Guests at “A Night at the Derby” channeled their inner southern belle and gentleman style. The Ritz-Carlton ballroom was bursting with women wearing hats as beautiful as the many services Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains provides to the region. In addition to festive attire, the Mint Juleps were as tasty as any served at Churchill Downs.

“Originally were we going to have the event on Derby weekend, but plans changed. We loved the theme and here we are,” said committee member Karla Kalahar, who wore an adorable dark hat with pink and white roses.

From the podium, 9News personality Denise Plante, who emceed the event, gushed about the opportunity to dress in Derby style as she showed off a stunning ivory hat.

Director of Refugee and Asylee Programs for LFS in Colorado Springs Floyd Preston looked dashing in his Derby wear. He also extended enthusiasm for the evening on another level. “Without this type of fundraising it would be impossible for us to walk with the vulnerable. It’s vital to our work. I am so grateful to everyone who came out to support LFS.”

The more than 230 guests eyed an enticing array of silent auction items. Shelly St. John skillfully led the live auction, soliciting bids for diamond earrings, a night at the Ritz, and a trip to Africa, among others. World-renowned musician, and Denver native, Gayle Leali played beautifully during the cocktail hour and dinner, mixing in jazz, blues and R&B.

President and CEO of LFS Jim Barclay had the honor of recognizing all those who received awards at the event. Award recipients included Saint Timothy’s Lutheran Church, Albuquerque, NM; True Value Regional Distribution Center, Denver; Peak Vista Community Health Centers at Myron Stratton, Colorado Springs; and Emmett and Katherine Cruson.

LFS does huge work in the Rocky Mountain Region. Their services encompass adoption, care for the elderly, foster care, prevention services, refugee and asylee programs and disaster response. The faith based, non-profit human service agency helps children and families during their most challenging times and has been committed to serving all people, regardless of race, religion, gender or age since 1948. Highlights of the many lives touched by the organization last year include refugee resettlement and asylee services to 1,362 individuals, foster care to 233 domestic children through 147 therapeutic and traditional foster homes, respite care to 72 children in 47 families, services to 317 older adults and caregivers, adoption placements of 45 children and services to 50 adoptive and waiting parents.

The Kentucky Derby is steeped in traditions, such as the beautiful garland of roses presented to the winner. LFS, through its 67 years of endurance, deserves a garland of roses. From the starting gate until today, they faithfully race to provide compassionate and meaningful care to those most in need.