Debbie Dingell, wife of Congressman John Dingell, Michigan Democrat, was reunited last night with Hydeia Broadbent, a thriving woman in her late 20s.
What made the scene remarkable was that the women first met when Broadbent was a child with AIDS and not expected to live.
The occasion was the 24th annual congressional gala for the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health, held at the Liaison Hotel. The Children’s Inn offers housing and support for families like Broadbent’s while their children are being treated at the NIH.
Senator Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat, and Senator Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, were among the lawmakers who turned out. The mistress of ceremonies was author Cokie Roberts, who called the event “the last bastion of bipartisanship.”
Democratic congressmen Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Mark Critz of Pennsylvania were also present, as was Martha-Ann Alito, wife of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
The gala was sponsored by corporate partners Merck & Co., and Sanofi U.S., and the trade group Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America.
Blunt sat opposite Kenneth Frazier, the chairman and chief executive officer of Merck, which has given about $15 million to Children’s Inn since its founding in 1990.
Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Inc. also helped the Inn raise $400,000 last night. The funds will be used to renovate the facility’s kitchens.
An emotional Broadbent thanked the staff and supporters of the Inn and presented the evening’s honorees, physicians Anthony Fauci and Roy Vagelos, with award plates crafted by children at the Inn.
“I keep up with them on Facebook,” she said of the children she met at the facility.
“I wake up every morning excited,” said NIH Director Francis Collins about the strides in pediatric medical research.
The event began with a rooftop poolside reception and ended with a three-course meal of goat-cheese salad, sea bass and berry cheesecake.
Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Republicans from Maine, attended a luncheon yesterday in honor of former First Lady Laura Bush.
Wearing a fitted aubergine dress, Bush accepted the 2012 Alice Award from the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum for her advocacy of women, particularly in Afghanistan. Alice Paul was a suffragist and a founder of the National Woman’s Party.
J. David Power III, the founder of marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates, received the Lone Sailor Award from the U.S. Navy Memorial on Tuesday night.
“For the last 40 years, I’ve been giving out awards. This is a new thing,” Power, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, said at the National Building Museum.
Billionaire John Paul DeJoria, a co-founder of Patron Spirits Co., discovered Patron cocktails were being served at the VIP reception.
“I gotta thank them,” he said, referring to the bartenders and making his trademark peace sign while mugging for the cameras.
DeJoria was honored as a Navy veteran. “We had a blast,” he said, adding that it was in the Navy where he learned about teamwork and cultivated his philosophy of life, “Success unshared is failure.”
Political satirist and Marine Mark Russell and Vietnam prisoner of war Everett Alvarez, Jr. were also presented with the Lone Sailor Award, given to Sea Services veterans who have demonstrated core military values in their careers.
Russell said his time in the Marines was easier than parochial school: “After the nuns, boot camp was a piece of cake.”
Among the guests: U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp Jr. and Dale Bennett, president of Lockheed Martin Corp. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Co. and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. were sponsors of the event.
Author Bob Woodward will be honored Friday night at the National Press Club’s 40th annual Fourth Estate Award Dinner for lifetime achievement in journalism. Among the toasters will be Donald Graham, chief executive and chairman of the Washington Post.
Proceeds benefit the National Press Club Journalism Institute, which promotes press freedom and provides journalism scholarships.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Greg Evans on film, Jeremy Gerard on theater.