ASO sponsors AIDS Day events

HICKORY — AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA) will partner with a host of community agencies on Dec. 1 in observance of World AIDS Day (WAD).

Awareness campaigns, as well as target events will highlight the day’s activities and will be capped off with a festive celebration later in the week.

As reported in the Nov. 13 issue in News Notes, ALFA will host a display of a section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt from Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 8 a.m to midnight at Lenior Rhyne University, Rudisill Library, 625 7th Ave. N.E.

Earlier in the day at 11:30 a.m., a free continuing education for medical providers, sponsored by Catawba Valley Medical Center, will take place. Registrations may be made by contacting AHEC, 810 Fairgrove Church Rd., by calling 828-326-3386.

From 5:30-6:30 p.m., a WAD reception will be held at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 629 8th St. N.E. A memorial service follows from 6:30-7:30 p.m., including performances by the Lenior Rhyne University Gospel Choir, Exodus Ministries Choir and Mount Sinai Praise Dancer, speakers, reflection and candlelight vigil.

Light the Night will complete the day’s observance at Lenior Rhyne University. Luminaries, in memory of or in honor of a person of one’s choice, are available for a contribution of $10 for the first one, $5 for additional ones. For more information, contact Rhonda Bonfield or David Zealy at 828-322-1447, ext. 233 or email

On Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Youseff 242, 242 11th Ave. NE, a Winter Gala honoring Legacy Award winners Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams completes the observance. It comes with a four-course meal and wine pairings by Executive Chef Thomas Clayton. It’s in its 13th year and has raised over $520,000.

Sponsors for World AIDS Day 2010 are Catawba Valley Medical Center, Frye Regional Medical Center, Lenoir-Rhyne University and Catawba County Public Health.

For more information, email or visit

Champions to receive award

HICKORY — Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams will be honored with the inaugural Legacy Award at ALFA’s Winter Gala on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Youssef 242, 242 11th Ave. NE. The Legacy Award goes to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in support of HIV/AIDS services in the northwestern North Carolina region that ALFA serves. This year’s honorees are credited with providing vision, strategic planning and passion for ALFA that has insured free HIV/AIDS services to the community.

“ALFA is extremely fortunate to have benefited from Mitchell and Bob’s generosity, business acumen and passion,” Executive Director Rodney Tucker said. “Thirteen years ago, ALFA was days away from closing due to financial issues. Mitchell and Bob are two community leaders who literally came to the agency’s rescue. By giving their time and resources, they insured ALFA’s doors would remain open to serve our community.”

“We are honored to be receiving this award,” Gold said. He is co-founder and chairman of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams home furnishings company in Alexander County. “ALFA has been an important part of our lives in Hickory, and we are glad to see it alive and secure today. In 1997, when we stepped in to help, the AIDS crisis was still hitting our community hard. By guiding ALFA in strategic planning, we were able to help set it on a course to longevity.”

“We wanted to give more than money,” Williams added. “We wanted to get to the root of the problem. We agreed to cover their payroll for three months so they wouldn’t go under, but at the same time developed a three-part plan to strengthen this vital organization: sending out foundation request proposals; putting on an annual holiday fundraiser and making it the biggest social event in town; and helping ALFA motivate people to contribute by getting the word out about their excellent AIDS education programs. These programs are now in many schools, and they teach kids about AIDS prevention — which is important to a wide range of people in our community. It helps them understand ALFA’s role and want to support it.”

Mitchell added, “We’re also especially thankful that over the years, our friends, families and supporters believed in ALFA as much as we did. Equally deserving of this award are all the long-time volunteers and staff who have fought for the rights and services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and we are proud to accept this award in their honor.”

Special Reserved Seating is available with a minimum contribution of $100 per seat. Gold and Williams will also host a Legacy Table with seating available for a contribution of $500 per seat.

For more information or to reserve Winter Gala seating, call Rhonda Bonfield at 828-322-1447 ext. 223, email, or visit

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.