A downpour forces Spurwink’s Humanitarian Awards ceremony inside, providing an apt metaphor for the organization focusing this year on children in crisis.

As torrential rains fell, forcing partygoers at the Spurwink Humanitarian Awards to retreat from a seated dinner under a heated tent outside to the Circus Maine building at Thompson’s Point, Eric Meyer, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit, seized the moment.

“This is the kind of shelter that Spurwink tries to provide,” he said, raising his hands up toward the deluge.

He was speaking to the 500 guests assembled for the Oct. 21 award ceremony honoring Bruce and Annemarie Albiston, co-founders of the Aphasia Center of Maine & the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center; Troy Brown, former New England Patriot, three-time Super Bowl champion and author; and Dr. Lawrence Ricci, medical director of Spurwink’s Child Abuse Program.

“I cannot help but be struck by the metaphor of this storm, this tent, providing shelter.… That is what we try to do … provide families shelter from the storm.”

The evening began with a cocktail reception inside Circus Maine, where guests mingled with the evening’s honorees and were entertained by graceful aerial acrobatics high above.

Dr. Lisa Thomas of Yarmouth attended with her husband, Spurwink board member Alistair Raymond. Fellow board member Cathy Liston was joined by her husband, John, of North Yarmouth. Micky Thomas, treasurer of WEX, attended with his wife, Tina.

“We’re focusing on children in crisis this year,” explained Kristen Farnham, vice president of development at Spurwink. “We serve 1,600 children a year. There is a huge need in Maine right now.”

“Spurwink is one of those organizations that no community can be without,” said Sterling Kozlowski, president of Key Bank and past honoree. “We adore supporting them because of their effectiveness and their reach to our most vulnerable citizens.”

“We are touching the lives of thousands of people across the state, and yet many people don’t know who we are,” said Meyer, who noted that the organization employs about 900 people. “That’s why I love this event. It really helps to tell our story.”

As guests gathered to nibble their desserts and listen to the honorees accept their awards, Brown seemed to sum up the spirit of Spurwink best.

“There is no ‘I’ in team,” the former professional football player said to a rapt audience, “because if you don’t do your part, Spurwink can’t be what it is. Sometimes it’s not about winning, it’s about investing time. I am honored to be given this award. Every day, you fight for and believe in the children that need your support. Keep going the distance.”

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected]