• Community leader as trustee – acting with integrity, faith and confidence on behalf of the community.
  • Catalyst for creation of positive County leadership; demonstrates dedication to strengthening and transforming community leadership.
  • Commitment to and involvement in Lorain County
  • Exemplifies strong service and civic leadership.
  • Generous in giving of time and support

Winner of Pulse Magazine’s Best Charitable Event 2018

Leadership Lorain County works alongside brilliant leaders every day. These leaders make a meaningful impact in this community. Year after year, Leadership Lorain County honors individuals and an organization who have touched lives, spurred economic growth and/or made a meaningful impact in Lorain County. Our celebration culminates in our annual Difference Makers Gala!

Recognized as the top award given by Leadership Lorain County, The Eric Nord Award for Excellence in Community Leadership recognizes a distinguished citizen and community leader who has given extraordinary amounts of time and talent to the community and exemplifies service and civic support.

Nominees for this award are individuals who have acted with integrity, faith and confidence on behalf of the community, as well as being a Catalyst for creation of positive County leadership.  The nominees for this award are those who have exemplified outstanding service and civic leadership, and have been significantly generous in giving of time and support.

Former Recipients:
1996 Eric T. Nord
1998 Dr. Roy Church
2000 Beth K. Stocker
2002 Scrib Fauver
2004 Billy Rowland
2005 John S. Corogin
2006 Stanley G. Pijor
2007 Jane Nord
2008 James Kidd
2009 Lee C. Howley
2010 Dr. Denis Radefeld
2011 Betty Blair
2012 J. Daniel Martin
2013 Gail Stumphauzer
2014 Brian Frederick
2015 Cecilia H. Render
2016 William Harper
2017 Edwin Oley
2018 Matthew W. Nakon, Esq.
2019 Thomas D. stuber

In honor of Leadership Lorain County’s 30th Anniversary, a new award for a young professional was established for the 2015 Difference Makers.  Geared towards individuals aged forty-five and younger, this recipient must have demonstrated integrity, honor, service, and transformative leadership in Lorain County.

Former Recipients:
2015 Juliana Chase-Morefield
2016 Farnaz Ansari Berna
2017 Gregory Willey
2018 Catherine Woskobnick
2018 Catherine Woskobnick
2019 Danielle M. Locke
2020 Stacie starr
Kass Crooker
Jack Lavriha
Betsy Manderen
Sister Annamae Murphy
Denis A. Radefeld, M.D.
Judge Joseph Girigiano
Maureen Ross Cromling
Ted Jacobs
Alice Weston
Community Foundtion Of
Lorain County
Paul Balcolm
Michael & Lisa Bramhall
Evelyn France
Dr. Alex & Maria Zolli
Lorain County Metro Parks
John D. Beckett
Benjamin G. & Jane Norton
Dr. Florencio & Lily Yuzon
Lorain County
Community College
Leonard Deluca
William T. Locke
Joan Lowry
Elyria Rotary Club
Joel P. Arredondo
David L. Herzer
Bishop A. James Quinn
Easter Seals Northern Ohio
Kathryn C. Boylan
Terry D. Goode
Gerald E. Skully
Douglas B. Wilber
Big Brothers Big Sisters Of
Lorain County
Larry A. Bettcher
Frank P. Detillio
El Centro
De Servicios Sociales
Donald Knechtges
Marvin Krislov
Neighborhood Alliance
Donald Sheldon, M.D.
Michael & Dina Ferrer
The Lcada Way
Claudia Jones
100 Women Who Care About Lorain County Founding
Members: Susan Bowers,
Marcia Miller, Nancy Sullivan
& Libby Thuning
Polyone Corporation
Rex Engle
Charles & Alyce Horton
Lorain County JVS
Rick Grahovac
Kevin J. Flanigan
Marilyn Zeidner
Chicks Against Hunger
Patricia O’brien
Sheriff Phil Stammitti
Stephanie Wiersma
Blessing House
Anthony Gallo
Jeanine Donaldson
The Ross Group of companies
Barbara Thomas
Victor Leandry
Nordson Corporation Foundation
clare cygan young
david & noelia nodal
the nord center

Barb Piscopo

Barb Piscopo currently serves as the Executive Director of the Lorain Historical Society.  During her time there, she has come to learn much about the history of the City and its rich tradition as “The International City”.  What she is most passionate about in her work is helping people to envision a future for the City, one that is respectful of its past but that is eager to embrace the opportunities that the future holds.

