Saratoga Hospital Honors Terry Lee on her Retirement

Last Thursday evening friends and colleagues gathered at the Saratoga City Center to celebrate the retirement of Terry Lee, the Executive Director of the Saratoga Hospital Foundation who is retiring after 24 years. The evening was styled as a playful “Roast and Toast” and guest knew there would be some good hearted joking going on to celebrate the hard work of one of our community’s most dedicated citizens.

Guests included Michael and Linda Toohey, Charles and Candace Wait, Jeff and Heath Ames, the previous CEO of Saratoga Hospital David Andersen, Joe and Gloria Dalton, Dr. Desmond & Betsy DelGiacco, Jim & Agnes Gavin, Michael & Martha Iacolucci, Mike & Marlene Okby, Susan and Jeffrey Halstead, Barry and Cindy Potoker, and Andy and Kathleen Fyfe.

Saratoga Hospital CEO and President Angelo Calbone took to the stage to kick off the roast while Terry sat next to him on stage looking radiant as always.

“Terry’s Style rubbed off on people: bold, confident, demanding, won’t take no for an answer. I even started asking strangers on Broadway to give me money,” he joked as guests roared with laughter. “Seriously, I think I speak for everyone, particularly at the hospital, it has been an honor to work with you,” Angelo said as he finished his piece. “I have never worked with anyone in your business that has been as supportive, inspirational, and helpful in my entire career. The success of Saratoga Hospital has to a great extent been in your hands, and you’ve made me a better CEO, and I frankly just can’t find the right words to say thank you.”

Ellen Kerness, a colleague and also a good personal friend of Terry’s took the stage next, saying jokingly “Terry, as you can see there are a number of people who want to wish you well, and some who quite frankly want to get some things off their chest”. Messages from friends who couldn’t be there included Judy LeCain who sent well wishes from Paris, and some playful messages from Mark Harmon from NCIS, telling Terry she simply had to come out for an audition and to make sure she didn’t forget her “pink leather booties”, and one from Phil Mickelson, expressing his excitement about having Terry consult on his women’s golf clothing line.

Ellen then read a letter from the White House, assuring guests “this was not a joke”, in which President Obama said “I am pleased to join your family, friends, and colleagues in congratulating you on your retirement. Healthcare professionals enjoy the unique reward of knowing their efforts help improve, extend and even save the lives of patients in need. Their work touches countless lives, and I hope you look back on your contributions and accomplishments with joy and pride.”

Next up everyone’s attention was directed to the big screen as a special video started rolling. First up we saw the iconic Marilyn Monroe photo with the white dress billowing around her waist, and once guests realized Terry’s face was superimposed onto Marilyn’s body everyone knew they were in for a real treat.

Judy LeCain and Linda Toohey appeared on the screen, sitting next to each other both holding cards while Linda asked the first of a series of “Terry Lee Trivia” questions as the Jeopardy theme song played in the background. This got many laughs as they asked questions with deadpan expressions on their faces like “How many hair colors has Terry had in the past 24 years” and “How many pairs of shoes has she worn?” Answer: 912, apparently.

Next up Terry’s husband, Dave Povero, got perhaps the biggest laugh of the night. He took guests on a little tour of the closets at their home. He showed everyone how Terry, a notorious clotheshorse known for her signature flashy style, packs each of their closets with her own clothing and shoes, to much laughter from the audience. At the end of his tour he looked at the camera and said, “You’re probably wondering where I keep all of my clothes, then. Well, I have to wear them!” he said, as he started unbuttoning his shirt to reveal another shirt underneath, and then another, and another, then doing the same routine with his pants. The crowd was nearly in tears they were laughing so hard at this point. He finished off his piece with a joke about how despondent the UPS delivery guy was going to be with Terry ordering less shoes now that she’s retiring. “There’s nothing more sad than seeing a guy wearing brown crying over a Zappos box”. To much applause Dave took to his feet for a second and gave a happy little wave as everyone cheered his pitch perfect retirement send off for his wife.

Next in the video tribute we saw Charles V. Wait from Adirondack Trust sitting in his office. He wished Terry well on her retirement, and then told how he was going to give a chronicle of his experiences with the feisty fundraiser as John Mellancamp’s “Hurt So Good” began playing in the background. A series of snapshots flashed on the big screen from “previous years”, showing him first with a black eye, then with a bandaged head, a broken arm, a neck brace (that one really got the crowd in stitches) and finally hobbling out of his office at the present day with a cane, bent over in pain. As he limped out he joked “Terry I’m so glad you’re retiring”. It was a hilarious ode to Terry’s never give up attitude in finding the vital funds needed to keep our community’s hospital going.

