On Thursday, September 25, 2014, Lutheran Services of Georgia honored community heroes at the seventh annual Heroes of Hope, Healing, and Strength Gala. Held at the Defoor Centre, the gala brought together LSG staff, volunteers, and supporters to recognize the Rev. Darrel and Mary Peterson, Mr. Erroll B. Davis, and R.N.C. Industries for bringing hope, healing, and strength to those in need.
The evening began with a cocktail reception and silent auction. Over 35 individuals, corporations, and organizations generously donated gift cards, handmade scarves, brewery tours, hotel stays, and more for the auction. As attendees mingled and out-bid each other, they enjoyed live music from local jazz musicians, the TAJ trio.
Scott Light, news anchor for CBS 46, served as the Master of Ceremonies, expressing his excitement at telling the “underreported stories” of people doing good work in their communities. As attendees enjoyed a three-course meal, LSG staff and clients told stories from Foster Care, Adoptions, and Refugee and Immigration Services. Robert and Geraldine Smith, a couple who has both adopted through LSG and served as foster parents, shared how LSG helped them open their home to children. Jamshid Samadi, a former interpreter for the U.S. military in Afghanistan who arrived in the U.S. on a Special Immigrant Visa, thanked LSG for providing him with employment services.
Attendees watched tribute videos about LSG’s 2014 Heroes and the heroes were given the opportunity to speak. Adam and Derek Peterson introduced their parents, the Rev. Darrel and Mary Peterson, praising them for their “intentional lives full of faith, service to others, and most importantly, good times.” Darrel and Mary’s ties run deep with Lutheran Social Services agencies and with the Lutheran church. Darrel and Mary thanked LSG for bridging Lutheran congregations and the community through social ministry to those in need.
LSG next recognized Mr. Erroll B. Davis, the former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, for his commitment to education and to Georgia’s children. Erroll spoke about his connections with Hmong and Vietnamese refugees resettled in Wisconsin with help from Lutherans. He thanked his wife Elaine for her support throughout their 22 years of marriage.
LSG then honored local family-owned business R.N.C. Industries for partnering with LSG to employ recently arrived refugees. Taylor Clark, Vice President of Marketing, and Maria Cornejo, the Human Resources Manager, represented the company. Taylor shared her personal story of watching her family’s business grown and affirmed R.N.C. Industries’ commitment to give their employees a brighter future.
LSG thanks all those who made this celebration possible, especially silent auction donors, supporters, the Defoor Centre, Scott Light, and our 2014 Heroes of Hope. We look forward to 2015, when we will celebrate other community heroes who bring hope, healing, and strength to those in need.