CANTON, OH (October 15, 2008) - Rabbi John Spitzer will be recognized with the highest honor, the Award of Merit, at the upcoming Community Salute Awards. The award will be presented Nov. 5 at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce's 2008 Community Salute Awards dinner at Kent State Stark Professional Education and Conference Center. 

The annual Community Salute awards are presented in two categories. The Award of Merit is the premiere award presented for sustained voluntary, meritorious community service. It is designed to honor one person for continuous civic activity above and beyond business or professional responsibilities. The second award category is the Award of Appreciation, which is presented to individuals or businesses for outstanding performance that benefits or enhances the community. 

"We are grateful to have the dedication to our community by our award winners. Our community is improved and benefited by their leadership and devotion," said Dennis P. Saunier, president & CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Community Salute Award of Appreciation winners include: The Akron-Canton Airport - Frederick J. Krum, Dr. Frederick C. Whittier and Dr. Sheila A. Fisher

"Though Rabbi Spitzer was the recipient of the Award of Appreciation during the 1999 Community Salute Awards, according to Frank and Barbara Fleisher, two of the individuals who nominated him, "we know of no one that exemplifies the qualities spelled out for the recipient of the Award of Merit more than John Spitzer."

Rabbi Spitzer, previously Rabbi at Temple Israel, was a founding father for, and life-force behind, the Stark County Town Hall on Race Relations, now known as Coming Together Stark County. He currently serves on the board for CTSC and has been the non-profit organization's treasurer since its inception.


In addition to his steadfast support of Coming Together Stark County, Rabbi Spitzer was chaplain to the Canton City Police Department and member of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton board of directors. He is also a member of the Fair Employment Practices Commission and the Canton Fair Housing Board, both of which were a result of mayoral appointment. He has served for many years on the Stark County Development Board.

Every Wednesday Rabbi Spitzer holds a vigil for peace in the world on Central Plaza. He is heading a Catholic/Jewish Institute for Walsh University and is currently on teaching assignment this fall in Italy for Walsh. 

"I consider Rabbi to be my friend and one of my spiritual leaders," said Nadine McIlwain-Massey, executive director for Coming Together Stark County. "It is with the utmost pleasure that I nominate Rabbi John Spitzer."

The Akron-Canton Airport and recently retired director, Frederick J. Krum, will receive an Award of Appreciation for enhancing the welfare of Stark County citizens through outstanding success in business or service. CAK recently had its best month ever recorded in July - almost 150,000 passengers were serviced by the airport - up from 20,000 average passengers per month when Krum took over in 1981.


In March, the airport began its CAK 2018, a $110 million, 10-year capital expansion plan. The plan is the most ambitious in the airport's 62-year history. Projects include a 600 ft. runway extension, which recently reached the half-way point, allowing full-sized jets to reach the West Coast, Caribbean and Mexico. Other projects include a customs and border patrol facility, an extended upper level concourse and the construction of Port Green, an industrial park that could bring more than 1,000 high-paying jobs to northeast Ohio. 

Krum began his distinguished career at CAK in 1975 as the airport accountant and was quickly promoted to assistant director by then-director Jack Doyle. Krum was promoted to the director's seat in 1981 and has served in that capacity ever since. During his tenure, he managed more than $250 million in capital improvements, helped passenger figures quadruple, attracted Piedmont Airlines, AirTran Airways and Frontier Airlines (driving air fares down in the region), acquired hundreds of acres of additional land while keeping airport operating costs low. His efforts helped position the airport for continued success and strategic importance in Northeastern Ohio.

Dr. Frederick C. Whittier, a nephrologist and principle researcher at Clinical Research Ltd., will receive an Award of Appreciation primarily for his work at the American Red Cross Stark County Regional Chapter. Dr. Whittier worked to re-order and organize the Chapter's priorities, and drew attention to the need to seek sustainable funding. As a result of his vision, the Chapter is currently focused on planned giving and major gifts.

"We know Fred Whittier is a very busy man. We also know that we never feel neglected by him," said Sia Pope and Jacquie Batchelder of the American Red Cross, who nominated Dr. Whittier. "He is our good friend and our inspiration. When his service as a board member ended, his commitment to the cause did not."

In addition to his work for the American Red Cross, Dr. Whittier also dedicates his time to Rotary Club of Canton, Canton Health Department board of directors, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Stark County Medical Society and the Ohio State Medical Association. He's a life member of the National Registry of Who's Who, a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, received the NEOCOM Outstanding Volunteer Faculty Award in 2007, received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Internal Medical-Residents of NEOUCOM Affiliated Hospitals, America's Top Physician's Award from 2003 - 2007 and the Twenty Year Service Award from Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in 2007.


Also receiving an Award of Appreciation is Dr. Sheila Fisher. As a Clinical Psychologist in private practice for over twenty years, the restoration and renovation of a Victorian house and an 1895 bank building hardly seemed like the logical next step, but she volunteered for the job immediately. What began as a need to authentically recreate two rooms in the Saxton house became the meticulous renovation and revitalization of the entire Saxton house. Next, she took on an even greater project - the monumental task of transforming the City National Bank building, built in 1895 - a staggering 25,000 sq. ft. with 50 rooms, including a colossal staircase, two libraries, offices and a 90-seat theatre.

"I was blessed having a partner like Sheila Fisher, The interior of those two buildings stand as a monument to her caring and dedication," said Dr. Mary A. Regula of the National First Ladies' Library and Historic Site, who nominated Dr. Fisher.

Dr. Fisher and Dr. Regula received the "Historical Renovation Award" from the Northern Ohio Live magazine.

Community education and involvement have always been a priority for Dr. Fisher, who was the founder and trainer of volunteers for the Stark County Suicide and Crisis Prevention Center. She was a 24-hour-a-day volunteer and professional consultant for the Crisis Center for 10 years. As a psychologist, Sheila authored Suicide and Crisis Prevention: A Guide to Services a book used in universities and crisis centers all around the world. She has won many awards throughout her steadfast career and participates in numerous organizations.

"We're pleased to congratulate and recognize the great service of Rabbi John Spitzer, Fred Krum and the Akron-Canton Airport, Dr. Fred Whittier and Dr. Sheila Fisher. They are truly a testament to the strength of our area's past and our area's future," said Saunier.

Celebrate our Community Stewards

Our Community Salute Award Winners will be recognized on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at Kent State Stark Professional Education & Conference Center, 6000 Frank Ave. N., North Canton. The evening begins with a social at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the awards ceremony honoring our worthy winners at 7:30 p.m.

Event sponsors include DeHoff Realtors, Huntington National Bank, Mercy Medical Center and The Repository.

Cost to attend the awards dinner is $38 per person and reservations must be received by October 29. Make reservations online at or call Rosie Kurtz at (330) 458-2085. Contact Nancy Leffler, event manager, at (330) 458-2073 with questions about the event.