A chic, deep-blue velvet hat setting off her blue eyes, Sharon Penater sits next to her husband, Dr. Frank Penater, in the conference room of Blue Mountain Health System's Gnaden Huetten campus. Behind the couple are dice as big as apartment-size refrigerators, big replicas of fifty and one hundred dollar bills, and a flashy red casino sign.
The hospital system's 16th Annual Casino Night Gala is coming up on April 20, and the Penaters will be the event's honored guests.
The couple have supported the black-tie dinner dance for many years; Sharon was a member of the original planning committee.
"I've been on the organizational end of the gala for many years, and now that Frank and I have been asked to be honorees, I'm on the other side of the fence," said Sharon Penater. "It's very exciting, and I think it's going to be a wonderful night."
Dr. Frank Penater joined the hospital in June 1986, and joined the emergency room in 1987. Recently, he has "retired," but still works in a BMHS affiliated urgent care center.
"If I keep moving, I won't rust," he said with a smile.
The gala will be held again this year at the elegant Woodstone Country Club in Danielsville, Northampton County. This year, the theme is "Rat Pack," evoking memories of the suave, devil-may-care 1960s crooners Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.; actor Peter Lawford; and comedian Joey Bishop.
The evening promises to hold fun and games, along with fine food and many chances to carry home a new prized possession.
"Our medical staff, all of our directors, and our vendors come together in an evening, and make it a really special night," said BMHS director of Fund Development Joseph Guardiani. "We're just so glad to be able to say thank you to Dr. and Mrs. Penater."
Guardiani described the event as "our cornerstone fundraiser. Our goal is to raise $100,000."
The money will be used to complete Blue Mountain's years-long project to redecorate rooms in both Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton hospitals and The Summit at Blue Mountain Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
"We've been doing a grueling room-to-room renovation project at all three of our facilities," Guardiani said. "We are finally in the last phases of that. We're hoping that at the end of this fiscal year we will have completed the bulk of the renovations."
He asked the community to help the event by contributing sponsorships or items for a silent auction or raffle.
Invitations have been sent, but anyone who wants one can call (610) 377-7183, or send Guardiani an email message at email@example.com .