Health center gala set for April 21

STEUBENVILLE – Tickets for the seventh-annual Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center Gala still are available, but organizers are encouraging making reservations as soon as possible.

“We have had a tremendous response this year in ticket sales, sponsors and gift items donated for the auction and mystery boxes. Gala tickets are still available by calling the health center at (740) 283-2856,” said Ann Quillen, health center executive director.

“We have eight platinum sponsors this year. Those are the people who give at least $5,000 to the health center. And one of the sponsors gave a $20,000 donation that will allow us to hire a nurse practitioner,” added Quillen.

“I am looking forward to an exciting and fun gala this year. And I applaud the auction and mystery gift committee for putting together such a wonder list of sale items and mystery box gifts. Those 600 mystery gift boxes each cost $10 and the hidden gifts will range in value from $10 to $250,” Quillen said.

“Janet Sharpe is the auction and mystery box coordinator. Janet and her team have done a fantastic job gathering prizes,” Quillen added.

According to Sharpe, the auction items to be sold during the gala include Pittsburgh Pirates tickets provided by the Herald-Star, Pittsburgh Steelers tickets from Jefferson County Commissioner Thomas Graham, a Dave Barnhouse framed print by Nelson Fine Arts and a one-week house rental in Coco Beach, Fla., donated by Todd Piergallini.

“We also have Jamboree in the Hills tickets from Em-Media, lawn furniture donated by M&M True Value Hardware, a $1,000 advertising package offered by WTOV-TV, a dental basket from Dr. Tom Brown and a Pandora bracelet and Kate Spade purse from the Rev. Clint and Ann Quillen,” said Sharpe.

“Our 600 mystery box prizes will be available for a $10 donation each and they all have prizes inside that include bakery items, candy, cookies, pizza and restaurant certificates, fitness center coupons, vehicle products, gas cards, travel mugs, beauty salon gift cards, barber shop gift cards, hair products, landscape photography, Pittsburgh Pirates tickets, movie passes, roller derby tickets, candles, jewelry, go phones, umbrellas, windbreaker jackets, one night’s stay at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort and soda,” stated Sharpe.

Quillen said Shelby Zarotney will serve as host of the event.

Eileen and Dr. Frank J. Petrola are serving as co-chairs of the 2013 gala.

“Ann Quillen asked us to co-chair this year’s gala and we said yes. I have always wanted to help out and it has been a busy few months planning and organizing for the gala. The theme of the gala is fire and ice so we are encouraging attendees to wear white or red that evening,” explained Eileen Petrola.

Her husband, Dr. Frank J. Petrola, has served as the volunteer medical director at the health center since it opened its doors in a former dinette on March 13, 2006.

“We want the gala to be an elegant evening where the majority of women will wear gowns or cocktail dresses and the men will wear tuxedos or suits. This is one night of the year when everyone can get dressed up and enjoy themselves for a very good cause,” added Eileen.

“Our goal this year will be to meet the standard set last year when the gala raised $100,000. The health center does so much good for so many people, and we have plans for expanding our services in the future,” Frank Petrola added.

“The Young Ambassadors program is once again involved with the health center and this year we will award one Patricia Fletcher $1,000 scholarship and two Patricia Fletcher $500 scholarships to the Young Ambassadors who raise the most donations. And we actually have more area high school students involved this year in the Young Ambassadors program, which is encouraging. It is very nice to see the students involved in the community program,” explained Eileen Petrola.

The 47 members of the Woman’s Club of Steubenville will be recognized as the community honorees for 2013 by the health center’s board of directors.

Marge DeMark of Steubenville will be honored as the volunteer of the year, and Charlotte Jones will be honored at the gala as the medical honoree of 2013.

During the semi-formal dinner the gala committee also will honor the 2013 Young Ambassadors from area high schools.

“We feel it is a great honor to have been chosen as this year’s community honorees. We support the health center every year because it is so important to have this clinic available in the county,” stated Woman’s Club President Kathy Mills.

“It is a great honor to have this facility in our town. The Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center provides a valuable service to the uninsured residents of our community,” Mills said.

DeMark worked as a medical coder for 30 years at local hospitals before retiring and taking on similar work at the Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center.

“This is actually an easier coding job. When I worked at the hospitals I was coding medical procedures that would ultimately be used for billing purposes. The health center is a free clinic so there is no billing. But I still type in the medical codes and I read all of the doctor and nurse practitioner notes,” explained DeMark.

Everyone knows when Jones walks into the health center for her weekly volunteer time as a nurse practitioner.

“She is like a little medical leprechaun. Charlotte is so good at what she does and brings so much joy and enthusiasm it is great,” said Quillen.

Last year Jones personally saw 491 of the 1,600 patients who visited the health center.

“I really enjoy the feeling of helping someone and taking away their pain. Each and every patient has their own personal story. If I can help someone I am excited all day. This is my calling,” said Jones.

“Our annual gala is our major fundraiser and we are very fortunate to have such a dedicated committee. We start working on the gala in January and by early April we have a major event taking place,” added Quillen.