Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 12:51 pm | Fair 63º


Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Luncheon Celebrates the Spirit of Motherhood

Guests join the nonprofit in 'Honoring and Remembering' the late LaVerne 'Bebe' Browning and philanthropist Barbara Ireland

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

“Honoring and Remembering Our Mothers” was the theme for the 12th Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon and fundraiser presented by Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

A sold-out crowd of 325 guests gathered at the elegant beachside Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara dressed in festive spring attire to celebrate the spirit of motherhood and support the community service of VNHC.

“Every year I think that it can’t get any better, and every year it does,” said Lynda Tanner, VNHC president and CEO. “It’s incredible the support that we have from the community, our donors, our fans, and we’re just very blessed to be able to put this event on every year and honor mothers.”

This unique and memorable event honors two mothers each year, one in memory and one living, as the nonprofit organization celebrates their lives and acknowledges their contributions to the community.

The nonprofit organization is Santa Barbara’s largest provider of home health and hospice care and has provided high-quality comprehensive care to patients in Santa Barbara County for more than 100 years, including those unable to pay, affecting the lives of more than 5,000 residents annually.

The morning began with a silent action on the Coral Casino patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean as guests mingled and viewed a wide assortment of 109 auction items up for bid.

After soaking in the sunlit rays and finishing bid entries for silent items, the group headed inside for the lunch and program of this year’s event, co-chaired by Jodi Fishman-Osti and Pamela Dillman Haskell.

The program commenced with a warm welcome from master of ceremonies Catherine Remak, followed by Tanner, who graciously thanked and recognized key sponsors, staff, families, friends and a host of volunteers for the continuous support.

Guests enjoyed an appetizing lunch that started with a salad of organic greens with Asian pears and goat cheese, followed by an entrée of Miso roasted black cod with avocado puree accompanied by Laetitia chardonnay or Qupe syrah and topped off by strawberry gelato with brioche crumbs.

A live auction with Andrew Firestone included American Idol finale tickets, a private cooking class with Leonardo of Trattoria Grappolo, a private tour and tasting at Melville Winery, a trip to Vancouver, and a private tour of The Reagan Ranch. This year’s event raised more than $255,000 benefiting the organization and its mission.

Key supporters included members from Peter Murphy Men’s Night, hosted by John Murphy and Neil Levinson, in honor of the late Peter Murphy, who began the tradition of Men’s Night many years ago — an event where husbands, fathers, sons and friends come together to underwrite all the expenses for the day’s luncheon.

This year’s remembrance was for LaVerne “Bebe” Browning, who passed away in 2011, and received tribute by her son, Charles Browning, a past VNHC board member and chair.

Browning shared that what he remembers most about his mother was “her unconditional love for me and my sister, my grandchildren and our great-grandchildren. She was amazing.”

He said this spirit and ideal is what he learned and passed along, “that we’re one family that love each other unconditionally.”

This year’s honored mother was local philanthropist Barbara Ireland, joined by her daughters Kathy and Mary with Cynthia unable to attend. Ireland’s many local contributions include the Barbara Ireland Walk for Breast Cancer Research, an annual walk going on its 13th year benefiting local cancer research in collaboration with the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.

Kathy Ireland shared with Noozhawk the gratitude of her and her family being invited to honor her mother at this special event.

“We just are so grateful to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care for not only the great and critical work that they do for people during such a vulnerable time,” she said, “but also for giving us this time and opportunity to honor and celebrate our mom.

“My mom sees the beauty in everyone. She’s the person whose cup is not only half full but it’s overflowing. She always sees that no matter how difficult the situation. And no matter what the struggle, she finds joy in every situation and she always taught us to treat others as you would have them treat you. Anytime we would hear a siren, fire, police, ambulance, no matter what she was doing she’d stop in her tracks and pray because she said somebody needs help. And that’s just amazing to me. I love it.”

Barbara Ireland reinforced these messages of caring and love, reiterating to Noozhawk that the thing she most diligently shared with her children was “that love is the biggest thing — to love and love others. And I think that’s the main thing. My mom taught me that when I was little and it’s how I grew up — to love unconditionally. Just love. And helping other people whenever you can. Doing whatever you can to help them because somebody is always in need.”

A generously donated “Caring Mother” bronze statue with figurative and abstract elements by artist Aris Demetrios was again handed out to the honored mother and tribute presenter as a reflection of the artist’s own love for his mother, Virginia Lee Burton.

Throughout the month of May, as another way to honor and remember mothers, the community is invited to share a gift of any amount as part of an online Mother’s Appreciation Garden. Here the public will have the opportunity to recognize mothers, grandmothers, and sisters and share the spirit of all these wonderful women in their lives.

For a donation of any amount, VNHC will include the name of the honored mother in its online garden, and also recognize these women with weekly updates on the VNHC Facebook page. Click here to recognize an important woman.

Tanner spoke about the rewarding aspects of motherhood as a mother herself of seven children from two marriages.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of being a mother is watching your children grow and watching them be successful,” she said. “I think for me that is probably the high point of all of the years and hard work — and it is hard work that you put in. And then watching them blossom on their own and go out there and make their own lives and hopefully giving back to their community.”

VNHC graciously thanks the many sponsors that have so generously supported the 12th Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon:

» Premier Rose: Impulse Advanced Communications

» Red Rose: Gail and Roger Haupt, Union Bank and the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation

» White Rose: Roberta and Stan Fishman, Irma and Morrie Jurkowitz, Alan Porter, Maryan and Dick Schall, Elna Scheinfeld, Melanie Trent and Richard deSchutter

» Pink Rose: American Riviera Bank, the Barbara Ireland family, Bartlett Pringle & Wolf LLP, Boone Graphics, Brown & Brown Insurance, Carl’s Jr., Cottage Health System, HUB International, Nancy Kimsey (legacy), Chris and Mark Levine, MarBorg Industries, Montecito Bank & Trust, Northern Trust, Bobbie and Ed Rosenblatt, the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Rudi Schulte Family Foundation, Frank Schipper Construction, Christopher Toomey, Venoco Inc. and the Volentine Family Foundation

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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