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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
September 15, 2006

Even the moon smiled

Night of partying seals the bond between David�s House and ARC Ohio

Toledo--Two years of doubt and concern came to an end on September 9 with the first Supporters Reaching Out fundraiser held since David�s House Compassion became part of AIDS Resource Center Ohio.

Returning for a second year to Centennial Terrace, SRO�s theme this year was �Dancin� in the Moonlight.� Appropriately, the day�s rain had ended and the clouds broke up, revealing the just-past-full moon.

ARC Ohio executive director Bill Hardy thanked the people attending SRO not only for their presence, but also for bringing the good weather with them.

After he spoke, David�s House Compassion board president David Arnold called him back to the stage to present him with a check for $10,000, noting the difficulty in getting grants for HIV education.

�Those funds will be used for emergency financial assistance for people living with HIV and AIDS, and to enhance our educational activities within the Toledo region,� Hardy said after the event.

Arnold said the check was �money left in the budget that we wanted ARC Ohio to have.�

The David�s House board still has authority under their articles of incorporation, but they are expected to dissolve those articles within the next few weeks.

Guest host Alexis Means of WTVG Channel 13 introduced Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken. Event co-chairs David Wishart and Chris Clymer also spoke, but the night was not one of speeches--it was a party, pure and simple.

Dinner was catered by Manhattan�s, providing attendees with a variety of food to suit almost any palate, including a number of vegetarian selections. There was also an extravagant silent auction and a 50/50 raffle with three drawings over the course of the evening.

Three bands provided a diverse array of sounds.

Clemency, playing in the first part of the evening while most of the patrons were eating, was mellow and folky, while the Monday Program, a trio of youths from Bowling Green, brought pop-punk to the slot immediately following the presentations. The sultry, jazzy sounds of Voodoo Libido came later.

Drag diva Twila Starr made a number of appearances, although it was easy for anyone there to mistake her for Tina Turner. Starr�s mimicry of the singer is uncanny.

According to ARC Ohio�s associate executive director Nora Vondrell, the event brought out 250 people, including the 55 volunteers and performers.

While that number is lower than last year�s attendance, Vondrell believes that the drop is due to the public�s uncertainty about the event.

David�s House, which was on shaky financial footing, first joined with a substance-abuse organization, then found a permanent partner in ARC Ohio. However, the changes over the last two years left many people uncertain if SRO were still taking place.

This year�s 16th annual SRO matched the attendance from two years ago.

�We thought the event was a success and commend the volunteers and committee of David�s House Compassion for 16 years of producing this event, which is an extraordinary accomplishment for any fundraising special event, and especially and AIDS fundraiser,� Hardy noted.

�Personally, I would like to say that I�m overwhelmed by the support from the community during the handing off of David�s House Compassion�s programs to ARC Ohio and certainly recognize that we stand on the shoulders of many folks in the Toledo region who have gone before us,� he continued.

�In terms of �friend-raising,� in terms of this being the first event celebrating David�s House Compassion finding a permanent home with AIDS Resource Center Ohio, it was a slam-dunk success,� Vondrell enthused.

According to Vondrell, ARC Ohio officially hired David�s House�s staff on May 15, and three days later the David�s House offices were moved into ARC Ohio�s Toledo office.

�It�s seamless,� she said. �It�s one-stop shopping for our clients.�

Two members of the David�s House board are now on the ARC Ohio regional board, David Herr and Debbie Dryer-McClure.

While SRO has had three homes in the last five years and three completely different formats, it�s always a surprise what the following year�s event will hold.

�The committee has already talked about how they�d like to change things for next year, so we�re eager to se what they have planned,� Vondrell said.


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