Annual pregnancy help conference closes with awards, laughter

Annual pregnancy help conference closes with awards, laughterPraise and worship was a part of the Heartbeat Annual Conference (Lisa Bourne)

The 2021 Heartbeat International Annual Pregnancy Help Conference concluded Friday with final awards and a dose of Christian comedy to close out the week.

Heartbeat International celebrated its 50th anniversary at this year’s Conference, which had the theme of “Essential,” a nod to pregnancy help and those who in the movement as indispensable. 

Lisa Bourne

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This year also marked the return of Heartbeat’s in-person event, a mainstay in the pregnancy help movement. The 2020 conference had been presented in a virtual format due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this year offered both Heartbeat’s regular in-person conference along with a virtual conference.

Earlier at the midday gathering Martha Avila of Heartbeat of Miami was awarded the Legacy Award. Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey praised Avila’s work as “a tremendous example,” citing remarkable numbers of clients served at the four centers, in an outside of the coronavirus, and Heartbeat of Miami’s service to minority communities amid an abortion center-heavy environment. Godsey said Avila was a great friend of Heartbeat International and a "true champion"

Christian comedian Brad Stine was the final keynote for the Essential Conference. 

  Brad Stine/Lisa Bourne

Stine, known to many as "God's Comic," regularly tours performing in clubs, churches and venues doing fundraisers for conservative causes and pregnancy help centers. His act finding humor in the many cultural challenges of today had the Conference crowd rapt with laughter as he brought home a pro-life message.

Before Stine took the stage the final set of 2021 awards was conferred. 

  Jor-El Godsey and
    Dinah Monahan

Recipients of Heartbeat’s Legacy Award at the evening banquet were Heartbeat of Toledo and Dinah Monahan of Heritage House ‘76, pregnancy center and maternity home founder and author of the pregnancy help curriculum Earn While you Learn. Monahan's lifetime of pro-life work includes political action, housing pregnancy women and establishing and running three centers and a maternity home in Arizona's White Mountains and Ethiopia. 

Centers honored for celebrating 25 years of service were Lifeline Family Center of Cape Coral, FL, Life Choices of North Central Louisiana, Alpha Family Services of Greenville, MI, Beginning Care of Life Center of Coldwater, MI, and Wilkes Pregnancy Care Center of N. Wilkesboro, NC. Options Care Center of Falls Church, VA, was honored for 50 years of service. Heartbeat of Toledo marks 50 years of service this year as well.

Peggy Hartshorn addresses the Conference/Lisa Bourne

The finale of the awards came with special honors for Heartbeat’s Board of Directors Chair and former president Peggy Hartshorn.

Godsey said the Legacy Awards moment could not pass without recognizing Hartshorn.

Following the Legacy Award presentation to Hartshorn, Godsey said that there was more to come, announcing that Hartshorn would also be given Heartbeat’s Servant Leader Award.

Godsey proceeded, announcing as well that Heartbeat was officially renaming the Servant Leader Award the Peggy Hartshorn Servant Leader Award.

Tweet This: We can't let this moment of servant leadership and legacy awards pass without honoring Peggy Hartshorn

Following this, the Heartbeat Board of Directors offered a message thanking Hartshorn for the love and leadership she has provided.

Hartshorn had earlier in the week given a keynote address detailing the history of Heartbeat International, observing changes in the pregnancy help movement and offering thoughts on the future.

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