About 500 people had a chance to be a star at the eighth annual Celebration of Life gala on Oct. 6 at the Embassy Suites in Independence. The red carpet, star-studded affair was a benefit for The Village at Marymount, located in Garfield Heights, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Former Independence Mayor Greg Kurtz and his wife, Lyn were the honorary chairs of the gala. Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries offered the invocation and was master of ceremonies and the Abe LaMarca Band provided musical entertainment.
“It is Lyn’s and my personal experience that every ministry the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis established on the Marymount Campus has been permeated with their special Franciscan spirit and The Village at Marymount is no exception,” Greg Kurtz said. “Our family has been personally touched by exactly that. Two of our parents spent some time at Villa St. Joseph in 2007 and 2008 and they care they and our family received was superb. Mom (Dolores Kurtz) even agreed and then ‘had a ball’ serving as the honorary chair at the very first gala event in 2010,” he added.
Guests walked the red carpet as they entered the gala and could get photos taken in the star-studded gazebo in the hotel lobby.
There was dinner, a silent auction and dozens of mobile/live auction items for guests to bid on throughout the evening. Perhaps one of the most coveted live auction items was a jersey autographed by Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. Ironically, Lindor hit a grand slam that night as the Indians defeated the New York Yankees 9-8 in 13 innings in the second game of the American League Division Series.
“We are excited to have our gala return to Embassy Suites, which was the site of our first gala in 2010,” said Sue Nall, executive director of The Village at Marymount. “This year, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Village at Marymount, it seemed appropriate that we host the gala at the same place we started eight years ago.”
Ron Hollowell, director of media and customer satisfaction at The Village at Marymount, said several things are on the facility’s “wish list,” including a new, handicap-accessible bus to take assisted living and long-term care residents shopping and on outings. Residents have attended the theater, gone on color tours in the fall, to see Christmas lights and more. Cost of a new, fully equipped bus exceeds $100,000.
Proceeds from the gala will be used for other needs, including additional staff training and equipment, upgraded pantries and ground improvements.