MOUNT GILEAD — Whetstone Industries community and staff welcomed Russ and Rekah Shah back with applause and thanks the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This is the 20th year that Shah has provided Thanksgiving dinner and pie for staff and individuals at Whetstone.
Community Integration Specialist Maggie Clark said that it is the first year that Russ and Rekah’s sons have come to the Thanksgiving dinner with their families. It was not only to serve dinner for Whetstone, but to celebrate Russ’s 75th birthday.
“It’s about giving back,” said Russ’s son Shayer, who is a graduate of Highland High School and now a dentist in New Albany.
Shayer’s wife is also a dentist. Their children who helped serve dinner are Gia and Krish.
“We couldn’t do this when we were young and in school,” said Shayer. “I’m really glad we got to do it this year and with my dad’s birthday.”
Russ said he appreciates so much the opportunities he and his family have had since coming to the United States from India 50 years ago in 1968. He arrived in Akron, Ohio first and then went on to Florida where he earned his Master’s degree in Business. He then worked as a hospital administrator for several years before moving to Morrow County.
The Shahs came to Morrow County in 1986 where he first owned and operated the Derrick Motel and later built the Best Western Motel on State Route 95 and I-71. The Shahs now live in Columbus after retiring five years ago.
Russ smiled recalling the big retirement party that Whetstone gave him when he retired.
“I provide the Thanksgiving meal at Whetstone in the spirit of giving back,” said Shah. “This year I want to pass on the tradition of giving back to my family.”
The Shah family all pitched in to serve the meal, which included turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and green beans, before bringing out the pumpkin pie. Both sons also pitched in to provide the Thanksgiving meal.
The Shah’s older son Jiger was also there with his wife Pinal and children Saiyan, Sohaan and Roshan. Jiger, also a Highland High School grad, practices dentistry in North Carolina.
The Shah family also enjoyed serving dinner with friends Dr. William Taylor, Dick and Pat Miller, Paul Hinkle and the boys’ dentist while they were growing up, Dr. Allen Stojkovic. The friends remembered that Russ has not only given to Whetstone, but given student scholarships at all the high schools in the county.
After dinner, Carissa Plough and Red Curry presented Russ with birthday cards that were made by Whetstone individuals. Everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and thanked Russ and his family for their thoughtfulness.
“There is one more piece of the puzzle,” said Clark. “The leftovers from dinner will be taken to the Edison Enterprise Baptist Church food pantry, where they plan to have a meal for the pantry staff there. The circle of giving just keeps going on.”