Celebrating Our Heroes of Hope

Lutheran Services of Georgia thanks all who attended our 6th annual Heroes of Hope, Healing, and Strength Gala on Thursday, August 29, 2013. Each year, LSG honors an employee, donor, or member of the community who embodies our mission of bringing hope, healing, and strength to those in need. This year, we recognized the Rev. Dr. Rusty Edwards and For the Kid in All of Us for their heroic contributions.

Previously held at Turner Field, this year’s gala took place at the Defoor Centre, an elegant space hung with colorful paper lanterns and decorated with artwork. The evening began with a reception and a silent auction featuring items that ranged from gift cards for local businesses, sightseeing opportunities, and handmade scarves. Over 25 individuals, companies, and organizations generously donated auction items. As attendees browsed, they also enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a live jazz trio playing “A Foggy Day in London Town” and other favorites.

WSB-TV news anchor John Bachman once again served as our Masters of Ceremonies for the evening’s program. As attendees enjoyed their meals, LSG employees and clients shared stories from foster care and refugee services. Simonette and Declan Taitt spoke of how fostering a child through LSG “could change your life forever.” Nur Abdi, a Somalian refugee, told stories of LSG’s support throughout his resettlement process.

Attendees watched inspiring videos detailing the work of the Rev. Dr. Rusty Edwards and For the Kid in All of Us. A talented musician and songwriter, Rusty has written thirty one hymns that appear in hymnals all over the world. As the Volunteer Manager for the 2003 ELCA National Youth Gathering in Atlanta, Rusty helped LSG become the recipient of their in-kind offering. Because of Rusty’s efforts, LSG received over $27,000 in gifts cards for children associated with LSG's programs. Rusty thanked LSG, his congregation, his family, his friends, and his “beloved dentist” for recognizing him this year.

LSG also celebrated For the Kid in All of Us, an entirely volunteer-run non-profit organization that serves underprivileged children throughout Georgia. Each year, For the Kid in All of Us hosts two major events—the Toy Party and Backpack in the Park. As an official beneficiary of both events, LSG has received backpacks and toys for children in our programs. One year, we even received a bicycle which was then given as a Christmas present to a child in foster care whose bike was stolen. For the Kid in All of Us gives children “the strength to grow and to learn during the school year, the hope that Santa will come on Christmas morning, and the healing they need to make all their dreams come true,” said Brian Isabell, President-Elect of For the Kid in All of Us’ Board of Directors.

LSG thanks all who joined us in honoring these community heroes. We especially thank all those who made this event possible: silent auction donors, supporters, the Defoor Centre, John Bachman, and, of course, the Rev. Dr. Rusty Edwards and For the Kid in All of Us. We look forward to 2014, when we will celebrate others who bring hope, healing, and strength to those in need.

For more photos from the 2013 Heroes of Hope, Healing, and Strength Gala, click here to visit our Facebook page. Don't forget to "like", "share", and tag familiar faces!