“Men Who Make A Difference,” the annual celebration of 12 important men making positive contributions in local communities, was celebrated at an exuberant Gala dinner at The Viking Hotel in Newport recently
For the benefit of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) of Newport & Bristol Counties, the “Men Who Make a Difference’ Gala supports the work of the agency in assisting victims and survivors of domestic violence to help them to have safe, healthy families, free from emotional, physical, and verbal abuse.
Women’s Resource Center Board President Gary Lineberry welcomed guests to the reception and spoke about the agency’s work, creating sustainable economic models, and how it is “doing some things differently,” stressing new pilot programs for addressing issues such as bullying. After introducing her as “a woman who gets things done”, Lineberry presented Melanie Delman, Event Chair and President of Lila Delman Real Estate, with a gift of appreciation. In her official welcoming letter Delman notes, “Domestic violence shatters families, and destroys the lives of children. That is why we honor the men in our community that have been strong, positive role models in nurturing family values.”
This year honorees, Marvin L. Abney, Paul L. Cardoza, Ed.D., Ray Davis, Ben Ellcome, Reverend Christopher L. Epperson, Kevin O. Hagan, Esq., Sergeant Dennis Leahey, Senator Charles J. Levesque, Kevin O’Connor, Charles “Charlie” Plant, James “Jim” Taricani of NBC 10, and John “Jack” White, received their engraved silver trays at a VIP cocktail reception preceding the dinner. The trays immediately became serving platters, as the gentleman began taking drink orders for patrons, and asking (quite successfully) for tips for the organization.
Adjourning to a downstairs dinner, the honorees were joined by agency supporters, as the music of Java Jive lent an infectious air of festivity. All the partygoers were there to help, and to dance.
As the honorees (whose images were projected on a large screen behind the dance floor) were introduced, each made inspirational statements about their beliefs: “not to be a bystander,” “the right thing to do,” “every individual matters.”
Emcee for the evening was Don Mays, of Roger Williams University. Lori DiPersio, Executive Director of WRC, spoke on behalf of the agency. An articulate survivor of domestic violence recounted a horrific tale of being abused and stalked, and how WRC had helped her and her children with counseling, shelter, and legal assistance. “Their help was invaluable,” she stated.
The dinner was an elegant “surf and turf,” with salmon and filet mignon.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, accompanied by aide Vivan Spencer, arrived to give the champagne toast to the honorees and the agency’s work.
State Senator Theresa Paiva Weed dined, Providence Mayor David Cicilline came for dessert, and spoke with Ruth Orthwein. Lila Delman agents Cathy Andreozzi , Susan Gustavson, Kim Doherty and Robin Nicholson took to the dance floor. Veronica Wells of WRC cut a fine figure, and high-heeled sandals on ladies were the order of the evening. A short silent auction featured an African Safari and a foursome at the Newport Country Club. The band, Java Jive, donated $700 to WRC, handing the check to Ms. DiPersio from the bandstand.
For further information on the work of the Women’s Resource center, go to www.wrcnbc.org .