Entertainment for the Paris Community Hospital’s annual dinner was a USO Show with performers, from left, Gene England, Tanner Laughlin, Peg Dixon and Doug Hasler. The entertainment was conceived, written and directed by Jane Blair. The dinner was held Saturday in Eveland Gym. (Photo by Barbara Kendall)

Dinner raises funds for X-ray

A sellout crowd honored America’s veterans and a doctor who gave 38 years of service to the Edgar County community during the second Paris Community Hospital dinner Saturday at Eveland Gym.

Under the direction of Cindy Belt and an active committee of 17 other members, this year’s theme was “Always Remember, Never Forget.” Proceeds from the event, attended by 240 local and area residents, will be used to purchase x-ray equipment for the new EZ Care Clinic currently under construction just south of Paris on Route 1.

Belt said the theme for the evening was “a natural” because the second Saturday in November — the traditional date of the hospital dinner event presented by the Friends of the Hospital — fell on Veterans Day.

While there were several poignant moments in the evening, one was the toast honoring the late Leland Phipps, M.D., who died suddenly this year. Led by hospital board chairman Nolan Longest, Belt noted Phipps encouraged her to revive the yearly fundraising dinner event. “He made the first reservation every year,” Belt noted. “We knew he would only support something that was going to be successful and that gave us confidence in reviving the event.”

Phipps’ wife, Carol, and son, Michael, were special guests at this year’s event. Matthew Gibb, M.D., interventional cardiologist and visiting specialist at the Paris hospital for a number of years and good friend of Phipps, now serves are Carle’s executive vice-president and System Chief Medical Officer.

Gibbs announced a new Dr. Leland Phipps Memorial Scholarship on behalf of the Carle Foundation. The plaque, to be displayed at Paris Community Hospital, states, “Time will never erase the work you have accomplished and the lives you have positively affected.” The Phipps Memorial Scholarship will be presented annually to a hospital employee for the furthering of their education.

The entertainment for the evening was a USO show featuring retired Indiana State University English professor Gene England as Bob Hope. England portrayed legendary Paris coach Ernie Eveland at last year’s event.

Written by committee member Jane Blair, who also directed the production, the show featured three Paris performers — Peg Dixon, Doug Hasler and Tanner Laughlin.

Blair, who did extensive research into USO shows through the years, incorporated two letters, two poems and a postcard from soldiers in the performance. Included was a special tribute to Paris native Shawna Morrison, a member of the 1544th Transportation Company, who was killed in the line of duty. Morrison sent a postcard to her parents during her service in Operation Iraqi Freedom which was shared by her mother, Cindy Morrison.

A letter from the late Lt. A.H. Conrad to his mother in Terre Haute before he made his final jump during World War II was shared through the Vigo County Historical Society. A letter from Sgt. Howard W. Gillespy to Paris residents Enos Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards and Lucille, was shared by Mr. and Mrs. Greg McHenry. Two poems written by the late Danny Todd of Paris were also shared, thanks to Todd’s cousin, Larry Carrell of Paris. Todd served in the U.S. Air Force in Viet Nam.

The Paris American Legion Post 211 Color Guard of Commander Jim Robison, Rick Brennan, auxiliary president Dianne Boyer and senior vice commander Jim Viebrock, presented the colors.

Special music was provided by the Crossroads Brass of Terre Haute. Decorations included a huge American flag hung behind the USO stage by the Paris Fire Department. An ice sculpture by Indiana Ice Studio of Daleville, Ind., depicted raising the flag on Iwo Jima during World War II. The Paris VFW and Ted Lang of Paris loaned wooden cutouts of soldiers and sailors for the event.

Paris High School Coach Shawn Nugent and members of the basketball team once again provided coat check, valet parking and escorts for attendees. Basketball players J.T. Johnson, Mason Hutchings and Dustin Creech as well as Annalise Littleton played soldiers. Other players were dressed in soldier and sailor uniforms, thanks to Grand Ball Costume and more of Charleston.

Belt said special decorations for the gym were planned and carried out by Roseann Moss.

Belt said it was also important the basketball players and high school students be guests of the dinner. “We wanted them to be treated as guests and served a formal dinner as a life experience,” she explained.

Paris Mayor Craig Smith served as master of ceremonies. Hospital CEO and president Ollie Smith welcomed those attending and recognized special guests including Yaniv Cozacov, general surgeon, who will be joining the hospital in 2018.

Members of the planning committee included Amanda Martin, Angel Templeton, Ann Staats, Beth Graham, Carolyn Sutton, Carolyn Brown Hodge, Christie Russell, Deena Hasler, Jane Blair, Kim Macke, Peg Giesler, Roseann Moss, Ruth Ann Sheehy, Ruth Anne Smith, Susan Bell, Susi Willis and Tracy Quinn Porter.

Belt said the committee is already working on next year’s theme, 1940s and Big Band, set Nov. 10, 2018.

The Prairie Press

101 Central Avenue Paris, IL 61944