I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Illinois Alumni Chapter dinner that took place during the Chicago Midwinter Dental Meeting. This was my fifth consecutive MWM meeting. I usually go to scout for speakers for the Toronto Crown and Bridge Study Club. As a past president of this very successful club, I can tell you that although it is an honor to be in a leadership position of such a prestigious organization alongside many brilliant and dedicated dentists, it does not compare to the love and emotional attachment I have for Alpha Omega. I am sure that other Alpha Omegans that have served on executive boards of other dental organizations feel the same way. As Alpha Omegans, we know that we are part of something very special and truly unique.
At the Illinois AO dinner, I spoke about the Molson Canadian beer fridge that found a prominent place during the Sochi Olympics in Canada House, a home away from home for Canadians. The bright red beer fridge, emblazoned with the maple leaf, travelled through Europe last spring as the star of a patriot ad campaign for the beer company. Of course, the trick is that the fridge can only be opened by a scan of a Canadian passport. In contrast, the Illinois AO dinner was a lovely gathering of fraters and their families, enjoying each other’s company, eating and drinking, without the requirement of a passport. We were not in Canada House, U.S.A. House, or U.K. House; we were in Alpha Omega House, where everyone was warmly received and welcomed.
Although there were many members of the Illinois alumni and the UIC student chapter present, there were many out-of-towners in attendance too. I was happy to see PIPs Sidney Tourial, Steve Kahan, Dan Uditsky, and Howard Pranikoff. Also present were Meritorious Service Award recipients Marvin Sonne, Fred Margolis, and Milt Salzer, AO Board members Mervyn Druian from London, and Convention Representative Alan Moltz from Chicago. Bob Simon, our Southern California Regent, was also able to join us. Special thanks to Alpha Omega’s dear friend and advisor Steve Kess, President of Henry Schein Cares Foundation, who made a special effort to join us and bring Henry Schein’s global communication officer, Gerard Meuchner. I was delighted to present a 50-year pin and certificate to Milt Salzer, and I had the pleasure to introduce Gilbert Chapnick from Toronto, who joined Alpha Omega in 1941 (73 years ago!) – Kol Hakavod.
Sharon and I would like to thank Louie Whitesman and Laurie Gordon-Shaw, and the other young Chicago fraters for organizing this wonderful event and making all the out-of-towners feel at home – at Alpha Omega House. It is these types of global events that re-invigorate Alpha Omegans and motivate us to do more for our fraternity, each other, and for those we help through dentistry.
I would like to thank Heidi Weber and our international office for coordinating the dinner with our Illinois fraters. I hope to see you at some of the upcoming events and programs we are planning.