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Hospice supporters sample town's tastes

August 10, 1998

taste of the townBy KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer [enlarge]




Laurel Hellane didn't have much to say about Taste of the Town. She was too busy eating.

A bib covered the 1-year-old's pretty party dress Sunday at the annual benefit for Hospice of Washington County Inc. in the grand ballroom of the Ramada Inn in Hagerstown.

It was Laurel's first time at the 14th annual fund-raiser, but her parents, Pat and Vince Hellane, have come before with "Aunt Julia," Julia E. Garrott, who has reserved a table at the event for several years.

Garrott's mother died of lung cancer in 1991, and her family had help from Hospice, the nonprofit organization that provides emotional and spiritual support, and relief from pain to terminally ill people and their families.

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"I couldn't have made it without Hospice," Garrott said.

Teri Leiter was there with her family's business, Leiters' Fine Catering, one of 19 restaurants and vendors who donated their time, skills and food to Taste of the Town. Leiters' was there to give back to a wonderful organization, Leiter said.

"They took care of my family when my father was ill with liver cancer," she said.

Sunday's event was the first for Bonnie Elgin of Hagerstown. Hospice helped her family when her mother was ill two years ago, and Elgin recently completed the six-week training program to be a Hospice volunteer.

Not all of the more than 475 ticket holders at Taste of the Town have had personal experience with Hospice.

Mary Anne and Jerry Kamas of Hagerstown were attending for the fourth time. The food is great, and it's a chance to socialize and support a good cause in the community, Mary Anne Kamas said.

Eileen Beck of Hagerstown was there because she believes Hospice is such a worthy cause, but she also had another reason.

"I didn't want to cook," she said with a laugh.

Although not involved with the organization, she said she was thrilled with the turnout.

The final tally wasn't done Sunday, but Hospice administrative assistant Mary Reid anticipated that ticket sales grossed about $9,000.

Although there wasn't an auction at this year's event, there was a raffle of a quilt, hand-stitched by Jo Lea Faber, whose family has benefited from Hospice services in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. Faber's daughter, Deb Spielman, is a volunteer with Hospice of Washington County Inc.

John Costopoulos, who came aboard as the organization's executive director July 27, has spent some time with volunteers providing Hospice's "special way of caring." The volunteers are there as much for the families as for the terminally ill patients, he said.

He called Hospice's services "old-fashioned" care that's available 24 hours a day.

Carolyn Carder of Hagerstown was attending her first Taste of the Town. She summed up the feelings of many: "Good cause, great event."

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