by Jessica Carreras
On June 14, AIDS Partnership Michigan celebrated a bittersweet milestone: 25 years of fighting, preventing and helping people with HIV/AIDS.
The event was held at The Roostertail on a pristine evening with a gorgeous view of the Detroit River. There, attendees enjoyed a strolling dinner as they bid on live and silent auction items, including autographed sports memorabilia, tickets to concerts and events, restaurant gift certificates, art and home decor and even a porcelain bust of Marilyn Monroe.
Notable attendees included Affirmations CEO Leslie Thompson, Michigan State Senator Martha G. Scott and all previous board presidents of APM except one.
Executive Director Barbara Murray, who has held her position for 19 years, spoke about the history of APM. Murray noted that though it is sad that organizations like APM have been fighting against HIV/AIDS for over two decades, advances have been made and they’ve come a long way.
Those advances, said Murray, could not have happened without the help of some behind-the-scenes work from individuals and small businesses and organizations. As such, Murray and APM associate executive director Hank Millbourne presented four awards to “Unsung Heroes” in the fight. “There are some people who help this agency day in and day out who rarely, if ever, get any recognition,” Murray said.
The first was presented to Gina Agosta, who owns a salon in Novi. Agosta, said Murray, has worked tirelessly to help raise money for APM. “We lost our oldest son to AIDS,” Agosta said, accepting her award. “We want to do everything we can for the organization.”
Revered Lisa Cook, associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Northville, was honored for her church’s work making custom Easter baskets for APM’s clients. “As a fallen Methodist, it restores my faith in the church I grew up in,” Murray joked.
Three people from Actors’ Equity Detroit and Friends Fight AIDS were also honored, as was State Department of Human Services HIV/AIDS Services Coordinator Ken Pape. Judy Dery, outgoing chair of FFA, reciprocated being honored by presenting Murray with two checks from the organization totaling $2,000.
For more information about AIDS Partnership Michigan, or to donate, visit http://www.aidspartnership.org.