A special goodbye on A Starry Night
Saturday night’s "A Starry Night" truly was star-studded as participants, friends and family gathered at the Grand America in Salt Lake to honor the National Ability Center (NAC) co-founder Meeche White and raise money for the nationally-recognized sports center for the disabled.
The crowd of nearly 700 gathered for an evening which included a silent auction, live auction, dinner and dancing. The highlight of the evening came during dinner as well-wishers came forward to express what White’s contributions meant to them and to the community. Some of the speakers included ski legend Jim Gaddis and Hamlet Homes director Michael Brodsky, an amputee who has benefited from the NAC’s offerings.
Some of the NAC’s younger members made their thanks known as well. The Ability All-Stars, a group of disabled and able-bodied participants, led by singer Mary Beth Maziarz sang a special thank you to White. A historical tribute was also compiled featuring pictures of NAC programs from the last 23 years, as well as testimonies from parents and participants explaining the difference that the NAC has made in their lives.
"They taught me that my disability is just a part of who I am, it doesn’t define me," said one participant in the tribute.
The tribute was followed by a speech by NAC participant and communications and events assistant Allie Schneider.
Schneider, who has spina bifida, has been participating in NAC sports since the age of four. Two decades later, Schneider is still a big part of the NAC and shared how White changed her life in positive ways.
"I owe a lot of my success to you," Schneider said, adding that over the years White had been her mentor, boss, friend and second mother.
White also said a few words, including thanking all of her supporters and challenging people to carry on the NAC’s mission.
"You are the shepherds and you always have been," she said. "This is why you are here tonight. To give the gift of love."
For more information about the National Ability Center, visit http://www.discovernac.org.
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