Once more, the Stardust Ballroom at Blue Chip Casino played host to an outpouring of support and appreciation for Opportunity Enterprises, as Delta Theta Tau and other organizations gathered to support the local institution.
In her last year as President and CEO of Opportunity Enterprises, Ellen DeMartinis was emotional in speaking about the community support that OE has seen during her time at the helm.
“For our individuals to achieve their dreams and their goals, they need help. They need the support of the community, and our community is so supportive in every way,” DeMartinis said. “Whether it’s helping them with job placement, or through volunteering or using our Secure Shred service for their document destruction, or purchasing something from our Simply Amazing Market, these are all just different ways that our community supports us throughout the year. Tonight is our way of saying thank you, and letting them know just how important that support is.”
“The funds that we receive from the state doesn’t come close to what we need,” DeMartinis said. “We have about 25% of our budget that we need to raise on our own, to cover just our basic services. This event, and others like it, help to support our other programs, our art programs, computer programs, doing volunteer work out in the community. Events like tonight are what makes that all possible.”
Made possible through the generous sponsorship of local companies such as Chester Inc, NIPSCO, Centier Bank, 1st Source Bank, In Touch Pharmaceuticals, Precision Controls, BMO Harris Bank, Oak Partners, Steel Cities Steel, The Times Media Company, New Age Telecom, Qubit Networks, and many others, the event raised nearly $270,000. It featured both silent and live auctions, offering everything from wine packages to vacations and sports tickets. Once again, the evening featured a gourmet dinner and an open bar. Live music was provided by The Connexion Band.
Rick Urschel, President and CEO of Urschel Laboratories, returned once more to emcee the event.
“They invited me back again,” Urschel said, laughing. “They just keep calling, so I keep doing it.”
“This year is special because Ellen is retiring and I think that a lot of people are hoping that we can send her off with a bang. We’re hoping that the money raised tonight will make a lasting impact, and we’ll also have a few surprises tonight during the auction. It should be a terrific night all around.”
Ashley Rice of Wanatah was happy to show her support for Opportunity Enterprises and for the Chumbley family, who were scheduled to be honored at the event.
“I grew up about a mile away from Opportunity Enterprises, but the first time I really learned about it was through the Chumbleys,” Rice said. “I’ve known the family since I was in grade school. We go to the same church. So, when we found out about this event, we just really wanted to come here and show our love and support for Alyssa and Sam and their family as they are recognized here tonight.”
Urschel, Rice, and everyone in attendance recognized the important work OE does in Northwest Indiana, and how vital the support they receive is.
“They serve just about a thousand clients. Having something like that right here in our community is just wonderful for families who need assistance for those individuals who have disabilities,” Urschel said. “Often, the families don’t have the time or the resources to do it. Having an organization like OE makes such a difference and we’re happy to help them any way we can.”
For more information about Opportunity Enterprises, Inc. please visit www.oppent.org.