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Raising the Roof Tours Italy

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For a few hours, 375 enthusiastic attendees could forget about Ohio's weird winter as they were greeted upon arrival by accordionist Bob Orlandi at Weymouth Country Club April 7 for a warm and welcoming "Tour of Italy," the 12th annual "Raising the Roof" dinner and entertainment benefit presented by Medina Creative Housing.

This much-anticipated social event offered an evening brimming with mouth-watering Italian foods, music by The Avanti Band, delightful comedic entertainment by the "Creative Comedy Crew," raffles and gaming opportunities to win exciting prizes, and live and silent auctions featuring impressive items. "Duty-free" shopping featuring MCH coffee, dog biscuits, and more also was available.

The food stations offered Italian varieties of soups, salads, pasta dishes, chicken, fish, and vegetable creations. Following the program, delicious desserts were served family-style at the tables; each table had a beautiful centerpiece created by committee members Diane Isaac and Kris Thomas.

The unique live auction packages gave bidders once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to win: a week in Italy (or anywhere in the world); a week at one of four exciting U.S. destinations; a dinner party for 80; a private party for 10 at the Cleveland Air Show Labor Day Weekend; and a wine-dinner-Alfa Romeo weekend with the winner at the wheel of one of three exciting models that were showcased outside.

The silent auction featured an incredible selection of more than 200 inviting baskets overflowing with items donated by more than 100 individuals and companies, but all the guests were winners. Each received a take-away bag, compliments of MCH, as a way of saying thank you for contributing to the success of the event.

The evening began with a special one-hour VIP Reception for approximately 150 sponsors at the $1,000 level and higher. Sponsorship levels began with: Rome ($10,000), donated by The Criss Family. Milan ($5,000) sponsors were, Holland Management and RPM International Inc.; Naples ($2,500), ABC Therapy, Armstrong Cable, The Betsill Family, In Memory of Jan Logsdon, David and Beth Palmer, and Swagelok.

Florence ($1,000) sponsors were Alliance Solutions Group, Carlson Funeral Homes, Compuchart Copier/Multi-Function and Laser Printer Solutions, Brian and Carole Feron, Ganley Fiat/Alfa Romeo of Bedford, Huntington Bank, Steve and Lisa Knoop, Mark and Lisa Krosse, Medina Evening Rotary, Mid-Continent Construction, PNC Bank, Prime Woodcraft Inc., Romig Agency and Russell Realty, Kathryn and Dino Sciulli, Sweet Lawns, Tober Builders, Westfield Insurance Foundation, and Waite and Son Funeral Homes. There were about 30 sponsors at the Venice (($500) and Vatican City ($250) levels.

Under the strong leadership and guidance of long-time CEO Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty, Medina Creative Housing embraces 16 different entities covering a wide range of activities and programs that enrich and provide brighter futures for individuals with disabilities.

In 2017, the support from this event enabled MCH to serve more than 800 children and adults with disabilities living in their housing and/or participating in programs promoting community integration through Medina Creative Transitions, Life Steps Skills Training Camp and Therapeutic Horseback Riding Programs, the Creative Cafe at Lifeworks at Southwest General Hospital, and the newly built handicapped accessible treehouse.

The proceeds from this year's benefit will help to transform lives as MCH plans to open the Mending Fences Equine Assisted Learning Programs for those with emotional and post traumatic stress disorders, open the Creative Cafe on Grand and Coffee Roastery in the former Medina Creative Pet Play building, and build additional housing units in Medina, Wadsworth, and Middleburg Heights.

The committee members that orchestrated the successful event included Sharon Biggins, Mary Ellen Cameron, Danielle Chance, Kathy Cockrell, DePasquale-Hagerty, James Derry, Tim Hagerty, Diane Isaac, Karen Kadusky, Ashley Korecky, Candance Lutz, Maureen Maxwell, Betty Olah, Elaine Orlandi, Judy Pagura, Diana Riley, Stella Rusek, Traci Sampson, Lauren Scotta, Rose Scotta, Cindy Siepker, Kris Thomas, and Ethan Thompson.

MCH began as a grass roots organization 26 years ago and has remained true to its mission: "To develop quality housing, services and supports to enable individuals with disabilities to live their lives with dignity and opportunity."