AngelaHuston@zoominternet.net   CRHuston@zoominternet.net

For a little while, the 165 people attending the March 16 HANDS Foundation Sing Into Spring gala at Weymouth County Club claimed to be at least a little bit Irish. The successful St. Patrick's Day celebration offered guests good food and entertainment along with many opportunities to support the Foundation with a variety of enticing raffles.

Board member Ryan Carlson served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. In his opening comments he told the audience prior to his involvement, he had no concept of how much HANDS does for seniors in the community. Since then he has learned first hand of its many programs, and he strongly encouraged people to support and spread the word to others so the programs could continue and even more seniors could be served.

HANDS Foundation Board President Christine Waller shared a bit more about the organization's mission and how it is carried out. In addition to delivering a free bimonthly newspaper with news and notes specifically directed to the senior population in the county, the Foundation regularly provides bags of fresh produce, and grants Senior Wishes.

In the past year, more than 100 wishes were granted, assisting with such essential needs as new appliances and home repairs, to enabling grandparents to travel to see a grandchild graduate in another state.

Waller extended special thanks to the Brunswick Eagles, who have been staunch supporters of HANDS since its inception more than 20 years ago. On behalf of the Eagles, Dan Logan presented yet another $5,000 check to Waller for the Foundation.

Honorary HANDS Board member and past president Dan Ihrig had the privilege of presenting a plaque of appreciation to his daughter Kathy, event chair and active supporter/contributor on behalf of the Foundation's work, saying fondly, "I'm very proud of you."

Cindie Schneider, former Executive Director of the Foundation for 17 years, proudly presented a special plaque to 25-year board member Joe Hanna, who was recognized for his devotion to the Foundation's mission for which, Schneider said, "he lives and breathes." He is, deservedly, in the Foundation's Hall of Fame. The surprised Hanna humbly thanked everyone for the honor, and also said, "I thank God for the ability to serve."

Linda Samosky delivered a prayer and an old Irish blessing before guests enjoyed the Irish-themed buffet dinner.

Among the many ways guests could have fun and possibly win money or baskets while supporting the Foundation's cause were by purchasing sideboard tickets, and bidding on themed silent auction baskets and a wheelbarrow overflowing with exciting items valued at $1,000. Each guest also received a printed postcard upon arrival that could be used to grant a senior wish.

For $20, guests could take a chance on the pot of gold that guaranteed the winner at least $500 in cash plus the possibility of more from the scratch-off cards that were also in the pot. One lucky guest's name was drawn for the door prize of $1,000.

The festive evening concluded with lively music for listening and dancing performed by Mary's Lane Irish Band.

The event's presenting sponsors were Plum Creek Senior Assisted Living Community, Community Energy Advisors, Brunswick Smile Keepers, and Stifel. The list of many more additionally generous sponsors was very long.