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May 22, 2008 - 7th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon

Where: Inverness Hotel and Conference Center

When: Thursday May 22, 2008

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Host(s): Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Mistress of Ceremonies: Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter

Master of Ceremonies: ADMHN CEO Scott Thoemke

Honoree(s): Carol Villa and Representative Joe Rice

EMCEE: Susie Wargin, 9News Morning Sports Anchor

President(s): Board President Tom Flanagan

Welcome: Susie Wargin

Speaker: Greg Louganis

Catering: Inverness Hotel and Conference Center

Entertainment: Peneplain Jazz Trio

Sponsors: CB Richard Ellis; Citywide Banks; Highlands Behavioral Health System; Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.; Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado; Kaiser Permanente; Lockton Companies, LLC; Palace Construction; Addiction Research and Treatment Services; Arapahoe and Douglas Counties; Arapahoe House; Astra Zeneca; Aurora Mental Health Center; Colorado Access; Community Research Center; Intermountain Rural Electric Association; Peggy Gordon, Wanda and Paul Miller; National Alliance on Mental Illness-Arapahoe/Douglas Chapter; John R Phillips; Gail and Jeff Ploen; Signal Behavioral Health Network, Inc.

Menu: Summer mixed greens with balsamic viniagrette, spinach and Chevre stuffed chicken breast, creamy herb polenta with olive kaper sauce, and granny smith apple pie

Attendance: 200-250

Attire: Business

Board of Directors: Thomas Flanagan; Gail Ploen; John R Phillips; Thomas Bay; 'Nita Brown; Attila Denes; Jean Flynn; Margaret "Peggy" Gordon; Michael Hankinson; Mario Harding; Todd Helvig; Diane Kennedy; Maude Lofton; Jose' Reyes; Richard Spiegle; Paul Staley

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Bergos

 Featured speaker and Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis with COO of the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network Joan DiMaria
Featured speaker and Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis with COO of the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network Joan DiMaria

200 to 250 guests attended the 7th Annual Mental Health Benefit luncheon hosted by the Arapahoe/Douglas Country Mental Health Network in May. Guests arrived at 11:00 a.m. at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center and began the luncheon with a warm reception and book signing with Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Louganis. Live music was provided by the Peneplain Jazz Trio.

At 11:30 guests were escorted into the grand ballroom for the luncheon and an official welcome by emcee Susie Wargin. She then introduced CEO/Executive Director Scott Thoemke, who gave an overview of ADMHN, it's services, and the CEO's message. Mr. Thoemke then introduced Board President Tom Flanagan. Mr. Flanagan gave the President's message, then introduced Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter for the awards part of the luncheon.

First Lady Jeannie Ritter expressed the importance of mental health, the link to physical health, and the importance of early intervention. The first award, the 2008 Pat Echtermeyer Community Hero Award, was presented to Carol Villa, a mother of nine, and a member of Empower Colorado. She is an individual who has made significant, long-term contributions to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, as well as to increase access to treatment through education, advocacy, and support.

The next award, the 2008 ADMHN Distinguished Service Award, was given to Colorado Representative Joe Rice. He is an individual who has made significant contributions to reduce the stigma of mental illness and to address key public policy and funding issues for mental health. 9News morning sports anchor and emcee Susie Wargin then introduced keynote speaker, Greg Louganis. Louganis, whom most remember as an Olympic gold medalist, spoke warmly and honestly about his struggles with HIV, coming out as a gay man, domestic violence, dyslexia and substance abuse. His first book, Breaking the Surface, was made into a movie in 1997. Since retiring from competitive diving, he has acted in television and off-broadway roles. His message of tolerance and understanding is an inspiration for all. Following a question and answer session, Susie Wargin gave the closing remarks.

For more information about Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, log on to

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