By ANGELA MAONE, Special to the CCJN
The Touro Infirmary Foundation held its annual gala on Saturday evening, November 2 with the theme of “At the Beach.” The occasion, the 30th anniversary of the Judah Touro Society Award, was an opportunity to honor this year’s recipient, Dr. Gary Glynn.
The gala was held at Solomon Hall of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), where over 300 attendees gathered to honor Glynn.
The Judah Touro Society Award program is named for the founder of Touro Infirmary, the 19th century philanthropist. The award is bestowed annually upon a living individual who has been instrumental in supporting the welfare and standards of Touro Infirmary and was created to support its ongoing mission of care for all indigent patients..
Following his graduation from the LSU School of Medicine with a specialty in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , Dr. Glynn joined Touro in 1981 and was a founding force behind the launch of Touro’s Rehabilitation Center.
Today he is the director of the Touro Rehab Facilitation Center and Touro Brain Injury Program and is also Chief of the Section of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at LSU Medical Center. Touro’s center carries six Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditations, more than any other hospital in Louisiana.
Glynn was also a founding member of the Judah Touro Society and his compassionate treatment and dedication to his patients were noted as important qualifications in his being named the recipient of this year’s award.
Dr. Glynn is also an active member of the Bensadon Physicians Giving Society, a charity named for the first medical director of Touro Infirmary.
Dr. Lance Estrada, the gala co-chair, welcomed all who attended the gathering and thanked his committee for helping to make it a success. Estrada stated he had seen the dedication and quality of Dr. Glynn’s pioneering work in the rehabilitation field firsthand.
Following a joint invocation by Rabbi Barbara Metzinger and Father Douglas Brougher, Touro Infirmary board chair Meredith Maxwell spoke of the importance of the Touro Infirmary Foundation. She spoke of the fundraising campaign initiated for the anniversary of the foundation. The 30th Anniversary True Reflections Campaign, she noted, will continue through December 2020 and will facilitate the upgrade of patient units and modernize their equipment.
“We may have centuries of history, but we don’t need to look historic,” Maxwell said. A short video about the accomplishments of Touro Infirmary that highlighted the campaign’s goals was then shown. Maxwell also asked past Judah Touro Award recipients to stand, who were greeted with a rousing round of applause.
Following dinner by Ralph Brennan Catering and Events executive chef Christopher Vazquez, Touro Infirmary president and CEO Manny Linares continued the program by noting that the success of the Touro Rehabilitation Program. In many ways, he said, the program “is a result of the commitment and passion of Dr. Glynn for his patients and for Touro.”
“Our mission has never changed,” Linares added. “We’re guided by the principals of Judaism to provide the highest quality and the most compassionate health care. Patient care is and will always be our number one priority.”
Another video presentation followed which extolled the virtues of Dr. Glynn and his staff, several of whom spoke of his unwavering dedication in caring for patients and his passion for rehab and overcoming obstacles in the pursuit of healing the whole patient.
While some of the video elicited occasional chuckles, many audience members were visibly moved watching it and the conclusion was met with robust cheering and applause.
Dr. Jay M. Shames, the 2015 recipient of the Judah Touro Society Award, made the physical presentation to Glynn, noting that Dr. Glynn has been his consultant, his own doctor, and his friend.
“His work is meaningful and impactful and its improved the quality of life for many of us here tonight,” Shames said, echoing what he said earlier in the video. Dr. Glynn is “an amazingly talented man. He’s a beloved son, husband, parent and father.”. He then called Glynn to the stage where he was met with two standing ovations and rounds of applause.
Resplendent in a beach-inspired cummerbund, Glynn bounded to the stage with a “Whoo!” of appreciation. He said he was honored to receive the award and how proud he was that he and his wife Mary were among the founding members who had established it. Glynn recalled his admiration for many of the earlier honorees, noting that not all were physicians.
Glynn went on to say that one of the questions posed to him recently was if he was surprised by the honor. He said that he was, and this was solely due to the stealth of his office and family. Later in the evening a slide showing his surprise was shown on the background screen causing the audience to erupt in laughter. He also thanked all those who contributed to his long career and thanked his deceased father, deceased in-laws, his mother who was in the audience and got a laugh when he said, “I’m 70 and she’s 73.”
Glynn gave a special acknowledgment to his wife of 48 years, whom he called ” the love of my life and (a) wonderful partner.”
He went on to thank all those responsible for organizing the gala and acknowledged his daughters, Jen, Stacey and Michelle, their husbands and his six grandchildren, and other family members and attendees for their contributions on making the gala a success.
He also thanked the donors who have contributed tirelessly over the years. “I especially thank God to have given me the gifts that allow me to be here speaking with you tonight and I have been given all of those people that have supported me in this cause,” Glynn continued.
He then encouraged the audience to enjoy the music of Catch a Wave, a Beach Boys tribute band, at the after-party. Dr. Glynn was met with a standing ovation as he left the stage.
Earlier, in accordance with the theme, the Patron Party musical performance was by Ray’s Island Sounds of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, which featured a steel drum. Leis were distributed to the attendees and worn throughout the evening.
Photos from the evening can be viewed here: