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This year’s Blue Ribbon Gala committee members are pictured. From left, front row: Maive Mariotti and Gene Talerico. Middle row: Noelle Ruby DePietro, Vivian Tighe Willams, Brittany Julian, Laura Talerico, Kelly George, Maria Fronduti, Jess Farrell, Mary Ann Stefko and Tami Prall-Nasser. Back row: Al Day, Donna Walsh Nasser, Kara Seitzinger, Sandy Opshinsky, Stacy Lange, Linda Day, Katie Talerico, April Knapp, Nettie Goldstein, Ronda Beemer, Rebecca Haggerty, Maureen Bender, Jessica Kearney and Roseann Tedesco. Other committee members include: Ellen Wengen, Gretchen M. Wintermantel, Mamie Eckenrode, Lizzy Davis, Nunzio Allegrucci, Maria Conigliaro Traino, Trey Van Wert, Cathy Wechsler, Eileen Barrett Notarianni, Maggie Nasser, Val Serine-Langan, Katie Manley, Tara Iona, Paulette Hamilton, Bill Bender Sr., Dustin Bender, Kevin Bender, Roseann Crotti, Geralyn Seitzinger Insalaco, Michelle Price, Kelly Rava, Mandy Montoro, Julie Jordan, Roe Ferguson Robertson, Shannon Roche, Linda Cappellano-Sarver, Sandy Lamanna and Joanne Mongognia.

The board of directors of Marley’s Mission has announced the winners of six awards to be presented at its fourth annual Blue Ribbon Gala on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Scranton.

• Golden Bridle Award: According to organizers, this award recognizes a corporation or business that has financially contributed to the success of Marley’s Mission by promoting awareness and making a significant difference in the life of a child. This year’s winners are: IBEW Local 81, Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters Local 524; Tom Donohue of Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Bender Wealth Management Group/ Merrill Lynch, Minooka Subaru, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association.

Champion of Hope Award: This award recognizes an individual, organization or agency that is an advocate for children’s rights, is dedicated to protecting children, and collaborates with Marley’s Mission in the healing of children: Rich Bradshaw, Ronald McDonald House, Scranton.

• Saddle of Hope Award: According to organizers, this award recognizes an individual who has inspired members of Marley’s Mission and has made a significant, positive impact in the lives of others. This year’s winners are: Jody Cordaro, SCE Environmental Group, treasurer, Marley’s Mission Board of Directors and founding board member; Gary Johnson, Unique Building Systems; John Puzo, Earth Farm Studios.

• The Spirit Reigns Award: According to organizers, this award honors a dedicated young person younger than 18 years old who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to Marley’s Mission. The award

acknowledges the dedication and positive spirit of children who, by their actions, promote hope and healing. This year’s winners are Abi Reilley and Ava Laboranti.

The Blue Ribbon Award: According to organizers, this award recognizes a volunteer who embodies selflessness and charity through time and extraordinary dedication to Marley’s Mission. This year’s winners are Noelle Ruby DePietro, Marley’s Mission director of events; and Vivian Williams, Marley’s Mission volunteer.

• Remembering Zachary Award: This award is in memory of Zachary, a 14-month-old boy who was a victim of child abuse. According to organizers, this award recognizes the passionate and tireless efforts of an individual who brings greater awareness to child abuse and the protection of children. This year’s winner is Pennsylvania state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.

This year’s Triple Crown Sponsors are Bender Wealth Management Group/ Merrill Lynch, Minooka Subaru, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. This year’s gala co-chairs are Kara McDonough Seitzinger and Maureen Price Bender. The gala’s 2014 honorary chair is Pennsylvania state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane. The theme of this year’s Blue Ribbon Gala is “Building Hope.”

Visit for more details about sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors will be acknowledged in the gala program, on the Marley’s Mission website and at the event. Tickets for this year’s Blue Ribbon Gala are sold out but raffle tickets are available for the “Building Hope” raffle, which includes a four-day, five-night all-inclusive cruise for two to Bermuda, a week-long stay in a private home at Sea Pines Plantation in Hilton Head, S.C., a week-long stay in a private home in North Bethany, Del. and two premium tickets to the Broadway show “If/Then” and a $500 gift card for an overnight stay at any Hilton hotel. Raffle tickets are $20 each and are available online at Tickets are also available from any committee member. Visit for more information on each prize. Raffle winners will be drawn at the gala, but do not need to be present to win.

Marley’s Mission, based in Newton Township, is a non-profit organization that provides equine-assisted psychotherapy at no cost to children and families who have experienced trauma. To date, Marley’s Mission has treated more than 260 children in an eight-county area since opening its doors in July 2010.