Surovy is quite fond of Buster Posey, the Giants catcher and recently named National League MVP.
But on Wednesday, it was another catcher who delivered for Surovy.
Hall of Famer Johnny Bench was the keynote speaker at the 15th annual Thanksgiving Benefit and Awards Luncheon sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Chapter of Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) and LifePath.
As the development director for LifePath and the LifePath Foundation, it's Surovy job to secure the headline speaker for the fundraising event every year.
She said Bench hit a home run in his tour of the LifePath facility in Bethlehem and during his 30-minute speech before a crowd of nearly 700 in the ballroom at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Fogelsville.
"I thought he was great," Surovy said. "As a diehard baseball fan I was definitely looking forward to meeting him and I thought he did a great job on our tour of LifePath this morning. He took the time to speak to all of our consumers and the time to autograph many pennants that we used to decorate the place and make him feel welcome.
"He really captured the spirit of LifePath. He has a lot of experience working with other nonprofit organizations who do similar work to LifePath and that gave him a greater understanding of what we're doing there."
LifePath provides support and services for people with special needs, and it uses the luncheon to put a spotlight on its effect on the community.
"The idea is to bring in an A-list sports celebrity here to speak because they help to draw a large crowd," Surovy said. "We always enjoy hearing the stories from their playing days, but any time they can incorporate their understanding of LifePath and our mission, it really helps to drive home the message."
Leave it to Bench, who collected 1,376 RBIs in a career that spanned 1967-83 with the Cincinnati Reds, to drive home something important.
After spending a large part of his presentation talking about his time growing up in Binger, Okla. — population 661 with a high school graduating class of 21 — Bench, who was his class valedictorian, talked about the keys to a successful life and professional career from his book "Catch Every Ball: How to Handle Life's Pitches."
"I knew what I wanted to be in the first grade, a professional baseball player," Bench said. "We grow up and do the things we want to do, but we can't expect people to be impressed with who you are and what you've done because if what you did yesterday is so big to you now, then it means you haven't done much today.
"People come up to me all the time and they tell me their child wants to be a ballplayer and a catcher. They ask: 'What should I do?' and I tell them to tell their child to catch every ball. It's like that in life, if you catch everything that's thrown at you, people are going to say 'Man, he's good.' If you catch everything that's thrown at you, you never have to worry."
As for his visit to LifePath, Bench said it was both fabulous and heartbreaking.
"It's all about making a difference in somebody's life," he said. "And when you do, it feels good and it should feel good. The guys and girls who were out there today at LifePath, they had never heard of me. Yet, they were excited. It made a difference and they're making a difference at LifePath."
Bench, who had to catch a flight immediately after the presentation, was asked one question from the audience during a brief Q-and-A section, and there he got off his best line.
He was asked about players using performance-enhancing drugs.
"Hey, I told you I have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old, so thank God for performance-enhancing drugs," said Bench, who will turn 65 on Dec. 7.
As for his former Big Red Machine teammate Pete Rose, Bench, a two-time MVP and 14-time all-star, is not one of the many who believe it's an injustice he's not in the Hall of Fame.
"I've been on three committees that have drawn up ways for Pete to get on the nonrestricted list and Pete's failed to do it every time," Bench said. "The question always is: Do you believe Pete should be in the Hall of Fame. And I ask 'Do you have kids?' [If Rose is in] you can tell them that there are no more rules. We've all had to abide by rules."
In addition to Bench's speech, the luncheon honored Helene McGorry-Wagner as LifePath's Outstanding Family of the Year award recipient and also recognized Christian Martin IV, chairman and CEO of C.F. Martin, as the winner of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of PICPA's Lehigh Valley Community Service award.
Surovy revealed that next year's main speaker will be former NFL player and coach and current ESPN analyst Herman Edwards.