Approximately 260 people attended the Annual Luncheon for Life for Our Lady’s Inn (OLI) at Wine Country Gardens on Sept. 21. It was a great afternoon featuring food, friends and fun!
This year’s MC was Don Goedeker, OLI Board Member. Goedeker has a great sense of humor and kept the crowd entertained turning humorous personal stories and anecdotes. Goedeker got involved with Our Lady’s Inn after retiring several years ago. Initially he thought he would work at the Twice Blessed, thrift store a few days a week. But OLI Executive Director Peggy Forrest knew Goedeker and had something else in mind. She asked him to become a board member. Shortly after joining the board, Goedeker said he learned that it costs approximately $130 per day per mom at each of OLI’s two facilities. “That’s why we’re here today,” he said.
Goedeker explained that as a youngster, his father had always encouraged him to set a good example for his younger siblings. “75% of the time you’re part of the problem,” his dad would say. “You need to reverse that, and become part of the solution.”
“Today,” Goedeker said, “I can’t think of a better way to be part of a solution than to work with an organization that helps women make the right choice to have their babies while teaching them important life skills so they can move on with their lives. Our Lady’s Inn is a wonderful place full of hope and possibilities.” He added “The people who work there are the faces of the Blessed Mother. They are hope to women who have no hope. How could I not want to be part of this? “And,” he joked,” I’m in love with the secretary!” (His wife became secretary at OLI South House after she retired a few years ago.)
This year’s Inn-credible Partner was Cuivre River Electric Cooperative (CREC). Through CREC’s Operation Round-Up Community Trust Program, Cuivre River customers donate over $250,000 per year which is used to benefit local charities. CREC launched Operation Round Up in 1997. Members donate an average of $6 per year by rounding up their electric bill to the nearest whole dollar. 100% of the funds are used locally to benefit neighbors in need.
OLI Executive Director, Peggy Forest said, “In April 2006 OLI opened in Defiance. Since then Cuivre River Electric Cooperative has been a faithful and generous partner. Support from the trust has assisted us in addressing many of the critical needs at the Inn: plumbing, heating and cooling and security of late. The ongoing support of the Cuivre River Electric Coop BOD, community trust volunteers, and most importantly the Cuivre River members have helped make it possible for us to serve so many homeless pregnant women and children in this community. Their partnership blessed us and we are so very happy to honor CREC as our 2017 Inn-Credible Partner."
In accepting the award, CREC CEO Doug Tracy, said “What an honor it is for us to be here and accept this award…We thank you so much; but we’re really here to honor [Our Lady’s Inn] and the work you have done in this community for so many years. “ He said, “One of our cooperative principals is Concern for the Community and it’s something we take very seriously. We try to deliver electricity as safely, reliability and as cost-effectively as we can, but one of our big concerns is being a community partner and being involved and supporting those that we work with and live with everyday. So it’s been a real pleasure to work with [Our Lady’s Inn] through these years and we just thank you for what you do those in the community who need it.”
This year’s event sponsors included: Platnum Sponsors — “In Memory of Nira Walton-Brady, Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church, A Friend of our Lady’s Inn, Fletcher-Reinhardt Co., Elizabeth Landgraf and Amber Bargen Law. Gold Sponsors — Blondin Professional Real Estate, Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, Inc., Holy Infant Knights of Columbus Council 10794, Robert and Geraldine Osborn. Silver Sponsors — Hoff Heating and A/C, Inc. and Judy Sliney.
In addition to a delicious lunch, the event included a silent auction with 64 gorgeous baskets/ensembles, an oral auction that included custom designed jewelry, tickets to Disney World, a wine country getaway, a Blues game package, and a VOM FASS tasting party for up to 25 guests. Jewelry from OLI’s Pay-It-Forward Jewelry program was also sold.
Our Lady’s Inn thanks everyone who attended, and sincerely appreciates the community’s support. To learn more or to volunteer, contact Our Lady’s Inn at 636-398-5375 or visit ourladysinn.org.