Volunteers are the city's real gems

No one knows how to throw a party like the girls (and two guys) on the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women. On May 5, the Oakmont Country Club was the sparkling setting for the usual trifecta — social hour, silent auction and luncheon. The Jewels of Glendale represents the commission’s seventh annual fundraiser.

Commission Chairwoman Paula Devine, Vice Chairman Vatche Tashjian, commissioners Chris Garsevanian, Susan Hunt and Grace Walker appropriately took their bows. Devine greeted her audience of some 250 guests.

“We’re out there for every woman in our community,” Devine said.

Mistress of ceremonies and radio personality Susanne Whatley then took over the mic and gave plaudits to her mother in honor of Mother’s Day. A word to the wise from Whatley’s writer mother: “Never write what you wouldn’t want in the Los Angeles Times.”

Seven “Women of Courage” were honored during the afternoon events. “Jewels” were Mona Marcos, Lynne Raggio, Tanis Rhines and Blanca Zavala. Ani Ghazikanian was recognized with the Gem Scholarship Award, and Glendale Water and Power Analyst Lana Haddad was honored with the Special Chair’s Recognition Award.

Eighty-year-old Raggio, nominated for the award by daughter Lisa Raggio, is the wife of former Glendale Mayor Carl Raggio, who was at the luncheon. Lynne Raggio regaled the audience with highlights of her life. She has been a Glendale resident since 1963 and married to Carl for 60 years next month. They have three children, 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

VIPs in attendance included Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian, former Mayor Larry Zarian, City Clerk Ardy Kasshakian and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. Glendale Community College Board of Trustee members were out in force, including President Vahe Peroomian, Armine Hacopian, Tony Tartaglia and Ann Ransford. College Supt./President Dawn Lindsay and Board of Trustees Executive Director Lisa Brooks also represented the college.

“What a power lunch this is: If you want something done in the city, this is where you come,” Najarian said.

The Commission on the Status of Women relies on private and public entities to help fund its programs, which include providing free self-defense classes to women and girls in the community and offering Camp Rosie, a business and leadership skills development camp for at-risk, underserved teen girls. The commission also sponsors “Girls on the Run,” a fitness and empowerment program for girls in third through eighth grades. Board Chairman Elizabeth Sadlon described the five sites in Glendale, including Pacific Edison Elementary School, where the girls meet after school two times a week. “They don’t even know they’re getting fit,” Sadlon said.

The fundraiser is expected to bring in $20,000.

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The Glendale charity scene wouldn’t be the same without a nod to the Kentucky Derby. From the horsey neighborhood of West Riverside Drive, Pickwick Banquet Center in Burbank was the location for the 20th annual Derby Day for the Glendale Assn. for the Retarded on May 7.

After a 2 p.m. registration, an overflowing silent auction and an opportunity drawing, the 157th Kentucky Derby would be covered on giant-screen televisions. Right before the race, however, the 50-50 drawing was announced. Winners were Pat and Ron Dryness. “I’m putting my money right back into the silent auction,” Pat Dryness said.

As if that wasn’t action enough, the Campbell Award of Excellence was presented to Irv and Peenie Currier. In their 65 years together, the couple owned and operated Gayson’s Camera Supplies and raised a large family. Their first grandchild, Patrick, has cerebral palsy. The Curriers joined the Glendale Assn. for the Retarded to support a foundation that assists people like their grandchild.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Irv Currier said.

The evening ended with a sumptuous dinner and live auction with auctioneer Rick Romero of KABC-TV.

Expected net proceeds of $85,000 will go toward the association’s clients’ programming needs.

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