“Urbana is like a small town.”
Lisa Giuliani, local realtor and mastermind behind many fundraisers, said it just like that — and I loved the simple way she summed up the vibrant spirit that fuels projects across our portion of Frederick County. “People always want to do something to help,” she said.
She is right. Last month, one baseball team alone collected 43 turkeys, part of the feast provided to 144 needy families for Thanksgiving through the Greater Urbana Area Food Bank. Mountain View Community Church (MVCC) collected 1,816 boxes for Operation Christmas Child last year and currently is tallying up this year’s stash, hoping to come in at more than 2,000.
And our small town has an opportunity to help a Villages of Urbana (VOU) family — Cliff and Rebecca Hageman and their two children, Cassidy, a senior at Urbana High School, and Eli, in eighth grade at Urbana Middle School. In September, Cliff was hit by another driver who was texting on her phone and traveled through three lanes of traffic before striking him; the accident severed his renal artery. Someone at the scene was able to make a tourniquet, saving his life.
Fourteen operations later, Cliff lost his leg.
“Two months in the hospital with 14 operations — you can imagine how big that bill is going to be,” said VOU resident Erik Scheidhauer. “There is nothing worse than losing your leg and going into debt over it. I can’t imagine what they are going through.”
The Hagemans are well loved, said Giuliani, who is also a VOU resident. Rebecca is a beloved fifth-grade teacher at Centerville Elementary School. Cliff is a realtor as well as a baseball coach with the Urbana Recreation Council.
“Cliff had a really good attitude and they have a lot of community support,” Giuliani said, adding that Cliff came home from the hospital in mid November. “They are just really, really nice, good people and people do really want to help them. The bottom line is what they are really going to need is money.”
Towards this end, Scheidhauer, who owns The Lodge Restaurant at the nearby Westview Shopping Center, is hosting a fundraiser on Dec. 23. Ten percent of all evening proceeds goes directly to the family along with 100 percent of the proceeds from silent auctioned items, including a Joe Flacco autographed jersey, a Cal Ripken autograph and rounds of golf at PB Dye and Musket Ridge. In addition, a live auction will take place throughout the evening for tickets to local sporting events. Guest bartenders include locals Lesley Leonard, Kristen Hostler, Sue O’Connor, Teresa Reefe and Jessica Collins; they are all donating their tips to the Hagemans. Live music will be performed by Freddie Long. For more information, contact Scheidhauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301.662.5852.
Next month, Giuliani hosts a fundraiser at the Urbana Fire and Rescue Hall. Slated for Jan. 9 beginning at 7:30 p.m., the evening includes free beer and wine, a silent auction, dessert table, 50/50 drawings throughout the event and more.
“When we did it for the Bedards it was really fun,” Giuliani said, referring to the fundraiser she threw for Urbana High School student Chris Bedard in January 2012, after he lost his left leg to a deadly staphylococcus infection; that event raised $15,000. “It was a really, really good night … everyone was socializing and hanging out with their neighbors.”
The Hageman event includes a $20 donation at the door. For more information, contact Giuliani at email@example.com or call 240.447.5766.
Consider making room in your holiday budget this season for an entrance donation for the January event, grabbing dinner at the Lodge on Dec. 23 — or adopting a family through the Greater Urbana Area Food Bank.
Make note of favorite family memories and send photos and festive article topics to The Town Courier at firstname.lastname@example.org or 240.409.6734. Keep pressing in to make Urbana the small town with fresh, life-giving energy that it’s beloved for. Have a wonderful Christmas!