During North Country Ministry’s recent gala banquet, Dr. James Morrissey (right) was identified as a prime ‘suspect’ in the conclusion of a fictional kidnapping mystery, as he opened his doctor’s bag and pulled out a fistful of cash at the prompting of plot narrator Bob Myers (left). The drama prompted plenty of laughs from the capacity crowd at the banquet.
A capacity crowd attending North Country Ministry’s recent annual gala banquet participated in unraveling a fictional mystery — the “kidnapping” of famed area auctioneer Martin Seelye — as a record amount of money was raised for the charitable agency. The banquet was held at Hiland Park Country Club.
A meandering wealth of “evidence” — including a ransom note with words cut froma magazine, a glue gun, map and key — led the audience from one witness or suspect to another, all gala attendees.
Concluding the madcap tale, Seelye showed up with his wrists and mouth duct-taped, as evidence indicated that noted area philanthropist and cardiologist Dr. James Morrissey was the prime suspect.
Morrissey pulled a fistful of dollars from a black doctor’s bag, all but admitting he had bound Seelye up in a plot to stash money away to build a halfway house for former SUNY Adirondack presidents.
With the various gala patrons involved in the plot — and peppering their performances with humorous ad-libs, the drama provided plenty of laughs for 45 minutes or so as attendees finished their meals.
The dinner-theater mystery was written by and emceed by Bob Myers, who operates Adirondack FlatLine Players along with Lynn Gorham.
North Country Ministry Board member Anne Smoczynski, who co-chaired the gala with Charleen Bivona, said Saturday that due to the generosity of the gala sponsors and various donors, the event raised a record mount of money for charity.
“It’s really moving to see so many people and businesses step forward like this,” she said. North Country Ministry is the leading outreach agency in northern Warren County, known for helping connect people with job and housing opportunities, as well as providing advocacy work, vital emergency aid and help in parenting and child-care issues for hundreds of families per month over a 650-square-mile area.
“Despite challenging economic times, the donations raised through the gala surpassed last year’s $36,000 and we’re very excited,” Smoczynski said. “This is due to the generosity of hundreds of people — our sponsors, underwriters, auction donors, gala participants and the many volunteers who’ve worked hard to make this happen.”
Major underwriters and sponsors include National Grid, the law firm of Stafford, Carr & McNally, James and Kay Morrissey, Trustco Bank and Barton International, as well as Cronin’s Golf Resort, Community Bank, Behan Communications, Glens Falls National Bank, Brian Landenberger of Schroon River Animal Hospital, Steve and Sandi Parisi, the Law Firm of John B. Pohl, and the accounting firm of Marvin & Co. — plus media sponsors Reginal Radio Group and Denton Publications.
Smoczynski said that the gala banquet sold out, leaving several dozen people on a waiting list. This response, she said, was a record for North County Ministry, which has been serving urgent needs in the North Country since 1992.
“We are just thrilled with the turnout,” she said, surmising that the record sum raised at the April 26 gala was due to more and more people in the region are becoming aware of the Ministry’s work. “This generosity will provide vital assistance for the families we serve — so many people are now facing major challenges in their lives."