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Across Town

More gatherings and notable events...

Monday, October 27, 2003

Tree of Life Award

Stanley Gumberg stands heads above any crowd, but his stature goes beyond height. His business acumen is legendary, and it has fueled a generosity of spirit as far-reaching and ecumenical as the friends who turned out Wednesday to honor him. Neighbors like Bishop Donald Wuerl and Henry and Elsie Hillman led the list of 600 guests (the largest crowd ever!) who came to pay tribute to Gumberg as he received the prestigious Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award during dinner at the Omni William Penn. County executive Jim Roddey served as emcee, and co-chairs included CMU president Jared Cohon, Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg, PNC chairman Jim Rohr and Mellon Financial chairman Marty McGuinn. Gumberg's gracious wife, Marcia, and proud sons Ira (with Anita), Larry (with Ina) and Andrew (with Christy) were present, along with JNF president Josh Resnick and executive director Bobbi Elmer. Duquesne University president Charles Dougherty and Seton Hill University president JoAnne Boyle (Gumberg sits on the boards of both schools) came, as did Ellsworth and Dorothy Brown, Hannah and Marvin Kamin, Henry Posner Jr., David Roderick, Nancy and Bill Rackoff, Dr. Stan and Ellen Marks, Elliott and Bobbee Kramer, Tom and Ellen Golonski, Ed and Anne Lewis, Cecyl and Murray Thaw, George Miles and Bob and Rebecca Frankel.

Stanley and Marcia Gumberg (Annie O'Neill, Post-Gazette)

Comeback Kids

Inspired by tales of triumph over turmoil, Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox -- who lived his own version -- created the Tommy Maddox Foundation's "Comeback Kids Awards Dinner & Auction." Nearly 500 came out Thursday to support this inaugural fund raiser at Heinz Field. Defined as a Christian nonprofit, the foundation's primary mission is to support disadvantaged children as they overcome challenges. Award winners were Cody Robison, Crystal Manker and "Comeback Kid of the Year" Rebekah Dominguez. Also recognized were Kim McAbee, Cynthia Karoleski, Joseph Nicholas, Eat n' Park and Joe Hardy (Maggie Hardy accepted for her dad). Feeling the power of positive positioning were singer Steven Curtis Chapman (who flew in to perform his hit song "Dive," which inspired Maddox to return to the NFL), Jennifer Maddox, their son Colby and daughter Kacy, foundation director Chris Shabay (Maddox's best friend since grade school), Tunch Ilkin, Mark Weinstein, Maria and Maury Burgwin, Rob and Carrie Beck, Miles and May Sue Smith, Cheryl Pollock and lots of Steelers, Pirates and Penguins.

-- Patricia Sheridan

Dana Brzozowski and Emily Barger rehearse...(Tony Tye, Post-Gazette)

Bal Polonaise

Stand up straight," "shoulders back" and "heads high." Those familiar refrains were heard for probably the umpteenth time by the 11 young ladies about to be presented at the Polish Cultural Council's 11th annual Bal Polonaise Saturday night. As they took care of last-minute details in the ballroom, guests enjoyed cocktails and conversation in the lobby of the Westin Convention Center. Ball chair Dr. Donald Mushalko (with Helen) welcomed everyone before the Polish and U.S. national anthems were played. Looking like angels with devilishly handsome escorts were debutantes Emily Barger, Dana Kristine Brzozowski, Stephanie Cerniglia, Anna Barbara Kochaniak, Lindsay Lucci, Annette Miaczynski, Heather Miller, Nicole Nalevanko, Rebecca Pazehoski, Margaret Rencewicz and Amanda Waner. Among those proud to be Polish, or to know someone who is, were council president Col. Merle Addams (with Irene), board chair Rick Pierchalski, Kasia Bruniany (with Casimer), Ed and Wanda Walat, Irene Jakubowski and John Bartus with Charolotte.

-- P.S.

Deb Hartman, Jane Barrett and Joyce Biearman

Jest for Life

They jestified the fun Saturday night at the Omni William Penn since it was for the National Kidney Foundation. "Jest for Life," the 15th annual Kidney Ball, blended benefit with belly laughs as comic magician Bill Eiler warmed up guests table-side before Rick Rockwell of "Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire" fame entertained. His book "What Was I Thinking?" pretty much sums it up. Though kidney disease isn't a laughing matter, the event committee, chaired by Dr. Rajni Wallia, decided a little humor might help lighten some wallets to support patient services and research. Rounding out the festivities were the sounds of Dr. Zoot, games and a silent auction. Among those getting a kick out of more than champagne were board chair Jack Norris (with Louise), new executive director Deborah Hartman, Brennen and Maureen Hart, Joyce and Denis Biearman, Drs. Barbara Carpenter and Mark Miller, Dr. Ron Shapiro with Mary Austin and Frank and Athena Sarris, who provided sweet treats for everyone.

-- Patricia Sheridan

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