As friends and colleagues appeared on screen to wish Terry well, it became clear to even an outside observer that this woman is a much beloved, and well respected member of our community. It wasn’t hard to imagine that the video could have gone on for hours if they had included everyone who wanted to wish Terry well, and wanted to commend her on her hard work and dedication. The amount of guests who came out to show their thanks that evening was also a testament to the impact she has made on our community.

Terry appeared next as Wonder Woman before Stephan von Schenk, executive vice president at Adirondack Trust Company came on to tell guests that Terry would be getting the largest wing at the National Museum of Shoes. Before the video was up Terry would appear on screen as Mona Lisa, Lucille Ball (“We Love Terry”) and Queen Elizabeth, each getting more laughs than the last.

The “Ga Ga Gala Girls” appeared next, and Julie Bonacio, Colleen Carlson and Mara King relived some of Terry’s finest moments running the always incredibly successful Annual Benefit Auctions for Saratoga Hospital, congratulating her in raising an astounding 6.2 million dollars in gala monies over the years.

The crowd was just thrilled with the hilarious video, and Terry herself was still laughing as she took to the stage to thank everyone for attending. She remarked on what a special community Saratoga Springs is, and expressed how thankful she was that they let an “outsider” (she’s from Chicago) into the fold. Terry graciously accepted all of the well wishes and kudos, and insisted that she could not have been as successful without having such a great team at Saratoga Hospital, a team dedicated to giving them best care possible for the community.  As she finished her speech, everyone was on their feet in a rousing standing ovation, so very well deserved.

Tattler Preview: Corks, Forks and Brews to benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family

email2v2This Thursday at Saratoga National Golf Club head to Corks, Forks and Brews to benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family. This great event will be an evening of wine tasting, food pairings, beer sampling and a lot of fun.  They’ll have entertainment by Big Medicine and a Crazy Photo Booth by the lovely and talented Heather Bohm Tallman.

Saratoga Center for the Family works to strengthen children, families, and our community by reducing the effects of abuse, trauma, and family dysfunction through advocacy, education and mental health therapy.

Tickets are going fast for this event, click right here to make sure you don’t miss it!

The 9th Annual To Life! Pink Ball at the Hall of Springs

To Life! held their 9th Annual Pink Ball on Friday, November 1st at the Hall of Springs. The theme for the evening included a fabulous red carpeted entrance with guest photos for all attendees with a very festive “Oscars” theme. The Pink Ball is the inspiration of dancer and breast cancer survivor, Leslie Valencia. Since 2005, To Life! has hosted this special celebration to benefit women and families in our community affected by breast cancer.

At the event Marcie Fraser, YNN Medical Reporter, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies, and To Life! presented Community Service Advocate Awards. The gracious winners of the awards were Joseph Bell for Leading Surgeon for Breast Cancer Patients, Eileen Guarino for Supporting Role – To Life! Volunteer, Dr. Richard MacDowell for Leading Surgeon for Breast Cancer Patients, Turbine Services Ltd. received a Lifetime Achievement – To Life! Philanthropic Support Award and Michele Riggi received an award for Philanthropic Leadership.

The elegant evening included dinner, cocktails & hors d’oeuvres with a live and silent auction and live music by TS Ensemble got the guests on their feet for some dancing. Auctioneer LeGrande Serras worked his magic for the live auction, and Andrew Giordano was the lucky winner for a trip to wine country including a hot air balloon ride. A weekend at the Otesaga Hotel was snapped up by To Life! board member Cynthia Shenker and some other hot items included an evening at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway including a limo ride, dinner and some fun at the Vapor nightclub, a beautiful Frankie Fores print, and a Thanksgiving dinner catered by Mazzone Hospitality. LeGrande got the crowd whipped up into a bidding frenzy and everyone was in a giving mood, raising over $25,000 during the event.

Eileen Bird, Executive Director for To Life! was thrilled with the event. “It was a magical evening, the room filled with a warmth and camaraderie of true friends. We are fortunate to have community support for our work and are looking forward to utilizing the funds raised tonight to support educational programming those affected by breast cancer”.

Annual Halloween Masquerade Ball to benefit the Capital Region office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

photo by Ed Burke

photo by Ed Burke

The organizers of the annual Halloween Masquerade Ball were delighted to announce they raised nearly $70,000 for the Capital Region office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Board Chairman Sam Palazzole and his wife, Linda, Gala Committee chairwoman, did a marvelous job organizing this well-attended event. The evening was both festive and fun, all while raising money and awareness around the most serious issues facing our children.

