The Palatine Township Senior Citizens Council celebrated 40 years at its 2013 Caring Hearts Gala, Feb. 16, with the theme "Destination Las Vegas: What happens at the Gala, Stays at the Gala."
Guests arriving at the Cotillion in Palatine, walked in under the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign and were greeted by a life-size cutout of Marilyn Monroe. Playing off the Vegas theme, the facility was decorated with oversized playing cards, dice, fake coins, a Frank Sinatra life-size cutout and much more. The crowd of more than 200 was treated to a Las Vegas Revue performed by members of the council boar, its staff and volunteers.
The evening began with a complimentary cocktail reception with hors d'oeuvres, followed by a four-course dinner, then ice cream and cake celebrating the 40th anniversary of the group that operates the Palatine Township Senior Center.
Among the evening's highlights was a video produced by Marktime Media, honoring Guest of Honor Mary Tarbit. Tarbit, who is 90 years old and has been involved with the senior center for 20 years, was given two standing ovations for her volunteerism as a home-delivered meals driver. The Palatine resident said she delivered 1,375 meals in 2012.
"It was very motivational to see Mary, at 90 years of age, going above and beyond," said Diane Lancour, program director at PTSCC. "Mary is a woman who is retired and committed to serving the seniors of Palatine Township, and she accomplishes more in one day than most people do."
A reverse auction "donation" was taken for the Home Delivered Meals program, and anyone interested in donating can visit the council's website at www.ptscc.org.
Carol Reagan, the council's executive director, shared how the organization has come a long way since 1973 when the Senior Center began in one room, with only one part-time staff member and 28 volunteers. Today PTSCC is going strong with a 17,800-square-foot building, seven full-time and eight part-time staff, and 300 volunteers.
Gala Co-Chair Laurie Stock coordinated the Las Vegas Revue with six acts emceed by John Mahler. Acts included magic performed by Mr. Magic, Keith Williams and his assistant Marla Shapiro-Gillen; Diane Iser lip syncing to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with Ann Vatch and Laurie Stock as her "Supremes"; Phyllis Benstein telling Rita Rudner jokes; and Web Eby, Bob Haas, Jorge Juarez and Tom Selof lip-syncing and dancing to "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)" by the Four Seasons. Heating up the audience was Kevin Romejko as Elvis, lip-syncing to "Burning Love" along with his wife, Julie Selof, as Priscilla Presley, and his groupies, Karen Fay, Nancy Frenk, Sheila Schwartz and Mary Szuch. For the finale, "It's Raining Men," was sung by Reagan and her backup dancers the Magic Men: Web Eby, Bob Haas, Steve Haas, Jorge Juarez, Mel Quinn, and Tom Selof.
"It was a good blend of entertainment and motivation," Lancour said.
In addition, guests had plenty of items to bid on in live and silent auctions.
The event raised $60,000. Honorary chair was Jack Lloyd, BMO Harris Bank Market President; co-chairs were Marla Shapiro-Gillen, Laurie Stock and Kevin Romejko, and the committee included Phyllis Benstein, Donelda Danz, Karen Fay, Nancy Frenk, Diane Iser, John Mahler, Kim Moore, Carol Reagan, Julie Selof, Jennifer Slotowski and Ann Vatch.
"Your donations make it possible to continue to provide older adults and their families with outstanding programs and services within the Palatine Township communities," Laurie Stock said.
The Palatine Township Senior Citizens Council's mission is to provide programs and services which support older adults and their families by encouraging independence, well-being and connection to the community. PTSCC is one of only six accredited senior centers in the state of Illinois. PTSCC operates a multipurpose Senior Center offering social, nutrition, education, health and wellness, recreation, and support services to Palatine Township area residents and those in the surrounding communities who are 50 and over.
For information on services, or to volunteer, call (847) 991-1112, or visit www.ptscc.org.