A Taste of Elegance dinner will honor Jefferson County hospice volunteers
by Dennis Sharkey
The 10th annual A Taste of Elegance dinner will recognize two volunteers who have made contributions to the event that have shaped its success.
Deann Behring, Meriden, will be honored along with Shirlene Lee, rural Ozawkie, at the event scheduled for Oct. 22 at Perry-Lecompton High School.
Behring and Lee along with Mary Hammond and Dee Smith developed the idea for the annual fundraiser for Jefferson County Friends of Hospice more than 10 years ago.
The first event was held at Jefferson West High School with about 120 people attending. The event raised about $3,200. Last year’s event was attended by more than 500 people and raised more than $35,000.
Event Coordinator Carole Hendrix said Lee will be presented with the first volunteer of the year award. Lee, coordinator for the event before Hendrix took over a few years ago, is still on the board of directors and has been involved in all 10 events. Hendrix said the award will become an annual presentation.
Hendrix said her involvement in the first event began when she was asked by Lee to provide some recipes for the dinner menu. She said after the first event it was evident that it would become a successful annual event.
“The amazement of the people that attended, they were almost in awe,” she said. “From that point on we’ve had no problem getting people to come because it’s so special to the county.”
Hendrix said Lee was being honored as the first volunteer of the year because of what she has meant to not only the event but Friends of Hospice as well.
“It’s the whole attitude Shirlene has of putting everyone else first,” Hendrix said. “She truly has a heart of a servant and she is the epitome of what our hospice stands for. She is one of those people you are blessed to have in your life.
“Nothing was beyond what we could accomplish,” she went on to say. “If you brought an idea to her she would say, ‘Let’s go and let’s try it.’ That’s why the event has been successful.”
Lee has been a part of Friends of Hospice of Jefferson County since 1991. She has served as a volunteer for 20 years helping and assisting hospice patients, served on the Board of Directors, and chaired the board.
Work on the menu is under way and will be finalized later this month when the board meets for a tasting. Hendrix said board members will sample about 40 items before deciding on a final buffet menu.
This menu will also feature some old favorites of past events. Hendrix said board members will try to find at least one dish from each of the previous nine events to be featured.
Channel 13 WIBW news anchor Melissa Brunner has agreed to be the emcee.
Anyone wishing to volunteer in the many areas contact Betsy Schmelzle at 913-633-9199, Carole Hendrix at 785-554-5450, Sara Oliver at 785-760-1090, or contact the Web site myfriendsofhospice.com.
As in past years the event will feature a full buffet of hors d’eavors and desserts. There will be a live and silent auction and a country products market.
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