It was a night all about the kids on Friday, October 24 when the Capitol Region Office of the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children held their 7th Annual Masquerade Ball. Attendees arrived at Saratoga National and sipped ‘spooktaculars” while admiring all of the fabulous costumes donned by fellow guests.
NCMEC/New York Capital Region Advisory Board Chair Sam Palazzole and his wife Linda did a wonderful job chairing the Ball and held court all evening dressed as Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
They welcomed guests including Mayor Joanne Yepsen, Honorary Chairs Vince and Patty Riggi, PJ Moraci and Andy Grazulis. Also spotted enjoying the evening were Mark Hogan and Rob Saba, Craig Allen, Frank Mitola and Kate Killian as well as flappers, ancient Egyptians, witches, and even a keg of beer with a beer mug as his date. In between bites of truffle mac and cheese and lamb lollipops, guests perused the wide array of silent auction items and enthusiastically bid on everything from trips to the Caribbean to sports memorabilia and landscaping packages. As guests sat for a dinner of surf and turf, emcee Mark Mulholland welcomed the crowd and had everyone laughing with some self deprecating humor before switching gears and describing the essential work of the NCMEC. The theme of hope was touched on several times during the evening and was especially poignant to an audience that including families who presently have missing children. NCMEC Community Educator John Kelly and Executive Director Ed Suk shared updates about the organizations work and also announced the introduction KidSmartz, a new personal safety program for children, launched with actress Tia Mowry. One of the night’s highlights was the presentation of the prestigious John Walsh Award, given in recognition of long-standing and significant impact on NCMEC’s mission to prevent the abduction and exploitation of children in the Capital Region. This year it was awarded to Dave Fallon, whose career has been dedicated to fighting crimes against children as a special agent with the FBI.
Dave leads the FBI’s Child Abudction Rapid Deployment Team and has been investigating cases of crimes against children since 1998, he accepted the award to a standing ovation. The program concluded with a live auction, expertly handled by Chris Ward of Bid for your Benefit and featured a fabulous getaway at the Pavilion Grand Hotel with spa services and dining at Mingle on the Avenue and a nearly $30,000 package from Concord Pools and Spa which is available for bidding through contacting the Capital Region NCMEC office. Last but certainly not least, the costume award winners were announced with Debbie Giovane as a skeleton with her face intricately painted and Andy Grazulis as Gandalf the Wizard taking home the honors. Sam and Linda were please to report the evening raised $75,000 for the NCMEC, thanking all of their sponsors for their continued support in protecting our children.
For all the pictures from the Masquerade Ball, check out our full photo gallery right here!