[nfbwatlk] Lighthouse Benefit an Excellent Social Event

Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR) Bennett.Prows at HHS.GOV
Thu Aug 15 20:02:53 UTC 2013

Last evening, in Seattle, the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind was featured as the nonprofit to reap the benefits at 50 North Restaurant. I had never seen a fund raising event like this. It was great, a lot of fun, and a chance for blind people to make a real difference. The 50 North Restaurant has a great menu of food and drink. AS a routine, they hold these fundraising events, during which certain of the nonprofit's management, staff and board of directors play the role of "guest bartender." There is of course, the regular bartender to show the guests the ropes, and explain how things are done. The restaurant names a particular drink for the nonprofit, and the guest bartender is responsible for poring and often serving the drink to the people who order it. Last night, the guest bartenders were making the "Lighthouse Breeze." The drink consisted of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, over ice of course. The specialty of this drink was if you could get it served in one of the twelve copper mugs that were in high demand. The drink actually tasted much different when drunk from the copper cup without the provided straws.   Trust me, those who got the copper cups were extremely reluctant to give them up when ordering a second or even a third Lighthouse Breeze.

The bartenders? Kevan Daniel was first up, and lasted an hour, actually making 20 of the Lighthouse Breeze drinks in that time period. Of course, the regular bartender was also swamped with other libation orders at the time. Her name was Tarin, (SP) and she was fantastic.

The second hour began with Kirk Adams, the CEO of the Seattle Lighthouse taking over the guest bartender's responsibilities. He learned quickly, and pored a number of the specialty drink as well. He decided to split the hour, and I was asked to join the fun since I'm a board of Trustees member. I had a great time, mixing it up with patrons, encouraging tips which is one way the funds were raised, and trying to get people to praise my poring ability. I achieved great success, and enjoyed the experience a lot. Of course, Tarin accused me  of being a real  drinker (my words not hers') from the way I handled the bar experience. Embarrassing?  Naw, not really! Guess she was right.

The third hour was the responsibility of a Lighthouse Foundation Board member, Howie Dickerman. He had taken the "training" earlier, so jumped right in to raise those funds as well.  Not sure whether Stephanie Yates, another foundation board member ordered a Lighthouse Breeze from him, but the funds seemed to be coming in at a brisk pace. At times, the restaurant was wall to wall people, most of whom seemed to be drinking which helped the percentage to the Lighthouse. I even noticed Jens Jorgenson, another board member walking around the place and talking with the crowd.

A good time was had by all.  I saw a number of Federationists there, including Mike Mello, Cindy Bennett, Andrea Travis, who incidentally works at the Lighthouse now and was very involved in organizing this event, Rita Szantay, and others. The public there learned once again, that blind persons can function as well as their sighted peers in jobs they'd never expect us to do, such as bartending. We learned how wonderful the 50 North was to hold such fundraising events. I personally was extremely pleased with Tarin, whose attitude seemed to be one of complete acceptance and she had the patience of a good O and M instructor.  (smile.

Staff members from the Lighthouse, like Kirk Laughlin, Josh Russell, and Constance Engelstad, among others were all around the restaurant as well, explaining the organization, and generally educating the public. I enjoyed talking with a number of the patrons, including Roz Adams, wife and CEO of Kirk. (grin.)

This was a very positive presentation concerning the Lighthouse and blind people. Cheers!!


Bennett Prows

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