One of the class projects the Signature Class of 2022 worked on was finding individuals who live or work in Medina County and how they #InspireMedinaCounty and share their stories with our community. The goal is to inspire others to give back their time, talent, and treasure to our local community. Here are the stories of six amazing men and women who were nominated by the Medina County community and chosen by The Phoenix Class as people who truly #InspireMedinaCounty.
Honoree | Anamaria Feyervari
Anamaria Feyervari is the Medina Victim Services Liaison for the Hope & Healing Survivor Resource Center, a shelter providing free and confidential services to survivors of intimate partner violence in Summit and Medina counties in Northeastern Ohio. When Leadership Medina County’s Signature Class sought nominations of individuals who inspire others, co-worker Megan Vermillion wrote of Feyervari, “Every client/survivor who has come into contact with (her) has received above-and-beyond care.”
Ms. Feyervari admits that her work to support victims of domestic and sexual abuse and human trafficking can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. “Some days it’s hard to grasp onto something to keep going, but seeing the change in survivors, and seeing that spark that keeps them going and gives them hope, is my motivation,” she explained. “It’s those moments when I know, and they tell me, that what I’m doing makes a change.”
Born in Romania, Feyervari’s first job was working at a shelter in her home country. “I didn’t realize I’d work in trauma,” but she determined that helping others is what she ultimately wanted to do and has continued to do for nearly 20 years.
After migrating to the United Kingdom and working in the same field, Feyervari came to the United States ten years ago and googled related opportunities. She first worked in a residential unit in Wooster with children of abuse and neglect, then was a stay-at-home mom for several years, and has now been at Hope & Healing for nearly six years.
The name change, Feyervari said, from the Battered Women’s Shelter to Hope & Healing comes in recognition of the intersectionality between intimate partner violence and sexual violence and marks the agency’s efforts to provide a holistic approach to the needs of survivors. “We hope the name change will make it easier for males to seek assistance. We do see more female victims, but we help males, too. We help regardless of gender, sexual orientation, and religious background.”
Though she lives in Summit County, Feyervari has spent more than half of her professional life in the U.S. here in Medina County. “Medina is the closest to a home here for me, it’s what I know,” she said.
The LMC Signature Class of 2022 is proud to feature Anamaria Feyervari for the amazing work she does in Medina County. You truly inspire us to give of ourselves for the greater good of our community.
Honoree | Jestin Grossenbaugh
When Leadership Medina County’s Signature Class of 2022 went in search of nominations for people who inspire others in our community, Melissa Augustine, Chairman of the Hinckley Township Board of Trustees, and Fire Chief Anthony Strazzo of the Brunswick Hills Fire Department, were both moved to nominate Jestin Grossenbaugh. “He gives tirelessly of himself”, said Augustine, “He is truly a blessing to our community.”
Chief Grossenbaugh is the Fire Chief of the Hinckley Fire Department and a resident of Brunswick, Ohio. He has worked with the department since 1997 when he started as a volunteer firefighter. He continued his services as an engineer with the department and later became a lieutenant. In July of 2018, he was sworn in as the Chief.
Chief Grossenbaugh’s inherent nature to serve is evidenced by the way he leads and interacts with his team. “I love to learn and teach,” said Chief Grossenbaugh, “The best way to do that is by being in the mix with the team. Sometimes my responsibility is to be a role model to those I work with, but at the end of the day, we are a brotherhood/sisterhood of people that are here to deliver the best possible outcome during traumatic events.”
When asked about what he would say to someone to inspire them to get involved in their community, the Chief stated, “Not everybody is called to serve but some people are, and they just don’t know where to start. I would encourage them by saying, just find small holes to fill.” Chief Grossenbaugh said, “Our communities need people to get involved and every gift matters, no matter how small you think it is.”
In closing, Chief Grossenbaugh summed it up by saying, “Serving gives your life purpose, and believe me, when you are serving with others that are passionate about the same things you are, you will likely make lifelong friends and connections. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I believe it is!”
The LMC Signature Class of 2022 is proud to feature Chief Grossenbaugh for the amazing work he does in Medina County. You truly inspire us to give of ourselves for the greater good of our community.
Honoree | Nicole Moehring
When Leadership Medina County’s Signature Class of 2022 went in search of nominations for people who inspire others in our community, Chris Moehring was proud to submit his wife, Nicole, as a nominee. “Nicole has done so much to help and support families impacted by traumatic experiences that involve children with disabilities. She’s passionate about her work and deserves to be recognized.”
Nicole Moehring and her daughter, Maci Lynch, are the founders of Voices of Change 2018. “We started the organization out of a need realized through our own personal experiences,” said Moehring. “When Maci was 15, she was sexually assaulted at a graduation party. She immediately told me about it, and the perpetrator eventually served justice.” Throughout Maci’s experience, the various organizations that she encountered treated her with respect and dignity.
Unfortunately, Ms. Moehring’s son, Evan, who has autism and Fragile X Syndrome, was also sexually assaulted by a different perpetrator. “When we reached out for help with his situation, we realized that the special resources our family needed were not available or very difficult to find,” said Moehring. “We also recognized that my son was treated quite differently because of his disability.” Ms. Moehring pointed out that the lack of resources and support, sadly led to an unjust resolution. While Moehring said Evan’s case was substantiated, there was not enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and his perpetrator was never charged.
This experience inspired Ms. Moehring and her family to start Voices of Change 2018, which provides support and educational services to families with specific needs arising from the child’s disability. “I knew, without a doubt, that this was my purpose,” said Moehring. “I wanted to give back in a way that took the trauma that my family experienced and turn it into a powerful mission that creates positive change.” Moehring added, “This mission has been life-changing.”
