In recognition of his decades-long commitment to improving the quality of life in our region, John Ong became the 1995 recipient of the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award. Ong is the former chairman and chief executive officer of the B.F. Goodrich Company. The results of his community involvement are seen in every corner of Northeast Ohio. He led the effort to fund and build Inventure Place, home of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, in downtown Akron and served as its board chairman.
In the more than 30 years he has lived in the Akron area, Ong has played an active role in many organizations. He is a past president of Akron Community Trusts, the predecessor of Akron Community Foundation. In addition, his activities have included: vice president of the Musical Arts Association; advisory committee chairman for Blossom Music Center; board president and trustee of Western Reserve Academy; trustee for Kent State University; chairman of Boys Hope of Northeastern Ohio; board president of the Hudson Library and Historical Society; and president of Bluecoats Inc.
At the award ceremony, his son, John F. H. Ong, told of three important lessons his father had instilled in him: "Always treat others fairly and courteously; always pursue your objective with reason and clarity of thought; and always read as much as you can, but if you buy more books than you can read, that's okay, too."
In his acceptance speech, Ong paid tribute to the past recipients of the award and spoke highly of the individuals who had helped him, asking in return that he emulate those actions in his own life. "And I have strived all my life to do just that," he said.