Guests arrived at Saratoga National dressed to the nines in fabulous costumes, sipping cocktails and enjoying hors d’oeuvres as they perused the many silent auction items. Bob McKenna, Yono and Donna Purnomo, Kevin Johnson, Deidre Chuckrow, Ed Evers, David Fallon, Melanie Grossman, William Hawkins, John Kelly, William Leege, Gary Mattison, Edward Moore, Patty Riggi, Bob Quick and NCMEC Executive Director Ed Suk were all in attendance, as well as several members of local law enforcement, including members of the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshall’s Office, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Hudson Falls police and Saratoga Springs police.

Families of missing children were represented by the Frear, Lyall, Heiber and Reyes families. The silent auction items were bid on heavily and ranged from jewelry to sports tickets and memorabilia, to restaurant gift certificates and entertainment packages.

As guests made their way into the ballroom, mistress of ceremonies Liz Bishop welcomed everyone and began the evening’s program. Speakers included Sam Palazzole, Laura Emanatian of the Saratoga Springs Police Department and Mike Giovanone, the recipient of the John Walsh Award.

This was followed by some very spirited bidding for some fantastic live auction items.

David Stack and his wife were the lucky winners of an outstanding car experience that included a personal tour through Jim Taylor’s automobile collection followed by a drive through the Adirondacks in which they will try four of Taylor’s different cars, such as a Ferrari and Aston Martin.

McKenna and Ryan Van Hall will get a chance to escape to some warmer weather this winter, both winning a week in Naples, Fla., generously donated by the Basiles.

David Geliebeter and his wife were delighted to bring home Jets tickets, as well as a day at the races with Parting Glass Racing and Tom Gallo.

Last, but certainly not least, the evening’s costume awards were handed out, with Dan and Donna Barber winning for best couple as clowns, Andrew Grazulis of BBL taking home the scariest costume award and Frank Mitola winning for most original as the Mad Hatter. Dressed as Fred Flintstone, Daniel Shepard won the funniest costume award and was joined by Lisa Dunney, dressed as Wilma Flintstone. Andrew was joined by his wife, Tahnya Grazulis. The Masquerade Ball was enjoyed by all and marked another success for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

TJ’s Turkeys EAT & FEED benefit at The Brook Tavern

TJ Tracey receiving a check from Brook Tavern owner Bob Lee for the proceeds from the EAT and FEED event

TJ Tracey receiving a check from Brook Tavern owner Bob Lee for the proceeds from the EAT and FEED event

A full turkey dinner at the Brook Tavern in Saratoga Springs is hard to pass up, and it was a not to miss event on Monday, October 28th for the TJ’s Turkeys “Eat and Feed” Event. The sell out event saw the community rally to support this great organization.

TJ’s Turkeys was started by a local 13 year old named TJ Tracy, with the mission of providing turkeys to those in need on Thanksgiving Day. Started when TJ was just 8 years old, he collected $200 within his first year and was able to provide 10 turkeys to those in need through the Franklin Community Center. The next year, he raised $1,200, which provided around 60 turkeys to those in need. Last year he raised $3,000 dollars, providing 100 turkeys with many of the Thanksgiving extras including gravy, potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Spotted at the dinner were Tom and Kristie Roohan, Charles Wait, Heather Straughter there with son Ethan, Ron Ireland, Valerie Collins, James Williams Ness there with daughter Addie, Erica and Ashley Dingeman, and Amy and Rod Sutton.

TJ was recently honored by the Saratoga Spring Rotary Club as an outstanding citizen of the year, alongside Sonny and Julie Bonacio and Barbara Messier, Lake Avenue Elementary School principal. This is the first time a child has ever won this award, and many have commented on how poised and gracious TJ was at the ceremony.

The Brook Tavern generously donated 50% of the evening’s proceeds to TJ’s Turkeys, and owner Bob Lee was thrilled to host the event. “TJ’s enthusiasm and charitable nature is contagious. It will be an annual event at The Brook Tavern.”

TJ definitely has a lot to be proud of, already exceeding his fundraising goal and raising around $8,000. We spoke to TJ about the event. “We are so grateful to the Brook Tavern for hosting the first EAT and FEED for TJ’s Turkeys, and to the Saratoga community for selling out the event. We are exceeding our goals and have more than doubled last year’s money raised, which means there’s so much more we can do to help our needy families with all of this generosity.”

