Cameras flashed and crowds cheered as nearly 500 guests strolled the red carpet Sunday night. No, we were not in Hollywood, we were here in Toledo at the Owens Community College Center for Fine and Performing Arts.
It was "Oscar Night - A Star-Studded Event," presented by the Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. That's with the help of Red Carpet sponsor Columbia Gas of Ohio and others. Gentlemen in fancy threads and ladies in glittering gowns were transported from the parking lot to the front door by limousine. Then the fun began as Jerry Anderson of WTOL-TV, Channel 11, announced guests as they arrived while Chrys Peterson, also of WTOL-TV, asked, "Who are you wearing?" Many of the ladies gladly revealed designers' names, including Oscar de la Renta and Versace.
Steve and Michelle Atkinson, left, with Anne and Brian Schenk at Owens Community College for the Academy Awards party.
Shannon Terry, there with Jeff Cole, certainly had Ellen DeGeneres beat in the shoe department - for that matter, most of the men did, too. Looking absolutely glamorous was Vicki Davis in a red-sequined form-fitting gown. She was with her husband, Kim. Marlene Uhler sashayed in as "Marilyn Monroe," and her husband, Tom, was dashing in a tuxedo.
Strolling in were Trent and Lori Smith of Toledo Edison, Dan Cummins of WTOL-TV and his wife, Barb; and Karl Rundgren of WUPW-TV, Channel 36, and his wife, Jordan.
Greeting everyone were Red Cross board chairman Dee Talmage and her husband, Lance; Chris Kozak of Columbia Gas and his wife, Ann, and Ryan Young of WWWM-FM, 105.5.
Martinis flowed and savory selections sated appetites, thanks to the food vendors who donated their specialties. There was everything from roast pig and lamb chops to lobster bisque and oysters, plus all sorts of sweet confections in the Chocolat ice cream parlor.
Chris and Ann Kozak, left, with Dee and Lance Talmage at the Red Cross Oscar Night fund-raiser.
The KGB band was tucked away in a nightclub of its own where Motown sounds wooed the ladies. In Club O was Big Blues Bob, which includes band member Paul Unger, provost of Owens Community College.
Ten gift baskets were raffled off, and there were several mighty fine packages, but the Midwinter Escape had a watch worth $4,695 from Harold Jaffe Jewelers; Craig Smith was the lucky winner.
Among the classy crowd were Labib and Karyn Hajjar, Ellen and Michael Fruchtman, Lou and Barbara Tartaglia, Joey and Pat Rodriguez, Jack and Cyndi Marcis, Ivan and Michelle Jaffe, Phil and Mary Lou Rudolph, Jr., Orrie and Paula Hiett, Brian Epstein and Stacee Watson, Kevin and Judy Kwiatkowski, Paul and Ginny Toth, and former Toledoan Terese Schlachter of Washington, who was with Tom Waniewski.
The event is expected to earn close to $76,000, but the totals are not in yet.
Toledo Fire Chief Michael Bell with Karen Jarosz, left, and his niece, Shayla Bell, at the Red Cross benefit.
MEANWHILE across town, Mary VanCleve gave her 15th annual Academy Awards party, this year themed "The Queen's Tea." The sit-down tea for 20 ladies included Guinness Beef Stew, Bourbon Tea, tea sandwiches, scones, Napoleons, and more. Of course, the guests were thrilled that Helen Mirren won the Best Actress award for her work in The Queen. The evening was so much fun, they didn't tune in to the Oscars telecast until after 9 p.m., but many stayed to watch and didn't leave until 1 a.m.
THE UNITED WAY'S second annual Meeting and Awards Dinner at The Pinnacle Tuesday night recognized many people for their community support. The handsome glass plaques and trophies sparkled, as did the awardees.
The prestigious Spirit of Caring Outstanding Company Award was presented to The Andersons, Inc. and the Spirit of Caring Community Volunteer Award was presented to Dick Faist, managing partner of Clifton Gunderson LLP.
Dick Faist was honored by the United Way.
Bill Kitson, president and CEO of United Way, stressed that during the past year the organization has "focused on change - changing the lives of individuals, changing our community, changing the way we think, and changing the way we operate." He stressed the importance of results, accountability, and being trustworthy. Then he stepped off stage into the audience and recognized various individuals throughout the room, many of whom are usually behind the scenes.
Chuck Weickert, division manager at UPS and the 2006 campaign chairman, was recognized for the successful effort he led. His successor, who has a tough act to follow, is Bob LaClair, president and chief executive officer of Fifth Third Bank (Northwestern Ohio). In addition to the successful 2006 campaign which raised $13,601,520, the United Way met the Stranahan Leadership Challenge and leveraged increased giving of more than $400,000.
More than 1,075 area companies and organizations participated in the 2006 campaign. Three companies were awarded the United Way's Pinnacle Award for their corporate/employee giving of $500,000 or more, including the Owens Corning Foundation; The Andersons Foundation/The Andersons, Inc.; and DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund, Toledo North Assembly Plant and UAW Local 12 along with Toledo Machining Plant and UAW Local 1435.
Another 22 companies which contributed a corporate/employee gift of $100,000 to $499,999, were presented with United Way's Pillar Award.
Jerry Anderson of WTOL- TV was emcee. He was assisted by Alison Falls, board chairman, and others, including Jane Moore, chief operating officer of the United Way, who was recognized for her 30 years of service. Special awards were presented to retiring board members, including Charlie Dana, Ed McNeal, Emerson Ross, Jennifer Shriver, and Mr. Faist.
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