PLATTSBURGH - Mardi Gras may literally translate to "fat Tuesday," but in the North Country it stands for a party with a purpose.
Behavioral Health Services North will host its annual dinner, Mardi Gras North, at Anthony's Restaurant and Bistro this Sunday, Feb. 21, with Peru residents Drew and Linda Sabella as guests of honor.
The dinner's location will be eerily familiar to the Sabellas, who owned the business for nearly 30 years before selling it to Scott Murray, the restaurant's executive chef and manager, last August.
While known for their support of charitable organizations and causes over the years, that's only a portion of why the Sabellas are being recognized as the Mardi Gras North king and queen, said BHSN chief executive officer Harry Cook.
"We pick people who have made significant contributions to BHSN or the greater community, and Drew and Linda have done both," said Cook. "They've always reached out to support organizations in every way possible and help those in need."
Drew Sabella served on the BHSN board of directors for several years beginning in the late 1980s, among other boards for organizations in the greater Plattsburgh area, said Cook. With a background in psychology, Drew Sabella had a firm understanding of the importance of psychological services BHSN offers, Cook said.
In fact, Drew and Linda Sabella have both been "extremely active and helpful" in raising money for BHSN, Cook continued, even helping to establish the annual Mardi Gras North dinner.
"Drew and Linda are the people who help us put this event together about nine years ago. They made it happen," said Cook. "Because of them, we've raised a lot of money for some very, very good efforts at our agencies."
Funding raised through the dinner has specifically helped establish clinical mental health services for young children and their families, said Cook, as well as a suicide prevention hotline.
"The money has been used for really good purposes and because of Drew and Linda, through his role on the board and both their roles with Anthony's - it wouldn't have happened if it not for them," said Cook.
Though humbled by the honor, the Sabellas said they're the ones honored to be able to help the organization in any way they can.
"It's a very nice honor. It's a great organization and we think they just do so much good for the community," said Drew Sabella. "The important thing is this is not about us, it's really about the great work that Behavioral Health Service North is doing in support of childhood mental health."
Reservations are still available for Mardi Gras North through Friday, Feb. 19, by calling 563-8206, ext. 139.