A Night to Celebrate Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center

Why post about a gala? I asked myself. It's not really my style to promote exorbitant affairs that are out of financial reach for some people. It's not fair to the hardworking masses to showcase the Hudson Valley elite on the red carpet when some people are having a hard time putting food on the table for their families. At a glance, it does appear to be that kind of story. But, under the surface there's a beautiful message that needs to be shared. 

With the Affordable Health Care Act on the tip of so many people's tongues, it's worth mentioning that the Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center (GHVFHC) has been serving the corners of our community with free, sliding scale, and conveniently located health care facilities across the Hudson Valley and beyond. And, the honorees at the Nov. 1 gala are two hard working people who in my observation became successful through their give-back policy which takes up an incredible amount of their personal time, energy and resources. 

I'm less familiar with the Bruderhof community, but look forward to learning more about their impact within our region. This project is directly tied to a learning curve that parallels the community at large in an effort to better understand it, become close to it, and help the working parts become a whole. That said, get to know GHVFHC and the community it serves. Congratulations to the honorees who could not be more deserving and the Health Center for the imperative impact they are making helping to keep the Hudson Valley healthy. 

I especially love their tagline: Health care is a right, not a privilege. 

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On Saturday, November 1, 2014 over 400 Friends of The Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center gathered to celebrate the 15th Annual Pillars of the Community Awards Gala and pay tribute to the 2014 honorees. Sharon “Jellybean” Warantz accepted an award for lifetime achievement. Josh Sommers, President of Focus Media and the Bruderhof Communities were honored for Outstanding Community Service. Coincidentally, all three Pillars serve on the Board of Directors for The Orange County Chamber of Commerce. Their contributions to the communities they serve, their fellowship and their generosity of time and talent were recognized by the Family Health Center and all of the guests. 

"Join me this evening in honoring these distinguished members of the community. It is with their help, and yours, that this Health Center is the foundation for tomorrow’s health care," said Linda Muller, President and CEO of the Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center.

This beautiful, elegant event received raves for the ambiance and cuisine created by the talented team at Anthony’s Pier 9 led by Michael Bonura. Floral masterpieces were created by Gina Molloy for A Studio in Flowers and staged the venue from entrance to exit. Following tradition, floral and other materials were obtained right here in the Hudson Valley.

"I am truly honored and humbled to have received the Lifetime Achievement Pillar of the Community award from my friends at the Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center," said Sharon Warantz, owner of Jellybean Promotions. "I am also so flattered to be included in the prestigious group of prior Pillar honorees, so many of which are friends – like Senator Bill Larkin, Marcel Martino, Janet and Tom Sullivan, the Bonura family, Col. Charles Faro, Doug Hovey, Donna Cornell and so many others."

Senator Larkin makes his entrance

Warantz, a resident of Orange County for 30 years, is active with many local chambers, the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Hospice of Orange & Sullivan counties, Leadership Orange, New Hope Community and many others. She is often spotted at evening events and fundraisers taking photos of the evening for share on social media. Her energy is boundless and her dedication to her community, ceaseless. 

Each year the Gala has grown in size and is ever a more beautiful evening. The Pillars Gala is the epicenter of The Health Center's yearly fundraising campaign. This as in year's past the spectacular evening of glamor and prestige did not disappoint this year. Over $125,000 was raised through sponsorships, donations and printed advertisements in the commemorative journal. 

This amazing financial support will help the Health Center’s Pediatric Literacy Program, outreach programs that include medical care for the homeless and dental screenings and care for seniors via the Mobile Health Unit. Additionally GHVFHC provides over 60 health education programs as well as numerous other clinical services throughout the year. 

Honoree Josh Sommers said, "The Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center and their Pillar Awards inspire others to do more for this community. Linda Muller and her team lead in many great ways, and I am fortunate to her as a colleague. The recognition from the community was very special and it was wonderful to spend this occasion with my family and friends. I am very proud to lead a company of wonderful community-minded people, that actively give back in our community to so many worthy organizations."

Sommers owns Focus Media - bringing Madison Avenue quality marketing to the Hudson Valley since 2002 - and serves on half-a-dozen non-profit boards locally. The impressive father of three just became engaged to his fiance, Lisa Kelly, VP at Focus. The pair are a forceful duo who use their power for good. 

Lisa Kelly and Josh Sommers 

The Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center provides high-quality, accessible primary and preventative health care to over 22,000 patients in Newburgh and surrounding areas. GHVFHC is accredited by The Joint Commission and is designated by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home. In 2013, GHVFHC opened Harper Health for Individuals and Families in Transition and a family medicine practice in Highland Falls, New York.

"The Pillars Gala was just an outstanding event – exquisite in every way," said Warantz. Regina McGrade and Linda Muller are amazing people and it is an honor and a privilege to have been recognized and to call them my friends!"

Sharon with her daughter Freddi looking glamorous

About The Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center
The purpose of The Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center, a non-profit organization, is to provide high quality, comprehensive, primary and preventative health care services in an environment of caring, respect and dignity, and in a cost effective manner that maximizes revenues; to be responsive to the needs of the Mid-Hudson community but with continued emphasis on the underserved and those without access to care regardless of race, economic status, age, sex, sexual orientation or disability.

Headlining Photo: Sharon Warantz, Linda Muller, Josh Sommers, a representative from the Bruderhof Community.

Photos by Jon Valle 

Edits by Stefanie Pearl