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Freedom Gala raises funds to held children in need

| Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, 8:52 p.m.
Kelly Frey, WTAE Channel 4 Action News Anchor talks with Greg Babe, retired President and CEO, Bayer Corp. USA and Bayer MaterialScience LLC and new CEO of Orbital Engineering at the Variety Children’s Charity Celebrating Freedom Gala Friday, November 2, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Charles LaVallee, CEO of Variety Children’s Charity (left) and Mike Schneck, Variety Children’s Charity board member and former Steeler at the Variety Children’s Charity Celebrating Freedom Gala at the Omni William Penn, Friday, November 2, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review

So how does it feel knowing your efforts have ensured kids can be kids?

“Mission accomplished,” shared board chair Mike Schneck during the Celebrating Freedom Gala. “But there are a lot more kids and families to be helped.”

Variety the Children's Charity had a lot to celebrate on Friday evening, not the least of which included raising a glass for 85 years of helping children in need, particularly those with disabilities.

“Childhood goes so fast ... we should make it as meaningful as we can,” said CEO Charles LaVallee.

Meaningful proved to be an understatement for this crowd of 300, whose enthusiastic passion for ensuring kids gain the freedom to be active, involved and to experience the untainted joy of everyday activities is nothing short of contagious.

Evidence of this was found, in part, at the “Build a Bike” donation station, where $19K worth of giving guaranteed more specialty bicycles (which can range from $1,800 to $2K each) for more kids.

Amongst the crowd were honorees Greg Babe and Kelly Frey, Mary Edwards, Jerry MacCleary, Christine and Tom Kobus, Joyce Bender, Jessica Galardini, Keith Loiselle, Mark Pittman, Dr.Brian Martin and Dr.William Fera.

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