ELYRIA — Four tireless volunteers and one service organization will be honored for their philanthropy at Leadership Lorain County’s annual Difference Makers Gala on Feb. 22 at Spitzer Conference Center at Lorain County Community College.The 6 p.m. event is expected to draw a sell-out crowd of more than 400.
James F. Kidd will be granted the most prestigious honor, the Nord Award for Excellence in Community Service. Honorees Leonard DeLuca, William T. Locke, Joan Lowry, and the Elyria Rotary Club will receive awards for excellence in leadership.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to celebrate their commitment to strengthening our community and serving the many needs of those who have benefited from their involvement,” Leadership Lorain County’s Executive Director Gail Stumphauzer said.
Jeff and Donna Riddell will once again co-chair the event, which celebrates Leadership Lorain County’s 23-year involvement in local activism.
The gala is a critical fundraiser for programs such as the annual 10-month signature Leadership Program, the Leadership Society, Leadership Breakfast Series, educational and networking events and leadership and career programming for high school and college students.
James F. Kidd
Respected in banking circles as the former president of Lorain National Bank, Kidd helped grow the business to 12 branches and $600 million in assets. He continues to serve as vice chairman and director of LNB Bancorp.
The Vermilion native is a former chairman of Community Health Partners and was instrumental in the Catholic Health Partners merger, developing strategies that expanded the hospital’s services throughout the county.
Kidd was the first chairman of the Ohio Reads project in Lorain County and recruited more than 700 volunteers to tutor over 1,000 elementary students in basic reading skills.
He is also a past board chairman of Leadership Lorain County, a board and committee member for the Center for Leadership in Education, Lorain 2020, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Civic League of Lorain County.
A Lorain native, DeLuca served in the U.S. Navy and is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. He later helped expand his father’s business, DeLuca’s Bakery, and launched his own catering firm, DeLuca’s Place in the Park, which has more than 60 employees.
He also helped raise more than $2 million to restore the Lorain Palace Theatre, where he served as president.
DeLuca heads the Business Advisory Committee as a volunteer for the Lorain City Schools and has led several successful levy campaigns.
He also led Lorain Port Authority levy campaigns, assisted the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts with fundraising, served on the Lorain Catholic advisory board, Lorain Family YMCA board and Lorain Community Hospital board.
He serves on the CHP Foundation board and CHP Strategic Planning committee, chairs Project Grad and co-chairs the LCADA Capital Campaign.
William T. Locke
In September 1999, Locke resigned as president and CEO of the Lorain County Community Action Agency but was asked later to return to help fix serious problems plaguing the agency after his departure.
He is a founder and past board president of the South Shore Development Corporation, where he helped transform St. Joseph Hospital into a community center.
Locke is also credited with developing the first statewide emergency food and shelter program.
He has served on the Governor’s Council on Juvenile Justice, CHP’s Ethics Committee, as trustee for the Workforce Development Board, One-Stop Employment Center Governance Team, Children and Family Council of Lorain County, Ohio Urban Resources System, Lorain Community Hospital, Lakeland Mental Health, Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, Lorain County Urban League, United Way of Greater Lorain County and Association of Non-Profit Organizations of Lorain County and the Minority Achievement Council for the Lorain City Schools.
A broadcasting veteran, Lowry served as Director of Community Affairs for Media One cable and as host of local cable and radio community-oriented programming since the early 1980s.
She has championed issues of economic growth, strengthening existing business clusters, retaining talented county youth and meeting the challenges of education.
She served on the board of the Elyria Rotary Club, as past president of the Lorain County Office on Aging, and in leadership roles with the Grafton Prison Advisory board, Lorain County Cancer Society board, Girl Scouts of Erie Shores, North Ridgeville Chamber of Commerce and Lorain County Hearing and Speech Board.
Elyria Rotary Club
The club started with 18 prominent businessmen in April 1918 and is best known as the founding organization of the Ohio Society for
Crippled Children and the resulting Easter Seal Society. The rotary throws an annual party for children with disabilities.
Early projects benefited the Elyria Memorial Hospital, Gates Hospital for Crippled Children, the YMCA and Camp Iss-See-Kes.
Of particular note is the club’s contribution to Cascade Park, which has helped construct observation decks, enhance walking trails and renovate the bathhouse into a state-of-the-art nature center.
In addition, the Elyria Rotary Club has made longstanding contributions to the Salvation Army, the scholarship program at LCCC, STRIVE, INTERACT and literacy programs at Erie Elementary School.
Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.