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Robert Belden receives Chamber's highest honor


CantonRep.com \ Ray Stewart

Robert F. Belden (left), recipient of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Award of Merit, talks with Richard Jusseaume and Gust Callas (right) at the social hour that preceded the Community Salute Awards dinner Wednesday night.


Yellow Pages

By Anonymous
Posted Nov 10, 2010 @ 11:26 PM
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“When you’ve gotten a lot from the community or been fortunate enough to have things, you ought to give back,” Robert F. Belden said Wednesday prior to receiving the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s highest honor, the Award of Merit.

Belden, president and chief executive officer of the Belden Brick Co., was feted at the Chamber’s 64th annual Community Salute Awards dinner at the University Center at Kent State University at Stark.

“My philosophy has been at least if I show up, I’m doing part of what I should do. And if the other guys don’t, then maybe I can be of some help,” said the 63-year-old Canton native, the second of six siblings. “And the great support from my company and my family has enabled me to do that where other people might have wanted to do the same but did not have the opportunity.”

Belden’s civic activity well beyond his business and professional responsibilities continues unabated. At Wednesday evening’s event, some of the 300 guests already knew of his latest commitment — to chair the 2012 United Way campaign.

In 2007, he served as general chairman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival and in 2009 served as president of the U.S.A. committee for the International Federation of American Football Junior World Championships held in Canton. He was inducted into the Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame that same year.

His volunteer affiliations include the American Red Cross, Junior Achievement of Stark County, Central Catholic High School’s advisory and education foundation boards, Walsh University, Canton Student Loan Foundation, CSA Health System, Notre Dame Alumni Club of Canton, the Philomatheon Society, the Stark Community Foundation, the Wm. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, and the Stark County Historical Society. He serves on the boards of the Ohio Legacy Corp. and Premier Bank & Trust, Ohio Metal Working Products Co., the Brick Industry Association and the Brick Institute of America.

A Central Catholic graduate, Belden earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business.

In 1969, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League and spent two seasons as a backup quarterback with the team.

“It comes up on a fairly regular basis,” Belden said with a chuckle. “I’ve made a lot out of it having never actually played a pro game. Exhibition, yes. But a guy named Roger Staubach kind of kept me out.”

After retiring from the Cowboys, he joined the 3M Co. and later took a position on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. But 27 years ago, he returned to Stark County as the fourth generation of the Belden family to manage the Belden Brick Co.

A trio of recipients

Receiving awards of appreciation for enhancing the welfare of Stark County citizens were Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio; the Stark County District Library and Adrienne O’Neill and the Stark Education Partnership.

More than 17,000 people utilize Goodwill’s various programs annually with three-quarters of them residing in Stark County. The Community Campus at Goodwill, a shared-space “one-stop shopping” concept that houses 18 nonprofit agencies, addresses a litany of human-service needs.    

The Stark County District Library’s 10 locations provide online access for jobs and résumé preparation, as well as computer courses. Its bookmobiles serve 26 area schools, grades one through eight, as well as sheltered workshops.

As president of the Stark Education Partnership, O’Neill led the development of Ohio’s first P-16 Compact, a preschool through college education system that strives to graduate all high school students. Her work affects the 5,000 high school students who graduate from Stark County high schools annually.

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