For nearly two decades, the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation has sponsored an annual gala event for the purpose of raising funds for various needs at our award-winning 66-year old hospital. Some of the proceeds from previous galas have paid for the Jackson surgical table, a mobile C-arm surgical platform, the “Smart beds,” which can tell if patients have gotten out of bed, and other upgrades. This year, the Foundation’s focus is the new Outpatient Surgery Center. As Leah Beth McNutt, who works for the Foundation stated, “While keeping the pace with technological advancements in healthcare, we are maintaining the ‘hometown’ atmosphere that makes us the hospital we are today!” All of that takes money, and Putting On The Glitz is a memorable way to meet some important needs in our community for years to come. The Gala will be held on Saturday, April 29th at the Westin Hotel at Bridge Street, and if you have never walked a red carpet, this will be your chance. Upon entering the hotel lobby, there will be a photo op backdrop custom designed to look like those you would see at a televised awards ceremony. It will have the logos of the Foundation, the Gala, and the sponsors for the event. The theme of the evening is “Old Hollywood Style,” and as far as fashion is concerned, anything out of the ‘40s will be perfect. This is an evening where a tux and evening gown is appropriate, as is a street-length cocktail dress and a suit, or dressy casual, either gender. The room can hold 300 plus people, and will be filled; so you need to get your reservations right away. There will be a beautiful meal, a silent auction, and the evening will be finished with dancing which will last until 11 p.m. I spoke with Jessica Jones, the Chair of the Gala, who also works for Federal Mogul, one of the sponsors of the event. She became involved several years ago as a volunteer, and has a vision for this event. “I want to see new faces, the new generation coming up becoming invested in the hospital.” We discussed the fact that it’s time for the younger ones to step up if they are going to have a stake in the hospital’s future. Leah Beth McNutt said, “Our goal is to make the whole town invested in the hospital, to rally behind the projects.” One of the things that has made the Gala a success in years gone by is the silent auction, and this year will be no exception. In the past there have been trips, luxury hand bags, jewelry, items from Bridge Street stores, custom framing, a Yeti cooler and more. Last year the hit of the night was a gorgeous Labrador mix by the name of Buddy. Buddy didn’t come empty handed; he had a number of extras to sweeten the deal. They included: a cage worth $150, the cost of being neutered, toys, and an underground electric fence system. All in all he was worth close to $2,000, and this year we are hoping there will be another beautiful rescue dog for someone to take home. In addition, last year there was a Green Egg cooker system, college basketball tickets, $500 worth of graphic design, furniture, home décor, lamps, a mirror, a pair of rocking chairs, and much more. Another highlight was a guitar donated by Railroad Bazaar and autographed by the Alabama Shakes. This year, once again, Brittany Howard of the Shakes will donate a special item, still to be determined. The list of items from last year is an example of the kinds of things that are available at the auction, but the sponsored items for this year are still being gathered. Leah Beth had the following to say with the hope of inspiring you to call her office to make your reservation: “We are excited to be part of the largest healthcare project of its kind thus far in our area. We hope you will join us as a partner for our 2017 Gala, Puttin’ on the Glitz, Old Hollywood Style!” To make reservations, or for more information call Leah Beth McNutt at the Foundation office at 256-233-9557. By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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