There was excitement on the lawn of the O’Neil House on Thursday afternoon as guests arrived for the Raise the Roof Gala.
It was a fundraiser for Rebuilding Together Greater Cuyahoga Valley, a group of volunteers who provide home repairs for the elderly, disabled persons and veterans. Executive Director Paul Holm said the group served 250 homes in Northeast Ohio during the past year, but plans to expand to serve 1,000 people annually by 2020.
Renee Zumpano and Malcolmnette Green welcomed guests, as Chuck Sarka entertained on the grand piano. In the Garden Room, Gayle Johnson, proprietor of the O’Neil House, served a buffet of barbecued ribs and chicken, salmon, beef tenderloin, sushi and Waldorf salad, enjoyed by Doug Champoir, Abbe Carrol, Kevin Cioppa, William Green, Joe Ward, Brandy Brady, Kathy Yuzwa, Lisa Spraggins, Brandon Mantel, Dustin Sheppard and Michael Davis.
Daryl and Ruth Duff praised the group and President Fred Zumpano for all they do to adapt homes for handicapped veterans.
Holm announced a campaign to raise $300,000 to invest in homes in need of basic repairs. He said the Summit County Board of Realtors has noted a restore spirit then spreads through an entire neighborhood.
Zumpano presented the Community Champion award to WEWS (Channel 5) for its series Building Better Neighborhoods, which highlighted the work of Rebuilding Together, and helped raise awareness of the needs of the community. General Manager Sam Rosenwasser, News Director Jill Manuel and reporter Joe Pagonakis accepted the award. Zumpano praised Pagonakis for bringing a crew of volunteers to help with the Safe at Home program that allows seniors to age in their own homes.
He also praised Jeff Angeletti of Dominion East Ohio, who brought a group of volunteers to assist with the project. Board member Sandy Spraggins, who has been involved for 14 years, expressed everyone’s feelings: “We help change lives, and in the process, often change our own lives.”