The President's awards are given at each convention to individuals and groups that the Board wants to recognize for their work to advance Dignity's mission, for their support of GLBT Catholics, and for their particular help to the work of the Board.
The Board of DignityUSA would like today to recognize the following individuals:
- CHRIS PETT - Chris is a long time member of Dignity and currently the President of Dignity Chicago. We know that that fact alone brings Chris accolades and thanks. But the Board wants to especially recognize Chris for the work that he has done with the Board in our process of strategic planning. Chris is a gifted facilitator and thinker and can guide a group, even one as difficult as we were, with insight and efficiency without losing his sense of humor. He has been very generous with his talents and time; his commitment to Dignity is unwavering and we have much to thank him for. He has also been a partner of chapters who have chosen to work with him to develop their own group's vision and plans for growth. Thank you, Chris.
- EDWARD DEBONIS, VINCENT MANISCALCO, BRENDAN FAY and TOM MOULTON - Many of you have read about our next awardees in Jamie Manson’s fantastic articles in National Catholic Reporter and Huffington Post on “The Catholic Activists behind Edie Windsor’s DOMA Victory.” The details may or may not be remembered in history, but we celebrate with pride that members of Dignity/New York were instrumental in getting this case to the Supreme Court. Brendan Fay and Tom Moulton helped Edie and her spouse Thea Spyer find the Canadian judge who married them in Toronto in 2007. After Thea’s death and Edie faced an enormous estate tax bill, Ed DeBonis and Vinnie Maniscalco connected her with Roberta Kaplan, the attorney who argued the case before the Supreme Court, and worked to convince the legal and activist community that this was a good case and a good time to demonstrate that DOMA was unconstitutional. None of these awardees could be here this weekend but we trust that our New York contingent will be sure to express our gratitude and pride as we present President’s Awards to Edward Debonis, Vincent Maniscalco, Brendan Fay and Tom Moulton.
- LAUREN CARPENTER - Since her involvement with DignityUSA, back when she was living in San Antonio, we recognized in Lauren a very gifted leader and someone whose ability to bring people together we knew would bring life to our community. Lauren has taken on the important challenge of creating community among the young adult members of Dignity and to help Dignity at all levels recognize this population's needs and potential. She has helped the men and women of younger years to find in Dignity a viable community of faith and ministry. We want to thank Lauren for her dedicated and continued leadership and for her vital role in the growth of Dignity. Thank you, Lauren.
- MARTY GROCHALA - For many years, Marty has had numerous roles in DignityUSA and in his chapter in Chicago. This time, however, we want to recognize Marty for his extraordinary work as sole chair of convention 2013. It is hard to calculate how many hours Marty has devoted over the past 2 years plus to phone calls, trips to Minneapolis on his own dime, organizing groups, managing detail beyond detail, etc. to bring us this convention. Many people worked on this convention, Marty would say, and he is right for this was truly an around the country effort. But we are sure you all know that without an efficient leader the best intentions can often fail. And when that leader has to sustain that work and keep track of the big picture and manage every detail for this very long time, it is indeed a very big task. Marty has done that, without losing his cool or his mind, knowing how to involve a very diverse group of people and at the end getting things done. You have outdone yourself, Marty, thank you.