On the Town: GAR is off to the races on Derby Day

The 21st annual Derby Day began with “And they're off,” marking the open of the Kentucky Derby, live from Churchill Downs. On May 5 the Glendale Assn. of the Retarded welcomed about 300 supporters/bettors, who each had $300 in “Derby dollars” to bet with. They were welcomed by association client Casey Lavely, former association staff member Beverly Mondok-Thomas and association consultant David Cain. The three were dressed in full plantation regalia. The Royal Crest Room of Burbank's Pickwick Banquet Center held the luncheon and the giant screens that showed the running of the horses live. In between races was an overflowing buffet, silent and live auctions. A new twist to the silent auction (full of tempting Coach purses) were nine tasting stations. For $5 you could fill yourself up with “Kentucky Faire” and then turn around to enjoy the fried-chicken buffet served a few minutes later.

Besides the horses, Derby Day was also devoted to the memory of the late former Glendale mayor Larry Zarian, who had been a longtime board member of association services. Association Executive Director Sandy Doughty presented the Campbell Award of Excellence in Zarian's name to his three sons, Vincent Zarian and twin men-about-town Lawrence and Gregory Zarian.

The twins were also guest auctioneers of the live auction. A unique auction item was “Tea for 12 Produced by the Three Sisters,” donated by Karen Pagliuso and her two sisters. The catered tea party for 12 in the winner's home could cover any event in which tea is served — strictly girly. Even Doughty got into the act. Chef Sandy planned to prepare a gourmet meal for eight in the winner's home. Wine would be included and association board members would serve and “leave your kitchen spotless.” The opening bid was $500.

The chance to win a $2,000 diamond ring was also in the offing for a $25 opportunity ticket. It was donated by Ray Gould and won by Donna Melby (in the ladies' room at the time of the announcement). When husband Randy Melby was asked whether he would wait to present the ring to Donna for Mother's Day, he said, “I'm going to get on my knees and give it to her now!”

Very Important People from Glendale included City Councilman Dave Weaver, former Mayor Carl Raggio, Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, City Manager Scott Ochoa, Datastream owner Louis Sadd, Mercy and Mike Velazquez, Monica and Jose Sierra, Glendale Soroptimist Margo Bottcher with daughter Nicole McCreery, designer/vendor of Why Knot (scarves and accessories). Another mother/adult-child pairing was Suzanne Bangert and son David Bangert, a client of Shadow Hills' Tierra Del Sol for individuals with disabilities.

Association founders Jerry and Phyllis Campbell and daughter Janice Campbell were also present to take their bows. Janice, who has Down syndrome, was Phyllis's inspiration to found the association. “It was a charge that kept me going many times when I was discouraged,” said Phyllis.

Glendale Community College Police Chief Gary Montecuollo is an association board member emeritus. Montecuollo, who also teaches at the college, brought several of his students to help out at Derby Day (each received five points extra credit). Joining him at Table 19 were students Carolyn Brunetto, Morgan Amado and Antonio Lombardo. The chief also generously donated a $100 scholarship to support an association client. Funds are used for client health needs that their families are unable to pay for.

A big “congratulations” must go to Sharon Townsend Roth, association foundation director and Derby Day coordinator, for a day well planned and executed.

Doughty is hoping for $100,000 in Derby Day profits. The funds will go to support client services.

Incidentally, “I'll Have Another” won the Kentucky Derby at 15-to-1 odds.
RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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