Palm Beach – February 8, 2013 – The International Red Cross Ball, one of America’s most prestigious and gorgeous charity affairs, struck gold tonight its first time back at The Breakers Hotel in nine years.
“We did very well [financially] — and we brought back a lot of the prestige of The Ball by bringing it back to The Breakers!” Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the American Red Cross and former U.S. Ambassador to Finland, told me during the magical dancing in the Venetian Ballroom of The Breakers.
“Everyone here is engaged in giving and everyone should,” Jean Shafiroff, who attended the ball with husband Martin Shafiroff, told me.
At the pre-Ball reception in the hotel’s flower-festooned Mediterranean Ballroom, Mary M. Ourisman, Ball chairwoman former U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, greeted six visiting ambassadors from Singapore, Iceland, Indonesia, Morocco, Portugal and the Netherlands along with many of the Who’s Who of American society, business and the arts. Mary was accompanied by husband Mandell “Mandy” Ourisman, chairman of Ourisman Automotive with auto dealerships in metropolitan Washington, D.C.
And former film star Dina Merrill — whose mother, Marjorie Merriweather Post, was the founding chairwoman of the Red Ball back in 1956 — looked regal and radiant in a black gown and black pearls, especially when she received a hug and kiss from her jazz singer grandson Cole Rumbough. She was accompanied by husband Ted Hartley, CEO of RKO Pictures and co-producer with Stewart F. Lane of the Irving Berlin musical Top Hat in London.
And from start to finish this year’s 56th edition of the International Red Cross Ball had a most engaging air of freshness. And there’s just no getting around it: The Red Ball at the glittery Breakers was as opulent and joyous occasion as any event in the time-honored tradition of one of the greatest and most beautiful hotels in the world.
Among the more than 400 guests were Francis Hayward, Jean and Martin Shafiroff, Jon L. Heinemann and his beautiful wife, artist Michelle Marie Heinemann Trish Donnelley, Paula Butler, Amanda Schumacher, Audrey and Marty Gruss, Kathryn Vecellio and Rhonda Wilkins (co-chairwomen for the Red Ball), Mary Mochary, and Beverly White-Yeager, Wilbur and Hilary Ross, Tom Quick, Chris and Grace Meigher, Wally and Betsy Turner, Anita McBride, former chief of staff for Barbara Bush; California Congressman Ed Royce and his wife Maria; former U.S. Senators Mel Martinez, Norm Coleman and Fred Thompson.
One of the highlights of the Red Ball was Peter Duchin and his orchestra serenading Dina Merrill with If I Could Live Again, a song written for her half a century ago about the time she was co-starring in the movie Desk Set with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. If I Could Live Again was sung by grandson Cole Rumbough.
Special Thanks to Mary and Mandell Ourisman who were among the biggest supporters of The Red Cross Ball.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.pbtcredcross.org or join our blog at www.pbtcredcross.org/blog.
- See more at: http://blacktiemagazine.com/Palm_Beach_Society/The_56th_International_Red_Cross_Ball.htm#sthash.v1etXD6X.dpuf
First published in BlackTie Magazine on February 8, 2013