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Volunteers Plan 13th Hospital Gala
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 • Posted June 17, 2009

Friends of the Hospital volunteers know there’s a lot at stake, and they’re not wasting time.

Gala XIII will be Oct. 17 at Wildseed Farms to benefit future patients at Hill Country Memorial Hospital (HCMH) who suffer from vein, artery and heart disease.

Gala volunteers are poised to make a difference by raising money to upgrade the current hospital catheterization lab and build a second one to diagnose heart complications and treat vascular disorders.

Out of the total $3.3 million price tag for two state-of-the-art catheterization labs, the group has volunteered to raise $400,000 in the biennial Friends of the Hospital Gala and defray total costs to help ensure local catheterization care for the future.

Volunteer chairmen are James and Estela Avery. Honorary chairmen are Rhonda and José A. Lopez, M.D., from Cancer Care Centers of South Texas. Co-chairmen are Danny and Renee Sechrist.

Jon Crenwelge, of Crenwelge Motors, is the entertainment chairman. He has scheduled Duck Soup from Austin to play Rock and R&B for the estimated 1,000 gala attendees. A benefit drawing, underwriting opportunities, silent auction, general donations and tickets priced at $150 each will generate catheterization lab funding. The gala will begin at 7 p.m. and run until 1 a.m.

Annette and Bill Tilley have teamed with Carol Ann Shepherd as dinner chairmen. Together, they have arranged for Sterling Affairs to serve buffet style entrees including rosemary garlic rack of lamb, medallions of beef tenderloin, tomato scampi shrimp, grilled portabella mushrooms and maple glazed quail. Desserts include miniature chocolate torte, cheesecake tarts, tiramisu parfait and lemon meringue tarts.

For those wishing to attend a daytime social, the brunch, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., is a mid-morning gala tradition. This year’s brunch attendees will enjoy a butterfly release and groove to the 40’s style swing and 50’s rock and roll of Raggedy Cats while savoring delicacies from Delicious Details. Brunch tickets are $50 each.

Five-dollar benefit drawing tickets are currently being sold for a chance at winning up to $5,000 the night of gala. A winner will be drawn for a $2,500 HEB gift card first, and a winner for a $2,500 debit card will be drawn second. Ticket purchasers do not have to be present to win.

The volunteer underwriting committee, led by local family practice physician James Partin, MD, is striving to take an ambitious bite out of the overall goal by raising $300,000 before the 13th hospital gala begins. Underwriting opportunities start at $350.

“The success of our hospital and this campaign is a reflection of the generosity in our community,” Dr. Partin said. “I know how important these cath labs are and I’m glad to help.”

Anne Weinheimer and Susie Thompson, co-chairs of the auction committee, have also experienced a public outpouring of generosity for the catheterization labs. Items already donated include: “Menu to Music” dinner for six with harpist donated by Barrett & Evelyn Burns; three-mile ride on a Sherman tank with tickets to a reenactment at the Nimitz Museum, donated by Fred Kager and the National Museum of the Pacific War Living History Program; and four choice tickets to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo with VIP parking pass and access to the Terrace Club in the AT&T Center donated by Norm and Chris Nevins, attorneys.

To purchase gala, brunch and benefit drawing tickets, call the HCMH Foundation office at (830) 997-1297 or go online to and click on make a donation.

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