When asked about how she encourages others to give back to their community, Ms. Moehring stated “God has a bigger plan for all of us. Go where you know you are needed and give of yourself. There is no greater feeling than to serve with a purpose and know that you are doing work that will touch lives.” Ms. Moehring works diligently to serve our community, and her reach goes beyond Medina County. She works with organizations throughout Ohio and is piloting programs all over the country to educate and raise awareness.
The LMC Signature Class of 2022 is proud to feature Nicole Moehring for the amazing work she does in Medina County. You truly inspire us to give of ourselves for the greater good of our community.
Honoree | Shelly Wharton
Shelly Wharton is someone who gives selflessly according to Lisa Taunt, Director of Residential Services at The Society, where Wharton is the Associate Executive Director.
When Leadership Medina County’s Signature Class sought nominations of individuals who inspire others, Taunt wrote of Wharton, “She has helped many see purpose and direction in their lives that they could not see before.”
Wharton’s giving nature extends beyond her duties at The Society, which has been providing services to individuals with disabilities and their families since 1953. Wharton has helped families battling poverty, assisted a family that lost their home in a fire, contributed supplies to local programs, and more.
Giving to others, “Is just what you did (growing up),” Wharton said of her humble upbringing as an only child. “My parents taught me life isn’t fair, but someone is always worse off than you.”
The affable Wharton, a licensed nurse and an attorney, has worked for The Society for a dozen years. She is a resident of Chippewa Lake and a 2016 graduate of Leadership Medina County.
The Chippewa Lake Lions Club is one avenue Wharton discovers ways to assist individuals in need, from Chippewa Lake to Lodi, Spencer, Homerville, and beyond. Other times, she said, “needs” find her.
“People will say, ‘Call Shelly,’” she joked. ““You just have to listen and think about how you can help.”
The LMC Signature Class of 2022 is proud to feature Shelly Wharton for the amazing work she does in Medina County. You truly inspire us to give of ourselves for the greater good of our community.
Honoree | Ken Richardson
Ken Richardson, a current resident and retired teacher and coach, is the President of the Miracle League of NE Ohio, a baseball league for special needs children and adults. Over the past 25+ years he has grown the organization to include more than 120 participants ages 5 – 55.
Life has given Mr. Richardson the knowledge and passion for his work with the Miracle League. In particular, Richardson attributes his awareness of the special needs community to his own autistic daughter.
Mr. Richardson believes that mentorship is an important element of giving back to a community. In particular, he states that, “I’ve been fortunate to have worked with many inspiring mentors” who have taught him that giving back is an important way of life. During his tenure with the Miracle League of Northeast Ohio, Richardson created partnerships with the City of Medina and community organizations such as the Medina Lions to build an amazing facility, which is open to persons of every capacity. In total, Richardson’s efforts have led to over $250,000 in investment and improvements to Sam Masi Park in Medina.
Mr. Richardson shares that it gives him immense pleasure to share the skills that he has learned from others. He also is thrilled to see the Miracle League players experience the excitement of playing baseball on a field that was built especially for them. In his own words, “Seeing the joy [the players] exhibit is priceless!”
When asked what he would tell others to encourage them to get involved, Mr. Richardson reminds us, “Do not sell yourself short! Use your experience to assist others and help them to improve their quality of life.”
The LMC Signature Class of 2022 is proud to feature Ken Richardson for the amazing work he does in Medina County. You truly inspire us to give of ourselves for the greater good of our community.
Honoree | Ellie Newman
Ellie Newman is a teenager with a generous heart and helping hands. For the past several years, Ms. Newman has spent every Christmas break working with the nonprofit Prosperity Project to identify Medina County children and their families who need help with gifts, groceries, and other items for the holidays. Although she is only 13, Newman knows how important it is to take care of our community and help those who are in need.
Ms. Newman’s story starts with a program similar to Leadership Medina County as her father participated in a similar experience with his employer. As that program was ending, Newman’s father organized a toy drive for some schools in Cleveland that the program had visited. Although Ms. Newman was only eight years old then, she was confronted with the reality that not everyone gets gifts for Christmas. Her parents had already taught her the value of giving back, and she wanted to help those families who were struggling with Christmas.
Ms. Newman keeps three piggy banks: (1) for spending, (2) for savings, and (3) for charity. That first year, she emptied her charity piggy bank to buy gifts for six (6) different families and a total of sixteen (16) kids in Cleveland, Ohio. She loved the looks on their faces when she and her father delivered a U-Haul full of toys and gifts! But Ms. Newman wanted to bring that same joy home to Medina County. As a result, she and her father brought the program to Buckeye and other Medina county schools. In her tenure with the Prosperity Project, Newman has spent countless hours sorting, wrapping, tagging, and delivering thousands of gifts to almost 30 families and over 100 children. In addition, she continues to contribute personally by purchasing gifts with her own funds.
Ms. Newman has used her networking efforts to expand beyond Christmas presents. Her endeavors have included helping a homeless family to secure housing. She recalls decorating the house with a Christmas tree and lights to surprise the family who moved in on Christmas Eve that year.
Without a doubt, Ms. Newman’s work has had an impact on her. In her words, “I love helping people and it makes me really happy when I see the reactions of some of the kids or I know we are helping someone who really needs it.”
Ms. Newman wants us to remember that, “It doesn’t matter how big or small the action is, all that matters is that you’re giving back. Doing something good for others without asking for anything in return can make a huge difference in someone’s life.”
The Leadership Medina County Signature Class of 2022 is proud to honor Ellie Newman for her generosity and contributions to the community.