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April 20, 2006 - Aurora Mental Health Center Helps Grows with the Community

What: Spring Benefit Luncheon

Where: Holiday Inn DIA

When: April 20, 2006

Time: 11:30 to 1:30

Ticket Prices: Individual - $50

Beneficiary: Aurora Mental Health Center

Master of Ceremonies: Jim Benemann Anchor, CBS4

Honoree(s): Medical Center of Aurora Emergency Team, Reverend Dale Bonnett and Barbara Matthews

Gala Chairperson(s): Jo Snell

Executive Director: Dr. Randy Stith

Staff: Tawney Bass, Heather Dolan

Speaker: Reggie Rivers

Sponsors: At the Linebacker level: Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, Arapahoe/Douglas WORKS, Citywide Banks, The Colorado Trust, Community Reach Center and The Medical Center of Aurora; The Safety level: Aurora Economic Development Council, Fitzsimons Community Federal Credit Union, The Colorado Trust, Metro Community Provider Network and Wells Fargo; The Cornerback level: Arapahoe Board of County Commissions, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Public Schools, Majestic Realty, Ruth Ryan and Sue McCollom

Attendance: 250

Attire: Business Casual

Board of Directors: Kevin Cunningham, President; Larry Davila, Vice President; Jim Kramer, Secretary; Ruth Ryan, Treasurer; Linda Ashburn, Larry Grandison, Becky Cromley, Ricky Bennett, Jim Kramer, Larry Davila, Terry Campbell Caron, Elsie Lacy, Harrison Cochran, Stephan Ghadaifchian, Shelley Lazear, Marty Mann , Suzann Reikofski, Sudhir Verma, Rich Martin, Pat Wojciechowski , Sue McCollom, June Smigel, Cyndie Wozniak-Behrens, Wendy Mitchell, Jo Snell, George Zierk, Ernie Ortiz, Sue Spiller, Madolyn Paroske and June Sturm-Roller, Barbara Shannon-Banister, Alice Nichol, Frank Weddig, Judy Elberg, and Paul Zimmerman

Blacktie Photos by: Marcelo Mainzer

 Event Chair Jo Snell with Reggie Rivers
Event Chair Jo Snell with Reggie Rivers

Marcelo Mainzer

Jim Benemann, CBS4 Anchor, served as master of ceremonies for the 2006 Spring Luncheon and Awards event, a benefit for Aurora Mental Health Center. With elegance and charm he thanked the organization for having him at the event. Wasting no time in his duties, he introduced Board Member, and Luncheon Chair Jo Ellen Snell.

Jim introduced Jo Snell as a person who never passes up an opportunity to be of service to worthwhile agencies around town, despite her busy schedule as Manager of Community and Public Relations for the E-470 Public Highway Authority.

Jo thanked everyone for attending the second annual event and went on to acknowledge notables, County Commissioners Skip Fischer, Larry Pace, Frank Weddig, Lynn Myers, Aurora Public School Board President Matt Cook with board members Judy Edgars, and Jane Barber, and Aurora City Council members Brad Pierce and Bob Broom. Jo also called on the attendees to recognize the board and staff of AuMHC for all their efforts in bringing the event together and throughout the year. “Thank you very much for your support of the Aurora Mental Health Center and your desire to help those with mental illness,” Jo concluded.

Jim called for applause for Jo, before introducing AuMHC Executive Director Dr. Randy Stith, praising his “passion and dedication for twenty-eight years.” Dr. Stith, though soft-spoken, exuded that passion when he said, “Mental Illness is a very difficult thing to deal with, our clients struggle with it every day.” Dr. Stith continued, “it takes a very brave person to want to deal with the illness, deal with a job and deal with living in their community, you have to work at it.” Dr. Stith continued, “You have to work hard at it.” Dr. Stith called the therapist, at AuMHC, a means, a tool that the people use, he said, “it’s the people that do it that are great.” He finished, “So for their sake and from them, I thank you.”

After lasting applause for Dr. Stith, Kevin Cunningham, President of he Board of Directors rose to the podium. Mr. Cunningham, added his gratitude to the 200 participants for “taking time out of your day, for you commitment and financial support, they make a huge difference to the Center.”

