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.”

 

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