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December 12, 2007
Lady Luck Fund Raiser was a REALLY big deal!
WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Virginia (STPNS) -- Usually it takes a while for something to catch on. Usually people don?t immediately sit up and take notice. Usually the first time an event is held, it doesn?t go as well as planned. Usually you don?t have The Riverboat on the Potomac and all their friends working together with one single goal in mind ? to make the First Annual Lady Luck Hospice Fund Raiser such a huge success that people are left speechless.
?It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen?, smiled Penny Flanagan. ?It was even more amazing than when we opened the doors on the new Riverboat for the first time. We had 347 people attend the event. We had no idea that we would have that many. A lot of people waited until the last minute to buy tickets, so we got a little nervous and ended up keeping the doors open to the public because this place is so big and we didn?t want it to look empty. But next year we?ll most definitely be closing!?
Penny says the Riverboat was gorgeous and those who attended agree with her whole heartedly. ?We couldn?t have done it without the help of the Four Seasons Florist of Callao?, she says. ?The owners of the business came in and picked up all our empty vases and brought them back full of flowers two days later ? centerpieces for all the tables. They both worked steadally. They could take anything and make it beautiful. They set up the appetizer stations with lights of varying heights. It was so wonderful that they loaned us their equipment, but their knowledge and themselves, that leaves me, well, I just didn?t think there were people like that anymore.?
A half hour before show time, Flanagan says that everyone was in the bathrooms getting dressed. ?It was really something to watch. People were ironing shirts on the rug and bumping into each other and laughing the whole while. The waitstaff looked amazing. They all wore long-sleeved white shirts with black armbands and long black aprons.?
Flanagan says they received some wonderful donations and truly appreciates the outpouring of support that she saw coming from her community. There was a kid?s motorized motorcycle (Golden Coin Company), a case of Angus Steaks (Performance Food Group) who also donated the food for the evening, a 75th Annniversary Redskin Mirror, a week at a condo in Florida, which brought in $500. One nice story that Flanagan shared was that Dianna Wright, a local jewelry maker, had her grandmother buy a set from her and donate it to the cause.
But the largest bid of all came from Todd Webb who bid $600 for dinner at the Gunderson household. For those who know the Gundersons, they can appreciate the irony of this, for Joyce often jokes that dinner is what?s on the takeout menu!
Dean Atkins, Westmoreland County?s Commonwealth Attorney, was a terrific MC, Master of Ceremonies and Auctioneer. ?I think he went on for two or three hours straight?, said Flanagan. ?When I told him how fantastic he was at this, he told me this was his first time and he better be invited back next year. Joyce Gunderson played the part of his Vanna White and did a fantastic job.?
Everyone was extremely well fed, from appetizers to a main course. There were scallops wrapped in bacon, The Riverboat?s signature Crab Dip, Meatballs, a ham and a Steamship Round Carving Station. The murder mystery portion of the eveing went well also. Although Flanagan says the person playing the role of Elvis stole the show. ?I don?t even remember who the murderer was?, she laughs. ?It was such a busy night. All I really remember is turning around and seeing the wave of people getting off of the elevator. People came for different reasons. Some came to support hospice, some came for Tom and some came for our First Year Anniversary. Jack Maguire and his family were there and it was wonderful to see him. A party of 12 came from Captain Billy?s and Susan Elliot of B. Weezer and Co. brought 14 people. She brought everyone from her company for their company Christmas Party!?
?Everyone who helped really felt like they were a part of it?, says Flanagan. We got calls the next day from people asking how much we raised not how much I raised.? And what is that magic number? Well hold onto your hats, because the Riverboat and company raised over $12,000! Flanagan says the number is really $12,800 and it will be split three ways between Charles County Hospice, Northern Neck Hospice and Mary Washington Hospice. That is an amazing success for a first time out fundraiser and really shows, says Flanagan, the warmth and caring of this little community.
Mark your 2008 datebooks for the Second Annual Lady Luck Hospice Fundraiser already being planned for next December.
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