Easter Seals kicked off the countdown to its 10th annual Advocacy Awards Dinner with an intimate reception in downtown D.C. this past Wednesday. The event, held in Holland & Knight’s elegant office space, gave the organization’s executives a chance to speak about this year’s dinner, as well as Easter Seals’ overarching mission.
The 2014 dinner will highlight Easter Seals’ programs that support military families, such as adult day services, caregiver training, and the Military Family Respite Program, which organizes trips for kids to give their parents some much-needed time off. The dinner is scheduled for May 6 at the Marriott Wardman Park in D.C.
Guests at the preview event also got the chance to meet some of this year’s Advocacy Award recipients. Ann Campbell, who is receiving the award along with her husband, Gen. John Campbell, said she appreciated Easter Seals’ efforts to support military families on a local level.
“We need to rely more and more on partnerships with the community,” she said. Campbell herself served in the military, and her son, John Jr., coincidentally is stationed at Fort Campbell.
The most moving testament of the evening came from Angela Spraul, who shared her experiences with Easter Seals’ programs, and how they helped her in her time of need. When her husband returned from deployment with a spinal injury, she took advantage of the Respite program to keep their daughters occupied while she helped her husband recover.
“It was the only time we had together…the girls loved it and I didn’t have to worry about them,” she said.
Spraul also enrolled them in an Easter Seals’ daycare program, where she said they “blossomed.” Sadly, Spraul’s husband died in February, but she said she is grateful for the continued support of the organization.
Dinner Chair Phil Panzarella, described as the “Ever Ready bunny” by a fellow Dinner Committee member, said he had been working with Easters Seals for years and would continue to fund-raise for them because of people like Angela.
“I have no problem asking anyone for money for this job,” he said during a brief speech. “Who doesn’t support our military?”
Visit advocacyawards.org for more details about this year’s dinner!