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March 06, 2008 - Soup for the Soul Warms the Heart

What: Sample signature soups and appetizers from top Denver restaurants as a fundraiser for Porter and St. Anthony Hospices

Where: Adam's Mark

When: March 6, 2008

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Beneficiary: Porter Hospice and St. Anthony Hospice

Mistress of Ceremonies: Kim Christiansen of 9News

Honoree(s): John Fielder

Executive Director: CEO of Centura Health at Home: Erin Denholm

Committee Members: Volunteers: Chris Agnew, Jeannie Bennington, Kim Benson, Janis Borie, Pam Grange, Tamara Kriese, Judi Kugler, Sara Loss, Carol Matthews, Brenda McKenna, Margy McKenna, Priscilla O'Leary, Patty Pisani, Stacie Schubert, Holly Stabler, Heidi Taylor, Phyllis Travers, Barbara Wagner, Debbie Younggren

Staff: Centura Health at Home: Lisa Cutter, PR Consultant; Erin Denholm, CEO; Andrea Helsel, Volunteer Coordinator; Paige Thompson, Marketing Coordinator; Susie Tombs, Director of Marketing; Kathie Repola, Foundation Executive Director. Rocky Mtn. Adventist Healthcare Foundation: Deana Alfonso, Events Coordinator; Cynthia Andersen, Development Assoc., Rhonda Cooperman, Data Manager; Sandy Daniel, Development Officer; Laura Fitch, Director of Events; Dan Hainault, Director of Operations; Cheryl Hopper, Exec. Asst.; Karen Johnson, President and CEO; Candace Malta, Gift Process Coordinator; Steve Younger, Sr. Accountant.

Invocation: Paul Roper, Hospice Chaplain

Sponsors: TRUFFLED VICHYSSOISE SPONSORS: Background Information Services Inc.; Wells Fargo Bank. GOLDEN GAZPAHCO SPONSORS: Adventist Health System; GE Johnson Construction Co.; McKesson; Medline; United Healthcare; Bank of the West; Hospital Shared Services; MDC Holdings Inc./Richmond American Homes; Olinger Mortuaries and Cemeteries/Dignity Memorial; Great-West Retirement Services. CHICKEN GUMBO SPONSORS: Bennington Johnson Biermann & Craigmile LLC; LaFawn Biddle; The Children's Hospital; Connecting People Inc.; Great-West Healthcare; Health Images; Horan & McConaty; Rocky Mountain Cancer Center; St. Anthony Health Foundation. CONSOMME SPONSORS: American Medical Response; Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield; BC Services; Christian Living Communities; Colorado Business Bank; Concentra; COPIC Insurance Co.; CSI International; Diversified Radiology of Colorado; General Air Service & Supply; Medquist; MSN Communications; Peak Resources, Inc.; Physician Health Partners; Premier Copier Inc.; MEDIA SPONSORS: 9News, Mix 100, 5280 Magazine.

Menu: Restaurants and vendors serving soups and appetizers: Agave Grill, alto, Arapahoe/Douglas Career & Technical School, Baur's Ristorante/Footer's Catering, Bistro Vendome, Blue Point Bakery, Dazzle, Elway's Restaurant, Fruition Restaurant, Highland's Garden Cafe, Japon, Luca D'Italia, Mel's Bistro & Bar, Mel's Restaurant of Greenwood Village, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, The Palm Restaurant, Panera Bread, Pesce Fresco, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Rioja, San Lorenzo Ristorante, Steuben's Food Service, Vesta Dipping Grill

Florist: Lehrer's Flowers

Board of Directors: Porter Hospice: Chris Agnew, Jeannie Bennington, Kim Benson, Kevin Byerly Steve Catts, Kim Christiansen, Erin Denholm, Chasidey Geissler, Karen Johnson, Kathie Repola, Anita Sanborn, Patrick Schilken, Janine Smith, Eric Wolverton. Honorary Members: Irv Brown, Sharon Alexander Holt, Kelly Owens, Harold Patton, David Schrier, M.D.
St. Anthony Hospice: Jack Burke, Erin Denholm, Robert Eaton, Jan Eyer, Daren Forbes, John F. Griebel, David Kriese, Sr. Jacqueline Leech, S.C., Fr. Ben Meyer, Priscilla O'Leary, Deacon Chuck Parker, Kathie Repola, Kristine Schneider

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress

 Porter Hospice board member Jeannie Bennington, left, with Centura Health at Home CEO Erin Denholm and Karen Midkiff, Chief Development Officer for Mercy Heath Foundation in Durango
Porter Hospice board member Jeannie Bennington, left, with Centura Health at Home CEO Erin Denholm and Karen Midkiff, Chief Development Officer for Mercy Heath Foundation in Durango

The first thing you realize when you immerse yourself in Soup for the Soul is how upbeat, optimistic and happy the people involved are. They are the first to tell you, as they told the 900 attendees at the 8th annual Soup for the Soul at the Adam's Mark Hotel on Thursday evening, that we must try to understand and embrace death as much as we do life.

The other prominent impression left is the level of caring that the Porter Hospice and St. Anthony Hospice saintly people have: for the clients they are serving in their last days, for their families, for each other. They consider it an honor to be able to spend the time they do with their clients at the times they do. They care so much about their fellow human beings that they have started an outreach program in Nepal, to help those who are critically ill and who have no assistance, guidance, bereavement mechanism or shoulder to cry on during the difficult times. Whether it be our fellow human beings across the globe or right here in Colorado, it isn't just about what the medical insurance programs send reimbursment for.

The Soup for the Soul gathering was nothing short of a jovial event, with a high energy crowd perusing the silent auction and getting the jubilant shout from Stacie Schubert when someone bought a raffle-like "soup can" and got a great prize. Centura Health at Home CEO Erin Denholm was a walking angel, delivering a warm welcome to hundreds of people and meaning each and every word. She spoke from the heart in her interactions with attendees and her speech on stage, where she thanked the restaurants involved, the sponsors, the volunteers and committee members, and the attendees for their contributions on many levels.

The 15 restaurants that provided soup and appetizers gave each patron a culinary delight, providing samples of creative soups that aren't your every day variety in a can. Tasting and savoring them was a real treat, plus recipes are available to try to replicate them at

Emcee Kim Christiansen did her usual marvelous job at the helm, with warm thoughts about the Hospice community and programs. Honoree of the evening, recipient of the Legacy of Courage award, was noted photographer John Fielder. Fielder has turned the almost insurmountable loss of his wife Gigi from early Alzheimer's and the death of his son, J.T., who completed suicide six months after the loss of his mother, into experiences that hopefully can provide inspiration and hope to others facing similar struggles. Once a very private person, Fielder takes the time to autograph books for fans and attend countless functions to talk heart to heart with whomever approaches him. "If we can embrace death as we embrace life, maybe we can make a positive out of a negative," Fielder said to the crowd. "Frankly, after sitting next to a field of columbines or a spray of water from a beautiful waterfall, I have a hard time feeling sorry for myself, with this remarkable chance we have in this universe."

Kim Christiansen had a memorable point to convey to the audience. "Someone once pointed out to me when looking at an engraved gravestone, that they usually have the birth date, a dash, and a death date. All of us here are living in the dash. It's all up to us that are living in that dash, right now, to make the most of it."

Our many thanks to the countless hours and tremendous pressure each Hospice professional works with to provide much-needed help to those in their last days and their families. We live in a very advanced world of computers, technology, finance, learning, competing, working...but we generally don't take the time, as John Fielder and Erin Denholm pointed out, to learn about death, so thank goodness the Hospice professionals do.


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