VNA donors treated to Paradise under the Palms

VERO BEACH — Approximately 350 of the VNA & Hospice Foundation benefactors were thanked at a 35th Anniversary Paradise under the Palms party at the Quail Valley River Club.  The guests, whose generosity has supported the organization throughout the years, began the evening with a somewhat blustery, but lovely poolside cocktail celebration, accompanied by the Caribbean sounds of steel drum calypso music.

In 1975, the VNA began providing health care services to Indian River County residents using just one nurse and one home health aide.  As the county began its rapid growth, the programs and services of the VNA continued to expand as well, thanks in large part to the donations of those in attendance. Many of these generous donors became involved after experiencing the VNA’s compassion and caring on a first-hand basis.  “The VNA helped me when I lost my husband; they were wonderful,” said Anita Astrachan.  “I just want to give back.”

Judy Caldwell, a VNA Foundation board member said she has been active with the VNA for the past 12 years and is now in charge of the Telehealth initiative.

“Telehealth monitors help to keep people in their homes instead of the hospital by letting them monitor and send their vital signs to the VNA.  I’m devoted to Hospice; they do such a great job.”

Tuny Hill introduced me to Lee Gordon, whose daughter Mary was at Hospice House for two months during her tragic battle with cancer.  “It was a very sad experience but in a truly wonderful place.  I’m a great advocate of VNA and don’t know of a better VNA agency than this one.  They take care of the whole family in an upbeat and positive way.”

Paul Nezi, a former health insurance executive, joined the Foundation board two years ago after moving to Vero Beach from Richmond, VA with his wife Pat.  “The VNA provides a unique value to the community.  The Treasure Coast and Foundation boards have been able to attract people to serve who have a broad skill set.  It’s not just a business, but a cause as well.”

Event chair Nancy Lynch told the impressive crowd that it was the largest gathering they had ever had at the event.

Lynch, who serves on the VNA & Hospice Foundation board and also volunteers at Hospice House continued, “It’s worthwhile and fulfilling personally and gives me an opportunity to see things from both sides.  Hospice House would not be there without all of you.  Few have not, or will not, be touched in some way by the VNA.  This evening is for you; we thank and applaud you for all you do and for choosing to support VNA and Hospice.”

Carol Kanarek, who recently took over the chairmanship of the VNA & Hospice Foundation Board from Ann Marie McCrystal, addressed the crowd next saying, “We are so happy to have our donors and a few of our founders here tonight.  We are also celebrating the 20th year of the VNA Golf-A-Thon which last year raised $185,000.  You, our donors, have contributed whenever we have asked.”

The Golf-A-Thon, scheduled for Monday May 3 at the Moorings Club, features golf professionals from the Bent Pine, Grand Harbor, Hawk’s Nest, Indian River, John’s Island, The Moorings, Orchid Island, Pointe West, Quail Valley, Riomar, Vero Beach and Windsor clubs teeing off at sun-up to play 135 holes of golf.

Kanarek also commented on and thanked the collaborative efforts of organizations that contribute to the work of the VNA & Hospice including the Alzheimer/Parkinson Association, Senior Resource Association, Indian River Community Foundation and the Indian River Medical Center.

“With your help, we can continue to grow and provide the community with the best medical, clinical, hospice care that we know how to do,” concluded Kanarek. 

A spectacular VNA 35th anniversary logo ice sculpture, created by Quail Valley Executive Chef Joe Faria, highlighted the center buffet table in the main dining room.  Gorgeous sprays of flowers filled tall glass pillars on the dining room tables, and the buffet dinner included several carving stations that featured a variety of meats and side dishes.  And as a parting gift, giving sweets to the sweets, guests were treated to boxes of miniature cupcakes topped with the 35th anniversary logo.

The VNA & Hospice provides home health and rehabilitative services, hospice care and bereavement counseling, and community wellness healthcare services. {igallery 189}

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