Middlefield – On Jan. 22, more than 30 pieces of patriotic artwork went up for auction at Ohman Family Living at Briar in Middlefield. The majority of the artwork was created and donated by our local Cardinal students. In addition, six professional artists including Chris Whitacre and Phyllis Schehl-Powell donated beautiful expert pieces. Geauga County leaders and citizens rallied in support of our veterans and bid generously. Congratulations to Cardinal Local School District senior Jonathon San Miguel-zins who took first place, Milanie Macarya, 10th grade who took second and Sara Kangas, 11th grade, took third in the art contest. Each student received cash toward furthering their education.
One hundred percent of the raised funds will be donated to Valor Retreat, a designated getaway for combat veterans, their families and our Gold Star families in Hocking Hills, Ohio. The Valor Retreat is the vision of president and owner of Caritas Financial, Larry Teichman. He has donated acreage on which eight cabins will eventually be constructed.
This effort was spearheaded by the team at Ohman Family Living at Briar. They requested students express their appreciation to our veterans through their art. More importantly, to connect the students to a cause – supporting vets struggling with both visible and invisible wounds. “The Valor Retreat is near and dear to me,” said Joshua Wallace, VP of Growth Strategies, “because my uncle, whom I admired as a war hero and served in Vietnam, took his life as a result of PTSD.”
Retired Marine Major Eric Burkett, a bi-lateral amputee wounded in combat, from New Castle, Pennsylvania along with his family shared with the attendees the struggles common to severely injured vets and the need for a haven get away for healing veterans and their families. Major Burkett described the circumstances of his injury, discussed the difficulties while healing, and then later he and his family answered questions. After 30 minutes of sharing heart- wrenching memories, an audience member asked a question and thanked him for his service. His reply, “You’re worth it.” As a result, the audience rallied again behind this worthy cause and added to their bids. Every art piece was sold.
Ohman Family Living at Briar hosted the event in their newest post-hospital recovery wing, recently added to the Middlefield senior living community. Guests were invited to view and bid on each piece of art, enjoy decadent hors d’oeuvres and tour the new building.
Group Photo: Cardinal Student artists attended the Student Art Auction on Jan. 22 at Ohman Family Living at Briar in support of severely injured veterans. (l-r) Jonathon San Miguel-Zins, 12th grade; Alyssa Wood, 12th grade; Morgan Bell 11th grade; Hope Hickox, fourth grade; Jessman Kaminski, first grade, Simina Ohman and Christian Ohman.