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Zoological Society’s fundraiser salutes area outreach

Pictured above:  BarringtHills resident Kate Ahern 2012 “Whirl” Chair Susan Ahern Ally Ahern Joe Ahern pose with cheetah. |

Pictured above: Barrington Hills resident Kate Ahern, 2012 “Whirl” Chair Susan Ahern, Ally Ahern and Joe Ahern pose with a cheetah. | Submitted

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Updated: July 25, 2012 6:31AM

The Women’s Board of the Chicago Zoological Society, in partnership with the Society’s Board of Trustees, hosted the 31st annual “Whirl at Brookfield Zoo” on April 21. The theme for this year’s black tie fundraiser was “It’s a Wonderful Whirl” and highlighted the Society’s legacy of animal care, compassion and conservation.

The gala, which drew more than 700 business and civic leaders from the Chicago area, began with cocktails. During that time, guests had the unique opportunity to get up close and mingle with a variety of amazing exotic creatures, including a flamingo, bald eagle, fennec fox, penguin, llama, red-tailed hawk, great-horned owl and lynx from both Brookfield Zoo and Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

A three-course dinner catered by Food for Thought and dancing to the music of Maggie Speaks followed in the Grand Tent, which was brilliantly decorated in a tiger theme by The Flower Firm.

Prior to dinner, guests were treated to a special appearance by a cheetah, courtesy of Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Among those getting a closer look were Barrington Hills resident Kate Ahern, the 2012 “Whirl” chair Susan Ahern, Ally Ahern and Joe Ahern.

Additionally, children whose lives have benefited from programs supported by the Chicago Zoological Society made brief comments. Guests supported the Society by participating in a paddle raise, raffle and live auction in which there was a chance to win fabulous prizes.

Proceeds from this year’s Whirl, which grossed more than $1.3 million, will support the animals at Brookfield Zoo as well as the Chicago Zoological Society’s conservation and education programs. The Women’s Board of the Chicago Zoological Society supports community outreach such as school sponsorships and provides financial assistance for animal care, conservation programs and special projects. This board has supported Brookfield Zoo since 1992, and its membership of approximately 85 women represents the entire Chicago area.

The Chicago Zoological Society inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Society is a private non-profit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for Brookfield Zoo’s innovative, naturalistic, multi-species exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation.

Among guests enjoying the evening were: Betsy Bramson of Barrington, Cookie Cohen of Wayne, Nicholas and Kathleen Amatangelo of Barrington Hills, Christian and Michael McGrath, president and CEO of McGrath Lexus, and Eddie Arruza, host/correspondent of WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” to name a few.

For more information regarding the zoo, call 708-688-8400.

Alexian Brothers Gala

With a full moon shining over Lake Michigan and hot air balloons afloat in the Grand Ballroom, the Alexian Brothers “Ball de Fleur” lived up to its uplifting expectations on May 5. The Alexian Brothers Foundation, headquartered in Arlington Heights, hosted the philanthropic gala at Chicago’s Navy Pier, which attracted more than 500 guests and raised more than $360,000.

“Up, Up and Away” carried the theme for the 26th Annual Alexian Brothers Ball de Fleur, and proceeds have been earmarked for three key health care programs including the opening of the Alexian Brothers Hospice Residence in Elk Grove Village, which will break ground in June; the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry in Chicago and Waukegan, which has been serving the afflicted for more than 20 years; and the Alexian Brothers Center for Mental Health in Arlington Heights that first began more than 50 years ago to help community members with emotional issues and chronic mental illness.

Florence LaRue and The 5th Dimension brought the many guests to their feet with an incredible 90-minute performance of Grammy-award winning favorites such as “One Less Bell to Answer,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Up, Up and Away” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.” The energetic entertainment team even brought guests on stage to show off their dance moves, including Alexian Brothers Foundation Chairman Dominic Mangone and Alexian Brothers physician Martin Boyer. The 5th Dimension got its start in the 1960s and has received 14 gold records, six platinum records and seven Grammy Awards. Today, Florence LaRue and The 5th Dimension continue to entertain fans across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Alexian Brothers Health System President and CEO Mark A. Frey welcomed guests and recognized the Diamond Sponsors, including three local companies: TrueCare of Schaumburg, Mr. David’s Flooring International Ltd of Itasca, and MEA of TeamHealth in Oakbrook Terrace, as well as the Mangone Family, each contributing $50,000.

“This evening is a reminder of the mission that keeps us aloft to deliver Alexian Brothers holistic health care and healing to members of our community,” Frey said. “We were especially excited to spotlight a national world-class entertainment group, and Florence LaRue and The 5th Dimension truly helped to make the evening a celebration of the passion and commitment of the Alexian Brothers and all those that carry out the mission to help those in need.”

This is the second year the Alexian Ball de Fleur has been held at Navy Pier; other recent venues have included The Field Museum and Brookfield Zoo.

Throughout its 25-year history of hosting philanthropic galas, the Alexian Brothers Foundation has raised more than $6 million for a variety of health care programs affiliated with the suburban-based health system.

The Alexian Brothers are a Catholic order of men who originated in the 13th century and came to America in 1866, providing holistic health care with dignity and compassion to all those in need.

The Alexian Brothers’ healing ministry and values of dignity, care of the poor, compassion, holism and partnership have been in action for more than 800 years.

Among guests enjoying the evening were Drs. John and Terry Prunskis of the Illinois Pain Institute in Elgin, and Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider and wife, Shelly.

Tidal Wave in Paris

The St. Edward Central Catholic High School in Elgin held its 23rd annual Tidal Wave auction and dinner dance at the Stonegate Centre in Hoffman Estates.

This year, the committee chairs Lauren Jazwiec and Dennis and Julie Nastoli could not have been more excited as they had their largest attendance, as more than 430 guests from the Elgin area enjoyed the evening’s events, starting with Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain as honorary chairman.

Receiving Alumnus of the Year award were brothers Bob and Geoffrey Fox. Patron of the year was EFS Foundation; and the St. Gregory the Great Award went to Donald Haefliger.

Haefliger family members attending included Kathleen Haefliger, Donald Haefliger, his wife Marge Haefliger, Barb Fournice and Dr. Lucies Fournice.

The Loyal Order of St. Edward Award went to Rev. Edward Seisser. Proceeds from the evening events will benefit educational opportunities for the students of St. Edward High School.

Places to be scene

Hamilton Wings celebrates its 12th annual original SCORE opera on Saturday, July 14, at Elgin Community College’s Visual and Performing Arts Center commons from 6 to 7 p.m. The original opera is themed “Destined Lives.” For more detailed information, call 847-697-0876.

Kane County Fair and Festival is scheduled for July 18 through 22 at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles, on Randall Road between Routes 64 and 38. It’s fun days for the whole family. Enjoy rides for the kids, stage performers including the Neverly Brothers and ABBA Salute, and many other exciting events. For more detailed information, call 630-584-6926.

Elgin Art Showcase presents “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen on June 29 and 30 and July 1, 6, 7, 8, 14 and 21 at 164 Division St. in Elgin. For more information and to make reservations, call 847-841-1713.

Woodstock Mozart Festival has unveiled its 2012 Season: July 28 and 29, popular Chicago keyboard artist David Schrader plays and conducts from his instrument in an all-Mozart opening program. Schrader will speak to the audience between selections. The concert will take place at the beautiful Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St. in Woodstock. For ticket information, call 815-338-5300.

It’s not too early to mark your calendars for the YWCA Elgin “Queen for a Day” Garden Party on Saturday, Aug. 25. The time is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Elgin Country Club, 2575 Weld Road in Elgin. Call 847-742-7930.

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