Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 6
Hobnobbing with Helen
By HELEN ANN THOMAS
Wow! Can you imagine raising more than $15,000 in less than 30 minutes?
CALM—a local organization that deals with child abuse—did just that on April 3 at the Santa Maria Country Club from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The money raised came from on-the-spot donations, not from bids on auction items.
“Ladies Get Loud for CALM” was the scene of all this spontaneous largesse. More than 172 ladies known for civic activism and community involvement bought $40 tickets and came together for this fundraiser with flair.
Peggy Blough and Mike Gibson, members of CALM’s advisory committee, had a big hand in the success of this event.
Amidst a torrent of conversational buzz—honestly, you would think that these super chicks hadn’t seen each other for eons—they opened their hearts and their wallets.
Attendees raided their jewelry boxes to accessorize for the event, billed as a “jeans and jewels” affair. Such a bling blitz! Whether you are wearing it or looking at it, all that sparkle puts a girl in a really good mood.
Helping to sustain the good mood were celebrity waiters like Santa Maria Fire Chief Dan Orr, Allan Hancock College President Kevin Walthers, Dan Bray, Tim Seifert, and Gibson. These genial gents kept us supplied with drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
Celebrity emcee Jay Turner kept the momentum going with his lively banter.
Here’s the kicker: Attendees used a special code to text their contribution amounts to a connection that immediately appeared on a large video screen in the room. (That’s how they garnered the more than $15,000 in record time.)
“This is really innovative,” Karen O’Neill said admiringly of the texting/video combo.
Viewing the action at my table were Mayor Alice Patino, Lucia Lahr, Karen Cordary, Roxanne Ventriglia, Pat Haley, and Sarah Valverde, a CALM staff therapist.
At Margie Halsell’s table was a passel of lady Halsells, who had small plants as favors Margie brought along for her guests. Too cute!
Judy Frost, Kathy Simas, Susan Moats, Lynda Gantt, and CALM board member Judy Markline were spotted at other tables, along with Diane Ballay, Lompoc’s Joyce Howerton, and Eileen Harvey (sporting a big bib of pearls). Kate Ferguson, were those 5-inch heels?
Sally Ostini, Tami Donati, and Virginia Souza were among the crowd. Dan Blough was everywhere, taking pictures.
Sandra Fuhring (Mike Gibson’s daughter), a development associate for CALM, was looking mighty pleased.
All this heavenly hobnobbing produced some hot intel: The Sun’s executive editor Ryan Miller will be a co-host at the nighttime Rotary’s upcoming annual “Santa Maria Has Talent” show on May 8, 9, and 10 at the Veterans Memorial Hall. He will share co-host honors with Roxanne Ventriglia. Now that sounds like fun!
CALM was founded in Santa Barbara many years ago by a nurse who witnessed a case of horrible child abuse. The organization then expanded north to Santa Maria and Lompoc. Executive Director Cecilia Rodriguez sadly reported that 80 percent of child abuse in the county takes place north of Gaviota.
Rodriguez took us on a foray into the future when she told the guests that the local office on Carmen Lane has a staff of 16, which she hopes will double in the next two years.
If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.