By RORYE O'CONNOR
MT. VERNON - —
The fifth annual Amy Center Celebrity Waiter Dinner was the swinging place to be Saturday night, with the big band sounds of King City Swing.
The event, which features decorated tables served by local celebrities, has a goal of raising $10,000 for the Amy Center, said Executive Director Ladonna Richards.
Almost 200 people attended the center's biggest fundraiser this year, she said.
Mike Vladetich once again was the master of ceremonies for the event.
Celebrity waiters and sponsors this year were Ron Meeks, Rend Lake College; Dr. David and Kathy Asbery; Eddie Veltman; Diane Woods, DCFS; Stacey Weatherford, DCFS; Doug Hoffman, Jefferson County State's Attorney; Dr. Megan Neely; Dr. Kent McMahon; Steven Wiggenton, U.S. Attorney; Lacey Copple; Sgt. Mark Simmons; Ford Square; and Black, Hedin, Ballard, McDonald, P.C.
Table themes varied widely, from Dr. Seuss to Mardi Gras, to the TV show "Mad Men," to sports-themed tables.
More than 45 items were donated to a silent auction, including a large LCD television, Richards said.
"We've never had such a big gift, and we're thankful for that," she said.
The celebrity waiters used their imaginations to raise money for the Amy Center, either by selling candy or drinks, or dealing blackjack, or even offering the opportunity to take pictures in front of special backdrops.
Ashley Hoffman, whose table dressed to emulate the 1950s-based TV show "Mad Men," was selling candy cigarettes for $1.
She said the celebrity waiter dinner is always fun and different.
"It's fun because everybody decorates, and you never know what you're gonna get," she said.
The Amy Center was founded in 1990 by Dennis Schulz in memory of his daughter, Amy, who was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered.
In addition to providing prevention education and training to schools in its seven-county territory, the Amy Center serves to prevent sexual abuse and serve as an advocate to children who have been abused.
Amy Center staff work with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, law enforcement and the court system to provide support services, court and medical advocacy and case coordination for child sexual abuse victims.
The Center serves a seven county region of South Central Illinois: Clinton, Marion, Clay, Washington, Jefferson, Wayne and Hamilton counties, information states.
For more information about the Amy Center, visit amycenter.mvn.net or call 244-2100.