Gieses Named Citizens of the Year

August 15, 2014

Saturday's festivities kicked off bright and early at the annual Community Breakfast held at the University of Mount Union as four Alliance citizens were awarded some of the community's top honors.

Vince Kehres presented the Grand Parade Marshal Award to former University of Mount Union head football coach Larry Kehres. Kehres led the Raiders in 27 seasons, accruing 332 wins, 24 losses and three ties and giving Kehres the highest winning percentage in the history of college football.

Vince Kehres called Larry Kehres' contributions to his community and the University of Mount Union "tremendous."

"His contributions are largely subtle, but that's how he prefers it," said Vince.

The Favazzo-Jeswald Founders Award was presented by Ben Favazzo, the son of Carnation Festival founder Ben Favazzor Sr. The award was given to John Gross for his "unselfish contribution" to the Carnation Festival.

Gross began his career as an FBI agent, eventually becoming a member of the Secret Service. In 2011, he was appointed as Alliance's Safety Service Director. During the Carnation Festival, Gross gives tours of the Alliance City Cemetery. He plans to retire from that duty after 2014.

"I think I've done too much in my life," said Gross upon receiving the award. "I've got to look in the dictionary and find out what retirement really means."

Mayor Alan Andreani introduced the Citizen of the Year Award, which is presented to an Alliance resident with a "long history of service" to the community. This year, the award was given to both Richard and Sandra Giese for "further advancing an already strong university," the University of Mount Union.

"They have truly walked the walk," said Andreani.

Sandra Giese called being named Citizen of the Year "quite a surprise."

"It was an honor for us to come here the first time, and it was even more of an honor to come back the second time," said Richard Giese of the city of Alliance.

Andreani then read and presented proclamations from Governor Kasich and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor to the Gieses, Larry Kehres and John Gross congratulating them on their awards. Sue Grove also accepted a proclamation on behalf of the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival.

Event co-chairperson Missy Miller introduced keynote speaker Tana Carli Dimino. Dimino is an Alliance native and graduate of Marlington High School and the University of Akron. She was crowned Miss Ohio in 1980 and was runner-up to Miss America.

Dimino also made history as the first full-time, female 6 and 11 news anchor in Cleveland.

"I can't begin to tell you what an honor it is for me to be here today," said Dimino. "No matter where I am, and no matter where I go, I am always so proud to say Alliance is my home."

Dimino credited her successes to the opportunities presented to her growing up in the Carnation City, especially during her dance lessons at the Bill Cassady Dance Studio.

"You really can get anywhere you want to go from Alliance, Ohio, the home of the scarlet carnation," Dimino added.

The Community Breakfast was co-chaired by Miller and Paula Foster. Charter One Bank sponsored the event.

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