Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 16, 2013

Ironstone's Spirit of Giving to fete three champions


The Andover Townsman

---- — Ironstone Farm will honor three area residents known for their generosity at its 2013 Spirit of Giving Gala on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 6:15 p.m. at Andover Country Club, 60 Canterbury St.

The Roaring ‘20s-themed event will transform the country club into a 1920s underground nightclub, or speakeasy, for the evening aimed at supporting the nonprofit Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm. For more than 30 years, the program has been providing therapy using horses for individuals with disabilities.

Guests will be given the special entrance password to enter the club and are encouraged to “doll up” 1920s-style. There will be games of chance and live music. Journalist Susan Wornick will lead the live auction. And Andover Country Club chef Elaine Chirichiello will create the type of culinary spread that might have graced the Great Gatsby’s table.

This year’s event honorees are Dave McGillivray, founder and president of DMSE Sports and race director of the Boston Marathon and Feaster Five in Andover; and Jack and Thérèse O’Connor, who have served on the boards of directors for more than 20 organizations.

Known for his purpose-driven spirit, McGillivray was chosen for his commitment to raising awareness and money for individuals with cancer, building homes for veterans, raising families out of poverty and helping more than a dozen charities involving children. Since his 1978 run across the U.S. to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, his personal commitment to overcoming obstacles has become an inspirational guide for many.

The O’Connors have spent years improving the quality of life for others, The couple, who met in Lowell and raised their daughters there, have sought to nurture every corner of need in their community, from medicine to banking, culture to education, church to city hall, through their service on various boards. Their efforts have assisted everyone from the blind to those with disabilities.

Jack O’Connor founded O’Connor School Portraits, a school photography company that grew to cover most of New England; he sold the business in 1996. He also co-founded Commencement Photos Inc. in 1974, which covers about 200 ceremonies a year.

Previous honorees have included Jack Williams, John Henry, Doug and Laurie Flutie, Drew and Joann Weber, Charlie and Maura Weis, Rudy Baez, Ed Stevens and George and Margo Behrakis.

Tickets for the gala are $125; sponsorships range from $500 to $20,000. For more information, contact Megan Loughney at Ironstone Farm at 978-475-4056 or meganloughney@challengeunlimited.org.