By Valerie Milano
Photos By THT
Palm Springs, CA (The Hollywood Times) 11/30/18 – The Desert AIDS Project held their 5th Annual Everyday Heroes Awards tonight at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, on the eve of World AIDS Day. The yearly event features an outdoor champagne reception, awards ceremony and presentation, live entertainment, and an after-party catered by LuLu California Bistro.
Honorees included Jeffrey Ewell, Willie Rhine, Edie Groesbeck, and Rosanne Kumins. The State Farm Good Neighbor award went to ALC Lifecycle Palm Springs Riders. The group rode 545 miles from San Francisco to raise 300,000 for people living with HIV/AIDS—all while promoting the message that HIV is not over.
DAP CEO David Brinkman noted the outstanding achievements of the organization and the event, and clarified its purpose. “Everyday Heroes was born just 5 years ago,” he said. “My dear friends Mark Jones, Brian Vatcher, Frank Goldstin and Darrell Tucci. “They were struck by the number of volunteers, and the countless ways that people are making a difference in this valley. And they all agreed that the work of these individuals who inspire was growing, and our community needed to hear these stories.”
They are stories that had no trouble racking up support from various sponsors. Compass Rose Financial, Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler, Gilead, LuLu California Bistro, Palm Springs Cultural Center, Gilead, Forest Lawn, and Trick Dog Films all lined up to support the cause. LoveWins (Leslie Barclay) sponsored the evening’s open bar.
Desert AIDS Project is a Federally Qualified health center offering DAP care—including medical, dental, social services, counseling, and other related services, including STD testing and treatment. DAP is in the top 6% of nonprofits rated by Charity Navigator, and has been for 6 years running.
Singer David Burnham performed for the crowd, treating them to a peppy retro musical number. Steven Henke, Director of Community Development for DAP introduced honoree Jeffrey Ewell, an icon in the movement. “It’s said that a great drag queen makes the loneliest person in the room feel like they are part of the best party in town,” he said. “And for countless valley non-profit events, that is what Jeffrey, as his alter ego Ethylina Canne, has done with humanity, kindness, and humor.”
Event Co-Chair Ann Sheffer introduced honorees Edie Grosbeck and Rosanne Kumins. “I think about Edie and Rosanne, and I think that they get enormous sustenance and joy from volunteering what seems like all of their time to our community,” said Sheffer. “We take them for granted.”
The mission of Everyday Heroes was clear—to make sure that these outstanding individuals are never taken for granted again. The lavish celebration in their honor, in Palm Springs, was testament to the fact that the Desert AIDS Project marches forward and expands every day—that it makes a difference—and that its greatest supporters are beloved by their community.
Learn more about the Desert AIDS Project and its mission at www.desertaidsproject.org