This past Friday, over two hundred people turned out for the Pride Center’s 2012 Annual Awards Gala and it was a night to remember. Held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, and emceed by five-time host Steve Ammerman, it was a wonderful way to honor the work and commitment of this year’s awardees.
Accepting awards this year were:
- University at Albany, recipient of our highest award given, the Harvey Milk Award
- TD Bank, Business of the Year Award
- Michele McClave, Nancy Burton Straight But Not Narrow Award
- Kiera Griffiths, Volunteer of the Year Award
- Peter DeWitt, Paul Postiglione Youth Services Award
- DJ Roche, Libby Post Council Leadership Award
During the proceedings, attendees were introduced to Lenny, a member of the Pride Center’s Vintage Pride program who recently lost Jane, her partner of twenty years. Through a video presentation, Lenny told of the strength that her years with Jane gave her, and how the Pride Center had fortified that strength and helped her through the difficult time following Jane’s passing. Afterwards, led by former Board Member Michael Boots, those in attendance helped to raise over $13000.00 to help keep vital programs like Vintage Pride going.
In addition, a surprise special recognition award was given to Steve Ammerman for his visibility in the LGBT community and his commitment to the Pride Center. Other highlights of the evening included a preview musical performance from Greg Anderson from his upcoming fundraising show, Songs of Peace and Justice at The Linda on Nov 17th, a VIP reception sponsored by Partners in Pride Jeff Baltes and Gene Knapp and a raffle for a fabulous Cape Cod vacation, provided by Rob Reineke, Jeff Linton and Christopher Broughton. Former Board President Judy Disco and current Board Member Joseph Kerwin served as the Honorary Committee Co-chairs for the event, while Gala sponsors included Key Bank, Price Chopper, Verizon, Adirondack Oral Surgery, Anne Saile & Larry Myers and Welcoming Congregations.
The evening culminated in Chris Bouchard, Vice President of Student Success at the University at Albany, taking the stage to accept the University’s Harvey Milk Award. She asked everyone in the audience who held a degree from the University to join her on stage, and over half the attendees crowded to the front of the room; a testament to the positive impact the University has had on our community.
Special thanks to the Annual Awards Gala planning committee, the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, Penny Larceny for DJ-ing into the night, Lyle Houston for photographing the proceedings and Michael Harbison for the wonderful flower arrangements, as well as our presenters and volunteers for helping to make it such a special evening.