MAHONING VALLEY Asian Indians help with fund-raiser

Gov. Bob Taft is among those scheduled to speak at the event Friday.
CANFIELD -- Some members of the local Asian Indian community have helped to raise more than $250,000 for the American Red Cross by selling tickets to a fund-raiser in Cleveland.
The fund-raiser, which is sponsored by by the Asian Indian Community of Northeast Ohio, will be at 7 p.m. Friday at The Renaissance Hotel. Tickets cost $250 and are for sale to the public.
Asian Indian is the term used to distinguish those in the community from American Indians.
Dr. Vinod Sethi, a retired pediatrician from Canfield, said he hopes the fund-raiser will show that, like other Americans, Asian Indians in America grieve for those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
"We are as much a part of this community as anybody else," he said. "We feel very sorry for the people who have perished."
Valley group: Sethi added that the Asian Indian community in the Mahoning Valley includes about 200 families, many of whom have lived here for more than 30 years.
Dr. Chander Kohli, a neurosurgeon from Liberty, added that Asian Indians have contributed to several other charities helping with the relief efforts. He hopes the fund-raiser will illustrate the community's willingness to help.
Kohli added that a group of Asian Indians from the Mahoning Valley are planning to sit at the same table at the fund-raiser.
"It becomes a symbol," he said. "We are making our effort."
The fund-raiser is to include dinner, cocktails and comments by Gov. Bob Taft. Other scheduled speakers include retired U.S. Ambassador to India and former Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste and Dr. Bernadine Healy, retiring president of the American Red Cross.
Success: Monte Ahuja, a Cleveland resident and the chairperson for the event, said "checks are still coming in" for the fund-raiser even though the $250,000 goal has already been met. Sethi noted that he didn't think the $250,000 goal was too high for the community.
"We have the facilities to raise it. If we can give back to the community, we will," he said.
Taft spokesman Joe Andrews said that during the fund-raiser, the governor will acknowledge Asian Indians' efforts to raise the money for the relief efforts.
"He thinks it's outstanding that this community has raised so much for the victims of Sept. 11 tragedy and he wants to recognize it," Andrews said.