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January 26th, 2015 No comments


2019 Honoring Hometown Heroes

October 18, 2019: Michael Angelo’s Winery in Richfield, Ohio

The FBI Cleveland Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBICLECAAA) is a nonprofit public service organization focused on creating safer communities across Northeast Ohio and promoting a greater understanding and support of the FBI. We achieve our mission, in part, by improving understanding and encouraging appreciation of law enforcement among citizens and community leaders.

The FBICLECAAA believes it is important to promote awareness of local heroes who have performed selfless acts in the interest of others. The annual Honoring Hometown Heroes event was established by the FBICLECAAA to provide recognition of incredible individuals in four categories:

Safety Forces Hero

Detective Dan Smith

Detective Smith joined the Cleveland Division of Police in 2008 after serving in Iraq and as a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps to continue to make a difference in the lives of the people he encounters every day. He is currently a member of the Neighborhood Impact Community Engagement Unit which targets violent offenders while working collaboratively within the community. He has also served in the Third District and Gang Impact Unit. When off-duty, Detective Smith regularly volunteers his time working with at-risk kids to help them acquire necessary life skills such as first aid, vehicle maintenance, and how to present yourself at a job interview. Detective Smith’s work with the Cleveland Division of Police and his volunteer work helping kids stay on-track in terms of education, graduation, and employment has made a lasting impact on his community.

Citizen Hero

Jason Zakrajsek

As a 5th degree Master of Kuk Sul Do, Jason has been a martial arts competitor, instructor, and owner of the Chagrin Falls Kuk Sul Do Academy for over 20 years. Jason utilizes his skill in martial arts and compassion for children as an anti-bullying trainer in local schools. Although self-defense lessons are part of his program, the majority of his training teaches that confrontations can be resolved with verbal assertion, de-escalation, or simply walking away. Jason has made our community a better place by volunteering his time at Great Cleveland Family Centers, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, walk-to-school events, and the Two Foundation serving children with special needs. Jason’s leadership, passion, and tireless efforts to help empower children and families has truly made Cleveland a better place.

Unsung Hero

Joyce Fetzer

Joyce serves as the Administrator of Perry Township, President of the Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority, and as a member of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association, Ohio Public Employers Labor Relation Association, and Stark County Township Association. Last year, a retired Perry Township police officer was diagnosed with two forms of breast cancer. Although the officer had insurance, there are numerous incidentals that insurance does not cover. To help the retired officer in need, Joyce co-chaired a fundraiser that raised $30,000 to help defer her expenses. Today, the officer is cancer free. Then shortly after Memorial Day, Joyce met a disadvantaged mother with two twin daughters who had recently been displaced and left homeless. Joyce not only secured them immediate housing at the Massillon Family Center, but was able to find them a house to live in within 30 days, and collected donated food, clothing, and household items for the family. These are just some of Joyce’s recent acts of kindness that make our community a great place to live.

Community Leader Hero

Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons

Judge Fitzsimmons is a true Cleveland gem. As a young lawyer, she worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Cleveland FBI to convict Angelo “Big Ange” Lonardo and five of his subordinates, which led to the prosecution of the mob in major cities across the country. Based upon that success, she was appointed Deputy Counsel to President Reagan’s Commission on Organized Crime prior to being elected to the municipal court bench in 1993. Judge Fitzsimmons has also improved our community by working tirelessly for local women who were victims of violent crimes, stalking, and who struggle with drug addiction, working for the Cuyahoga County Committee on Violence Against Women, the Domestic Violence Center, the Women’s Center of Greater Cleveland, and the Emerald Jenny Foundation. Judge Fitzsimmons’ leadership, advocacy, and involvement have been extremely important for our community.

The 2019 Keynote Speaker will be Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Ret. Michael T. Hall.

CSM Hall is a decorated combat veteran with over 34 years of service to the US Army and Special Operations. He has decades of real-world experience relating to special operations, counter-insurgencies, asymmetrical and irregular warfare. Hall served over 20 years with the 75th Ranger Regiment and is the only soldier to have held the senior enlisted position at the Ranger Regiment, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). After retirement from the Army, he took this experience and applied it to coaching and mentoring executives at organizations including The Lockheed Martin Company and The McChrystal Group, as an independent consultant and coach to several CEO’s, and as Chief of Staff, North American Sales, at the Scotts Miracle Gro Company. Hall possesses an extensive awards portfolio reflecting stellar job performance, team building efforts, high quality standards, and profound impact in achieving organizational goals and objectives.

The event will be held at Michael Angelo’s Winery on October 18, 2019 at 5:00 PM. The event will be MCed by WKYC’s Lynna Lai, with the National Anthem performed by Laura Pedersen. You do not need to be a member to attend, and we encourage you to invite your friends and associates.

For registration and sponsorship opportunities, click here.


Thank you to our 2019 Honoring Hometown Heroes sponsors for their generous support:

Bert, Mike, and the Kennedy Family

World Synergy

Markers, Inc.

Brad Roller

Ryan and Diana Marvar