Last month the Atlanta Region hosted its annual Life is Beautiful benefit for the Pregnancy Aid Clinic (PAC) in Atlanta. These dinners have raised more than $800,000 over 10 years.
Previous Co-Chairs Kim Hanna, DM, and Mary Savarese, DM, passed the baton this year to Melanie Colley, DM, and Margaret Grigorian, DM. With the change in leadership, the decision was made to switch things up a bit and host a black-tie optional Monte Carlo Casino Night. Melanie and Margaret were joined on the Host Committee by Msgr. Edward Dillon, magistral chaplain; Jackie Bohling, hospitaller; Diane Festa, Arthur Grigorian, Michelle Hines, Susan Jannetta, Carolyn Johnson, Neil Johnson, Lynn Mullaney, and Kim Schulman. Some 180 guests enjoyed catching up with friends and trying their luck at various games, including blackjack, roulette, and poker, at the event held at the Cherokee Town & Country Club in Buckhead, with laughter resounding throughout.
Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer of Atlanta said a blessing and thanked the Order of Malta for supporting the important works of Pregnancy Aid Clinic. Jackie Bohling, the Atlanta hospitaller, gave a brief history of the Order and welcomed all of those in attendance, including Deacon Michael Stankewicz, the Federal Association executive director; and Pat Monaghan, the Federal Association hospitaller; as well as the members of the Pregnancy Aid Clinic. Explaining the set-up for the evening, Melanie said, “This evening’s concept of a casino theme began because we wanted to do something different to stand out from the rest of the galas in Atlanta, and to be an evening that you will certainly remember.”
That is true for Pat Monaghan, and you will have to read to the end of this article to find out why.
Melanie’s co-chair, Margaret, took it from there, telling the guests, “This is no time to rest on our laurels. Abortion numbers are on the rise in Georgia. Fear is replacing hope for too many families. We cannot count on anyone else to be the voice of the voiceless.” She then introduced a video put together by PAC, which featured a young mother named Michel who, because of PAC, decided to choose life. Michel, who was present, said in the video, “I decided to name my baby Melody because when I heard her heartbeat on the ultrasound it sounded like music.” Michel is an example of why the Atlanta Region supports PAC. As Jackie stated in her opening remarks, “Pregnancy Aid Clinic perfectly aligns with the mission of the Order of Malta.”
The Host Committee for the Life is Beautiful event is still in the process of reconciling the numbers but they are confident the donation is going to make a big impact.
For those of you wondering why Pat Monaghan had such a memorable evening, he won both of the wine and spirits tables, valued at over $8,000. Being a true knight, he donated one of the tables back so that it could be raffled off, with the money raised going to Pregnancy Aid Clinic. It was a fabulous night, and the Atlanta Region hopes all of their friends from other regions will join next year.