Country at Heart

“Country at Heart” helps pair of area charities



By Ron Giofu


A sold-out crowd of 250 people attended the second “Country at Heart” fundraiser with two area charities being the beneficiaries.

The Fight Like Mason Foundation and the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation will be the recipients of the funds raised at Saturday night’s event at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, with the whole evening being presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team.

Gemus said that 100 per cent of what was raised is going to charity. He added that $23,000 was raised at the 2017 event and he is expecting at least that much, if not more, in 2018.

The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team used to have a charity yard sale annually but the manpower to operate it became too much. They changed their focus and decided to present a gala event, only one where they could enjoy themselves and remain casual at the same time. Since many on the team enjoy country music, “Country at Heart” was born.

Ashley Lynn and the Spurs were the headline performers at Saturday night’s “Country at Heart” fundraiser at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. It was presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team.

“We decided to do something that doesn’t call for us to dress up,” said Gemus.

Throughout the years, Gemus said they tried to direct their fundraising towards charities that don’t get as much attention as larger causes. The Windsor Regional Cancer Centre Foundation helped use funds towards renovating a third-floor ICU waiting room at the Met Campus, with that floor not getting as much fundraising dollars as other areas of the hospital, Gemus explained.

The Fight Like Mason Foundation, he added, is a newer charity that is helping to fight childhood cancer in memory of Mason Bacon-Macri. Mason’s parents Iain Macri and Chantelle Bacon founded the charity in Mason’s name after he died in June 2016 at the age of four.

“What (the Fight Like Mason Foundation) is doing is absolutely amazing,” said Gemus.

Iain said they vowed to Mason before he died that they would continue to fight childhood cancer and one of the ways they are doing it is through “power poles,” which are IV poles decorate with superhero themes. The “power poles,” whether they be used in the hospital or at home, are designed to help children with cancer feel at ease.

Bacon added that despite being a registered charity for a little less than one year, the Fight Like Mason Foundation has raised almost $150,000.

Attendees at “Country at Heart” dance to the music of Adam Butcher last Saturday night. The event was presented by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team and held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Richard Vennettilli, president of the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation, praised Gemus and his team for their efforts, noting the third-floor waiting room at the Met Campus wouldn’t have been renovated without proceeds from “Country at Heart.”

“He’s been doing amazing work,” Vennettilli said of Gemus.

Gisele Seguin, director of philanthropy at Windsor Regional Hospital, added “it’s wonderful what you are doing for patients and families.”

The evening featured a barbecue meal featuring ribs, chicken, potatoes and other “grub,” a dessert bar and musical performances by Adam Butcher and Ashley Lynn and the Spurs.

First annual “Country at Heart” fundraiser sells out


By Jolene Perron


While the crowd at Sprucewood may have shown up with a little dirt on their boots Saturday night, they certainly danced the dust right off at the first annual Country at Heart event raising money for Windsor Regional Hospital’s ICU unit.

Each year, the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team holds a fundraiser for the Windsor Regional Hospital ICU unit. Gemus’ wife Nicole is an ICU nurse, and he said there are many galas raising money for different parts of the hospital on a regular basis, and they do amazing things. However, he said the ICU is one unit that doesn’t get as much support as the other areas of the hospital.

Ashley Lynn & The Spurs perform at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery as part of Saturday night’s “Country at Heart” fundraiser event. Proceeds went to Windsor Regional Hospital’s ICU unit.

Ashley Lynn & The Spurs perform at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery as part of Saturday night’s “Country at Heart” fundraiser event. Proceeds went to Windsor Regional Hospital’s ICU unit.

“The last three years, the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team hosted a charity yard sale and we loved it, it was a huge success, so much so that it outgrew us,” said Gemus. “Over the last three years, we raised over $25,000 with that charity yard sale. The issue was that it was so labor intensive and required 300 plus man hours per year to make it all happen so we looked for something that was different, that didn’t take as much time from the team.”

Gemus said the idea of a gala came about, but he strived to do something different, something more relaxed and a bit more fun. Being country music fans themselves, they decided to throw a country hoedown at Sprucewood, where Gemus and his wife already had good rapport, having been married at the winery in 2009. Sprucewood’s brand new event hall was even more perfect, already showcasing their country theme, and in support of the event, Sprucewood offered a reduced rate to help the team raise more money with less overhead costs.

