Chicago House and Social Services Agency's 2016 spring brunch and fashion show, held May 1 at Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N. Morgan St., had a twinge of the bittersweet as community members came out to give their regards to CEO Rev. Stan Sloan, who will leave his post at the end of June.
It was the 30th anniversary of the spring event, and, as usual, local fashion designers unveiled their latest collections in several runway performances. Among the collections on display were Borris Powell, Peaches Carr and CRAM Fashions. Entertainment was provided by Bucket Boys, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus and Elliott From of ArtBeat Live. The event was emceed by Las Vegas-based performer Blanche DeBris.
Among those in attendance were U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Ald. James Cappleman and newly-elected Cook County Associate Judge Mary Cay Marubio. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley were among those presenting video testimonials on the impact of Sloan's work.
Board of Trustees member Ray Lechner said that Sloan has "given 16 years of pure devotion to Chicago House … Sadly, I'm old enough to remember a time when individuals with AIDS were being kicked out of their homes."
Lechner credited Sloan's leadership and fundraising acumen with dramatically shifting the scope of Chicago House, adding, "Our mission has shifted from one of loss and despair to hope and opportunity."
Lechner and fellow Board of Trustees member Ray Koenig presented Sloan with a framed photograph of Chicago House's clients as well as a copy of a proclamation praising Sloan that Quigley read into the congressional record on April 29.
"There's not a better place I could have been for the last 16 years," Sloan said. "I'm very excited for what's next; I still don't know what it is. … [Chicago House] has got a legacy and it will continue long past when I'm gone and these guys are gone. So, what you are doing here today is important. I'll try to come back next year and I want to see you all back next year. The best is yet to come for Chicago House."
Also speaking at the event were Chicago House clients as well as event co-chairs Derek Bagley and Chris Bagley.