The theater at the Palm Springs Cultural Center was packed to capacity with Desert AIDS Project supporters for the fifth annual Everyday Heroes Awards.
The evening was a “Hero sandwich” filled with love. The “bread” was provided by Lulu California Bistro with a pre-reception and a savory and sweet after-supper featuring various types of comfort foods. The awards ceremony was the “filling” made of love, inspiration, and a genuine feeling of gratitude from the honorees. The “special sauce” was Broadway’s David Burnham who entertained throughout the evening, and production was perfect thanks to Frank Goldstin of Momentus and Trick Dog Films.
Desert AIDS Project’s CEO, David Brinkman opened the evening by explaining, “Everyday Heroes was born five years ago by dear friends Mark Jones, Brian Vatcher, Frank Goldstin, and Darrell Tucci. The number of volunteers struck them and the countless ways people were making a difference in our valley. They agreed that the work of these individuals who inspire was heroic, and our community needed to hear their stories.”
The event co-chairs Tom Truhe, Terri Ketover, and Ann Sheffer introduced the honorees along with Steven Henke, director of community development for Desert AIDS Project.
Among the honorees were Willie Rhine, co-owner of Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge and Eight4Nine Fine Catering. Rhine, a longtime supporter of Desert AIDS Project, donates his time, talent, and resources to many of our community’s gatherings, fundraisers, and special events.
Edie Groesbeck and Rosanne Kumins have a long and rich history of volunteerism for Desert AIDS Project and many other organizations together at events across our valley.
Steve Henke introduced Jeffrey Ewell, saying “Behind every great drag queen, there’s a man standing in size-14 heels with a heart as big as the shoes.” Ethylina Canne, Ewell’s alter ego, has been a part of many events throughout the years, including Desert AIDS Project.
Tim Wood and Jim Scheibel gave the State Farm Good Neighbor Award to 2018 AIDS/LifeCycle Palm Spring Participants. Robert Kalin, spokesman for the group, represented the 49 cyclists and roadies from this valley that participated in AIDS/LifeCycle this past June. AIDS/LifeCycle is a fierce and fabulous force of 3,000 people who are moving towards one goal: to end AIDS. They are a diverse group of people, men and women, LGBTQ and straight, ranging in age from 18 to 80 years old.