Saint Martin’s Authors’ Post Luncheon 2017


Authors Claudia Kalb and John A. O’Brien entertained guests at Saint Martin’s Ministries’ 20th anniversary author’s luncheon on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the Prospect Bay Country Club.

L-R Author – Johnny O’Brien, Emcee – Ben Tilghman, SMM CEO – Jean Austin, Author – Claudia Kalb and SMM Chair of the Board of Directors – Mark Freestate.

Claudia Kalb, whose book Andy Warhol was a Hoarder, shared stories about eccentricities of such famous persons as Marilyn Monroe and George Gershwin, in addition to Warhol. A question about whether Gershwin would have written Rhapsody in Blue if he had been medicated for attention deficit disorder provided an opportunity for the enthusiastic audience to offer their input.

Author John A. O’Brien’s story of his childhood at the Hershey School and journey through adulthood engaged the audience completely. His work, Semisweet: An Orphan’s journey Through the School the Hershey’s Built, details many twists and turns in his life including the discovery that he is not truly an orphan. O’Brien’s keen insight into how individuals react to institutional settings was clearly illustrated by the examples he shared.

SMM 20th Anniversary Luncheon Committee and Volunteers from L-R Renee Waldron, Mary Helen Friel, Betty Barbe, Deborah Hudson Vornbrock, Jean Austin, Maggie Lewis, Sister Catherine Higley, OSB, Margie Callahan Palazzola, Ellen Foster and Diane Pappas.

Guests bid on a variety of silent auction items including an original wooden sculpture by Baltimore artist H. Lee Hirsche and a vacation rental in Naples, Florida. Books were available for purchase and signing by the authors.  The event occurs the first Saturday in March each year.

The 2oth Anniversary celebration featured books and memories from the prior nineteen years and also featured remarks from Sister Patricia Gamgort, Executive Director Emerita of Saint Martin’s.

The event benefits Saint Martin’s Ministries in Ridgely Maryland. Saint Martin’s helps low income families facing the trauma of hunger and homelessness. Providing services to more than 300 families each month the organization has acted as a safety net for low income families in the mid-shore region for more than 30 years. Each year the Book and Authors’ Luncheon raises funds to support Saint Martin’s House program for homeless women and children and the Emergency Food Pantry. For more information please contact Deborah Hudson Vornbrock at or at 410.634.2537 x 102.

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