July 28, 2020 – Stevie Ann Kremer, Author of Miracle of Miracles, a Holocaust Survival Story PLUS Memorial Education Assistance Awards Presented – WOW!

Greg Griffin introduced Stevie Ann Kremer, the author of Miracle of Miracles: A Dayton, Ohio Man’s Story of Holocaust Survival.

Kremer is a long-time Centerville resident and a graduate of Wright State University and Indiana University. She served as a long-term substitute teacher at Centerville High School.

View Kremer’s slide deck here

Click on this article for more details about Kremer’s presentation.

In early 2018, Kremer began working with Samuel Heider to document his survival of the Holocaust. She was able to finish the book before he died in November 2019 at 95 years of age. Kremer said, “Heider is Dayton’s last death camp Holocaust survivor. Sam, ever the optimist, was both delighted and relieved that his story was finally in print.”

The book is based on stories told to Kremer by her subject, Samuel Heider. Kremer said, “Heider was adamant that there would be no embellishments in the book, only the truths of his life as a Jewish farmer in Poland who survived five different concentration camps, two of which were death camps.”

Sam was born in 1924 in the tiny town of Biejkow, Poland, the third of six children. At the age of 17, his entire family perished in the gas chambers of Treblinka.

The 5 concentration camps Samuel Heider survived

  • Radom
  • Auschwitz (where Heider faced Dr. Josef Mengele)
  • Vaihingen
  • Hessental
  • Dachau

On April 30, 1945, while weighing just 74 pounds, Samuel Heider was freed as American tanks arrived. In December 1949, the American Consulate told him as a displaced person he could go anywhere. He chose America, the “Land of Freedom.” He arrived in America on December 13, 1949, and made his way to Dayton where he spent the rest of his long life.

If you Google “Samuel Heider” you will find several articles and speeches he presented at Wright State University and the Air Force Museum as well as his surprise Bar Mitzvah at the age of 94 that was broadcast all over the world via ABC News!


Kremer promised Heider that she would continue to tell his story. She left us with one word, “Zachor,” a Hebrew word that means “remember,” especially pertaining to the Holocaust.

Ways to obtain the book

  • Email me writer@gmail.com
  • Purchase it on Amazon, search for ‘Sam Heider”
  • Buy it at any of Kremer’s book signings

2020 Educational Assistance Awards

The following are notes from Gary Smiga.

The qualifications for our Educational Assistance award are as follows:

  • Be a graduating high school senior that will be attending a college/university offering a two/four-year degree upon the completion of an accredited program.
  • Be a resident of Centerville/Washington Township.
  • Have a strong record of participation in community service activities.
  • Possess a financial need as affirmed by the FAFSA.

Before I introduce this year’s winners, I would like to recognize the committee who read the applications and made this year’s selections; Gail Aiken, Will Cale, Bob Duffy, and Roberta Taylor.

I would also like to thank the Board of Directors for budgeting funds to support this scholarship program, as well as our 314 Centerville Noon Optimist Club members for having worked in the various fund raising activities to allow for this program and many of the others that we do to be a reality.

This year we have 3 award winners.  They are Elizabeth Sparks, Madison Earnest, and Kristen Bell.

At this time, I would like to tell you somethings about each one of them.

Elizabeth Sparks

Elizabeth attended Centerville High School and she is ranked 100th in a senior class of 680 students with a GPA of 4.18.

Elizabeth’s Extracurricular and Community Service Activities include:

  • French Club
  • Poetry Club serving as Vice President for 2 years
  • Eclipse Art and Literary Magazine
  • Theatre/STAGE Club
  • Diversity Council
  • By His Hands Hot Meal Ministry

Elizabeth will be attending either Flagler College or Sinclair Community College.

Madison Earnest

Madison attended Centerville High School and she is ranked 70th in a senior class of 680 students with a GPA of 4.3667.

Madison’s Extracurricular and Community Service Activities include:

  • National Honor Society
  • Cross Country where she earned a sportsmanship and most dedicated awards
  • Centerville Orchestra where she earned a most spirited award
  • Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
  • Student Council
  • The Student Rep to the Centerville Board of Education
  • Lunch Buddies
  • Spirit Chain

Madison also worked McDonalds, Kings NY Pizzeria and Outback Steakhouse.

Madison will be attending the Ohio State University.  After college she would like to serve the United States in the State Department or the United Nations.

Kristen Bell

Kristen attended Centerville High School and she is ranked 26th in a senior class of 680 students with a GPA of 4.6177.

Kristen’s Extracurricular and Community Service Activities include:

  • National Honor Society where she served as an officer
  • Swim Team where she earned most improved honors in 2020
  • Spanish Honor Society
  • SADD where she served as President
  • Elk Connectors
  • BOLD
  • Pie Club
  • Girl Scouts
  • Octagon Club
  • Study Buddies

Kristen also worked at the Goldfish Swim School and Black Oak Swim Club.

Kristen will be attending the Ohio State University and will major in Psychology.


