As part of its monthly buildup to the annual HRC Dinner, the local steering committee laid on the cocktails and hors’ d oeuvres and laid this year’s local awards winners on February’s pre-dinner reception crowd.

The gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel on Thursday (photos) was as much a networking opportunity for the guests as it was a chance to get the scoop on this year’s HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner & Silent Auction (click for tickets and more info), set for May 5 at the Hyatt Regency downtown.

In addition to the as-yet unannounced National Ally for Equality Award and other accolades that recognize walkers of the walk and fighters of the fight for equality, this year’s Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award will go to The Health Initiative, which broadened its mission to all LGBTs when it changed its name from the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative last year.

The Leon Allen and Winston Johnson Community Service Award will be presented to Rev. Phillip Thomason, minister of Outreach and Pastoral Care at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, a longtime haven for LGBT parishioners. In a long list of accomplishments, Thomason was most recently asked to serve on President Obama’s task force on LGBTQ issues and the church’s role in HIV prevention.

HRC Atlanta’s next pre-dinner reception is for table captains only on March 22, then another reception for all supporters is scheduled for April 12.

Photos by Sher Pruitt