If you’d like to support this inspiring young man’s mission, the next TJ’s Turkeys event will be held on Wednesday, November 6th at Cantina in Saratoga Springs. If you dine at Cantina that day, mention TJ’s Turkeys and 33% of your bill will be donated to the organization.


Sipping for Seniors to benefit the Saratoga Senior Center at Javier’s

Javier’s was the hotspot on Thursday, October 24th as supporters packed their 1st floor Chicchetti Bar for Sipping for Seniors to benefit the Saratoga Senior Center as Guest Bartenders took their turn behind the bar serving up drinks to raise funds. John Witt was a popular bartender as he mixed up his signature margaritas, always a crowd pleaser, and Tina Nigro and Lisa Gabryshak had fun and raked in the tips.

Friends and supporters came out to order up their favorites, and Brian Straughter and Jeffrey Halstead came out to support their favorite bartenders Heather Straughter and Susan Halstead as they took their turn pouring the drinks. Spotted in the crowd we saw Jacob Hopper, Terry Leahy, Saratoga Senior Center Executive Director Lois Celeste, Natalie Sillery, Rick Partyka, and Jessika Poulin.

Rich Flaherty, Dimitri Khazin, Jenny Witte, Janet Franco and Ryen VanHall rounded out the knockout group of Guest Bartenders and kept the energy going as Ericka O’Donnell entertained guests with some latin tunes.

Raising well over $2,000 the night was as successful as it was fun, with everyone already looking forward to the next one.

Signature Chefs Auction for March of Dimes at Canfield Casino

On Tuesday, October 22nd guests at the Signature Chefs Auction For March of Dimes at Canfield Casino were treated to an evening of tastings by great chefs of the Capital Region. Event chairs Angela Beddoe, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief , Herlife Magazine and Joanne DiMarco, Vice President-Select Sotheby’s International Realty welcomed guests to the delicious event which celebrated the March of Dimes 75th Anniversary and honored Dave Vanderzee and his dedication to March of Dimes for over 30 years.

Guests perused the fully stocked silent auction and table hopped among the tasting tables as they mingled and chatted. The evenings tastings were provided by Adirondack Winery, Bellini’s, Century House, Gideon Putnam Resort, Heven Hill Distilleries, Hilton Albany, Mazzone Hospitality, Portofino’s, Sweet Temptations, the Edison Club, the Inn at Erlowest, The Mallozzi Family, The Meat House, The Wine Bar-Saratoga, Chianti’s and Valente’s Restaurant. The Fund the Mission sponsor was Community Care Physicians: Division of Pediatrics

Spotted doing some sampling we saw Melissa Ward, Michelle Moricone, owner of Piper Boutique Alessandra Hall, Mike Mihaly, Rich White, and Steering Committee Members Lois Celeste, Lisa Austin, Margaret D’Andrea, Heather Duval, Lisa Higgins and Rachel Uccellini, there with husband Tom.

The competition was stiff and judging was a tough job that night, but Portofino’s came out on top and was voted Best Table winner, and Chianti’s was voted best tasting. Chef Fabrizio Bazzani from Chianti took home the top prize and won the Iron Chef Competition.

We spoke to Event Chair Angela Beddoe about the popular event. “It was a wonderful evening with some of the area’s top chefs, all for a good cause-Healthy Babies.  The work of the March of Dimes is so very important and we are grateful to everyone who helped make the evening a success”.

Numbers were still being tallied as of press time, but the event was a total success, raising between $55 and 60K for March of Dimes.

Touched by an Angel Community Hospice of Saratoga benefit

Of the many galas and parties in Saratoga, the annual “Touched by an Angel”event is really a standout. The evening raises money for the Community Hospice of Saratoga and this was another hugely successful year for them, with over 500 guests in attendance and fundraising totals around $130,000.

You can truly feel the support from the community for this event from the second you walk through the doors of the National Dance Museum. Darling girls, dressed as angels, welcomed each guest as is the tradition for this party and some of the greeters included Jeanne Jerome, Aileen and Finola Klaus, Isabelle and Sarah Pipino and Kendra Teator. With well over one hundred local businesses donating everything from flowers to food for the night, the offerings for guests were impressive.

Some of the culinary standouts included pieces of scrumptious pork belly from the Brook Tavern, sinfully rich macaroni and cheese from Maestros, smoked salmon canapés from Prime and mini crab cakes from Circus Café. With no auctions or presentations, guests were free to mingle and catch up with friends while enjoying everything the evening had to offer.

