I know I am inclined to gush about my hometown Cleveland Heights, most of the time it is because of all the amazing experiences our far undervalued town has to offer. Today I am extolling its value based solely on its souls. A diverse and united bunch.
We experienced a great tragedy when one of our local business owners and community leaders was brutally slain in a robbery attempt. My first thought was for his family, friends and employees and then I thought about our community that is centered around these hardworking small businesses. I was afraid we would see another wave of people fleeing to the outer ring suburbs, but we experienced the absolute opposite.
Every Tuesday for the last 7 years we have gathered at The Colony for girl’s night. Ups, downs, rights, and lefts have been sorted and unconditional support has been provided. The unofficial leader of our pack, Brady, sketched an amazing design that very night and called on me to help. We had to make hasty decisions and get started asap. Flying by the seat of our pants, we set out to sell about 200 shirts and have ended up selling WAY more (the final tally has not been made)
Another fundraising effort rose from the ashes and raised at least 50,000 dollars for the employees lost wages, and a memorial fund was setup to get the doors open again. A dynamic brother and sister team organized a family fun cookout, while other businesses all over in different districts donated food, merchandise and services to raise funds for the people touched most by our collective tragedy.
The employees of The Colony, now our friends after so many years stepped up and toiled through their grief to save the place they work and love. The determination and tenacity of these fine young men and women is awe-inspiring.
Another friend, Shari championed a random acts of kindness campaign in honor of the departed, who gave generously to friends in need. The people of Cleveland heights came out in droves to join together and celebrate a life and make sure we keep moving forward. Exactly three weeks ago we suffered a huge loss. Today we are stronger, more united, and clad in matching t-shirts.