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Love is in the air

March 10, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse
On Friday evening, it was a packed house for the Mission of Love "Fun-raiser" banquet at Avion on the Water in Boardman. The evening was full of the good things Mission of Love has done over the past year as well as a look forward to the planned trips in 2011.

“The whole idea of our annual 'Fun-raiser' is to bring awareness about our work of love and honor all of our Mission of Love volunteers, throughout the year, by a good dinner and video of year review,” said Director/founder Kathy Price.

The evening featured a video of the trips made in 2010 that included hundreds of quilts from that went to orphanage earthquake victims in Haiti, airlifting 47,500 pounds of medical and educational supplies to the orphaned children in Honduras, repainting a village and providing bathroom facilities for 250 orphans of Casa Guatemala, continuing to build homes for the homeless Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and bringing a medical team to Guatemala City to perform 18 cleft palate surgeries in just four days.

“We have transported over 100,000 pounds of aid from our Mission of Love warehouse in Ravenna,” Price said. “The list goes on and we have been able to do all of this work without any type of government funding or grants.”

She told those in attendance that it was all made possible through the support of people like those present at Friday’s banquet.

A new honor she presented this year had to do with success, and what it truly means. She read a brief statement that basically said “you’ve succeeded” by touching lives of those less fortunate and making the world a better place, one person at a time. The honors were bestowed among several volunteers, including Abigail and Sara Sudano from Berlin Center. The two girls gave up their birthday gifts in 2010 and instead asked friends and family to donate to the Mission of Love.

Another honor went to Bob Price, Kathy’s husband, who has done whatever was needed behind the scenes to ensure those in need were served by Mission of Love.

One surprise on the agenda was a special singer. Last year, Mission of Love built an addition on the home of Felix Rivera. Prior to the addition, Felix could not move around in his own home after being crippled in a golf cart accident. He was bed-ridden because there wasn’t enough room in his Youngstown home to move a wheelchair around. Mission of Love built him a room and gave him back some of his freedom. As gratitude, he and close friend and guitarist Phil Gonzalez performed a song.

Prior to Rivera’s accident, he used to sing. After the accident, he had let singing go, but he was so grateful for the help that he wanted to sing again.

The banquet also included the 2011 schedule which includes a trip to South Dakota to build another home in seven days for Kevin Poor Bear, a Native American who lost both legs. Mission of Love helped to get him prosthetic legs and a wheelchair so he can get around. Poor Bear is an artist with a family and the intent is to build him a home with a proper art studio so he can continue his painting and provide for his family by selling art.

Another trip is planned for the Mission of Love medical team to perform more cleft palate surgeries for children in Guatemala. Following that trip, it is back to South Dakota for more homes and a special trip to South America to build a hospice for children.

Price also mentioned to Rivera that the work on his home is not yet done.

“We need to place a deck on Felix's home this spring,” Price said.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Musician Phil Gonzalez prepares to give Mission of Love Director Kathy Price a check to help with the 2011 missions that are on the planning board. He made the delivery after Felix Rivera sang a song from his wheelchair in a way to say thanks to Mission of Love for building an addition to his home that gave him freedom to move around. Pictured with Rivera is Price and Rivera’s wife Lourdes.



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