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March 17, 2006 - A Blarney Celebration on St. Patrick's Day

What: MCPN's Green Tie Event

Where: Donald R. Seawell Ballroom, Denver Performing Arts Center

When: March 17, 2006, St. Patrick's Day

Time: 5:45 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $250 per person; corporate sponsor levels: $5000-$25,000

Beneficiary: Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN), Medical and health benefits for the underserved

Mistress of Ceremonies: Ericka Lewis, CBS4 News Anchor

Master of Ceremonies: Tyrone Braxton

Executive Director: CEO: David Myers

Staff: Chief Medical Officer: Barry Martin, M.D.; Finance Director: Sherryl Brandes; Community Services Director: Pamela Craig; Chief Operating Officer: John Kuenning; Director of Quality: Monty Moore; Director of Fund Development: John Reid

Libations: Jacob's Creek Chardonnay and Shiraz-Cabernet, plus open bar featuring Jameson Irish Whiskey and RedBreast Pure Pot Still

Catering: AVIE and Rossaci's Fine Catering

Entertainment: The Bridies

Music: The world-renowned Irish Tenors, accompanied by the Aurora Symphony Orchestra

Of note: Travel package donated by African Eyes Travel

Sponsors: The Colorado Trust, LMC Community Foundation, Montano, Blacktie-Colorado, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Propel Fast Forward, Charity Sports Auctions, Quest Diagnotics, The Medical Center of Aurora, Exempla HealthCare, Lutheran Medical Center, CyraCom, Faegre& Benson, The Westin Tabor Center, MoSo Films, 1st Bank, McKesson, Aurora Sentinel, Sandstone Ventures LLC, Integrated Computer Consulting ICC, Hensmann Technology, Colorado Community Health Network, Denver Oncology Consortium, US Bank, Inner-City Health Center, Aurora Mental Health, Vista Ridge Golf Club, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, City of Aurora.

Auctioneer: Norm Early and Bob Grant

Quote of the evening: There was a dream I didn't have, and I got it from MCPN." --client and now employee of MCPN, Demixica Diawara

Menu: Romaine wedge salad, roast pecan and peppercorn crusted New York strip steak with Irish whiskey glaze, asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon, Irish cheddar mashed potatoes, Brady's chocolate Irish cream truffle

Attendance: 500-600

Attire: Black or green tie

Hors D'Oeuvres:: North sea smoked salmon on pumpernickel toast with Devonshire cream, lamb confit on potato pancake with red onion compote, sweet onion tart


Event Coordinator: John Reid

Board of Directors: Michael Kenney, Chair; Wally Wesener, Margaret Burnett, Barbara Shannon-Banister, Claudia Frey, Frank Traylor, Judy Dooley

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress

 Colorado Trust's John Moran, left, accepts appreciation awards with founder Dr. Jerry Buckley and Dr. Frank Traylor
Colorado Trust's John Moran, left, accepts appreciation awards with founder Dr. Jerry Buckley and Dr. Frank Traylor

Pamela Cress

Back in the mid-eighties, Dr. Jerry Buckley had a dream. He thought that just because a person couldn't afford insurance for medical care, they shouldn't have to go without it. He opened a clinic with a small block grant at 14th and Chambers in Aurora and the city leased back the space to him for $1 a year.

"I couldn't have done it without the help of this great lady," said Buckley in his unassuming and modest way, hugging Barbara Shannon-Banister, community relations specialist for the City of Aurora.

That clinic has grown into an network of 13 clinics called the Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN), and close to 600 people were on hand at the Donald R. Seawell Ballroom Saturday night to celebrate the success and pride that comes with helping those in need.

The second annual MCPN Green Tie Event gave this community a dual reason to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and many were decked out in green ties, shirts, or dresses. The entertainment provided by the Birdies and the incomparable Irish Tenors underscored the fact that this was one special Irish celebration.

As guests perused the array of silent auction items, including many autographed sports items, gift certificates, art and unique collectibles, there were lots of smiles and hugs as guests caught up with friends and colleagues.

Pernod-Ricard, National Distributing and Castle Brands generously contributed beer, wine and spirits including the requisite Jameson Irish Whiskey and RedBreast Pure Pop Still, as guests sat down to a scrumptious meal starring roast pecan and peppercorn crusted New York strip steak with Irish Whiskey Glaze, catered by AVIE and Rosacci’s Fine Catering. The entertainment portion of the evening ratcheted up quickly as the very Irish Birdies fiddled and twirled their way into the audience and captured their attention from start to finish. Irish step dancer Shannon Cantwell demonstrated why she was the European 2005 step dance champion.

