By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Roll the dice and let the gaming…yes, “gaming”…begin. Friday evening, April 22, it’s happening, Baby–”Las Vegas Night” at Brookdale at Maplewood on Rt. 50 east of Bridgeport.
Brookdale, a senior living facility, is hosting its popular casino-themed fundraiser to benefit Health Access, Inc. for the 12th year. The event will feature food, gaming, other entertainment and a silent auction.
A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. with scrumptious heavy hors d’oeuvres and a fruits-and-chocolate fountain, reports James Harris, Executive Director of Health Access. A buffet dinner will start at 6 p.m., and will include a prime rib carving station, crab legs with jumbo shrimp, stuffed hot and sweet peppers, a pasta bar, garlic-roasted potatoes, home-style green beans, chef’s blend of vegetables and a salad station. And…for dessert…mini cheese cakes and tiramisu.Yum.
“It’s always a very wonderful buffet,” Harris stated.
As for beverages…iced tea and other soft drinks will be available, along with a cash bar stocked with various wines and beers,
While people are feasting on the delicious food, they will also be treated to great music provided by the Robert C. Byrd High School Jazz Ensemble.
“They are very, very talented young people, and we are very delighted to have them as our entertainment for the dinner,” Harris remarked.
Of course, at a Las Vegas-themed event, a mainstay of the entertainment is the faux gaming-gaming that’s not real but just for fun, explained Harris. “It’s all just entertainment.”
Elite Casino Events will provide the games and personnel. “They are the preeminent company in the state for this type of event,” Harris said. “They have been professionals in the gaming industry. They’re very entertaining and engaging folks. They make it fun.”
Harris said they will even teach those attending many basics of gaming. “You can learn how to place a wager and be successful,” he said, smiling.
Those attending will receive $500 in gaming chips to play with. They’re included, along with the gourmet buffet, two drink tickets, the dinner music and access to the silent auction, with the ticket price of $30 per person.
People may purchase their tickets at Brookdale or Health Access. To learn more about the event, call (304) 622-2708 or visit www.healthaccess.org.
People may browse the many Silent Auction items before it begins to get an idea of what they’d like to bid on.
“We have a great assortment – gift baskets, golf items, appliances and much more that both businesses and individuals have generously donated,” Harris noted. “We encourage people to come and bring their checkbooks. It’s for a great cause.”
The cause and need really IS great. Health Access, a non-profit organization, serves the medical needs of uninsured and under-insured low-income residents of Harrison and Doddridge counties. The agency helps by providing them access to primary care, prescription medications and hospital services at no cost through a patient-centered medical home model of care.
Harris stated that they are glad the agency is an integral part of helping the people in the counties they serve and that the monies raised at the Las Vegas Night will play a big role in achieving that.
“This and our other fund-raising events enable us to continue the mission of providing these necessary medical services to those in need,” he said.
Of Health Access’ annual budget of just under $500,000, the Las Vegas Night events each bring in about $13,000, Harris reports. Other fundraisers throughout the year bring in about $12,000 collectively. “This is by far our largest fundraiser,” Harris stated.
Most of the rest of the agency’s budget is funded through some state grants, The Harrison County Commission, the United Way of Harrison County, the United Hospital Center Foundation, the City of Clarksburg, the Doddridge County Commission and Dominion Resources, Harris said.
“It’s a nice event for folks to come and enjoy a fun environment, good food, good music and the gaming,” Harris exclaimed.
BB&T is the title sponsor for the event.