Prior to coming to Lorain, Barb owned several businesses.  One was a sales and marketing company called OmniAccess and the others were in the food service industry.  “What I loved most about being a business owner was the ability to shape an identity for each business that went far beyond the logos or the branding.  Businesses are like people—they have a core identity that combines the vision the owner(s) have for the business with the unique niche that sets that business apart from all others in the industry.”

Barb’s “first career” was in secondary education.  As a high school principal, she led two schools to attain the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award from the US Department of Education.  She attributes that award to the fact that the entire school community – staff, parents, teachers and students – was able to come together and organically develop a vision for academic excellence that was unique to each community in which the schools were located.  “When I was younger”, Barb reminisces, “I never really thought that the person in charge made any difference to an organization.  What I’ve come to realize is the fact that nothing could be further from the truth.  It is the task of the leader to bring people together and help them to articulate what they see as their preferred future.  Combining that with best practices in the industry, the leader works to help people shape that mission and vision into goals and strategies that lead them to attain that future.”  As it says in Proverbs, “Without a vision the people perish.”  Not only is the leader critical to helping to shape the vision, but the leader is there, each and every day, to help people bring that vision to fruition.

Former Recipients:
1996 Eric T. Nord
1998 Dr. Roy Church
2000 Beth K. Stocker
2002 Scrib Fauver
2004 Billy Rowland
2005 John S. Corogin
2006 Stanley G. Pijor
2007 Jane Nord
2008 James Kidd
2009 Lee C. Howley
2010 Dr. Denis Radefeld
2011 Betty Blair
2012 J. Daniel Martin
2013 Gail Stumphauzer
2014 Brian Frederick
2015 Cecilia H. Render
2016 William Harper
2017 Edwin Oley
2018 Matthew W. Nakon, Esq.
2019 Thomas D. stuber

Rey Carrion:

Rey Carrion serves as Director of Facility Services for Kendal at Oberlin, a vibrant, diverse, and caring retirement community that focuses on healthy aging.  Mr. Carrion brings 20+ years of urban planning, construction management and community development experience to his position at Kendal.  He previously served as the director of Community Development for the City of Lorain.

Mr. Carrion’s experience allows him to deeply understand the Lorain County community and its needs.  He showcases this experience as the 6th Ward Councilman for the City of Lorain, where he also serves as the Chairman of the Federal Programs Committee and is a member of the Finance and Parks & Recreation Committees. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greater Cleveland and the Light Up Lorain Committee.  Rey was instrumental in the development of the Pipe Yard Stadium in Lorain.  Rey began serving on the Community Foundation Board in 2014 and is currently the Governance Committee Chair. He is also actively involved in his church, Sacred Heart Chapel, and the grassroots organization he recently created, Friends of South Lorain.

Rey was born in Puerto Rico and currently lives in Lorain with his wife, Orquidia.  They have two grown children, Rey Jr., Cleveland Clinic police officer, and Alexis Carrion, RN Mercy Hospital.  He is also the proud grandfather of Isabel, Hayden and Camila, who is expected to arrive in April of 2021!


Dr. John W. Schaeffer:

John Schaeffer was born November 26, 1945, in Detroit Michigan. His father, Roy Schaeffer, a Navy captain, returned from the Pacific World War II and married Jean Stewart, from Pontiac Michigan, John’s mother.  John was their first of four children and he was born in Detroit in November of 1945. Roy was discharged from the service in 1947 and returned to Lorain Ohio which was his home for many years. The family owned both Beaver Park Marinas on Beavercreek since John’s grandfather William Schaeffer made the initial purchase in 1921. These two marinas would be very essential and important in John’s life. The Marinas have remained in the Schaeffer family ownership, now approaching their 100 years’ anniversary. This is where John learned his Sailor’s philosophy of life:  “Since you can’t Change the Direction of the Wind, Learn to Adjust Your Sails.”


