Outstanding Mahoning County families have been recognized every year since 1963.
By PHIL NOVAK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Ode Aduma is perhaps best known as a reporter for WKBN Channel 27, where he has worked since 1972, or as the host of "Sunday Mornings with Ode."
Or maybe he's best known for his involvement with numerous organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Urban League.
But at the Canfield Fair, Aduma and his family, from Youngstown, and the Ohlins of Springfield will be recognized as Mahoning County's Outstanding Families.
"I was surprised," he said. "You just do things that you feel need to be done for the community. I was telling them that all my kids are grown and spread out all over the country."
But rearing those kids is an accomplishment in itself. Aduma and his wife, Nalungo, have four grown children: Nyarinda, Kenyetta, Ayodele and Enaya. They also have three grandchildren.
"They just thought we did well with our children," Mrs. Aduma said. "We're very active," she said, noting that her children were involved in almost everything.
Mrs. Aduma works for the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown and is heavily involved with her church, the Berean Fellowship in Youngstown. Her husband was a member of the Ohio State University Extension Board, Mill Creek Metro Volunteer Bike Patrol and an adviser to the 4-H Bicycle Club.
The Ohlins: Joyce Ohlin said she was awestruck when she heard the news.
"I was asked to put this application in last year, and then asked to update it in spring, but I just let it go," she said. "I never thought about it again."
Mrs. Ohlin has a long history of volunteer work in the community. She was a treasurer with the 4-H advisory committee. She and her husband, Rudy, helped at the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen in Youngstown, and they worked at the Pop Shop Restaurant at the Canfield Fair for 25 years.
They won an award in 1994 for their service to the Pop Shop, a shaded picnic area that has offered inexpensive food at the fair for more than 30 years.
She has a long history with the fair. She has been secretary and treasurer for the 4-H complex, and the Ohlins husband used to have a farm market at the fair.
Their expertise was raising squash and pumpkins.
"My two boys were in the Guinness Book of Records for nine years for raising the longest gourd," Mrs. Ohlin said. "My kids also helped decorate pumpkins for the pumpkin barn."
The Ohlins have seven children: Kathy, Russell, Mary, Mark, Randy, Tina and Ann. All were involved with 4-H when they were younger.
Since 1963: The Ohio State University Extension Office in Mahoning County and the Mahoning County Extension Advisory Committee have sponsored and selected the Outstanding Mahoning County Families every year since 1963.
Winners receive free admission to the fair, passes to the evening show, a luncheon, fair jackets, proclamations from local legislators, flowers for the parents and a plaque.