Hospital hosts successful annual derby fundraiser

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It was a perfect evening Saturday for the Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Sixth annual Derby Party fundraiser. Festively decorated tables, some complete with Derby Hat centerpieces, were set under a large white tent on the grounds of Southwind Plantation. Many of the women came attired in their best renditions of fancy derby hats.

Guests were welcomed by Dr. Aric Aldridge, who gave a short history on the Memorial Hospital Foundation. Organized by John Simmons and Bill Jones in 1989, the first fundraiser was held in February 1990. 

Since its inception, the Foundation has donated nearly $1.7 million to Memorial Hospital and Manor to be used for equipment purchases and other capital improvements. Items to be purchased this year are a bone densitometer, EKG machines, vita sign monitors and a centralized temperature monitoring system at the hospital.

Those attending had a chance throughout the evening to outbid each other on the variety of silent auction items. In the center of that area was a wheelbarrow filled with potent potables and party supplies from the Olive Grove.

While guests mingled during the social hour and at dinner, The Blues Factor of Tallahassee provided live music.

Nine items were auctioned off during the live auction following dinner.

A pair of Florida Sate University Season Football Tickets on the 50 yard line were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Mike Harrell. An offshore one day fishing trip for four was donated by Dr. and Mrs. Landin Marzolf. Bidders also had some choices for future dinners. Jim and Linda Gisondi’s authentic Italian Dinner for eight and a dinner date for six, complete with chauffeured limo service to Bonefish Grill in Tallahasee. Local artist, Ashley Long and The Frame Shop offered an original painting of Willis Park. A six-gallon Cajun deep fryer with stand from Stone’s Home Centers received a lot of attention.

Southwind Plantation made two spontaneous offers: one for a half-day trail hunt for four and a dinner for 12, with open bar.

Final figures of the amount raised were not available at press time, but according to Jenny Herring, Chair of the Foundation Board, she believes the proceeds were just under $20,000.