Kevin thanked Jo Snell in particular, and the board and staff of AuMHC for helping to create a, “fun and lighthearted event to help in the serious business that we are involved in, which is taking care of peoples lives.” He then named each of the sponsors and their level of commitment. “This event helps the people who truly need it, who can’t afford, or don’t have the insurance or means to seek aid, this includes the homeless the underinsured, and single mothers. Events like these help them to get the treatment that they need to live successful lives.” Kevin asked all the volunteer board members to stand and be recognized for their contribution of both time and money. He finished by saying, “By helping those with mental illness you help their families, employers, and the community tremendously.”

After the delicious lunch, created by the kitchen at the Holiday Inn, DIA, Jim Benemann rose to introduce keynote speaker Reggie Rivers, who besides having played six seasons with the Denver Broncos, has had a lifelong association with journalism and literature that stretches back to 1985.

Reggie has been a guest host on several Denver television and radio shows including Broncos Beat and Sports Extra on CBS4, The Orange Zone on KUSA Channel 9 and a weekly radio segment called Rolling with Rivers on KOA-AM 850 radio. As an author Reggie self-published The Vance: The Beginning & The End, and Power Shift, as well as writing Stallions and his newest book 4th and Fixed, which is rumored to have a movie deal in the works. Reggie will be joining Jim at CBS4 as the Weekend Anchor and sports reporter.

Reggie, who speaks at dozens of nonprofit events, is charming, funny, polished and inspirational. His talk wove through his first love and his determination in wooing her. Taking one step after another, each bolder then the last, until after seven turn downs on the eighth she succumbed and three weeks later broke up with him! Reggie said, “I look back at that situation and think, look how much confidence I had the moment I believed I couldn’t fail.”

“Most of the time the goals we choose tend to be things that are just out of our reach,” he said, referring to the lesson he learned. “How hard we go after it depends a lot on whether we think we are going to succeed.” Reggie’s talk was all about succeeding at the part that is in your control in life. He warned against measuring oneself by the outcome saying, “you can’t control the outcome.”

Reggie went on to explain his view on the difference between goals and objectives. “Goals are what you are going to set for yourself to achieve your objectives. A goal is anything you want to do that is completely in your control to do, it doesn’t require the participation of any other person.” The idea being, “What am I doing today to help me achieve my objectives?” Reggie used many metaphors including weight loss, health issues, football and travel to inspire his audience. He made the point that ability is only a small part of success, the greater part being the desire to achieve and the motivation to reach an objective, one goal at a time.

When Reggie was done he received enthusiastic and well-deserved applause. The final activity for the luncheon and in many ways the most important was the Community Awards presentations.

States Rep. Debbie Stafford, R-Aurora rose to the podium to give the first award, she invited everyone from AuMHC who provided help in the recent crises with Hurricane Katrina to join her on stage. Soon the stage was crowded with people, which symbolized the generosity, of not only the citizens of Aurora but of Colorado. R Stafford read a proclamation of gratitude from the Colorado General Assembly to Operation Safe Haven, Randy Stith received the award on behalf of his team.

Next on the podium, to continue the awards ceremony, was Board of Directors Community Relations Chairperson Terry Campbell-Caron. Terry presented the Business Award to the Aurora Mental Health Center Emergency Team, praising their spirit of “collaboration, professionalism and friendliness.” Terry said that they consistently live up to their value statement in that they treat their patients with “Compassion and Caring and act with integrity, adhering to the highest ethical standards and recognize and respect the worth of each individual.”

Receiving the Advocacy Award was Pastor Dale Bonnett, who set aside his formal ministry and accepted the task of setting up a clothing, furniture and overall warehouse to supply the needs of Hurricane Katrina victims; when they arrived in Colorado. With the assistance of volunteers he served 1,200 families and organized the distribution of 14,000 pieces of furniture. He listened to their stories and never forgot to greet everyone with his wonderful smile.

The Individual Achievement award was given to Ms. Barbara Mathews. Barbara, a New Orleans evacuee herself, found help in Colorado and almost immediately set about helping others. She used her organizational skills to help set up procedures to made things at the Project Safe Haven warehouse run more smoothly. Barbara always lent an ear and was willing to assist and encourage people to pick up the piece and move forward.

Jim Benemann returned and closed the luncheon, thanking everyone for attending and supporting the Aurora Mental Health Center. Aurora is wonderful, but not uncommon example of the kindness, generosity and sensitivity of the people of Colorado.

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