On the Town: Gala honors Family Service Agency of Burbank stalwarts

For 60 years, the Family Service Agency of Burbank has forged, cultivated and celebrated relationships with the community as well as with those who have been in need of its vital services.

Dedicated to its mission of offering quality counseling, care, education and advocacy at low or no cost, the agency has dramatically changed and saved the lives of local individuals, couples, families and active and veteran members of the armed forces.

Providing housing, crisis intervention, legal guidance, safety in the face of domestic violence and hope for those in the grips of mental illness and substance addiction, the agency has been embraced and supported by Burbank's governmental, corporate, business, residential and faith-based community.

Representing those factions, more than 300 supporters gathered for the Family Service Agency's annual "Imagine a City" gala fundraiser at Providence High School this past Saturday.

Welcomed by Laurie Bleick, the agency's executive director, Pat Smola, the organization's finance director, and board President Bruce Osgood, supporters enjoyed the evening that included a courtyard social hour, silent auction, dinner, entertainment and the presentation of the 2013 Mary Alice O'Connor Vision Awards.

The awards honor the memory, work and spirit of O'Connor, a long-time dedicated community volunteer and founding board member of the agency, who died in 2010.

Honors were bestowed upon the Rev. Ross Purdy of the First Presbyterian Church of Burbank and Capt. Michael Albanese of the Burbank Police Department. Both serve on the agency's board of directors. Rounding out the 2013 honorees were Burbank Unified school board member Dave Kemp, Cartoon Network Studios and the Burbank Healthcare Foundation.

Among the notables in attendance at Saturday's gala were Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, Council members Gary Bric and Bob Frutos, City Treasurer Debbie Kukta, former mayors Larry Stamper, Marsha Ramos, Anja Reinke and Dave Golonski, City Manager Mark Scott, and former City Manager Mary Alvord.

Saturday's event was made possible by the event's committee and board members including Mickey DePalo, Alan Keith, Brian Miller, Anita Schackmann, Samuel Scrivens, Teri Stein, Sue Hoon, Rene Williamson, Robin Schwer, Jennie DeForest, Gail Stewart, Julie Flad and Zita Lefebvre.

For more information about the Family Service Agency and its services, to volunteer or to make a financial donation, call (818) 845-7671.


DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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