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On the Town: Derby-themed event benefits GAR, YWCA’s 16th bash

GAR’s Derby Day
Greeting Derby Day guests are, from left, former Glendale Assn. for the Retarded former staff member Beverly Mondok-Thomas, Assn. client Casey Lavely and Assn. consultant David Cain.
(Photo by Ruth Sowby)

Orb won the Kentucky Derby after coming from 17th place on Saturday. It was a gloomy day in Churchill Downs but a bright, sunny day in Burbank. That’s where the Glendale Association for the Retarded celebrated its 22nd annual Derby Day with the use of a giant screen at Pickwick Gardens so members and guests could enjoy the famed horse race in real time.

GAR Executive Director Sandy Doughty greeted dozens of visitors. But she was upstaged by client Lynette Sparks in a southern plantation dress. Sparks coyly twirled her umbrella as her “Welcome to Derby Day” provided a cheery start to the festivities. Program Coordinator David Carn was also on hand to greet guests.

Although a silent auction, buffet lunch, opportunity drawings and live auction made up the majority of the program, the climax was the running of the horses. Guests bought Derby Dollars to bet on the winner. One hundred Derby Dollars could be had for $5, up to 2,000 Derby Dollars for $100. Betting tables, betting forms and “roving bookies” made it easy for horse race fans to part with their money — all in the name of charity, of course.

Glendale residents up for the fun included Glendale City Council member Dave and wife Linda Weaver. GAR board members arriving early were Lt. Lola Abrahamian, of the Glendale Police Department and Glendale Adventist’s Liz Mirzaian. Husband Mihran Mirzaian was along for the ride.


Studio City resident and “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek was Honorary Celebrity Chairman.

The afternoon ended with a sing-a-long to the catchy “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Event proceeds will be used primarily for client health needs not covered by insurance.



The Glendale YWCA threw its 16th annual bash. The Oakmont Country Club was the setting for the Y’s Legacy Luncheon Heart & Excellence Awards held on April 25. Honored were Toni Beck Espinoza, Lena Bozoyan, Jory Potts, Mary Margaret Smith and Joylene Wagner. The Jane O’Conner Community Service Award went to Rebecca Weitzel and Amber Zadravecz.

Before the honorees’ introductions to an audience of more than 200 supporters was a big welcome by Legacy Luncheon Chair Ilena Blicker. The invocation by Salvation Army Captain Rachel Ray followed. YWCA Executive Michelle Roberts also greeted the crowd.

Among the Glendale VIPs present were City Manager Scott Ochoa, Assistant City Manager Yasmin Beers and City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian.

Also pre-luncheon, shoppers pursued silent-auction items ranging from lunch for four at Glendale’s Carousel Restaurant to WundaBar Pilates to dresses displayed on a rack for easy try-on. Bidding was furious.

Also popular for purchase were $20 (six for $100) raffle tickets. The winner would win an iPad mini. YWCA Board member Marilyn Gunnell sold the tickets.

Community volunteer extraordinaire Mary Margaret Smith was nominated for a Heart & Excellence award by an organization close to her heart, the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.). Smith is a four-time president of P.E.O.

Smith and her family had a table of their own. Attending was nephew J.P. Wamack. Also present in support of mom was son and UCLA researcher Edson Smith. Roxana Rascoe, Smith’s daughter, also was present in support of mom.

A nod must also be given to one of last year’s honorees, Kathy Lefkovits. Realtor by day and “Bras for a Cause” creator by night, Lefkovits continues to collect community service awards, including the Glendale Soroptimists at the Glendale Hilton.


According to the Y’s Senior Director of Community Services Lisa Raggio, event profits will support YWCA philanthropies including Camp Y, a summer camp for children in grades one to six. The children come from the Y’s Domestic Violence Program.


RUTH SOWBY may be reached at