ALLIANCE − Local residents and dignitaries enjoyed a meal, handed out awards and hosted an Alliance native on Saturday at the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival Community Luncheon.
About 60 people attended the midday event at the Hoover Price Campus Center on the Mount Union University campus.
Kayla Martin, this year’s festival queen, helped get the program started, introducing her mother, as well as her court and their families.
She also praised Mayor Alan Andreani. “He’s pretty cool,” she said.
“Maybe it’s the first time I’ve been called cool,” Andreani replied with a laugh.
Later in the program, Andreani presented Alliance resident Leigh Mainwaring with the ‘Citizen of the Year’ award. She volunteers for several groups and organizations.
Attorney Brent Barnes received the Favazzo-Jeswald Founders Award. The prize is awarded to a person who has selflessly committed himself to the success of the festival.
Barnes’ father Dan won the award in 2017.
Also during the program, Dr. Patricia Tucker and Matthew Lansell were named marshals for this year’s Carnation Festival Grand Parade, which will take place at 11 a.m. on August 13.
Play the dealt hand
After the awards, 71-year-old Alliance native Gregory P. Miller gave the luncheon keynote. The 1968 Marlington High School graduate is a United States Navy veteran.
Miller, a former U.S. attorney, is currently a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS, formerly known as Judicial Mediation Services, Inc.
He served in the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1978 to 1984, and also served in the Judge Advocate General’s Office in Philadelphia.
Miller is also a published author.
Miller recounted how he got into law and how far his career path has come, cracking jokes and congratulating his wife and family.
The theme of Miller’s speech goes back to the words his father told him – “Life is like a game of cards. You play the hand that is dealt to you.”
Miller said he believed his career would not have happened had he not been drafted in 1969 to serve in the Vietnam War. “Life had given me a hard time,” he told them.
But he said his Navy service gave him the opportunity to go to law school and become a lawyer, pursuing business for the Navy and shaping his path.
Along the way, Miller said he had other moments of reworking his deck, but he preserved it and continued to move forward in his career.
“My ability to play the hand that was dealt to me started here at Alliance, with my family and friends,” he said.
Contact Benjamin at 330-580-8567 or [email protected] On Twitter: @bduerREP.
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