IDA co-founders Sherri and Wayne Connell with IDA Ambassador Mrs. Colorado Kimberly Reece
BY SCOTTIE IVERSON
Chicken St. Tropez was served at Denver Marriott South in Park Meadows when Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) held its annual gala – Be the Voice with Biff Gore from NBC’s The Voice as headliner. Vinyl albums served as placemats, working microphones (for sale) were centerpieces. Honorary chairs were Joe and Jill Womack of Title Sponsor Fireplace Warehouse Etc. Auction chair was Brittani Sievers and Young Professionals chair was Phoenix Jackson.
The fun evening flew by with “The Ambassador of Soul” Biff crooning between the program segments honoring six individuals and one corporation. S. Robert August, NAHB Senior Life director, founder/president of North Star Synergies had accepted his Founders Award at the gala kickoff. Philanthropist and volunteer Arlene Mohler Johnson accepted the Volunteer Award. Ben Utecht, Super Bowl champion, author and award-nominated singer received the Inspiration Award. The Healthy Living Award was presented to international eco-sensitive designer Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder of Wellness Within Your Walls. President/co-founder of Environmental Working Group Ken Cook was presented the Impact Award. U.S. Army Special Forces (Ret.) Tom Spooner, co-founder of Warriors Heart Treatment Center received the Invisible Heroes Award. EVP and chief risk officer Chris Van Buren came in from New York Headquarters to accept the Corporate Award for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA). He is executive sponsor of the TIAAs Diverse Employee Resource Group to enable all TIAA employees with disabilities and caretakers to reach their potential and for TIAA to be employer of choice for people with diverse disabilities. Kellie Pokrifka, from Virginia, was 1stst Place Winner of the “I Am Invisible No More Video Contest.” Allsup was recognized as being a loyal sponsor for nine years. Each acceptance speech was powerful, educational and inspirational. IDA is based in Colorado but has a global impact. For more information: invisiblenomore.com, BeTheVoice.Live or InvisibleDisabilities.org.
Headliner Biff Gore – The Voice
Volunteer honoree Arlene Mohler Johnson and gala chair Stacy Ohlsson
Auctioneer Gary Corbett and master of ceremonies Denise Plante
Honorees Robert August and Tom Spooner with honorary chair Joe Womack
From major sponsor Triple B – LaFawn Biddle and daughter Barbara Galoob
Kellie Pokrifka, from Virginia and IDA president/CEO Wayne Connell
Healthy Living honoree Jillian Pritchard Cooke
Inspiration Award winner Ben Utecht
IDA’s VP operations Jess Stainbrook and Impact Award winner Ken Cook
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