Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dinner for 200

Usually, when I sit down and have dinner all I have to worry about is where I will spill my food. But that changed about 18 months ago, when I took my seat as the new guy on the NAMI San Diego board. I made the rookie mistake of breathing too loud, and next thing I was drafted into service on the committee that plans our annual Inspiration Awards Dinner. Last year’s dinner was such a great success that I found myself, through no fault of my own, reassigned to this year’s committee.

There are 800 million things that can go wrong in putting on a dinner and dinner program for 200. As you can see from the photo, none of them happened. Here I am, just after the Dinner, with John Bell, who received our Young Advocate of the Year Award. John is very recently back from Iraq, where he has served as a medic in the Army. In April, John organized a 5K run concurrent with our local NAMI walk to bring awareness to mental health issues for those who serve our country.

John was a surprise guest at the Dinner, having had his leave request approved only two days before. He is currently stationed at Fort Benning, GA. It was my honor to sit at the table with John and his fiancee, Melissa.

Many thanks to Annie Dunlop, NAMI SD’s development and events manager, who took the lead in organizing the dinner, our board president Lisa Ponfick and Executive Director Shannon Jaccard, Councilman Todd Gloria who MC’d the affair, our awardees, sponsors, and all our volunteers and staff who made Friday evening an occasion to remember.

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