CANTON, OH (September 16, 2008) - The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival General Chairman Alumni Association held its annual dinner on September 11, 2008. The association is comprised of all general chairmen of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Enshrinement Festival committees since the Enshrinement Festival's inception in 1965; members offer assistance to the Enshrinement Festival in the areas of sponsor recognition, promoting community awareness and support in planning and producing the annual festivities.
At the annual dinner, Chuck Such and Germane Swanson were jointly awarded the 15th annual Individual Award of Merit in recognition of their "outstanding leadership, dedication, inspiration and support of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival." Such and Swanson played major roles in the late 50s and early 60s in originating the idea that a Professional Football Hall of Fame was needed and that Canton was the logical site. Through both their personal efforts, and their professional efforts as reporters for the Canton Repository, they kept the topic in the public arena so that extensive community support was developed and maintained.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened its doors on September 7, 1963, and the Alumni Association felt it most appropriate to honor Such and Swanson during this, the 45th anniversary year of both the Hall of Fame and the annual Enshrinement Festival. Chuck Such's niece, Missy Meadows, accepted the award on his behalf, and Virginia Swanson accepted the award on behalf of her husband. John Werren, 1997 general chairman, presented the awards.
The 14th annual Corporate Award of Merit was presented to Time Warner Cable, a strong partner of the Enshrinement Festival since 1995, when they began to offer customers a unique opportunity to experience some of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival highlights right from home. Time Warner Cable airs a variety of live broadcasts including the Balloon Classic Invitational, First Play, Fashion Show Luncheon, Enshrinees Dinner, Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable, as well as the Drum Corps International Competition.
Also, beginning in 2007, Time Warner began producing a half hour show filmed inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame to showcase the growth and enhancements made to the Hall, and to promote the annual Enshrinement Festival activities. The production and generous sponsorship from Time Warner Cable, allows the Enshrinement Festival to reach millions of people throughout Northeast Ohio that otherwise would likely not be reached. The award was accepted by Steve Fry, president of Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio Division. Tim Maloney, 1998 general chairman and president of the Alumni Association, presented the award, and also served as master of ceremonies for the evening.
Also a tradition at the annual dinner is the initiation into the association of the most recent General Chairman. The ceremonial green jacket was presented to Ken Huot, 2008 general chairman, by his predecessor, Bob Belden, 2007 general chairman. Huot, customer service representative for AEP Ohio, joins 42 other men and women who have held this prestigious position over the years. He was commended for his extraordinary leadership and long-time dedication to the enhancement and growth of the Enshrinement Festival.
(PHOTO: l to r) Individual Awards of Merit to Chuck Such and Germane Swanson: Missy Meadows, representing Chuck Such; John Werren, presenter; Virginia Swanson, representing Germane Swanson. (PHOTO: l to r) Corporate Award of Merit to Time Warner Cable: Steve Fry, president of Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio Division; Tom Lukes, manager of Local on Demand; Tim Maloney, presenter; Jim Jajack, Local Program producer.