Guests stood and roared their approval as the Royal Court was crowned to close an entertaining and moving program at the 2017 NOFAS Moms Prom Gala last week in Washington, D.C.
The Moms Prom Kings and Queens, Karli, Taylor, Nicholas, Arianna, and Ethan joined guest speaker Sheryl Hoffman as the brightest stars of the evening. They provided a touching reminder of the joy and success that can be achieved in the face of any challenge through personal determination, family devotion, stalwart champions, philanthropic friends, and a charitable organization accomplishing outsized feats.
The evening began with a reception featuring an exciting silent auction and the fabulous Radio King Orchestra. A chic Paris apartment, a Maine vacation, and an historian’s private tour of the U.S. Capitol were among the items that produced spirited bidding. Alongside, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar visited with NOFAS donors and advocates, and NOFAS recognized Tony Podesta for his board service and generous contributions during NOFAS’s first 25 years. A prominent Washingtonian, Podesta remarked that of all of his accomplishments he was perhaps most proud of his efforts on behalf of NOFAS.
NOFAS Board of Directors Chair Kate Boyce Reeder welcomed guests to dinner and kicked off the program, thanking members of the NOFAS Board, Gala Steering Committee, and the evening’s generous sponsors.
Board members, Dr. Sam Zahkari, Jennifer Hughes, Billy Edwards, Dr. Leigh Tenkku Lepper, Dr. Doug Waite, and Mike “Keawe” Anderson joined Committee members, Chandni Doshi, Jane Gehrig, Dr. Katia Delrahim Howlett, Jill Rowan, and Walt Steimel in raising funds, developing the auction, and hosting the Gala.
Kate and her husband, Joe Reeder, and Sheila and Tom Rabaut were the Gala’s main sponsors. Not only were they $20,000 Trustees, but during the program both couples announced an additional $2,500 contribution to NOFAS that sparked a flurry of sizeable, new pledges.
Janet Bosserman and Sister Suzette Fisher, mainstays of Double ARC, the powerhouse NOFAS Affiliate in Ohio, presented the night’s first award to U.S. Senator and Mrs. Rob Portman. Jane’s service as Chair of the Board of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and her advocacy for maternal and child care and Rob’s authorship of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act enacted in 2016 are but a few of the accomplishments that earned them a coveted 2017 NOFAS Leadership Award. They charmed guests with their appreciation and their thoughtful recognition of others, and they urged everyone to continue seeking attention, investment, and services for women and children in need.
NOFAS Board member, Dr. Doug Waite introduced The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) as the recipient of a NOFAS Leadership Award. Dr. Thomas Gellhaus accepted the award on behalf of ACOG. Under his leadership, his organization has worked to enact policies and practices addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), and implement initiatives improving outcomes for mothers-to-be and their babies.
ACOG also sponsored the Gala as a Benefactor along with the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, both long-time NOFAS partners. Patron sponsors and dearest NOFAS friends were Copa Airlines, the Honorable Tom and Linda Daschle, Leonardo DRS, Terry Lierman, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), National American Contractors Association, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and Tyler Massey and UBS.
Joe Militano, Senior Vice President at Leonardo DRS, and Marv Fertel, formerly of NEI, were big donors beyond their corporate sponsorships, supporting NOFAS by pushing the live auction bidding and winning the top prizes. Joe and a guest are heading to Santiago, Chile, courtesy of Copa Airlines and Stacy and Walt Steimel. Marv was high bidder on a deluxe stay and gourmet dinner at the historic Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C. donated by the hotel, and a lavish dinner for 10 guests donated by Occasions Caterers, quite possibly the finest caterer in town.
Introduced by Kathy Mitchell, special guest speaker, Sheryl Hoffman talked about living with FASD and addiction. “I was told by three doctors in three different states that I should be dead. It took me waking from an alcohol-induced coma to get to the point of saying, ‘I am done.’” Sheryl welled up with emotion as she reflected on her now five years of recover from addiction and her life’s calling of helping others as a Recovery Liaison at Mountain Manor Treatment Centers.
Prom King Nicholas—also a 2015 NOFAS Gala speaker—brought the audience to anxious attention as he prepared to draw the winning ticket and raffle a dazzling Diamond and Opal Pendant donated by Adeler Jewelers of Great Falls, Virginia, valued at $8,500.
An instant after her name was announced as the winner, Sheila Rabaut called for a redraw as the audience cheered her gesture and braced for a new round of anxious anticipation. David Deere, leading FASD advocate and founder of the NOFAS affiliate in Arkansas, None for Nine, became the happiest man in the Hall as he was called to the stage to take home the prized pendant.
The Royal Court was then crowned and draped in their Prom King and Queen sashes, closing the program and sending guests off to the dance floor in high spirits.