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Police motorcade, community honor Bulldog grad’s ‘home’ coming: Olmsted Dates and Data

OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — The honor escort bringing Micala Christie-Hicks Siler home Sunday afternoon (Oct. 11) solemnly drove by St. Mary of the Falls Church. It is where her parents, Michael and Celeste Hicks, brought Micala and her six siblings to worship and serve as they grew up in the community.

Micala, a 1997 Bulldog graduate, tragically died while running in Kyiv, Ukraine. She lived there with her husband, Jason, and their children, Keira, Noelle, Cheyenne and Natalie.

Parishioners John and Margaret Dascoli wanted to show their respect for Micala and her family. They stood, among others, along Bagley Road across from the church as the honor escort passed.

“Our hearts are broken for the family,” Margaret said. “Micala was a beautiful person.”

That is a testimony to the entire family. Margaret said that when her family faced medical issues, Mike and Celeste often sent cards and encouragement. Mike, a Eucharistic minister, brought the sacrament to John for weeks following a hospital stay.

The Hicks’ love of faith, family and country blossomed in Micala, the oldest of her siblings. Her published obituary says it best, as noted here: She earned a nomination to West Point, from which she graduated, and served in the United States, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. She was the first woman to graduate from the “demanding” Sapper Leadership Course and became Jump Master certified.

She met Jason, who was also in the Army. They married on the Fourth of July, 2009. Wanting to continue serving the world after the military, Micala became the executive director of A Family for Every Orphan, an international non-governmental organization. It is dedicated to finding loving families for orphans in their home country.

Micala understood the importance of family; Mike and Celeste fostered several children. They also adopted two children.

Micala’s obituary sparkles with her love of life; not just hers, but those she met. You may read it by going to the family’s Ever Loved tribute, bit.ly/36TWa5w.

She inspired five of her six siblings to enter the Army.

The community knew that Micala exemplified the Bulldog Spirit. Several friends, former teachers and those who just wanted to help tied hundreds of yellow ribbons on trees, bridges and telephone poles for her return.

As one of them said: “The community wanted to show what a wonderful person Micala was. Knowing her and her family for many years, she had a heart of absolute gold. She was the best of the best. She made an incredible impact on this world and will be missed. Living my every day as she would have is the least I can do.”

Micala’s funeral Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Oct. 24 at St. Mary of the Falls Church. Reservations must be made. It will be live-streamed for those unable to attend.

Donations may be made to her organization by going to afamilyforeveryorphan.org/give. Direct financial support for the family is available at support.thesilers.com.

So many people left endearing messages on her facebook page and the Ever Loved website. Our deepest condolences to Micala’s husband, children, family, extended family and friends. Her legacy is one that we should all strive to emulate.

Animal blessings: Bear, a 5-year-old Siberian husky, paced just a bit while waiting his turn for the sprinkling of holy water. He was one of about 15 dogs and their human families attending the annual pet blessing at St. Mary of the Falls Church last week.

Man blessing animals

Deacon Rich Mueller performs the Blessing of the Animals outside St. Mary of the Falls Church. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special to cleveland.com)

Deacon Rich Mueller led the service, which commemorates St. Francis of Assisi.

“St. Francis of Assisi reportedly loved animals, and the animals loved him,” he said. “This is fitting, since he is the patron saint of animals and it is his feast day.”

Dianne Cox of Olmsted Township brought Bear, as she has done in the past. She grew up in Cleveland’s Our Lady of Angels parish, where Franciscan monks served the community.

“I have always had a real connection with St. Francis of Assisi,” she said. “He had a love of animals. I think we are blessed, so why not animals?”

Samson, a 10-week-old golden retriever/Great Pyrenees mix, brought part of his human family, Julie Mallory and two of her children, Kyle and Claire. The family had just adopted Samson the day before and Julie said she thought the blessing would be a great way to start their lives together. Claire had another reason.

Deacon sprinkling water on puppy.

Samson, a 10-week-old golden retriever/Great Pyrenees mix, begins to jiggle as holy water reaches his nose. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special to cleveland.com)

“Deacon Rich baptizes all of us kids. So why not Samson, too?”

Families kept their social distance during the service but, at times, the animals, well, they just wanted to get to know the pets standing next to them.

Yard cleanup: The annual Community Clean Up Day is Nov. 14. This community effort involves many groups, including Boy and Girl Scouts, Kiwanis, schools and others, in raking leaves at homes of senior citizens or those in need of help. The deadline for this free service is Oct. 30.

To sign up or if you have questions, contact Sandra Graham at slgwhit@cox.net or 440-235-2588.

Pet Halloween contest: The Olmsted Falls Kiwanis Club is sponsoring an online photo contest for pets wearing their Halloween costumes. The categories are scariest, cutest and most original costume. Photos must be submitted on the Kiwanis facebook page no later than 3 p.m. Oct. 16. The website is at facebook.com/OFKiwanis.

You may vote for your favorite animal and costume beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 16. Each vote costs $1. Voting ends at noon Oct. 31.

The contest is a fundraiser for Kiwanis, a group that gives back to the community in so many ways. Winners will be announced Halloween night.

Don’t paws — get your photos in now. Entering a photo is free.

Kampus Kudos: Some Bulldog grads and residents experienced commencement during the summer semester from Ohio University.

They are Erin Bowman and Reanna Dieckman, Bachelor of Arts; Dylan Briggs, Associate in Arts; Michael Caja and Jacqualynn Cavinee, Bachelor of Science in nursing; and Alec Sims, Bachelor of Business Administration.

Congratulations and best wishes for a bright future.

Public service: The Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter offers educational programs for anyone interested in learning more about memory issues of their loved ones or themselves.

My husband and I attended one of its free programs, entitled The 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s, when we realized his mother had dementia issues. It gave us great insight into dementia and helped us develop a plan.

Alzheimer’s is a fatal and progressive brain disease that affects memory, thinking and behavior. According to a news release, 220,000 Ohioans 65 and older live with it. They are cared for by more than 600,000 families and friends.

The free webinar programs offered this month are from 1 to 2 p.m. Oct. 15, Effective Communication Strategies; 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 20, COVID-19 and Caregiving; 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 21, Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia; and 4 to 5 p.m. Oct. 28, Communication Tips for Caregivers.

To register for these programs or for immediate help, call the association’s 24/7 Helpline, 800-272-3900.

High school fundraiser: The Olmsted Falls PTA is sponsoring a Halloween 50/50 raffle. By purchasing an entry into the raffle, you not only help the PTA raise money for its annual scholarship fund for this year’s graduating seniors, but have a chance to claim part of the winnings.

Proceeds from the raffle will be split 50/50 between the winning entry and the PTA. The deadline to buy a ticket is 8 p.m. Oct. 31, with the winner announced an hour later.

Tickets are $10 for 10 entries and $15 for 20 tickets. You may buy tickets online at https://bit.ly/34AB2yy.

Information, please: To include news, tidbits, honors or activities in Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township, contact Joanne DuMound at jdumound@yahoo.com. She also is on Twitter, @JoanneDuMound. The column’s online version at cleveland.com/olmsted has direct links for many news items.

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