“We sold out at 250, that’s what the venue holds, that’s the one thing that we were afraid of, the buzz of the event was huge from the get go and so we knew there would only be select tickets and what can you do, you have to cap it somewhere,” said Gemus. “We had people lined up to come in tonight, and we’re hoping that next year we can do this again. We’re already planning Country at Heart 2018.”

Janice Dawson, vice president of critical care and cardiology at Windsor Regional Hospital attended the event Saturday night, and was very impressed.

The “Country at Heart” fundraiser, held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, was organized by the Dan Gemus Real Estate team.

The “Country at Heart” fundraiser, held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, was organized by the Dan Gemus Real Estate team.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have Dan Gemus and his team, and all the sponsors tonight over the past few years, do some events and be able to contribute to the hospital,” said Dawson. “It is very much appreciated and is just a fantastic thing that they’re doing. The event is fantastic, it’s such a fun atmosphere, it’s very casual, I can see everyone is having a great time. The food was fantastic and I’m looking forward to coming for the next few years.”
Dawson explained the contributions raised Saturday would be going towards refurbishing the critical care program’s ICU waiting area at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Metropolitan campus. It will allow the families of patients to be able to rest in a more comfortable waiting area and be able to regroup and get away from some of the more stressful things they are experiencing with their loved ones being in the critical care unit.

Gemus said since the day he started his real estate career in 2009 with Remax, to the day he and his team moved on to open their own business in the heart of Amherstburg, and even during the purchase of Duby’s Home Centre in January 2016, the community has always been so supportive and they want to do anything and everything to give the support back.

“It’s been so much work leading up to it, and it’s always stressful, with the planning and everything but lucky for us, my wife and Lisa took care of a lot of the organization tonight, the decorating was all them,” said Gemus. “It all came together really nicely. Everyone is having a ball, everyone is loving it which is huge, and we’ve already got lots of ideas for next year.”


Local real estate office giving back through country concert



By RTT Staff


A local real estate office is giving back to the Windsor-Essex County community through a country music concert in April.

The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team is hosting “Country at Heart,” featuring the music of Adam Butcher as well as Ashley Lynn & The Spurs. It will be held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery April 22.

“The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team is always looking to give back to the community that’s been so great to us,” explained Gemus. “The last three years, our team hosted a huge indoor charity yard sale. Those events raised over $25,000 over those three years. But, as fun as those events were on the day of the sales, people didn’t see the hundreds and hundreds of man hours spent by the members of our team to collect and organize the items. The team had even purchased a tractor trailer to help store the collections!”

Dan Gemus concert

Gemus said after much discussion, the team decided to change focus this year to an event that would raise even more funds and not require as many man hours along the way.

Thus, the “Country At Heart” event was born!

“We all love supporting the large charity galas throughout the year. Our goal for this event was not only to have that large event but to have more of a relaxed party feel,” said Gemus. “’Country at Heart’ is basically a large country bash! Jeans and cowboy boots are encouraged! Chicken and ribs will be served off of a 22-foot barbecue grill. It will also feature a backed potato bar, smores bar, candy table and tons more!”

Gemus added: “We have an amazing group of super caring members on the Dan Gemus Team. Everyone is always looking to lend a helping hand anytime we hear of someone in need. Hosting a yearly event is something that we all look forward to every year!”

The real estate team decided to donate its proceeds from the concert to the Windsor Regional Hospital intensive care unit because “we were looking to support a cause that touched as many lives as possible. We also wanted a cause that didn’t have any other large fundraiser events hosted for it on a regular basis. My wife Nicole also happens to be an RN in the ICU department. The unit is always looking for extra equipment etc. We thought it was a worthwhile cause!”

Butcher will play an acoustic set during the VIP sponsor cocktail portion along with the first hour or so of the regular event. Later in the evening Ashley Lynn & The Spurs will headline the party.

“They’ll have everyone up and dancing on their feet all night long!” said Gemus.

Sprucewood has room for 250 guests and Gemus said it is anticipated the event will sell out soon after tickets go on sale to the public March 6. He said guests are expected from all over Windsor-Essex County.

“We would like to thank all of our amazing sponsors. This event couldn’t have happened without every single one of them,” Gemus added. “We started planning this event knowing we were working with a very aggressive timeline for this first annual event. The sponsors stepped up in a huge way and it’s so much appreciated!”

If anyone is interested in sponsoring the event or wanting more information they can call the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team at 519-566-5565 or visit the event website at