The Second Annual Meeting Story-2004


By Lasse O. Hiltunen, FHM Webmaster

Mentioned frequently was the word "sisu" at the second annual Pikku Joulu, Finnish Independence Day, and Finnish Heritage Museum Annual Christmas Celebration Meeting on Sunday, December 5, 2004 at Fairport Harding High School.

FHM's Director, Gene Kangas spoke of hard work, dedication and perseverance of the Finnish people, all characteristics of the word sisu. Kangas related what it took for his great grandfather A.N. Suonio to come to America and ultimately start a bakery on the corner of Seventh and High Streets in Fairport.

To illustrate his great grandfather's industriousness and ingenuity, Kangas showed a "reika leipa punctuator" or a rolling pin with tiny feet, which when rolled across the unbaked bread, actually stamped hundreds of dimples in Finnish rye hardtack bread. The roller was donated to the museum and will be included in the actual displays, once the museum is opened.

Kangas, who is an art professor emeritus from Cleveland State University, described what challenges are present in beginning a museum from scratch. "We have made tremendous progress, however, in many areas." He described the ongoing work being done on acquiring the former senior citizens' building in Fairport, the eventual permanent physical site for the museum. The building that has played a part in Fairport's history once housed the police and fire departments and Village council meetings. He also spoke of our "international presence" gained through our virtual museum found at http://FinnishHeritageMuseum.org. The website officially opens on January 1, 2005, although many of the areas are already active at this point. Kangas urged Finns to become museum members and become involved in preserving the Finnish Heritage through donations, and volunteerism.

Aillin Andrews announced the new FHM officers and gave tribute to the hard work of the previous board. The new board is as follows: Heikki Pentilla, president; Chad Malkamaki, vice president; treasurer, Veikko Malkamaki; and secretary, Linda Kangas.

The 2004 FHM Hall of Fame inductees, presented by Lasse Hiltunen, constitute a new feature of the museum. In it, the FHM recognizes outstanding Finns and those of Finnish ancestry who have made positive, far-reaching, long lasting contributions and/or significant achievements during their lifetimes. The list draws from all fields. This honored registry will be added to at the end of each calendar year by a formal vote of FHM members at our November meeting. We welcome recommendations and nominations. To do so, please request an official FHM Recommendation Form. We are pleased to announce the eighteen inductees for 2005. They are: (see also Hall Of Fame)

Mikael Agricola - reformationist and creator of written Finnish language. Kreeta Haapasalo - famous kantele player and singer. Kai Haaskivi - international sports star - soccer. Tarja Kaarina Halonen - the President of Finland. Eila Hiltunen - internationally known sculptor. Sibelius Monument Akseli Gallen-Kallela - one of Finland's all time leading artists. Vaino Linna - an important writer and academician. Elias Lonnrot - considered Finland's national poet - Kalevala. John Morton - a signer of the American Declaration of Independence. Paavo Johannes Nurmi - one of the greatest distance runners of all times. Eliel Gottlieb Saarinen - Finland's best-known and influential architect. Eero Saarinen - architect who designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Johan Julius Christian Sibelius - the great musical composer. Johan Snellman - an important journalist, teacher and politician. Zacharias Topelius - author of many poems, novels, and plays. Carl Wilhelm Vallgren - one of Finland's significant sculptors. Lasse Viren - outstanding distance runner and sports educator. Raymond Wargelin-author, historian, educator, promoter of Finnish culture.

Other program presentations included Jovette Hiltunen who read a humorous piece about Joulu Pukki or Santa Clause, Matias and Dan Malkamaki who sang a duet "Jesus Jesus tullut" on, Pastor Hannu Vepsalainen who explained that "It's Ok to say Merry Christmas," and Linda and John Riddell, who presented three musical numbers with song and accordion accompaniment.

Niles Oinonen served as master of ceremonies; while others taking part in the ceremonies were Viekko Malkamaki, Orry Lehtonen, flag bearers; Elli Niemeyer, Chrystal Kessler, honor guards. David Katila gave the opening prayer, and Pastor Erik Vincent gave the closing prayer.

Finnish Heritage Museum's Second Annual meeting brought out Finns wearing their traditional costumes.










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