Published Wednesday, March 1, 2023

We did it!! I am proud to say we were finally able to host our 50th Anniversary Gala without any weather, pandemic, or unexpected conflicts. Held at our events center, the BEV (Barney E. Veal Center) on the Osceola Council on Aging (OCOA) campus, the event went off without a hitch.

The formal evening, with nearly 300 guests included several dignitaries, OCOA employees and family members (both past and present), long term supporters and volunteers. We also were pleased to welcome an array of local and state politicians along with our many friends from both the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department and Kissimmee Police Department.

In perfect stride, the evening kicked off with a cocktail hour where guests shopped amongst an expansive array of silent auction items. Offerings included art, trips, theatre tickets, clothing and accessories, wine packages, theme park opportunities, private chef dinners, jewelry, and multiple gift baskets.

A tasteful dinner followed, and live auctions pursued for a trip to Italy and a private dinner with our Meals on Wheels Head Chef, Mario Reyes. Music for the evening was performed by Noire Productions.

The evening was a wonderful celebration of multiple initiatives. The program highlighted the story of where the OCOA began more than 50 years ago; our work, challenges, where we have fought, persevered, and exceeded beyond our wildest imaginations. It was an evening full of amazing accolades to this community and the resolve of individuals who have supported this organization for decades. I was humbled to see so many who truly care about our organizations work. The evening also reflected the overwhelming support from our community, which allows us to serve, feed, and often times, financially support thousands of individuals in the Osceola community.

I would again like to thank our presenting sponsor, Goosehead Insurance. Other sponsors include IBEK and Toho Water Authority. With their support and the multiple fundraising initiatives connected to this event, we raised nearly $230,000. I want to also mention Walt Disney World, who granted us a generous donation of $150,000. In addition, the silent auction raised more than $7,200. Besides our presenting sponsors, we had an additional ten event sponsors and 17 table sponsors.

In summary, this guest column is about my wholehearted gratitude to everyone who helped make this event an amazing evening full of success. Our goal has, and always will be, to support our seniors, the disabled, and disadvantaged members of our community. The outpouring of support from everyone in attendance was truly remarkable, and a privilege to experience.

As a nonprofit organization, events like our 50th Anniversary Gala are crucial in helping us further our mission for community members in need.I thank everyone who was present, and those who could not attend but were there in spirit, for your ongoing support for this astounding organization.

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