San Diego ARC celebrates recovery at sobriety banquet

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by Marlene Gerber –

The San Diego ARC hosted some 300 ARC program alumni, Advisory Council and Advisory Board members, volunteers and beneficiaries who gathered to “Celebrate Recovery” at its recent Sobriety Banquet.

From the heartfelt words of the keynote speaker, to the recognition of accomplishments of the volunteer and alumni of the year, to the gifted pianist with a personal story of redemption, and the celebration of more than a hundred years of collective sobriety in the room, it was an uncommon evening of inspiration, song, fellowship and dedication.

“We are celebrating the gift of recovery,” Captain Grady Brown said as he welcomed guests and introduced radio station KPRZ personality Tom LeVine, who served as master of ceremonies. The theme of service and salvation resonated throughout the event. Dick Lewis, San Diego Chargers’ Players Outreach Director delivered the affecting keynote address. ARC graduate Les Jones, recipient of the Alumni of the Year Award thanked The Salvation Army for a program that changed his life, and for providing an opportunity for “giving back.” Salvation Army soldier Joshua Sneed was recognized as Volunteer of the Year, for his dedication and continuing service to the ARC program. Advisory Council members were installed by Major Michael Dossey. A posthumous recognition of service by the late Harry Frels was accepted by his widow, Dorothy Frels.

Special musical selections were performed by pianist Greg Watson for a delighted audience, and Captains Grady Brown and John Van Cleef led the group in song. The “Sobriety Countdown” recognized the range of recovery—from the newest beneficiaries in the program to those with decades of sobriety.

Commissioner Peter Chang closed the evening with a benediction. The event was guided by San Diego ARC administrators Captain Grady and Julie Brown, in conjunction with Advisory Council members headed by Mary Yee DeBrunner, and ARC staff.

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