The first-ever Life Chronicles Father Virgil Remarkable Life Award honoring 2013 recipients Stan and Betty Hatch recently brought more than 200 guests to the Coral Casino at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.
Founded 15 years ago by Kate Carter, Life Chronicles has filmed nearly 1,000 videos in more than 160 cities throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, capturing the final moments of cherished lives for loved ones of seriously ill or elderly family members.
The evening honorees had previously participated in the making of a video themselves, and the Hatches were gracious to have a document to share with their family.
“I think it’s so exciting because I would love to have this of my mom or my dad or my grandmother,” Betty Hatch said. “I have nothing, and so my kids really have no idea, but my kids and their kids are going to know what their grandparents were like.”
Requests for the services of Life Chronicles come from people via the Internet and also palliative care doctors and social workers across the nation providing families with a long-lasting memorial for years to come.
A reception overlooking the Pacific Ocean with music by Mike Holland started after sunset with an array of silent auction items, including a four-day bed-and-breakfast getaway in San Luis Obispo valued at $2,000, an eight-day Villa Encanto Mexican vacation valued at $15,000, and a dinner and tequila tasting at Los Arroyos for 10 people valued at $1,000.
“What Kate does, she gives up her time,” Wolf said. “So the fact that they’re able to raise money to help what Kate does is so important. Because she travels all over the country to do these tapings, and so she needs that financial support. Seeing everyone here tonight and their generosity is heartwarming.”
Guests headed into the La Pacifica Ballroom for dinner and were greeted by a welcome from Carter, who introduced a film of Father Virgil Cordano’s wisdom.
Father Virgil started his studies for the priesthood at age 15 in Santa Barbara, continued graduate studies at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and returned to Santa Barbara for the remainder of his life, serving the community from the Mission.
The newly founded annual award is designed to provide a lasting memorial of his life via video recordings that offer so much meaning to families facing challenging circumstances and loss.
The effect of the filmmaking spreads across the families and the staff, who assist Carter in the making of the videos, including student intern Iris Gau.
“Being a young high school student, it is inevitable to be surrounded by daily gossip and stress of homework and maybe even teenage angst, but being in this environment has taught me just how precious life is, and furthermore, how precious it is to capture the essence of it,” Gau said. “Life Chronicles most definitely captures the pure essence of every person they tape with precision and perfection, and it feels surreal that so early in my life, I already have the opportunity to be a part of it.”
The value of the videos has helped forge other partnerships that help families and individuals move forward in their lives.
Ingrid Sarrat, a life coach who specializes in transitions, has worked with Carter for 10 years supporting the organization, and now as a freelance transition coach partners with Life Chronicles to assist families on an as-needed basis.
“I help them figure out what the next step is,” Sarrat said. “If it’s a young family who’s lost a spouse, the question they’re asking may be, ‘OK, what am I going to do and what options do I have?’ There may be a lot of fear issues, a lot of worry, a lot of uncertainty. So I help them to figure out what they’d like to achieve and where they’d like to go, and then we create a path on how to make that happen.”
Another film introducing the work of Life Chronicles was shared by vice chair Nicole Tanner and was followed by a taped testimonial from business mogul and model Kathy Ireland that further added to the emotional level in the room.
A film of the evening’s honorees that showcased their community accomplishments followed an award introduction by Steve Amerikaner and Anne Towbes.
Betty Hatch founded the La Belle Foundation, teaching poise and grace to young students and providing self-confidence and social skills. She was also a director for the National Association for Self Esteem and has served on a variety of boards, including City Commerce Bank, Leadership Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation.
Stan Hatch is an attorney who co-founded Hatch & Parent that later became Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, and has also served on an array of boards at the Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee, Fielding University, the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and Direct Relief International.
The Rev. Charles Talley, pastor of Saint Barbara Parish, presented the Father Virgil Remarkable Life Award to the Hatches, who were gracious and humbled by the honor and by the turnout at the event.
Betty Hatch has been fighting medical issues for four years with two strokes and two stents, and shared with Noozhawk a large dose of appreciation and humility for the large crowd with her excitement, “to be out tonight and to see people I haven’t seen in years.”
“Stan and I said if no one shows up then we’ll just come home,” she said. “But there’s all these people, and it’s just been unbelievable.”
The money raised will go toward the continued production of the highly valued films, with each film estimated to cost $2,500 to create.
Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, summed up the importance of this first-ever affair and the impact that events such as this can have on the community.
“Everybody’s life makes a difference at some level, and when we celebrate that and when we honor people for the contribution that they’ve made, a lot of people really commit their life to service and the community,” Canfield said. “So to honor them is an important thing. I think it inspires other people to also perhaps step out a little more and to step up.”
Life Chronicles thanks the 2013 sponsors of the first-ever Father Virgil Remarkable Life Award:
» Diamond sponsor: Hutton Parker Foundation
» Gold sponsors: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, Keith Berry and Coldwell Banker Previews International
» Silver sponsors: Silvio Di Loreto, Michael and Anne Towbes, Robert and Christine Emmons, and Richard and Maryan Schall
» Bronze sponsors: Jack and Inga Canfield, Wendy Foster, Fred and Linda Gluck, David and Anna Grotenhuis, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Kathy Ireland, Diane Kees, The Koonce Family Trust and Mosher Foundation