Jewell Cardwell

Hats off to Massillon’s safety forces and Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry, who came together in such a cohesive way, responding to a Jan. 14 high-rise apartment fire where the tenants were elderly, many of them frail and disabled.

You would expect the firefighters to respond heroically, which they did. However, what was extraordinary here were the nine police officers who ran into the burning building that Saturday night, putting themselves at risk to help in the rescue.

Massillon Safety and Service Director George T. Maier provided me with the names of the officers — Sgt. Brian Muntean, and patrol officers Kenneth Smith, John Mitchell, Mike Maier, Jeffrey Masters, Jessica Wilson, Joshua Barabash, Nicholas Antonides and Jolina Boyer-Solinger.

“All of the police officers with the exception of Officer Masters were treated at Affinity Medical Center for smoke inhalation and released,” George Maier said.

“Officer Jessica Wilson was off duty one day as a result of her smoke inhalation but has returned to full duty. All of these officers are champions and responded in such a way that they limited the risk of life and or injury to many of the residents in the apartment with their swift action to evacuate.”

The fire was at the Lincoln Apartments, a public housing building downtown.

New Mayor Catazaro-Perry and her husband, Dr. Anthony Perry, bought pizzas for the residents, who were ushered out of the severe cold into buses for their safety.

“SARTA provided three buses and staff to keep these folks out of harm’s way during this event,” Maier said. “They, too, are champions in our community.”

Some 50 residents were displaced, but they’re alive.

“This is a great example of how things should work,” Maier said.

I couldn’t agree more.

Gift of warmth

Family Promise of Summit County, established in 2003 to help homeless families, has joined with the Company Store for a “Buy One, Give One” initiative during January.

It works like this: The bedding and home products outlet “will match each comforter sale with a donation of a new comforter to a child served by Family Promise,” said Bill Wahl, the organization’s spokesman. “By placing an online order, the customer is automatically donating a comforter to a child in need.”

According to Karen Feldmen, director of marketing at the Company Store, there are “a significant number of homeless children in this country who are living without a warm bed, and the Company Store is committed to bringing some comfort and warmth to children in need throughout the year. Not just during the holiday season. We are pleased to deliver these comforters through Family Promise and its affiliates in the United States.”

Family Promise gives stability and hope to homeless families “by providing shelter, food, case management and hospitality while utilizing resources within local congregations and the community,” Wahl said. “In 2010, Family Promise helped place 33 families, which included 80 children.”

For information, please visit

Prayers for Lisa

Prayers for 47-year-old Lisa Craine are being encouraged by Fran Doll, retired founder of Superior Staffing, where Lisa began as a 25-year-old and worked her way up to vice president.

Lisa has for the last 16 months been battling cholangiocarcinoma, a rare liver cancer, but stays strong in her faith.

“Lisa and David [her husband] were caretakers for each of their parents,” said Doll, who is also founder of GASP (Guardians Against Sex Predators). “All four have passed on, but Lisa and David took care of them until the end.”

The Craines are the proud parents of 20-year-old Jake and 14-year-old Noah.

I’m betting many of you have crossed paths with the perpetually busy Lisa Craine over the years. Perhaps her resume of activities serves as a reminder:

•?Heart-to-Heart Communications — board chairwoman for eight years and program chairwoman for annual breakfast. “Lisa models a way of life and leadership which continues to inspire all of us who have come to know her,” said Heart-to-Heart co-founder Larry Vuillemin.

•?Hoban High School — track, swim and cross country team committees. “On a side note, she and David have made over 1,200 homemade meatballs for various events,” Doll noted.

•?Leadership Akron, Class 18 — board member for four years and an active volunteer.

•?St. Hilary Catholic Church — board member.

•?Arthritis Foundation — two years as co-chairwoman of the Red & White fundraiser.

•?Akron Marathon — volunteer for two years.

•?Akron Community Prayer Luncheon — co-chairwoman for five years.

•?Fairlawn Chamber of Commerce — former board member and program chairwoman for four years.

•?OPEN M (Opportunity for People Everywhere in Need Ministry) — chairwoman one year of the back-to-school backpack campaign.

•?American Liver Foundation — formed “Lisa’s Liver Lilies” team, which raised more than $5,000 for research, taking third place in the Akron/Cleveland area her first year.

‘Comedy With the Cops’

Akron Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Auxiliary Lodge 1 will present Comedy With the Cops VIII at 8 p.m. Saturday at the FOP lodge, 2610 Ley Drive, Akron.

On the marquee will be Michael Gershe, Greg Smrdel and co-headliners Jeff Blanchard of Cleveland and Mike Conley of Akron. WNIR radio station’s Stan Piatt is hosting.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door; call the FOP lodge at 330-773-3032. All proceeds go to Akron-area charities served by the FOP Auxiliary.

Help from Bulldogs

Big, beautiful bouquets to the Stow-Munroe Falls High School girls basketball team, who will be “using their love of the game to raise money in various ways all day” Saturday to support a former teammate, Brianne Dishong, writes event spokeswoman Nancy Winters.

Bri, as she’s called, was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and has begun treatments.

Scrimmages of the fourth- through eighth-grade girls’ teams get under way at 11 a.m., followed by junior varsity and varsity home games against Hudson at 6 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Here’s what on the menu:

• Loose change collection.

• Sale of “No One Fights Alone” lime-green bracelets for $2.

• All-day bake sale, basket raffles, 50/50 raffles.

• $1 shooting contests during halftime of junior varsity and varsity games.

A portion of concession stand proceeds also will be donated. The school is at 3227 E. Graham Road, Stow.

Kidney fund raffle

The Kidney Foundation of Summit County is sponsoring its 22nd annual Hot Dog Reverse Raffle at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Getaway, 1462 N. Portage Path, Akron. Grand prize is $500. Tickets are $20, with all proceeds going to assist Summit County kidney patients. To buy a ticket or to donate, call Carolyn Henretta at 330-864-1236.

Special needs

If you have a child with special needs and can use help with funding or outreach programs, please consider Zane’s Foundation Inc., created by Stacy Youssef of Cuyahoga Falls and named for her son.

After the family’s long and painful journey to get help for Zane, who ultimately was diagnosed with autism and other disabilities, his mother turned her attention to children in the community who might not have adequate resources.

The foundation provides services for families who have children with a wide spectrum of special needs — autism, Down syndrome, dyslexia, blindness, cystic fibrosis, just to name a few — with funding assistance and community education programs.

“To date we have given 42 grants,” Stacy Youssef said. “Last year at this time we had given 13.”

Youssef and her board members are putting finishing touches on their big Casino Night fundraiser planned for April 20. More about that later.

Interested in learning more about Zane’s Foundation or applying for aid? Please visit for an application. Donations are always welcome.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or emailed at