Braille Monitor                                                                        June 2006

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Celebration guests enjoy food and circulate among the silent auction tables.
Celebration guests enjoy food and circulate among the silent auction tables.

 

Master of Ceremonies Gerry Sandusky stands on the stage in front of the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader banner.
Master of Ceremonies Gerry Sandusky stands on the stage in front of the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader banner.

Friday evening, April 7, 2006, was another example of excellent teamwork, outstanding community support, and joyful participation. This year's Jernigan Institute celebration event featured Ray Kurzweil and our new Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader. Before the evening's program more than six hundred guests and volunteers enjoyed delicious food and beverages from eighteen of Baltimore's best restaurants while they browsed the silent auction tables. Auction packages included overnight get-aways, boat excursions, sports memorabilia, and gift certificates for everything from romantic dinners to a backyard barbeque for fifty friends.

Left to right are Pat Maurer, Marc Maurer, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, Jim Gashel, Betsy Zaborowski, and Mary Ellen Jernigan.
Left to right are Pat Maurer, Marc Maurer, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, Jim Gashel, Betsy Zaborowski, and Mary Ellen Jernigan.

 

 

 

 

 

The evening's program began with a live auction of signed Ravens memorabilia, a travel package, and a beautiful diamond necklace, which was graciously purchased by this year's Honorary Chair, Jed Woelfle, senior vice president of Smith Barney. Master of Ceremonies Gerry Sandusky of WBAL-TV 11 Sports thanked our thirty-eight sponsors for their support with special recognition to this year's title sponsor, Citigroup Smith Barney. Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was then introduced and welcomed our guests. Governor Ehrlich has been a warm friend of the NFB for many years, and we always appreciate his taking time from his busy schedule to join us.

Ray Kurzweil addresses the crowd with the banner behind him.
Ray Kurzweil addresses the crowd with the banner behind him.

Betsy Zaborowski gave a brief overview of the Institute's progress and introduced our Imagination Fund chair, Kevan Worley, for a few words. The crowd was truly inspired as Kevan told the story of their adopted blind son Nijat, a sixteen-year-old young man from Azerbaijan. All were especially thrilled when Kevan concluded his remarks by presenting a check in the amount of $10,000 to the Imagination Fund.

The crowd then welcomed Jim Gashel, executive director of strategic initiatives for the NFB, who with the click of a few buttons brought the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader to life. The crowd was visibly moved by this historic technology advancement for the blind. Ray Kurzweil then told the audience that this is just the beginning of significant improvements in access to information by the blind.

Holding her roses, Pat Maurer is pictured laughing with her family.

 

 

President Maurer concluded the program with inspiring words about the way our organization continues to change lives. He then invited his surprised wife Patricia to join him on stage, where he presented her with a dozen roses while the audience sang "Happy Birthday." Then the evening's special entertainment, Mood Swings, a twenty-one-piece dance band, took the stage with a rousing first song encouraging the guests to find a partner and start dancing. Overall it was an evening full of fun and inspiration, a frequent experience at NFB events.

Dancers took to the floor when the Mood Swings began to play. Pictured here, dancing in front of the band, are Betsy Zaborowski and Jim Gashel.