The 31st annual Salute to Catholic School Alumni, which typically attracts more than 1,500 people to a packed Galt House Hotel ballroom, will be live on TV this year.
The ‘Salute,’ the largest fundraiser of the Catholic Education Foundation, will be shown on WAVE Country with Dawne Gee March 24 at 2 p.m.
The broadcast will feature six Catholic school alumni whose lives exemplify the values of Catholic education, as well as Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and Richard A. Lechleiter, CEF president. The slate of honorees is the same as last year since the 2020 in-person event was abruptly canceled due to the pandemic. A virtual event was still able to raise $1.25 million.
Organizers aim to raise $1.3 million, which would top last year’s record amount, said Lechleiter.
“That type of goal, especially in a COVID environment, is ambitious,” Lechleiter said. “We are not there yet but are working hard every day. It’s not in the bag, but we are hopeful, prayerful that we are able to accomplish this feat for our Catholic school families.”
Lechleiter noted that the demand for assistance continues to rise among families who wish to send their children to a Catholic school.
“We are in a quest to raise a record amount for the rising number of folks who need help,” he said. “This event is crucial to accomplishing that goal.”
The event will highlight the mission of the foundation and recognize the Salute honorees, whose “lives have been shaped through Catholic education,” Lechleiter said. The six Catholic school alumni honorees are listed below.
Two awards will also be presented during the event. Assumption High School’s Dr. Lisa Wieland will receive the Father Joseph McGee Outstanding Catholic Educator Award. (A story about Wieland was published last year when she was first announced as the award recipient.)
The Distinguished Community Service Award will be presented to Randy Bufford, founder and chairman of Trilogy Health Services. He and his wife Susan also established the Trilogy Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to serving company employees, which helps provide education and emergency assistance. The couple also established The Bufford Family Foundation, funding charitable causes across the Louisville community.
To learn more about the CEF or to contribute to its mission, visit ceflou.org.
Elizabeth C. Arnett
Arnett, a former teacher, author, playwright and dedicated volunteer, attended Holy Family School, Resurrection School and Presentation Academy. She attended Bellarmine College (now university) and graduated from the University of Louisville.
Arnett has been a long-time volunteer at Presentation Academy and was named its Outstanding Alumna in 2016. She is a volunteer leader in The Queen’s Daughters, Catholic Charities’ ministry with refugees and St. Agnes Church.
She and her husband, David, have two children.
Rev. Joseph T. Graffis
Father Graffis has served for 50 years as a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
He attended Holy Spirit School, Our Lady of Lourdes School, Aquinas Prep School and St. Thomas Seminary. He went on to St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore and was ordained on May 29, 1971.
He has served as a pastor, associate pastor and has been called out of retirement to serve as an interim administrator of several parishes.
He has also served as president of the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators and has been a long-time panelist on The Moral Side of the News. In addition, he served in a leadership role for WHAS Crusade for Children since 1997.
James J. Kirchdorfer, Jr.
Kirchdorfer, the chairman and CEO of Louisville-based ISCO Industries, attended St. Leonard School, St. Xavier High School and Miami University.
He serves on the boards of The First Tee of Louisville, Valhalla Golf Club, Golf Course Builders of America Foundation, and the Kentucky Golf Foundation. He also serves as a member of The Steering Committee for Action on Louisville’s Agenda, Young Presidents Organization and the St. Xavier High School X-Effect Campaign Cabinet. In 2019, he was named one of the “Most Admired CEOs” by Louisville Business First.
He and his wife, Dana, have two children and are members of Holy Trinity Church.
Moss, who served for more than three decades as a school nurse in the Exceptional Student Education Department of JCPS, attended St. Monica School in Lebanon, Ky., and Rosenwald High School. She completed her registered nurse training at Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing and earned her undergraduate degree in nursing from Spalding University.
She has given decades of service to her church and the west Louisville community, including her home parish, Christ the King Church. She has served on the boards of the Council for Developmental Disabilities, the Shawnee Christian Health Care Center and the Shawnee Neighborhood Association. She has received the Archdiocese of Louisville Office of Multicultural Ministry Acacia Award and a WLKY Bell Award.
She and her late husband, Arthur, raised four children. She has six grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Read, is executive director of Beacon House with a previous 40-year career in broadcasting, production and marketing, attended Holy Trinity School, Trinity High School, Xavier University and Bellarmine University.
He serves as an acolyte at his parish, Holy Trinity Church, where he also served on the parish council. He was a two-time Emmy Award recipient during his television career and, in 2019, received the distinguished Peace Medal from Trinity High School.
He and his wife, Terri, raised two sons.
Laura M. Schwab
Laura Schwab, the global sales and marketing officer for Rivian, an electric car company, graduated from Sacred Heart Academy, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Kentucky.
She and her husband, Nick, reside in southern California with their four-year-old daughter. They are members of St. Edward the Confessor Church.