Former Bronco Tyrone Braxton took the stage and gave a special appreciation award to Daniel Kane, general manager of the Vista Ridge golf course that hosts the MCPN golf tournament. "I'm a former Bronco and I am passionate about this organization," said Braxton. "I'm also a two-time Superbowl champ, that's not in the script but I have to throw that in." Mistress of Ceremonies Ericka Lewis from CBS News4 then took the stage and thanked MCPN for inviting her to participate. "I admit I didn't know that much about the organization, but I knew the Irish Tenors were performing. I asked the organizers "do they know I'm black?" she joked. Lewis introduced David Myers, CEO of the Community Health Network and Mike Kenney, President of the MCPN board, who acknowledged and thanked supporters, including Sandstone Ventures, LLC. They then summoned three extraordinary gentlemen to the stage to accept appreciation awards: John Moran of the Colorado Trust; Dr. Jerry Buckley, MCPN founder, and Dr. Frank Traylor, an instrumental supporter. Sponsor Cyracom also took the stage to present the MCPN a giant replica of a check for $8,000.

Other awards went to Quest Diagnostics, accepted by Christine Shlager, Colorado Health Network, given to Annette Kowal, and pediatric nurse Lynn Bakken, who received the Clinician of the Year award.

The most moving moment of the evening was when Demixica Coleman Diawara tearfully told her story about how MCPN helped her when she was in need. "They made me feel like I was somebody, and didn't have anything to give," she said. Demixica ended up working her way up in the health care field because of MCPN's inspiration, and is now working at MCPN's JeffCo clinic and studying for her RN license. "There was a dream I didn't have, and I got it from MCPN." She left the stage to resounding applause and a standing ovation.

Animated auctioneers Norm Early (former Denver district attorney) and the former DA from Adams County, Bob Grant, took the stage to hawk the incredible items up for grabs to the highest bidder: A Kentucky Derby package trip for two, a Napa Valley wine tour for two and an African Safari for two. There was also a chance to win a 6-piece jewelry set from Chevalier' Jewelers through a raffle.

Then came the moment everyone was waiting for, the unparalleled music of the Irish Tenors, accompanied by Conductor Arnie Roth of the Chicagoland Pops, members of the Aurora Symphony and members of the Denver Musician Association. The Irish Tenors music is described as being synonymous with Irish music. "There is an aching bittersweet quality to much of Ireland's musical heritage, a melodic loveliness and emotional intensity that brings a tingle to the spine and a tear to the eye. The dazzling technique and depth of feeling that defines this musical genre, amplified to the third power, is the hallmark of the Irish Tenors." It was a most memorable experience to be in the same room with Anthony Kearns, John McDermott and Finbar Wright as they sang favorites and songs from their latest album, "Sacred," released in 2005.

It was an evening, true to the Irish way, full of camaraderie and good cheer, as the provider community remembered their mission of helping those less fortunate. And, it didn't hurt to partake in some Blarney.

MCPN is a nonprofit organization which has provided medical and health education services to the underserved since 1989. Their mission is to provide excellent health-related services focusing on those less fortunate. The current service areas encompass Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams and Park Counties and the City of Lakewood and Aurora.

MCPN has the largest population base of any community health center in Colorado and one of the largest numbers of underserved individuals in the state. IN 2005, MCPN provided approximately 226,300 visits/services to more than 35,100 individuals. Three out of four of these individuals live in poverty.

MCPN provides case management and health education programs in the following areas:

--AmeriCorps service learning Programs for Adults, where health education and outreach services for MCPN patients and clients are provided.

--Health education classes are comprised of diabetes, asthma, childbirth, smoking cessation, family planning and healthy living.

--The Healthy Start Project, providing care coordination for pregnant women and families with infants up to two years of age in Aurora, Englewood, and Sheridan.

--Perinatal Services, creating effective linkages for pregnant women with the MCPN service system and providing Doula Birth Coaches.

--Services for Aurora’s homeless/indigent populations, serving the community at MCPN’s Elmira clinic.

--Services for pregnant and parenting teens, working with pregnant and parenting youth in Aurora ages 11 – 19 years.

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