And What A 30th Birthday Celebration It Was!

November 7, 2019

In the end – it is all about family, and we were so pleased to have had our family of friends and supporters celebrate 30 years of service to military families at the 11th Annual Storybook Ball.

It was an incredible and moving evening filled with families sharing stories and photos, making memories, and celebrating being together. And the party continues as we joyfully announce that over $310,000 was raised in support of our programs!

As with any birthday party there are photos to share, please click here to visit the photo gallery.

We would be remiss to not thank our sponsors, including our Title Sponsor BAE Systems, for making the night possible. A full list of our sponsors can be found below.

The party was triumphantly hosted by NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia. An Air Force brat, the San Diego anchor set the tone for the night with her high energy as our master of ceremonies, as she introduced a rather “star studded” cast of supporters.

We were honored to welcome our dear friends ADM Paul Zukunft, USCG (Ret.) and his wife Fran DeNinno as our Storytime Champions. They shared the joys of reading together with their family and how they share UTR by helping make recordings in Hawaii.

Is there anything more beautiful than the family of ET1 Bethany Littlemoses and those delightful girls, Lily and Tara? We laughed as Bethany shared her memory of landing on a carrier for the first time and shed tears as the girls recounted how reading with mom’s recordings keep them close – despite the two deployments and countless nights away preparing for deployment.

Audrey Geisel would have been proud to know Megan McDonald received an award in her name. Megan reminded us all that, “Story connects us in absence and cuts across the miles, the oceans, and the deserts.”

True to its namesake, The USS Midway Foundation has been a force for good in San Diego and we were grateful to have had an opportunity to recognize their faithfulness to those who serve and their families.

And what’s a birthday party without a cake? We were honored to have our founder Betty Mohlenbrock cut the cake alongside a number of our former board members with Brigadier General Ryan Heritage’s sword.

Perhaps LCDR Patrick Sullivan said it best, “While many of us in the room are keenly familiar with long periods away from those we love, United Through Reading gave our family a few minutes of intimate connection no matter the thousands of miles and literal oceans between us and a renewed hope in the future of a storytime reunited.”

With your partnership and support, we remain dedicated to our mission to ensure every service member separated from his or her family has access, anytime and anywhere, to United Through Reading.

We can’t do this without you, so thank you! For your generosity, for your friendship, and for your commitment to military families we are most grateful. Stay tuned for details on our next Storybook Ball, November 7, 2020.