and Walter. They have four children and seven grandchildren.

Wayne Dawson was our Master of Ceremonies

Master of Ceremonies, Fox 8 News morning anchor Wayne Dawson, guided us through the program.

About the Master of Ceremonies

Wayne is co-anchor of Fox 8 News in the Morning, Cleveland’s Number 1 morning show and author of the 2022 memoir, The Seeds of Greatness Are Within You.

An eleven-time Emmy winner, Wayne is a member of the NAACP, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. He is also a member of the Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Prior to joining WJW in the late –‘70s, Wayne was an anchor/reporter at WNIR Radio in Kent, Ohio. The 1979 graduate of Kent State University holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.

Over many decades in Northeast Ohio broadcasting, he’s been recognized by the Cleveland Press Club, Kent State University, the Jaycees, the Professional Women’s Business Association, and Delta Sigma Theta.

Performance by the Cleveland Heights High School Gospel Choir!

The Vocal Music Program at Cleveland Heights High School is a celebrated jewel in a district that honors the arts. Vocal Music Students sing in local and regional competitions, for Civic and holiday events, on television, and of course in concerts at the high school.

The Gospel Choir is an extracurricular club open to all students who enjoy singing gospel music. Students perform at three evening performances, in the community, and travel for an annual tour. The Gospel Choir Parent’s Organization supports the choir; directed by Sandra Dixon.

2022 Most Treasured Volunteer Awards

Check out the 2022 gallery!