Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson honored three outstanding Oakland County residents with his annual Quality People/Quality County (Q2) Awards today for their efforts to improve the quality of life of others. This year's recipients are George Mosher, co-founder of Oakland Community College; Curt Catallo, owner of Union Ad Works and popular restaurants the Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, and the Vinsetta Garage; and Erica Cale, a Clarkston-area native who at the age of 15 founded Helping Hearts Helping Hands to change the lives of poverty-stricken children and families in Honduras.
"This year's Q2 recipients are impacting the lives of thousands of people," Patterson said. "They epitomize what the award is all about - having a big vision that has a positive impact on others."
Nearly five decades ago, George Mosher had a vision of accessible and affordable educational excellence. His pioneering efforts, steady-handed stewardship and unwavering determination have made it possible for OCC to become one of America's premiere community colleges. Today, OCC is the largest community college in Michigan with five campuses across the county offering 100 two-year degree programs and 45 certificate programs. OCC is surpassed only by the University of Michigan and Wayne State University for enrollment. OCC is a partner of Oakland County's Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. It trains and instructs individuals to join the work force in Patterson's knowledge-based Emerging Sectors and Medical Main Street companies.
Curt Catallo's achievements are nothing less than exceptional. By day, he is an ad agency executive; by night, he is a popular restaurateur whose endeavors have put Oakland County on the culinary map. He is the founder of Union Ad Works whose major client is Chrysler.
However, Catallo may be best known throughout the region for his unique restaurants which serve his variations on comfort food such as the Clarkston Union and the Union Woodshop, the 2011 Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the year; the landmark Vinsetta Garage in Berkley; and the soon-to-be renovated Fenton Fire Hall. The Clarkston Union and Union Woodshop, both in Clarkston, have been featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."
At the extraordinary age of 15, Erica Cale realized her calling to be a missionary - to live her life helping others. On April 10, 2007, she established Helping Hearts Helping Hands, a family-based non-profit organization, in Honduras. Helping Hearts Helping Hands' goal is to change the lives of poverty-stricken Honduran children and families. It provides immediate assistance by delivering food, fresh water, clothing, shoes, vitamins and other needed items to Honduran villages. It provides personal care items and instruction on self-care, dental care, health, and nutrition. It helps Honduran families establish businesses that will provide a source of income to become self-sufficient. In addition, Helping Hearts Helping Hands operates a foster care home in a neighborhood where crime and gang related activity occur daily. More than five years later, while living with Lyme disease, Cale continues to live by her words, "Let's make a difference together, every prayer and every person can help." For more information about her mission, or to assist Helping Hearts Helping Hands, go to HelpingHeartsHelpingHands.org.
The awards breakfast was held at the Centerpoint Marriott in Pontiac. McLaren Health Care CEO Phil Incarnati introduced Patterson while the Rev. Kent Clark, pastor of Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac, delivered the invocation. A record number of more than 300 guests attended the breakfast.
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