Some 900 people watched the ceremonial topping-out of the Mary Catherine Bunting Center at Mercy Medical Center. However, they weren't in downtown Baltimore, where the building is. They were assembled at M&T; Bank Stadium, watching the event on giant TV screens. What's more, they were dressed in tuxedos and cocktail attire.
Except for the hospital's chairman of pediatrics. Dr. Ron Gutberlet sported khakis painted like brick walls and a clear plastic sports jacket. Underneath the jacket, his shirt had iron-on labels with names of hospital departments. On his head, a hardhat from which a gold construction crane sprouted.
"I'm the Bunting Building," he announced, as his wife, Shirley Gutberlet, indulgently smiled.
Sister Helen Amos, Mercy board chairwoman, led the crowd inside the stadium's club level for Mercy Medical Center's 23rd annual Mercy Magic Gala. Lines of chefs stood at the ready, manning a number of food stations with offerings such as pheasant sausage, white bean and chicken chili, and crab cake sliders.
"This is a wonderful celebration of doing something great in the city," said Michael Pinto, M&T;'s vice chairman and chief executive of its Mid-Atlantic division.
In addition to a silent auction, there was The Emporium, a boutique with gift items that could be ordered.
"I got lots of holiday shopping done," said Janet Kelly, Stella Maris advisory board member.
"This is, by far, the most fun. It's a dressy party, but not snooty," said Anne O'Brien, Tyanna Foundation president.
As folks hit the dance floor, Thomas Mullen, Mercy Medical Center president/CEO, summed up the night: "We're topping out Mercy, and we're rocking all night."
Sloane Brown can be contacted at email@example.com.