Burbank Temporary Aid Center Celebrates 50 Years of Community Service at Gala

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(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Amidst the shimmering lights and vibrant buzz of passionate community members, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center celebrated its remarkable 50-year legacy of compassion and unwavering dedication to those in need. The gala, held in the Castaway’s stunning Starlight Ballroom, was not only a testament to its historic support for the Burbank community but also as a beacon of hope, promising to continue its mission with the same zeal and kindness that have been its hallmark.

As the evening unfolded, stories of transformation, like that of Jo, who transitioned from seeking assistance to finding a home, painted a vivid picture of BTAC’s vital role in nurturing hope and fostering self-reliance among the less fortunate.

The gala’s honorees represented the past, present, and future of BTAC’s impact. The late Pastor Larry Stamper, remembered as a visionary whose dedication laid the foundation for BTAC, was posthumously honored, illustrating the organization’s deep ties to its origins. Dorothy Murray, a volunteer with two decades of service, and the supportive Burbank Chamber of Commerce were also honored, their commitments reflecting the strong community bonds essential to BTAC’s mission.

The venue buzzed with excitement during a festive cocktail hour, brimming with silent auction delights and opportunity baskets, setting the stage for an evening blending celebration with purpose. Guiding the attendees through the program gracefully was Burbank community volunteer Stephanie Jonke, a versatile writer, producer, and former actor.

The audience was graced by prominent figures, including Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz, City Councilmembers Zizette Mullins and Tamala Takahashi, City Clerk Kimberley Clark, Burbank Unified School District Board Member Armond Aghakhanian, and Burbank City Manager Justin Hess, along with Assistant City Manager Courtney Padget.

Accepting the award for The Reverend Larry Stamper is his daughter Judie, joined by Barbara Howell and Nancy Gams Korb. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Nancy Gams Korb, BTAC Board Chair, extended a warm welcome to guests, acknowledging fellow Board member and event chair Vicki Williams and the dedicated cadre of volunteers for their instrumental role in orchestrating the gala. “BTAC is here to support all Burbank residents in their time of need,” Korb declared, encapsulating the essence of BTAC’s ethos.

Barbara Howell, the BTAC CEO, reflected on BTAC’s steadfast history and mission against the backdrop of her own 20-year tenure with the organization. She highlighted the amplified need for services during the pandemic and recent labor strikes, with increasing numbers of retirees seeking assistance—a poignant reminder of the growing responsibilities shouldered by BTAC.

Justin Worsham, a charismatic Burbank realtor and stand-up comedian, electrified the crowd with a spirited live auction, transforming raised paddles into vital lifelines for BTAC’s operations. From coveted Dodgers game seats to luxurious resort stays, high-stakes items became generous donations under his dynamic lead.

The evening reached its pinnacle with the presentation of awards, commencing with a heartfelt tribute to Pastor Larry Stamper, accepted by his daughter, Judie Wilke. In an emotional speech, Wilke illuminated her father’s unwavering commitment to community service, echoing the sentiment that true fulfillment stems from selfless dedication to others.

Longtime volunteer Dorothy Murray was honored for her ongoing dedication, as her reflections traced BTAC’s evolution from humble beginnings to its prominent status as a community mainstay.

The final accolade was bestowed upon the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, a testament to its enduring partnership and unwavering support for BTAC’s mission. Jamie Keyser-Thomas, Burbank Chamber CEO, accepted the honor, reaffirming the Chamber’s commitment to fostering a thriving and inclusive community.

Auctioneer and Local Realtor Justin Worsham, works the crowd. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

Support for the gala spanned various sectors, with leading sponsors including the Cusumano Family, Logix Federal Credit Union, Warner Bros. Entertainment at the Titanium Level, Entertainment Partners, The Walt Disney Company at the Platinum Level, and numerous others whose charitable spirits shone at the Gold and Silver Levels.

As the evening drew to a close, Korb reflected on the profound impact of BTAC’s work, reminding attendees of the organization’s humble origins and unwavering dedication to service. Amidst the laughter and camaraderie, her closing remarks served as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of compassion and collective action.

In commemorating the selfless contributions of Pastor Larry Stamper, Dorothy Murray, and the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, the gala exemplified Burbank’s unwavering spirit of solidarity and generosity, reaffirming its status as a community united in service and compassion.