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'Taste' raises funds for Village Community Services
SMOKEY POINT Food, music, valuables up for bid and inspiring stories of overcoming obstacles were all available at the Smokey Point Community Church May 2, when Village Community Services kicked off its sixth annual Taste of Decadence fundraiser.
Attendees took in dinner, dessert and performances by Voices of the Village, a band consisting mostly of adults with disabilities who have benefited from the residential and vocational support services provided by VCS. Auctions, dessert sales and donations raised more than $12,000 for the group.
Volunteer Margaret McClure offered a tribute to Matt Geraghty, former lead vocalist for Voices of the Village, who recently passed away.
"Matt was an example of how Voices of the Village is about more than just music," McClure said. "He found his voice and his confidence through this group."
During previous Taste of Decadence fundraisers, Geraghty had commended VCS for the employment and housing support services that they'd furnished him with for more than a dozen years. Nearly 50 years old when he died, Geraghty was working in assembly, but hoped to be hired as a dishwasher in a retirement home, or as a volunteer at a hospital, to assist the elderly and "other members of our community," regardless of their age.
"They help out with housing, job opportunities and financial stability," Geraghty had said. "They also give you moral support. They're a great help."
The next speaker reminded attendees that not all disabilities are inherited.
"You may have noticed that I look a little different from the rest of you," said triple-amputee Bob Mortimer, as he spoke to the Taste of Decadence attendees. "One of my ears hangs a little lower than the other and I'm sure that's why some of you have been staring at me."
Mortimer, who had his left arm and both of his legs amputated after an accident in his youth, was quick to joke about his missing limbs. However, his quips led into an account of how his drug and alcohol use caught up with him as a young man, when how his drug and alcohol use caught up with him as a young man, when he got into an auto accident on the way home from a party, and was struck by power lines from the pole that his car had knocked down.
Since then, Mortimer has kicked his drug and alcohol habits, married and had four children, and ridden his hand-pedaled tricycle the 206 miles between Seattle to Portland in two days. He plans to follow up this feat by cycling all the way to the Statue of Liberty.
"I'm wearing this so you won't be lying when you tell people later that you saw a guy with a handicap," said Mortimer, as he donned a baseball cap with the word "handy" on it. "Other than the one I'm wearing, I don't have a handicap. I have adjustments that I've had to make, but so do all of you. The only handicaps any of us have are the ones we place on ourselves, that keep us from being the best that we can be."
Mortimer urged his audience not to compare themselves to others, since he believes that everyone possesses their own unique merits.
"A lot of you think you don't measure up, or wish you were someone else," Mortimer said. "You don't need to be like anyone else, because you're all one of a kind."
Liz Enneking, administrative and financial executive with VCS, noted that the group has acquired an additional revenue stream, by purchasing the building in which its offices were already located.
"We were looking to make an investment in the economic market and the board felt we should invest in commercial property," Enneking said. "The board has considered other buildings, but we asked ourselves, 'Why not the building we're already leasing space in?'"
VCS occupies two of the eight suites in the 11,000-square-foot building, and will collect rent on the rest.