John’s educational career started in the Amherst Schools System and he graduated cum laude in 1963. Following high school John graduated cum laude from the College of Wooster in 1967 and cum laude from the Ohio State College of Medicine in 1971. He then completed his internship, residency, and cardiology fellowship at the University of Colorado under the leadership of Gilbert Blount MD, a world -recognized leader in congenital and acquired valvular heart disease.

John returned home in 1976 to establish his cardiology practice in Lorain County.  At the time there was only one other cardiologist in Lorain County, and John’s goal was to establish a large group practice that was capable of being the cardiology team to lead the delivery of high-quality, excellent patient oriented, top-notch, appropriate cardiovascular care. At the peak of his career he had a total of 50 physicians, 10 nurse practitioners, and 300 employees working in the organization he founded, North Ohio Heart Center. John was instrumental in creating a focus and took a leadership role in the very important aspects of optimal healthcare delivery. These include:  TBC – “Team Based Care,” and EMR – Electronic Medical Record systems, that would capture all the necessary important medical data, outcomes, performance measures.  This would lead to the attribution and documentation of “providing the right care, to the right patient, by the right provider and achieving optimal outcomes, performance measurements, and patient and provider satisfaction.”. North Ohio Heart center has ALWAYS taken a national leadership role in these areas of healthcare delivery.

This optimal healthcare delivery commitment has led John to take a number of leadership positions within the local, state, and national medical community to achieve these goals. He has held leadership positions in local hospitals and the Lorain County Medical Society. At the state level he has been past governor of the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, as well as serving that organization in leadership roles for many years. At the national level,  the American College of Cardiology, he also served in many roles including: Chairman of the Economics of Healthcare, the Advocacy Committee, and the Coding and Documentation Committees, giving him extensive experience in healthcare delivery that would ultimately be very beneficial to his home community.

John married Susan Engelhardt in 1969 and they have two children. Matthew Schaeffer is a primary care doctor in the Ohio Medical Group, also associated with North Ohio Heart Center, as well as a sports medicine physician and team doctor for Oberlin College sports teams. His wife Cristal is the Oberlin College physician. They have three children and live in Oberlin. John and Susan’s second son, Andrew, is a social worker in the Intensive Care Unit at Swedish Hospital in Denver. His wife Katie works for the University of Colorado in pediatric education and healthy living. They have two children and live in Colorado.


Marsalis L. Hammons:           

Marsalis Hammons is a resilient leader, speaker, and artist. Hammons, being a first generational college student and having an upbringing in Elyria, Ohio, was inspired to start an organization that would lead others towards opportunities to make a positive change within their community. In 2018, Hammons founded Leaders of Today Inc., a registered 501-(c) 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide high school students with tools and resources to promote positive leadership in the classroom, locker room, and community.

Hammons earned his bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University in August 2018 where he double majored in Marketing and Human Resources, and minored in Black Studies. In addition to Leaders of Today, Hammons has supported companies in the private and public sector. Currently, Hammons works fulltime for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) Human Resource Department as a Talent Management Partner. Hammons supports district recruitment, on-boarding, and manages a district-wide employee resource group titled Men of Color Shaping Academics (MOCHA) which is designed to recruit and retain men of color educators within CMSD.

In his role, Hammons co-designed a marketing and engagement strategy for the MOCHA initiative which resulted in a $28,000 grant received from the Ohio Department of Education within his first month on the job.

Through diverse work experiences, Hammons has built skills in brand design, program development, grant writing, and public speaking. Overall, his up-bringing in Elyria has inspired him to pursue a career in urban planning with a focus in community development. Hammons is committed to advancing the quality of life and equitable access for underserved populations in the City of Elyria and Lorain.

Hammons is currently earning a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Development from Cleveland State University where he is expected to graduate in spring 2022. Hammons currently serves on the United Way of Greater Lorain County board of directors’ and is a devoted community servant who strives to live by the affirmation, “we must be the positive change that we wish to see in our community.”


Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio

Mission Statement

Grow hope in our region by creating pathways to nutritious food.

Vision Statement

A brighter future for all by cultivating a healthy, hunger-free community.

