There’s quite a tale behind the Storybook Ball

The Storybook Ball, held Nov. 15 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, marked the 20th anniversary of the United Through Reading project. This San Diego-based nonprofit unites separated families (including those serving overseas in the Armed Forces) by offering them the chance to be recorded on DVD reading storybooks to their children at home.

In 1989, educator Betty Mohlenbrock founded the organization when her family experienced the pain of separation after her husband went to Vietnam as a naval flight surgeon.

When he returned, their daughter didn’t recognize him.

To date, more than 500,000 military families have benefited from the program. Mohlenbrock was honored at the event, along with the late Navy Lt. Florence Bacong Choe, a United Through Reading active duty coordinator who died in Afghanistan in March.