It was a night full of appreciation and rock ‘n’ roll.
The Grundy County Housing Authority’s first Rockin’ Oldies Harvest Dinner and Show held Nov. 8 had more than 180 guests enjoying a night of food, music and fun at the Morris VFW. Even “Cher” and “Elvis” came out for the event.
“Thank you again for spending your precious resources to help us. Know we are truly grateful for each and every one of you who are here this evening,” said Brent Newman, CEO of the housing authority.
The goal of the evening was to express the GCHA’s appreciation for all of its donors, volunteers, residents, and supporters, said Jennifer Olson, vice president of development. The GCHA wanted the night to be fun for all involved, so rather than just having a meal, it added a show with Cher and Elvis impersonators.
“The Grundy County Housing Authority is many things and we thought you all should find out how fun we can be,” she said.
After dinner, guests shared in an appreciation ceremony where the GCHA honored 11 individuals, organizations and businesses for their dedication to the lives of Grundy County’s senior citizens. Newman shared stories about all of the honorees and their amazing work.
“At the end of this month, four apartments will open and we have exactly one maintenance person at Saratoga Tower as a result of funding cuts,” said Newman.
Because of this, the Home Makers Program was created so people, organizations, and businesses could help turn over the apartments for new tenants.
Rezin Orthopedics & Sports Medicine was given the Home Maker Award for its continuous participation in the program.
“The last apartment they turned over they had no idea the tenant was one of their employees’ sister. She is there now because of their work,” Newman said.
An individual recognized at the dinner was Kenneth Pfeifer of Mazon, a former 22-year commissioner for the GCHA Board of Commissioners.
In addition to being given the Lifetime Achievement Award by Board Vice Chairman John Hanson, he was also presented with a proclamation from the village of Mazon naming Nov. 9 Kenneth Pfeifer Achievement Day to honor all of his volunteer work for Mazon.
“What an honor and pleasure to receive these awards. You know it’s been a long time, but a great struggle,” said Pfeifer. “Like (Newman) said, this board is made of harmony and strength, it sure is.”
The other awards included Employee Choice Award to Susan McDaniel; Builder Award to Re/Max Top Properties and Muffler Concrete; Outstanding Partnership Award to Community Nutrition Network, Price family of Morris, and the Quality Inn in Morris; Chairman’s Award to AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry LLC; C.E.O. Award to First Midwest Bank; and Helping Hands Award to Three Rivers Association of Realtors.
After dinner from Maria’s Ristorante in Morris, a music show was given by Valentine Sound & Entertainment.
“I love it (at Saratoga Tower). We’re all family. We take care of each other,” said resident Susan Gawenda at the dinner. “This was kick butt. I was honored to be here.”
The event will be an annual one, said Olson, and is planned to always feature entertainment as a way of showing appreciation.
As part of the event the GCHA wanted to help others in need as well, so raffle tickets were sold to win decorated pumpkins that were displayed all around the banquet hall. The pumpkins were donated by Dollinger Family Farm and were decorated by Shabbona Middle School art students.
All of the funds were donated back to the art department. The raffle raised $500.
For more information on the Grundy County Housing Authority and ways to donate or volunteer, visit www.gcha.us.