Jim McQuade, president and CEO of Dollar Bank, reigned over the Epilepsy Association of Western and Central PA’s Mardi Gras celebration as king of Mardi Gras at the Westin Convention Center, Tuesday.

The 30th anniversary gala had many former kings and queens in attendance, including Latasha and Charlie Batch —last year’s reigning couple — who did the honor of crowning the new king.

“It is an incredible honor to be associated with an organization that does so much for so many people and it really is humbling,” said McQuade.

This was only the second time McQuade and his wife, Lisa, had been to the Mardi Gras gala.

“Mr. McQuade has just been fantastic in terms of acknowledging epilepsy and talking about epilepsy and the services and programs we provide,” noted EAWCP president and CEO Peggy Beem Jelley.

The Fat Tuesday bash was chaired by Deb Rice Johnson (with former Mardi Gras king Blair) and co-chairs Eric Boughner and David Hall. KDKA-TV’s Bob Pompeani (with Lisa) repeated his role as the evening’s emcee, welcoming all to the benefit.

Each year, the committee with the help of Kevin Wilson Ballrooms Instead transform the ballroom and lobby from ordinary to extraordinary with purple and gold streamers, balloons, beads and boas until it feels like New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Jugglers and stilt walkers roamed among the guests during the cocktail reception and as is the tradition, the Ray Ryan New Orleans Riverside Band led revelers from cocktails to the ballroom.

The John Parker Band had nearly all of the 450 guests dancing after dinner, welcoming remarks and a gift presentation to Emily and Charlie Burkhardt, the featured family.

“With our texted giving, silent auction, donations and more we will have raised in the neighborhood of $350,000 tonight,” said Jelley.

Among those contributing to that effort were board chair Joyce Bender with Bill, Drs.Haley and Abel Taylor, Doris Carson Wilson, Theresa and Matt Phillips, Marcia and Dr. Stephen Samples, Kim Miller, Dr. James Valeriano, Maris and Robert Dauer, Dr. Patricia Crumrine, Sandy and Tom McIntyre, Michelle and Sean O’Keefe, Susan and Glen Goldbach and Kerry McQuone.


Source: post-gazette.com, Patricia Sheridan