At last year’s Neighborhood Health Clinic Block Party, James Bond and the Bond Golden Girls were featured guests of honor. Just in time to blast off for this year’s 7th annual gala, Captain James Lovell, Apollo 13 commander, one of only three men to travel to the moon twice, somehow made his way to Naples Luxury Imports on Feb. 27 with a trio of space aliens in tow.
Along with presenting sponsors Vince and Pat Foglia, galactic-level luminaries enjoyed a private reception with the courageous captain. Also in attendance — former Navy seal and Best of Everything proprietor Christopher Ben,t who had been on the ship back in 1970 that plucked the astronaut from his craft upon its marine landing.
Although intergalactic “space” was limited, a total of a few more than 300 earthlings showed up to hobnob with spacelings and fellow travelers and examine silent auctions offerings during the open cocktail reception. Then the “pod bay doors” at end of the auto agency’s maintenance area opened. Caterers Dinners by Design had created an out-of-the-world dining experience, ending with a Space Odyssey chocolate mousse dome.
Cahlua and Cream provided musical entertainment for listeners and dancers while Nina Gray, clinic CEO, welcomed all and NBC-2 anchor Kellie Burns served as program emcee. Burns was also successful in auctioning off a much-coveted crew patch that Lovell had actually carried in his personal kit aboard the spacecraft.
Lovell held his audience in thrall as he provided a down-to-earth description of his experiences and also narrated a video screening of his space explorations.
On hand during the evening festivities were clinic founders Dr. Bill Lascheid, M.D. and his wife, Nancy Lascheid, as well clinic volunteers, including doctors, nurses, non-medical staff and several full-time employees.
Tickets were priced at $200 per person $500 at the patron level.
Susan Jones, event chairperson, estimated that net evening proceeds raised would reach $275,000 when fully tallied. The money helps the Neighborhood Health Clinic provide quality health care for low-income, working, but uninsured, Collier County adults, using a volunteer professional staff.