Dignity Washington Celebrates 43 Years!


On October 17th Dignity/Washington’s Center resounded with the festivities surrounding its 43rd anniversary. The evening celebration included a Silent Auction, a pot-luck dinner, live entertainment, and the presentation of this year’s Community Service Awards.

The President’s Award went to Henry Huot. This award is given by the Chapter President to ONE person (or group) who has provided the President an outstanding level of support in furthering or expanding the mission of the D/W community. Nominations generally come from the President and Executive Committee. Henry received the award for his many years as a Board member and Chair of Dignity/Washington’s Public Relations Committee. In presenting the award, President Dan Barutta said: “Your tireless and unassuming efforts in publicizing and documenting all our events not only in our community but with Dignity USA and your work in increasing our efforts to improve our social media options have brought even more new people to our community.”

Henry Huot Receives President's Award

Henry Huot receives the President’s Award

The John Willig Award went to Kenneth Dowling . John Willig served as an early President of the Chapter, and it was under his leadership that our Mass for the lesbian and gay community was started. Tragically John was also the Chapter’s first AIDS death in 1985. The award named in his honor is traditionally given to ONE community member (or group) who has served the D/W community over a long period of time, or made a deep impact upon the growth of the community. Nominations generally come from the Board of Directors. Kenneth in a few years helped spark new vitality in D/W. He did the regular duties of acolyte, lector, and Eucharistic Minister. He was also a Board member and Secretary, heavily influenced the creation of D/W’s new logo and branding image, and recent electronic media developments. On the local and national level he helped start Dignity Young Adult Groups and the Queers for Christ group.


The Cofler Award was awarded to the Human Rights Campaign. Created in 2002, this award is named for Jerry and Veronica Colfer, beloved supporters and long-time members of the community, who provided funds for the mortgage when the Dignity Center was purchased and made a major bequest to D/W in their estate. It is presented to a non-D/W individual or group in recognition of special service to our community.

The Human Rights Campaign has been known for being the largest and arguably most effective voice of the LGBT political movement for many years. This award is for their support of our activities during the visit of Pope Francis allowing D/W to use their lawn to display the D/W banner. Special recognition was given to Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera who so deftly assisted D/W with logistics to make the presence occur.

Community Awards were awarded to Dignity/Washington members: Jeff Vomund, Members and Presenters of the Female Presider Task Force, Mark Hibschman and Eddie Weingart. This award is in recognition of the D/W community’s gratitude to someone who has shown an outstanding level of service in volunteering or meeting a need within the community over the past year. Nominations generally come from the community, and the Board of Directors. Traditionally, up to six “Community Service Awards” are given each year.


Jeff Vomund is well known as a member and presider for D/W. He wrote an exceptionally well-worded article, “An Invitation to Pope Francis from D.C.’s Gay Catholic Community,” for the op-ed page of the Washington Post the day before the Pontiff arrived. In the article Jeff expressed welcome and explained D/W’s mission of love among LGBT Catholics. It is the most prominent public statement by/about the community.

Members and Presenters of the Female Presider Task Force, under Allen Rose’s chairmanship during more than nine months through as many sessions of large and small, committee and public meetings with up to 70 in attendance, made certain the topic of D/W’s potential use of female presiders was discussed from every angle. The community was thereby led to discern its way to be more inclusive and diverse. The result was a new Presider Credentialing Process document.

Mark Hibschman received the award for his service not only as a member of the D/W Board but for his leadership in coordinating and managing the renovation of the kitchen at the Dignity Center. In addition, he stepped in and served on the Liturgy Committee.

Eddie Weingart received his award for his service as a member of the D/W Board and as Chair of the Liturgy Committee, leading the effort to make Eucharist more accessible under both wine and grape juice.

N. This person received the award for his continued support as the creative director for the Saint Joseph’s Day Dinner each spring. He also served as joint presenter with D/W at this year’s sanctification ceremony starting the DC Pride Interfaith Service. He also is the anonymous provider of ceremonial effects at D/W.

This entry was posted in Events and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.