Thanks to the ingenuity of co-chairs Sharon Treiser and Ellin Goetz, their committees and Paula Robertson & Associates, a vintage Olds 88 surrounded by a cheering coterie of Fifties chic femmes welcomed partygoers to the 2010 Hospital Ball at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples on Oct. 23.
Inspired by the 1954 Doris Day-Frank Sinatra film “Young at Heart,” which arrived in theaters the same year Naples Community Hospital opened, the nostalgic evening featured elements evocative of those days of optimism and strong family ties.
Once indoors, the 600 guests passed along a receiving line, sampled cranberry-tinted vodka martinis and canapes and were photographed for souvenir portraits underwritten by Walgreens. The hour-long reception provided ample time to mix and mingle, bid on more than 200 silent auction items, enjoy period piano tunes and visit open bars.
It was a black-tie gala — although Dr. Adolfo Soto, an NCH internal medicine physician, opted for natty tails — and numbers of women also chose black gowns. Tamyra Holland preferred a full black skirt and empire waistline topped with a champagne satin bodice detailed with pearls and tiny bows. Diana Thirion found a deep salmon, fully pleated creation with interesting decolletage and glittering straps at Caché in the Waterside shops.
Each major portion of the evening’s program was announced by a musical fanfare provided by the High End Entertainment orchestra while strategically placed, large video screens made for easy viewing. Dancing was intermittent throughout the evening.
Allen S. Weiss, MD, president and CEO, NCH Healthcare System, welcomed the assemblage and introduced Peter and Stella Thomas, honorary chairs. Diana “Dee” Martell, R.N., of the downtown Naples campus and Melissa Michel, R.N., of North Naples Hospital were introduced and named as Nurses of Excellence 2010.
Douglas W. Harrington, D.O., and Mark S. Russo, M.D., tied as physician of the year honorees. Raymond L. Lutgert, philanthropist and driving force behind NCH’s mission to create a 21st century hospital, was honored in memoriam.
Following dinner, the live auction of seven unique items conducted by Mayor Bill Barnett and Scott Robertson brought in $40,300 in bids for such desirables as exclusive club memberships. Most coveted:
■ Lifetime golf membership at Vineyards Country Club, valued at $35,000. Members would be responsible for annual dues but no assessments.
■ Stylin’ Lady’s diamond cocktail watch from de Beers. A classic design inspired by Art Deco featuring a total diamond carat weight of 2.31, with 13 full-cut round brilliant diamonds and a genuine pink water snake band, valued at $15,000.
Auction co-chairs Stacey Herring and Vicki Tracy led a committee of more than 50 in hunting enviable prizes.
Weiss estimated net ball proceeds will reach approximately $600,000 once all income including tickets priced at $475 per person is tallied. This 52nd annual NCH Hospital Ball benefits the NCH Cardiology Program.