Joyce M. Johnson

Last week’s Akron Dinner of Champions honored FirstEnergy Corp. President and CEO Charles E. Jones with the Norman Cohn Hope Award, the most prestigious National Multiple Sclerosis Society recognition. It honors those who exhibit vision and commitment to leadership, philanthropy and community service.

Michelle Graham, who was recently diagnosed with MS, said, “It’s just good to know other people are going through the same kind of things that you are.” Her sister, Christine Vincent, attended, as did Steven and Monika Strah, and Mark and Kaye Julian.

“This affects everyone differently, and it’s just great to have this kind of organization for support,” Kaye Julian said.

Madalina Avram was looking forward to meeting new people at the Wednesday gala.

“We are hoping to raise $250,000, and that would be a record for us as well as tonight’s record-breaking attendance with 360 people,” MS Society Director of Development Michelle Wohlfeiler said.

Greg Kovach sold tickets for a 50/50 raffle drawing.

“I am looking to bid on some of the spa packages,” said Rhonda Didado, who attended with her husband, Gary. Jay Gershen, Thomas Knoll and Richard Lewis were looking forward to an evening of socializing.

Steven Strah and Don Taylor co-chaired the benefit. Other supporters included Patricia Blake, Steven Bossart, William Considine, Greg Genega, William Ginter, Dick Kulick, Dee Lowery, Philip Maynard, Marc Merklin, Eugenio Peluso, Russell Pry, Robert Reffner, Tim Stover, Daniel Colantone, Robert Cooper, Jeffrey Grosenbaugh, Dave Lieberth, Justin Markey, John Petures Jr., Richard Pogue, Thomas Strauss and Lisa Swan.

Some of the live auction prizes included a suite for a Cleveland Browns game, as well as a Kyrie Irving autographed and framed jersey.