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NIEHS Celebrates Humor and Diversity at International Day

By Eddy Ball
January 2007

Jerry Phelps and Don McNeill
Jerry Phelps read jokes submitted by employees, as Don McNeill prompted the audience with her Laugh Meter. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Rich Freed and Eli Ney
Rich Freed joined Eli Ney at the microphone. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Dick Sloan and McNeill
Dick Sloan joined McNeill on stage for a skit. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS employees and contractors enjoyed food from around the world, good (and not so good) jokes and holiday fellowship at the 2006 International Day Celebration following the Director's Annual Honor Awards Ceremony on December 14. The theme of this year's event was "A World of Laughter," promoting the NIEHS mission to improve health by promoting laughter and all the healthful benefits of good humor.

The event featured Mistress of Ceremonies Eli Ney, Jokemeister Jerry Phelps and Silly Hat Specialist Dick Sloane, along with a Funny Holiday Hat Contest, video humor clips and holiday karaoke. The highlight of the celebration, however, had to be seeing kids from First Environments decorating the Christmas tree.

On stage and behind the scenes, International Holiday Awards Celebration Committee members made it all possible: Eli Ney, Ginny Ivanoff, Dona McNeill, John Maruca, Farida Sharief, Terry Blankenship-Paris and Diane Spencer.

children decorating a Christmas tree
The food was great and the entertainment was fun, but what really gave International Day the seasonal touch was the crowd of children decorating the tree. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Ed Lebetikin and Diane Spencer
Ed Lebetkin and Diane Spencer added spanakopita to their plates. Thanks to Diane Crawford and the cafeteria staff, the food was delicious and abundant. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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