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Rainbow Awards Highlight of PFLAG Banquet on March 1st

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A diverse crowd of about 230 people gathered on Saturday March 1st at The Madison in Covington for the 11th Annual PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Scholarship Banquet. The event was a big success, says PFLAG president Marti Kwiatkowski.

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Among the special guests at the banquet were PFLAG’s National Executive Director David Tseng, Regional Director Ann Wilger and Cincinnati City Councilmman David Crowley. The festivities were hosted by Cincinnati Enquirer columnists Jim Knippenberg and Laura Pulfer.

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The centerpiece of this year’s banquet was the presentation of the first "PFLAG Rainbow Achievement Awards." The "Dorothys," as the group is cal- ling them, were awarded to individuals who have made sig- nificant contributions in the areas of advocacy, education and outreach to the local GLBT community. This year’s recipi-ents were: Caitlin Arnest of the Walnut Hills Gay/ Straight Alli- ance; the Rev. Jerry K. Hill, minister of Clifton United Methodist Church; Joan Lang of the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus; Worley Rodehaver, publisher of Greater Cincinnati’s GLBT News; Mindy Sandfort of GLSEN; and Kathy Y. Wilson, columnist for CityBeat.

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Judy Schmeling presented the Gene Schmeling Advocacy Award to Lyndsay Shaeffer. Lyndsay is a graduate student in Molecular Genetics at the University of Cincinnati and was co-chair of the GLBT Youth Summit held last November at NKU. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Youth Guardian Services email support network.

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PFLAG also presented the premiere of its new educational video. Titled "An Invitation," the short film was directed by Joe O’Flynn and stars local families and friends talking about their personal experi-ences and how they found the support they needed at PFLAG. Among those featured are June and Harold Delph, Steve and Dolores Bebko, Chris Seelbach, Marian Weage, Jane and Bill Biddinger, David Crowley, Jim Prues, David Tseng, and Kurt Angermeier. The group plans to use this video to help raise public awareness of our local Cincinnati PFLAG chapter.

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A special recognition was given by Linda Arnest to the Cincinnati River Bears who have donated $5,000 over the last 3 years to PFLAG’s Youth Scholarship Program. A silent auction featured everything from a fur hat to framed portraits of George and Barbara Bush. The evening ended with a raffle hosted by Marian Weage, made up to look like the Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz."

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PFLAG wishes to thank all of those who helped in the planning of the banquet and donated items for the auction and everyone who came out to support their scholarship pro-gram. The group will meet next on March 18th at 7:30pm at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church.

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