The Grapevine

Thanks to the generosity of Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School Custodian Anthony Raleigh, his wife, Maricel, and the couple’s extended family members, elementary students living in the Philippines had the opportunity to enjoy a surprise package of healthy and delicious treats this past holiday season.

The students attend Gayaman Elementary School, which holds a special place for Maricel, as she attended the school and credits her teachers there for preparing and inspiring her to pursue her own dreams.

Anthony and Maricel say they were motivated to give back to the school after talking over the phone with family members who still reside in the Philippines.

The Raleigh family provided $500 in funds to family members to provide a school meal, as well as a healthy meal food pack for each student to take home. The gift of a delicious food package is especially significant, as school meals are not provided to students through public schools in the Philippines.

The students were extremely grateful and excited to receive their food treats, with one student being particularly thrilled to try food items from Jollibee, which is likened to the Philippines version of McDonald’s, for the very first time. The Raleighs, along with their extended family, plan to make the donated food packages an annual tradition of giving back.

The ringing of the Salvation Army Bell has reported another banner year of helping those in need in Brecksville, Broadview Heights and their surrounding communities.

Salvation Army bell ringers at the Giant Eagle store at I-77 and Rt. 82 raised a total of $8,244. Those funds will, for the most part, keep electricity and natural gas flowing to homes of low-income residents in Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Seven Hills and Independence from having their utilities disconnected.

While it takes many volunteers to make the annual bell ringing a success, the Salvation Army sends a special thanks to Brecksville resident Bob Petrushka who volunteers to ring the Salvation Army Bell on days when no one is scheduled.

During the 2022 holiday season, Bob singlehandedly raised $1,025. This was the 11th consecutive year that Bob has been ringing the bell. In those 11 years, he has raised more $15,000 by himself, standing outside in all kinds of weather.

The Salvation Army also thanks individual bell ringers who took one- and two-hour shifts throughout the season, as well as the Brecksville Kiwanis Club which provided bell ringers for a whole day.

In case you missed it, the community was represented at the 2022 Bahamas Bowl this year as Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School grad Luke Kirin traveled with the Miami University RedHawks to take on the Univesity of Alabama at Birmingham on Dec. 16. ∞