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Event raises $90,000 for prenatal health care

April 22, 2002|BY ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

After a pregnant pause, Barry Nickelsberg announced how much money this year's Crystal Ball raised in the name of prenatal health care: $90,000.

A round of hearty applause rippled through the room.

"From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that kind of success," said Nickelsberg, executive director of development, community relations and marketing for Washington County Health System Inc., the parent company of Washington County Hospital.

The Crystal Ball, now in its eighth year, continues to top itself. The event raised $82,000 last year and $75,000 the previous year for the Child Advocacy Center, which serves abused and neglected children.

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A 10 percent gain each year is difficult, but organizers will keep trying, Nickelsberg said.

The theme for this year's Crystal Ball, held at Fountain Head Country Club, was "An Evening of Colonial Hospitality."

The most Colonial aspect of the evening was the company and conversation of John Douglas Hall as James Madison and Katherine Spivey as Dolley Madison.

Both re-enactors stayed true to character. Asked to spell her name, Spivey said, "It's Dolley," then spelled it, stressing the "e."

Jaared Arosemena and the band Galaxy played music as men in tuxedos and women in gowns dined on spinach leaves with grilled sliced duck, stuffed quail with quinoa and lightly smoked beef with tenderloin fillet.

White-gloved sommeliers poured a 2000 Zinfandel and a 1999 Chardonnay.

James Hamill, president and chief executive officer of Washington County Health System, said he was "delighted" by last year's Crystal Ball, his first, and this one seemed better.

The event was officially sold out.

"There's just no more room in the room," Nickelsberg said, gesturing toward the crowd. "We turned 30 people away."

The proceeds were based on 280 tickets sold at $125 apiece, plus corporate sponsorships.

The announced proceeds did not include results of a silent auction held under a white tent outside. Prizes ranged from a 12-pack of Pinnacle golf balls to a case of fresh pineapples to dinner for 12 prepared by the Washington County Hospital development staff.

Money raised at the Crystal Ball will help Washington County Hospital's prenatal services in conjunction with the Healthy Families of Washington County program at the H.W. Murphy Community Health Center at Walnut Street.

Healthy Families is described as "a free, voluntary, home-visitation parenting program that empowers first-time families to give children the best beginning in life."

"Everything from the time a woman learns she's pregnant until she delivers is prenatal care," Nickelsberg said. "Hundreds of women lack prenatal care."

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