The 2016 Gavin Foundation “Open Hearts/Open Homes” gala was an outstanding success. The high points of the evening were the well-deserved Gavin Foundation Awards: “Man of the Year 2016” to Congressman Stephen Lynch and “Caring Hearts 2016” to Sprinkler Fitters local 550. Some 20 dinner parties followed the festivities at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.
by Rick Winterson
Every two years, the Gavin Foundation, assisted by countless volunteers, puts on a gala fundraising party called “Open Hearts, Open Homes”. Last Thursday evening, June 30, the biennial cycle came to pass once again. The gala party’s festivities actually comprised two hugely enjoyable events: the first was an elegant awards reception in one of South Boston’s many popular gathering points; the second was a series of dinners put on by South Boston volunteers – hence the event’s name (and theme): “Open Hearts/Open Homes”.
This year’s awards reception was held at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, in their third floor atrium area with its eye-catching skyline views to the west. True to its reputation, the Renaissance served a sumptuous spectrum of hors d’oeuvres. Music was provided by South Boston’s favorite duo – Bob Dunlap and Kathi Taylor (sometimes called “Bobcat” or “RedKat”). And it was a sold-out event, with more than 500 party folks packing in. The friendly buzz welcomed everyone.
John McGahan, the President of the Gavin Foundation, gave a brief history of the Gavin Foundation, now over 50 years old. It was founded by John Gavin, who converted two stories of his Fourth Street home into a kind of “live-in recovery center” for those trapped in alcoholism. Gavin House became a local standard for aiding those in recovery. John presented the 2016 “Man of the Year” Award to our highly deserving Congressman Stephen Lynch. Steve thanked everyone for being there and saluted John McGahan’s recovery efforts. Quoting Steve briefly, he said, “South Boston has gone from having nowhere else to turn to having a blessing like the Gavin Foundation in our community.”
Steve then introduced Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh, who awarded the evening’s “Caring Hearts” Award to the members of Sprinkler Fitters Local 550. He praised the union local for the immense amount of (free) work they have performed on recovery facilities, including Gavin House. Accepting this award were Local 550 Business Agent Peter Gibbons and Mark Fortune. Fortune spoke eloquently of the tasks performed by Local 550, mentioning retired fitter Joe Dinato especially.
The party at the Renaissance concluded with a live auction of a dozen desirable items; among them were tickets to Big Papai’s last games, Christmas at the White House with Congressman Steve Lynch, and admissions to the Dropkick Murphys St. Patrick’s Day concert at the House of Blues. Ken Casey, lead singer of the Dropkick Murphys, was at “Open Hearts/Open Homes” to assist skilled Auctioneer Kathy Kingston. The silent auction was equally attractive, with items such as fine paintings and (believe it or not) a household safe.
The crowd then dispersed to the second part of the evening – dinners at homes and open spaces too numerous to list here. What a great event! See you at “Open Hearts/Open Homes” two years from now in 2018.