GALA RAISES MORE THAN $50K
JEREMY WALTNER – EDITOR & PUBLISHER
The lights inside the Freeman Community Center were lowered, a large illuminated sign saying “Care” sat on the stage, attendees in formal wear enjoyed food and drinks, auctioneer Ken Wintersteen brought his trademark blend of humor and wit to the live auction and acclaimed inspirational speaker V.J. Smith had the full attention of the room as he shared stories about generosity and gratitude.
It was all part of the 12th Freeman Regional Health Services Gala Saturday night, Jan. 21 — a fundraiser that generated $53,000 that will go toward the purchase of new CT equipment. And it was the first fundraiser following the merger of the Salem Mennonite Home and FRHS that took place Jan. 1 of this year.
“We’re honored that the Salem Home has joined Freeman Regional, so we wanted an event to commemorate the occasion,” said Tabitha Schoenwald, the marketing and foundation director at FRHS who spearheaded the gala. “I couldn’t be any happier with how it came together to celebrate our partnership into the future. The décor, food, auctioneer, speaker and guests were all exceptional and the feedback we received confirms that this was an event our community was ready to welcome back.”
More than 160 people attended.
Proceeds from this year’s event came from multiple areas, including private contributions, event sponsorships, an online raffle, a silent auction featuring dozens of donated items and a live auction featured nine items.
Dean Dreessen, president and CEO of Merchants State Bank who sits on the foundation advisory council, served as master of ceremonies and Courtney Unruh, CEO of FRHS offered opening remarks.
“I feel very honored and humbled to be able to serve our patients, our residents, our employees and our communities within the Freeman Regional Health Services areas,” said Unruh, who publicly recognized Schoenwald for her effort in making the evening “extra ordinary,” but also noted that it takes a team to pull off an event of this caliber. “It takes many people working together to make something like this successful. This night would not be possible without our sponsors, our donors and each and every one of you attending.”
Platinum sponsors of this year’s event were Dawn Stahl in memory of Dr. Ernest J. Hofer, Dr. Dennis Epp in memory of Dorothy Salzman Epp, Alvina Hofer in memory of Gordon Hofer, Dr. Jay and Lynnelle Allison and Patrick and Courtney Unruh.