"It's my birthday today," announced Athena Sarris to loud applause. She and her family were being honored during "Rooted in Compassion," the Ladies Hospital Aid Society's annual gala at the Fairmont Pittsburgh Saturday night. "It's also Frank's," she added, referring to her late husband, Sarris Candy founder Frank Sarris, who is never far from her mind. The ballroom was filled with more than 350 guests who came to celebrate the Sarris family as well as the other awardees, including Judge Robert and Violet Gallo, Judge Max Baer, Dr. Jacques Chelly and Gary Cuccia. Mr. Cuccia's 16-year-old daughter was murdered by another teen. The event benefited the LHAS's Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Program. Event chairs Ruby Kang, Mary Ellen Wampler and Beverly Wukich joined LHAS president Laura Kronk and LHAS director Dee Dee Troutman in thanking the honorees for their support over the years. Before and after the program and dinner, Gary Racan and the studio-e band kept everyone moving with one lively set after another. Among those willingly uprooted to the dance floor were Ellen and Dr. Loren Roth, Jackie Dixon, Carole Kamin, Cindi Roth, Terri and Dennis Joyce, Cathy and Bill Kramer and Lisa Kapinski. The evening ended on a sweet note with everyone taking home a box of Sarris chocolates.
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