35 Years of Growing Hope

It all started with a man named John Van Hengel. In 1967, John volunteered in the soup kitchen of a Catholic church in Phoenix. He bought an old milk delivery truck and used it gather citrus fruit gleaned from farmer’s fields which he delivered to the soup kitchen and homeless missions. When he realized the volume of food that was being thrown away by farmers and grocery stores, his goal was to create a more efficient method to distribute food. So, with a $3,000 donation from St. Mary’s church and a donated building – food banking was started.

John named the first food bank St. Mary’s Food Bank in honor of that first donation and went on to create what is now Feeding America, the national food bank network, and also the international version, the Global Food Bank Network.

The concept of food banking reached eastward in the late 70s and early 80s. As the country was gripped by a recession in the early 80s, a local group of concerned citizens led by Jeptha Carroll, Eric Nord and Evan Nord created the County Cupboard. At that time they viewed it has a temporary solution.

In our earliest days we were in a storefront in Vermilion, next to what is now Fifth Third Bank, and later moved to the site on Leavitt Road, where distribution continued to expand. Our first truck was purchased through the Buck for a Truck campaign – spearheaded by the Stocker Foundation. In the mid-90s, the board changed the name from County Cupboard to Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, and undertook an ambitious campaign to build a new facility. We were the first food bank in the state to build a facility of its kind.

The Deer Trail facility moved distribution from providing just over a million meals to more than six million, at the time we moved our current facility.

When the recession hit in earnest in 2008, the board and staff were in the midst of strategic planning. At that time, we believed we would start considering a new facility in 2013. But as the foreclose crisis spiraled and lay-offs increased, the numbers of people needing our help grew. In 2008 we served 31,000 people per month through the food pantry network; at the end of 2016 it was 49,000 people.

This new normal – this higher level – has been sustained over the past six years and shows no sign of receding.

So, in 2010 a site selection committee was formed and so began the five-year process of raising the funds, making the plans and constructing our new facility.

The capacity we have gained has allowed us to operate effectively and efficiently. Distribution has increased by 10 percent. Second Harvest has more volunteers than ever.

New Nordson Food Distribution Center

More Capacity. More Impact. Less Hunger.

Over the past 10 years, Second Harvest has tripled distribution of food and grocery products to our network of partner charities. Many children, senior citizens, veterans, and families living on fixed incomes are trying to make ends meet in an economy that is struggling to recover.

Operations began June 1, 2015, from the Nordson Food Distribution Center, situated on over 5 acres of land on Baumhart Road in Lorain. We have tripled our capacity and increased our ability to provide healthy and nutritious food to our neighbors in need. Our new facility features:

  • Nearly 6,000 square feet of refrigeration space with 7x the capacity.
  • Increased dry storage space by 60%.
  • Volunteer Work Center for expanded projects, with a separate “clean room” for bulk sorting and packaging of backpacks, senior food boxes and mobile food pantry boxes.
  • Four times the dock space to accommodate greatly expanded shipping & receiving
  • Separate area for multiple partner charity pick-ups.
  • Multiple meeting rooms for small and large meetings with audio-visual capabilities.

We have done much good for those who struggle with hunger, but in the past – because of our severely limited capacity – we were not able to keep up with demand. Now, we will be able to provide eggs all year-long, not just from November until June. Now, we can accept full shipments of oranges in January when local fruit is unavailable. Now, we don’t have to turn away donations from local farmers who have unexpected surplus at the end of their growing season. Now, we can fulfill more orders for schools that have children who can benefit from the kids BackPack program. Now, we can offer more high protein foods like yogurt, deli items and poultry. With triple the capacity, the possibilities are endless!

Make no mistake. Our goal is to do everything we can to end hunger in our region. It makes the most sense to prepare and plan correctly and take every step because it is the most judicious, strategic and logical path towards fulfilling our mission of sourcing and providing food to those in our region who struggle with hunger.

As we review our past, we are humbled to report that we’ve been able to distribute over 118 million pounds of food, which is almost 99 million meals. Just as we know that this would not have happened without the help of so many caring and generous supporters, we realize that to reach all those in our area who are food insecure, we need your help. We believe that together we are doing even more than just feeding people. We are Growing Hope.