Classic glamor and style ruled the evening as guests attending the 80th annual All Children's Hospital Charity Ball entered the Renaissance Vinoy Resort on the red carpet past paparazzi and fans at the valet parking dropoff.
The evening's theme, "And the Winner Is …" was a nod to the annual Academy Awards ceremonies, and patrons hewed to the theme in black tie and shimmer.
There were signature cocktails and souvenir photos, and enthusiastic bidding during the live auction. Southtown Fever supplied the musical entertainment, and WFLA-TV Ch. 8 news anchor Rod Carter was the evening's host.
A labor of love and attention to detail from the presenting All Children's Hospital Guild Evening Branch, with help from the St. Petersburg Day Branch, made for a decidedly winning evening with one bittersweet note: the remembrance of Mary Davis Nelson, a longtime volunteer who died in June.
Gary Carnes, the hospital's president and chief executive officer, and Tom Mundell, executive vice president of the ACH Foundation, commended the volunteers for having accomplished their $4 million pledge to the neonatal intensive care unit. And there was lots of discussion about All Children's upcoming integration with Johns Hopkins Medical in Baltimore.
Carole McGurk chaired the event committee, with able help from Shari Casey, Rosanna Costa, Tricia Davidson, Judi Dryer, Chloe Firebaugh, Elizabeth Anne Hammer, Sue Hands, Janet Lynn, Cheryl Matala, Tish McQuillen, Sandy Moss, Carol Nelson, Jean Prina and Teri Shook.
Major sponsors were Dr. Al and Debbie Saltiel, Raymond James and American Municipal Securities.
Talk about bittersweet: "Be Groovy Too," the fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, was an all-out flower-power, peace-sign, love-bead, fringe-jacket, bell-bottoms tribute to the 1960s and '70s, but the party truly was a celebration of Carl Lavender Jr., who had lots of family in attendance.
It was a swan song for the retiring president and CEO, who has spent 10 years with the Suncoast organization and 35 with Boys & Girls, starting in Columbus, Ohio, then moving to Chicago before coming to Florida.
Pinellas Sheriff Jim Coats, attending with his wife, Cat, and son Jay, credited Lavender with having led expanded programs from serving 500 young people each year to more than 5,500, growing clubs from three to 11, extending the budget from around $300,000 to $2.3 million and opening the Royal Theater Arts Academy Boys & Girls Club.
Guests fully participated in the spirit of the evening at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, wearing white go-go boots, tie-dye clothing, miniskirts and even rose-colored glasses to raise more than $150,000 for the cause.
Board chairman Simon Dawkins attended with his wife, Jane, and Amy Maguire was the overall event chair. Aaron McGlon, vice president of operations, is leading the organization on an interim basis.
Onetime Florida State University and Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Derrick Brooks was the keynote speaker at "Heroes Among Us," the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation dinner at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. The 2011 honorees are lawyer David R. Punzak, retired Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thomas E. Penick and lawyer Michael J. Faehner.
Punzak, who has served in numerous leadership capacities in the community, has chaired the boards of the Florida International Museum, the Suncoast Center for Community Mental Health, the Pinellas Association for Retarded Children and the Suncoasters. He serves on the boards of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the Salvador Dalí Museum, is a member of the Salvation Army advisory board and chairs the St. Petersburg development review commission. In 2006, he received the National Public Service Award from the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, recognizing his 10-year pro bono representation of the Florida Community Loan Fund.
In addition to mentoring numerous young lawyers and judicial interns, Penick has come to be renowned for his efforts to reform probate law. He has served on numerous probate and elder law committees, was president of the Clearwater Bar Association, and encouraged the St. Petersburg Bar to establish its foundation to provide and encourage pro bono work.
Faehner, recipient of the foundation's "Rising Star" award, has distinguished himself in several areas, including serving as president of the Clearwater Bar and the Florida and Clearwater Bar young lawyers divisions and as a member of the Community Law Program and the St. Anthony's Hospital Foundation boards.
Nancy Biesinger and Beth Horner co-chaired the event committee, which included Erin Barnett, David Blum, Gregory Hoag, Jason Moyer and Judy Stanton.