This thing of giving I do not understand . . . but there is something about it that blesses us . . . those who give most, have most left. I believe that everyone who helps dry a tear will be spared the shedding of a thousand tears. I believe that every sacrifice we make will so enrich us in the future that our regret will be that we did not enrich the sacrifice more. . . .
--George F. Burba, from a United Way brochure on its Alexis de Tocqueville award. Giving is a way of life for Jean Forbath, founder and director of Share Our Selves--a food, shelter and medical program serving about 20,000 of Orange County's neediest residents monthly.
Forbath received the Alexis de Tocqueville award Monday evening at the Alexis de Tocqueville Society's Membership Recognition Dinner at The Ritz restaurant in Newport Beach.
The society, while lauding the spirit of democracy and volunteerism cited in Alexis de Tocqueville's classic treatise, "Democracy in America," is an elite arm of United Way, with membership requiring a minimum personal contribution of $10,000.
Forbath exudes a radiance born of her generosity. But it also takes resourcefulness to manage 300 volunteers and an annual budget of $400,000, not to mention testifying before congressional committees and the Orange County Board of Supervisors--often as the only representative of Orange County's poor.
The elaborate, five-course dinner, with accompanying wines, was a culinary triumph that began with Sevruga caviar on ice and continued with duck consomme en croute and exotic field greens and warm Maine lobster. The main course of noisettes of prime veal with chanterelles and artichoke Florentine was followed by a roasted hazelnut souffle with Frangelica cream. Hans Prager of The Ritz offered a reduced rate as his contribution to the United Way. With impeccable service, a touching award and the warm camaraderie, it was a night to remember.
Wesley Bosworth of Anaheim had been enjoying an evening out with his wife, dining at a neighborhood restaurant, when suddenly he started choking on a chunk of steak. He shouted, waved and pointed at his throat, but by the time his wife saw his distress, he was turning blue. He fell to the floor, losing consciousness.
Debbie Lohrey, a dispatcher for the California Highway Patrol who was having dinner at the same restaurant, appeared at his side and did a quick Heimlich maneuver on him. By the time the paramedics arrived, the crisis was over.
Paramedics said Lohrey's quick action on the evening of Feb. 27 saved Bosworth's life. For her efforts, she received the American Red Cross' highest honor--the National Certificate of Merit--at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel last Thursday at the Orange County Red Cross' annual Volunteer Recognition Night.
More than 700 of the Orange County Red Cross' 4,500 volunteers attended the event, chaired by Diane Lawson.
A video, "We're Still the Ones," by Jim Ryerson Productions, highlighted the work of volunteers active in disaster response, safety education, blood services and community support activities in Orange County.
Chairman Howard Bland presented the Golden Circle Awards to the outstanding volunteers: Hugh Greenbaum, Humberto Pucheu, Henry and Edythe Handy, Andy Cheng, Joyce Harvey, Beverly Hicks, Cheryl Romano, Sharon Paisley and Gary Rosenbloom.