The Crowd: Event celebrates 'Faces of Courage'


One of the most important foundations of the Christian faith is the teaching and practice of charity for the less fortunate. Followers of Jesus Christ resonate their faith in devotion to providing the necessities of life for the poor, the disenfranchised and the outcasts of mainstream society.

This belief and this concept of charity remain constant; it's no different today than it was 2,000 years ago. In fact, one might argue that the need to assist the poor today worldwide is far greater than it was in the time of Christ, given the massive population explosion.

Recently in Newport Beach, an organization known as Women of Vision-Orange County, one of 34 nationwide chapters associated with World Vision, the largest international Christian humanitarian organization serving the poor in 100 countries around the world, gathered for its annual Faces of Courage celebration luncheon.

The event, at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort, welcomed guest speaker Rani Hong, a child slavery survivor who was kidnapped at the age of 7 in Southern India. Rani was joined by her husband, Trong Hong, who was recruited to become a child solder at the age of 9 in Vietnam. Together they have established the Tronie Foundation, a nonprofit promoting policy change and assistance for children of violent crimes.

The Women of Vision-Orange County celebrated a 21st anniversary at the recent luncheon event chaired by Jean Winder and Micki Rach. Over two decades the women have raised more than $5.5 million for World Vision projects in Southern California, including Orange and Los Angeles counties, in addition to work in Baja, Mexico, Africa and the Middle East.

Presently, the local women sponsor more than 400 children, providing both daily sustenance and a long-term commitment, to their respective community development projects. They have also been actively involved in assisting children in earthquake damaged Haiti. For more information, go to


The 36th annual spring benefit of the Luminaires in support of the Doheny Eye Institute unfolded recently at the California Club, Los Angeles.

The event, which raised more than $100,000 from the luncheon, fashion show and boutique, brought together dedicated supporters of the Doheny Eye Institute from all over Southern California, including major support from Newport Beach.

The theme was "April in Paris," and the elegant luncheon was created around the atmosphere of a French flea market street scene. Dining room centerpieces of red and orange tulips were created by Dennis Richichi of Jacob Maarse Flowers. Replicas of the Eiffel Tower filled with clusters of red tulips adorned the dining room of the California Club enhancing the Paris theme.

The luncheon of vichyssoise with asparagus flan garnish preceded a chicken breast adorned with pistachio truffle mousse. For dessert, a meringue filled with white chocolate mousse topped with fresh berries and a repeat of the French theme as a tiny chocolate Eiffel Tower capped the sweet creation.

The lively afternoon was co-chaired by Nancy Hulick and Char Acret. Others deserving praise were Betsy Ulf, fashion show chairwoman Barbara Nielsen, and additional committee members, including Lucy Hilands, president of the Luminaires, Bea Bennett, Barbara Heublein, Mary Cooper, Susan Wofford and Margo Malouf, to name only a few.

Newport Beach attendees included Patricia Lane, Pam Lawless and Cinda Hoeven with her mother, the philanthropic Bobbie Galpin.

The event was dedicated to Gini Braun, member of the Doheny board of directors. Luminaires, which translates as "givers of light," was founded in 1975 by 20 women at the California Club. The Doheny Eye Institute was founded in 1947 by Carrie Doheny, the wife of Edward L. Doheny.

Today, it continues supporting advanced research for the prevention of blindness as well as other diseases of the eye.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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