By the time you get this newsletter the Luau will have come and gone. What a great night it was!
Some of you may remember that for the past several years Brian Bell has provided the pulled pork for the luau. Brian’s son Richard worked for NER years ago and it was then I first met Brian. He was a great guy with a generous heart and he made wonderful pulled pork! When I chaired the high school senior class lock-in many years ago, he provided the pork and we have been friends ever since. But sadly this past year Brian died so we needed to find a new vendor.
I have always known that I could count on Donatelli’s for just about anything. I have never had a bad meal there, and believe me, we go there often. But what I did not know is that their catering business does just about everything!!! It took just one phone call to ask if they could do pulled pork for our luau and they were more than happy and willing to help out. In fact, they also said they would personally make the potato salad this year using Rita’s mother’s recipe!!! What restaurant does that kind of thing? Donatelli’s is located on County Rd E in White Bear Lake, just behind Century College. If you have never been there I highly recommend it. It is a family owned restaurant with excellent food and service; they are community oriented and have been very good to NER in so many different ways.
There were about 400 residents/clients, families, and friends from many different directions joining us on Tuesday night. It was another very hot night, but slightly breezy night, but that did not stop the dancing.
The luau committee, the kitchen crew, and maintenance staff worked hard to keep the vast variety of food coming and everything cleaned up.thanks to all who helped in any way.
But better than all of the wonderful food and the beautiful weather was watching people coming together for the evening. I think everyone would agree that there is no greater joy in life than seeing the people we care for having such a great time.
Larry the DJ played some of their favorite music and many people showed off their dancing skills throughout the night.
It is events and moments like this that remind all of us why we do what we do.
Later in the night, I realized as I looked over the sea of people, that I did not see anyone with a disability. I did not notice the glasses anyone might have been wearing, or the shapes of their bodies, or characteristics that might appear different to some people. What I saw, was people having fun and spending time with family and friends. There are no disabilities in our world. There are some challenges for all of us, but the work we do helps us see far beyond any diagnosis. We see the smiles, hear the laughter, watch the joy on someone’s face and just embrace the moment. It doesn’t get any better than that!
That is what this night was all about. Thanks to all who joined us for this wonderful evening!
Corrine Schmidt, Executive Director