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Scene & Heard: Associated Black Charities gala

Terri Freeman, Bowyer Freeman and Corryn Freeman attend the Associated Black Charities Gala at Martin's West. Hundreds of guests poured into the Martin's West for the ever-popular Associated Black Charities' "Annual Gala" with plenty of things to celebrate and enjoy. There was the work of the organization itself. "This is the opportunity to celebrate the growth of the programs of ABC. To watch this organization grow in the last 10 years is phenomenal, and thrilling for me personally," said Walter Amprey, board member, there with wife Andrea M. Amprey, Amprey & Associates executive vice president. "This is a night of celebrating the work we do all year. Hard-working people have an opportunity to let their hair down," said Bowyer Freeman, ABC board chair. It was also the opportunity to get dressed up in glamorous gowns and tuxedos. The ballroom shimmered with sequins, beads and crystals on the guests circulating within. "It's awesome. There are a lot of beautiful people here," said Donzella Burton, Maryland District Court criminal analyst. It was also the chance to see old friends and make new ones. Ken Banks, Banks Contracting president, and wife Gloria Mayfield Banks, Mary Kay elite executive national sales director, made the rounds, catching up with old friends. Meanwhile, Sandy Hillman, and her husband, Bob Hillman, Hillman Communications president and chief financial officer respectively, were busy introducing people to their guest, Fred Keeton, Caesars Entertainment vice president, who had come in from Las Vegas. "It's fun to see people and it's important to support the organization," said William H. "Billy" Murphy, Murphy Falcon & Murphy senior partner, who was also one of the evening's honorees. There would also be the wide array of entertainment choices - something the gala has been known for. "It's always exciting. There are always a lot of activities going on," said Richard McClearn, Digicon Corporation sales manager. "I look forward to this. I think people are going to have fun. [There's a] jazz lounge, a casino. We have a Maryland Live Casino," said Chineta Davis, event honorary chair, tongue-in-cheek. All those aspects certainly guaranteed a great evening. But, the number one reason most were there was summed up by Diane Bell-McKoy, Associated Black Charities CEO. "It's about celebrating the fact that we can make a difference," she said. -- Sloane Brown
Karen Jackson, Special to The Baltimore Sun
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