Sally and Don Messinger give back as a way to honor and enrich their adopted home of Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio area.

Don, who is originally from the Finger Lakes area of New York, was offered a job at Thompson Hine LLP’s Cleveland office upon graduating from Duke University School of Law. Other than when he interviewed for the job, neither he nor Sally, who hailed from Miami, had seen Cleveland. Some of their friends offered condolences when the young couple said where they were moving to put down roots, but both fell in love with Northeast Ohio and committed themselves to giving back as much as they could.

“We’re so lucky to land here, that anything we can do, in any way, that will help the community and the people is a blessing for us,” Sally said. “I wasn’t very impressed when we arrived in Cleveland, but it didn’t take me very long to see what made it so special is the people. It’s just an amazing city. … We donate, we go to events, we support causes because we love Cleveland.”

Sally said she often meets people who are moving to Cleveland for a job. They often dread the move, but when it was time for them to leave, they’d tell Sally Cleveland was the best place they ever lived.

Don said they were fortunate to have the opportunity to move to Cleveland.

“It’s been wonderful for us,” he said. “It’s a wonderful community, a strong Jewish community, which was something we were looking for, and a welcoming community.”

One area they were involved in giving back to was the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland, now known as Circle Health Services. Don said they were determined to help there due to its strong Jewish leadership and the commitment the clinic had to helping the less fortunate. Don served on its board of directors for more than 40 years, once serving as board president. Both Don and Sally also helped the Free Clinic celebrate its 40th anniversary as co-chairs of the celebration event held at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

They said they were fortunate in that they’ve always been tight-knit as a couple, which makes things simple when it comes to causes they’re interested in supporting. Their children nicknamed them “The Parental Unit” due to their reliable solidarity in supporting each other and their decisions. Don and Sally have three grown, married sons and seven grandchildren.

“We’re fortunate we found each other,” Don said. “Sally and I have a great relationship. We love one another, we respect one another, we support one another. I could not be a successful lawyer or a successful member of the community without Sally’s support.”

Sally said, “I couldn’t live without him. We support whatever we’re passionate about, and it supports you. So whatever Don’s involved in, I’m involved in. Whatever I’m involved in, Don’s involved in. Whatever we do, we do it together. We have gotten more from the Cleveland community than we could ever give back.”

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