International Focus Magazine Vol. 3, #1 - Page 24

seen on the scene Outstanding Russian-Americans of the Year 2017 The tradition of selecting a Person of the Year is a new step for the Russian- American society in Houston. There are many Americans who have Russian origins. Some of them have emigrated from Russia; others were born here in the USA. However, most of them feel that part of their heart belongs to Russia where their parents or grandparents came from, after the October Revolution in 1917 or during the Soviet Union’s era. At the same time, they feel fully American, and contribute to society according to their talents. It was my first idea a decade ago. Nevertheless, the longer I live in Houston, the more I understand that many of my American friends love Russia and Russian people. They do many re- markable things to establish a friendly relationship. As one of this year’s nomi- nees Carmen Cuneo - the Rotary International District Governor for Dis- trict 5890 said in her speech: “My mindset was on tourism, seeing all the great sights and artwork in Russia. I wanted to see Red Square, Gorky Park, Yalta, and the Hermitage. But something magical happened in Russia. Something much bigger and much better than all the artwork and tourist sites. We made friends. We were greeted in each city we visited by Rotarians. We were wel- comed into home after home. Our hosts were kind, welcoming, and made every effort to make us feel at home.” Another nominee, Sue Marshall, Trustee For Charitable Trust Executive Di- rector & Co-Founder, The Harbor-Nizhny, who has been working with or- 24 iF Magazine | January 2018