Thank you to everyone who had a part in making Romance in Venice a spectacular evening!

Thank you to everyone who had a part in making Romance in Venice a spectacular evening!

The 6th MMHF Annual Legacy Event took guests on a gondola ride around the world on February 13.  The Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and Legacy Committee were thrilled with the success of the evening for the 220 guests who attended.

The Phillips County Event Center was transformed to the winding canals of Venice, Italy for this year’s fundraiser.  Guests dressed for the occasion with Dr. Michael Hajek of the Orthopedic Specialty Clinic at MMH and his daughter, Ashley masquerading in beautiful costumes and masks. These two added a very special touch to this grand evening! The Holyoke Marketplace table guests also added a flare to the evening with their costumes.

Gondolas, masks, music, red roses, food, drinks, and dancing made it a night to remember as the community supported our local hospital.  MMHF raised $78,171 during their sixth annual legacy event!  A record number of auction items, both live and silent, as well as table buyers, supporters and volunteers contributed to this grand total.  After event expenses, these funds will be designated for MMH projects and equipment, and MMHF scholarships and operations.

Guests were greeted at the door by gondoliers, Jason and Willie Greenman, before being served drinks and hors d’oeurves during the social hour.  Palpetta (meatballs), cheese bites, and shrimp cocktail served in champagne glasses were enjoyed by all.  Steve Young served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Introductions included Corporate Sponsors, Table Sponsors, Supporters along with the foundation board.  

One of the highlights of the evening was having Trampas Hutches, new MMH CEO, and his wife Elizabeth in attendance.  Trampas spoke to the large crowd and shared his excitement and commitment to be in Holyoke and serving the community. 

A wonderful meal was prepared by Bill and Kristie Pelle of Kristie’s Catering and Allyn Robinson of R & B Catering.  Prior to dinner, Reverend Gary Rahe gave the invocation. Dinner included a mixed spring green salad, beef tenderloin, garlic parmesan whipped potatoes and roasted asparagus.  Dessert  of New York cheesecake with chocolate-dipped strawberries topped off the delicious dinner.  Another high spot of the evening, were the hard-working servers who were hospital employees as well as some friends and family who all volunteered their time for the event. Dressed in black and white with gondolier hats and red sashes added another dimension of Venice along with great service!

While dining, guests were serenaded with music with an Italian flavor by Heather Lerdal of Merino and Joe Hall of Amherst.  Beautiful music filled the Venice streets with Lerdal on violin and Hall on mandolin as they played at every table. 

A live auction was held after dinner with 31 auction items being up for bid.  These 31 auction items made 2016’s lineup the largest in Legacy Event history. Auctioneer Lloyd Michael Jr. of Michael Auction Service added an element of comedy to the auction portion of the evening with guests being very generous for this fundraiser.  Bank of Colorado’s Brian Gales added an element of surprise to the evening donating a second set of Denver Nugget tickets during the auction.

The auction concluded with the selling of six gondolier spots for the gondola race game.  Hospital CFO Jason McCormick joined Trampas Hutches to throw dice to see how many spots the gondoliers would move up and down the Venice canal.  Mike Woodhead, the gondolier representing the Woodhead/Killin crew, made it to the finish line first.  The foundation board is most grateful to the generous bidders raising $20,305 in this part of the Romance in Venice evening.

Guests also enjoyed bidding on 31 silent auction items consisting of Holyoke Dragon stadium seats to jewelry to hair styling products.  $3,349 was raised through the silent auction!  Thank you donors!

The raffle drawing was held at the conclusion of the auction for a trip of the winner’s choice to Mexico, Canada or New York.  Healthcare Services Group had the winning ticket, and in their generosity and continued support, donated the trip back to MMHF to be auctioned for additional funds!  The foundation board is extremely grateful for HSG’s generosity! 

The evening of romance was capped off with a dance and photo booth by MC Entertainment.

MMHF is already looking forward to the 2017 Legacy Event and a new theme.  Romance in Venice has joined the wonderful memories of 2011’s Mardi Gras, 2012’s Western Splendor, 2013’s Roaring ‘20’s, 2014’s Run for the Roses and 2015’s James Bond 007.



MMHF Board of Directors:  Linda Alberts, Diana Baeza, Paula Carper, Andrea Calhoon, Jessie Ruiz Jr., Eric Shrum, and Steve Young.   Nancy Colglazier, Executive Director


MMHF Legacy Event Committee:  Steve and Kim Young – Co-ChairsLinda Alberts, Diana Baeza, Ardie Besse, Brenda Brandt, Andrea Calhoon, and Nancy Colglazier.


Servers:  We appreciate YOU!  THANK YOU!Christina Banaka (Head Server), Daniela Baeza, Diana Baeza, Olga Baeza, Sharon Bernard, John Durbin, Jason Greenman, Sharon Greenman, Willie Greenman, Bailey Hamaker, Bob Heldenbrand, Dr. Dennis Jelden, Lori McWilliams, Sharon McWilliams, Mel Montalbano, Kelsey Salimi, Jag Santas, Kristin Schueler, Kurt Schueler, Jenifer Wernsman, and Cindy Wilbur.