Barbara Ecker from Community Hospice did a marvelous job coordinating the hardworking volunteers who are clearly the backbone of this magical evening. Spotted mingling in the crowd were Allison and David Meyers, Mike and Margaret Roohan, Shauna Sutton and Therese and Sean Connolly. Jim Murphy and Patti Riggi were also in attendance as well as Diane Lloyd, Tamara Valentine, Carrie and Scott Van Kloberg, Deborah Iuliano and Chuck Martin, Rachel and Tommy Uccellini and John Witt. If you haven’t attended Touched by an Angel yet, save the date for next October and come enjoy this lovely evening.


Project Lift University at Longfellows

On Thursday, October 17th friends and supporters gathered for Franklin Community Center’s Project Lift University at Longfellows. At this unique academic inspired event guests got nostalgic about their college days where they could register for “classes” with talented local professionals, who will act as “professors” by donating their time to teach a class.

Attendees who signed up for classes paid the “registration fee”, but instead of paying the “professor”, all proceeds went to benefit Project Lift, a free after-school Prevention Program from Franklin Community Center in Saratoga Springs for youth in Grades 1-5.

Spotted at the event were Aimee Taylor and Gary Dake, Geyser Road school principal Kristy Moore, Dave and Stephanie Collins, Maria and Lauren Rose Dailey, Courtney Bissell, Betsy Boland, Ashley Terwilliger, Stephen Carleton, Saratoga Springs City School District Superintendent Mike Piccirillo, Franklin Community Center Board President Brian Corcoran, Ann Sullivan, Christopher Cook, Andrew Ferrara, Bob McTague, and Cathy London.

The Longfellows menu was extensive with sliced BBQ brisket, cilantro balsamic coleslaw, goat cheese and caramelized onion pizza, ginger garlic and lemon chicken satay, mini reese’s pieces mousse parfait, and mini strawberry shortcakes as just some of the highlights of the delicious spread.

Bid for Your Benefit ran the live auction and a big winner of the evening was a Hatties Backyard BBQ purchased by Dave and Stephanie Collins.  A week long vacation at Clay Brook at Sugarbush was another crowd-pleaser!

Also seen at the event were Bob and Mary Grace Manz, Zack and Kristin Manz, EJ Harkins, Kristen Mann, Liz O’Brien, John and Cindy Munter, Mike and Lisa Munter, Bill Noonan, Jen Marcellus, Bill and Timoney Montgomery, Franklin Community Center Board Vice President Karen D’Andrea and husband Faust, and Tina Davis, the principal of Greenfield School.

Overall the event was a great success, growing in size this year and raising about 35K for Project Lift.

The 3rd Annual Catwalk for Kidneys Fashion Show o benefit the Northeast Kidney Foundation

The 3rd Annual Catwalk for Kidneys Fashion Show took place at the Saratoga Hilton on October 13th to benefit the Northeast Kidney Foundation, and fashionistas and supporters alike came out to show their support.

Shops like Saratoga Trunk, Saratoga Saddlery, Miss Scarlett, Rockabella, Alexis Aida, Karalina’s, Frivolous, Vesture, and The National all provided stunning fashions for the models to wear, and some of the shop owners even had personal stories which motivated them to take part in the fashionable fundraiser. Alexis Gabriel, the owner of Alexis Aida is especially connected to the cause since her mother, Maria Gabriel, is a kidney transplant recipient herself.

Personal stories really made the event special and unique, and Fran Dingeman served as the emcee and story teller as the models lined up to walk the catwalk in the packed ballroom. 16 year old Monasia Johnson, a dialysis patient, was walking in the fashion show to raise awareness. She broke into tears while she took to the stage as her song played, This Girl is on Fire, and the support from the room was overwhelming. Model Valerie Zakrzewski, a 17 year old on her second bout of dialysis was born with Cystinosis and is waiting for her second kidney transplant and she rocked the runway in style. There was not a dry eye in the house when Linda Morganson, a donor mom, walked in honor of her daughter that became an organ donor and saved the lives of 7 people including 4 year old Noah.  Joanne Yepsen took a turn on the catwalk before heading over to greet Gabriel Giffords next door at the Saratoga City Center.

Also part of the spectacular show was the Leone family, who honors their son’s legacy with the Shane Leone Memorial Scholarship Fund which has made 8 scholarships possible over the last two years.

Outside the ballroom, boutiques and vendors set up shop, each donating a profit of their proceeds to the Northeast Kidney Foundation. Guests shopped and browsed, picking out their own fashions. A silent auction table was another hot spot and bidding was high on a number of desirable items. An event that is growing by leaps and bounds each year, Catwalk for Kidneys is definitely one to put on your calendars for next year.