Each of our recipients will be receiving a $1500 check that they can use towards the cost of attendance at the university they have chosen.

This award is renewable for a second year with a continued financial need, continued involvement in school, community or faith-based activities, and a freshman grade point average of at least a 3.0.

Elizabeth, Madison and Kristen, we are all very proud of you and we wish the best as you continue your studies.

About the CNO Educational Assistance Awards

The following are notes from Gary Smiga.

The award is given in the memory of the individuals that have passed away while active members of our club.  The following individuals exemplified what it meant to give back to your community with their service and character.

  • Tom Frazier- 1994
  • Tom Craig- 1994
  • Denise Goeckel- 1998
  • Dick Lewin- 2002
  • Corwin Robinson- 2005
  • Steve Fisher- 2007
  • Dave Petree- 2007
  • Jim Hawley- 2010
  • Margaret Barclay- 2010
  • Tom Gravlin- 2013
  • Terry Blair-2014
  • Dave Milam- 2014
  • Ken Bluhm- 2015
  • John Hughes- 2015
  • Mike Hayes- 2015
  • Wes Hamdan- 2016
  • Tim Gibson- 2017
  • Linda Fisher- 2017
  • Brent Moore- 2018
  • Chuck Dickerson- 2018
  • Ed Case- 2019
  • Jeff Brown- 2020

Please join me in a moment of silence as we remember these fine individuals.

2020 Educational Assistance Awards Renewals

The following are notes from Gary Smiga.

I am pleased to be able to reintroduce to you 3 Memorial Educational Assistance Award recipients from last year.

To be eligible for a second award the students submitted a completed FAFSA to substantiate a continued financial need; an official transcript from their college or university that shows an end of freshman year GPA of 3.0 or higher; and a short outline of their continued participation and involvement in school, community or faith-based activities.

Our 3 students are:

Nicholas Reibly

Nicholas completed his freshman year at University of Findlay with a GPA of 3.62.  Nicholas played on Findlay’s Football team; volunteered for Dayton Strong, organizing and collecting donations for the victims of the Oregon District Shooting; participated in a University of Findlay community service project moving boxes and equipment at a local YMCA; provided classroom readings to elementary school students; assisted with the University Helping Hands Food Drive; and assisted neighbors during the Covid-19 pandemic with their landscaping needs and grocery shopping.  Nicholas is majoring in education.

Madeline Mills

Madeline completed her freshman year at Purdue University with a GPA of 3.78.  Madeline joined A Cause for Paws, a service organization that assists local animal shelters; joined a Bible Study and maintained involvement in a local church; was involved in Purdue’s Women in Engineering; and the chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, where she serves as a member of their Outreach Committee where she led an effort to hold events at local elementary schools, conducting experiments and activities to teach kids what chemical engineering is all about.

Tonja Kaissieh

Tonja completed her freshman year at Ohio State University with a GPA of 4.0.  Tonja has participated in the Honors Program; joined the Buckeye Student Nurses Association; joined Circle K which provided leadership training for campus and community members; joined College Mentors for Kids; and joined Sigma Epsilon Phi, a Greek Orthodox Christian based organization that supports various church events and local communities that includes sandwich making nights for soup kitchens.

Tonja is majoring in Nursing with the goal of becoming a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner.

Each of the students have received a $1500 check made out to their universities for them to submit toward tuition, fees, or book expenses that they will have this coming academic year.

Please join me in a warm round of applause for the outstanding students.


Jack QuinlanJuly 28
Sandy StevensJuly 28
Dan BeckJuly 29
Steve LinderJuly 30
James SchumacherJuly 30
John PowellJuly 30

Membership Anniversaries

MemberMonthDayJoined# Years
Donna RobinsonJuly287/28/199723
Kathy McAlpineJuly317/31/20182
Myron RheaumeAugust18/1/198733

Happy Bucks

No Happy Bucks this week.

Thank You Notes sent to CNO

No Thank You Notes received this week.

CNO Donations 2013 through June 2020

Click this link to see a summary of the donations our club has made.

Over 50 years, we have donated close to $2,000,000 to our youth community. In the past 6 years, we have donated nearly $753,000.

Sergeants at Arms

No Sergeants this week.

Welcome Guests!

No Guests this week.

New Member Readings and Inductions

No Readings or Inductions this week.

Zoom Meeting This Week

We had another meeting using Zoom. We will continue our weekly meetings via computer, cell phone or tablet for at least the next several weeks. Please join us and keep inviting guests.

Who can Attend Zoom Meetings?

Any member of any type of Centerville Noon Optimist can attend Zoom meetings. CNO 2.0, St Leonard’s and CNO full members or CNO monthly members can ALL attend.

Guests are also welcome. Please invite guests and introduce them if you like. Just share the Zoom link with them for that week.


In keeping with social distancing requirements – our CNO Meetings have transitioned temporarily to a online format using ZOOM.

Club Member Joe Madden was inspired to rewrite The Optimist Creed – so we give you now – The Corona Creed -with apologies to Christian D. Larson, Author of The Optimist Creed.