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Country at Heart returns, helps out local CMHA branch

Country at Heart returns, helps out local CMHA branch

People got a chance to get in touch with their rustic side and raise some money for a good cause in the process.

“Country at Heart” returned last Saturday night with proceeds to benefit the Windsor-Essex County chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association. The event was hosted for the first time at the Event Centre at LaSalle Landing and presented once again by the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team.

Gemus said they have raised over $250,000 since starting to present events, which started out with a giant yard sale before turning into the “Country At Heart” dinner/dance events. Prior to assisting the Canadian Mental Health Association, funds have been raised for the Fight Like Mason Foundation, the waiting room at the Windsor Regional Hospital ICU, the Welcome Centre, the Windsor Youth Centre and the Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp.

“It's a fantastic night. We're sold out for the seventh straight year,” said Gemus. “We're very excited about it.”

This is the third time “Country At Heart” has assisted the CMHA, with Gemus stating many people are impacted by mental health and the need for services.

The capacity for the event grew to 350 people this year by holding it in the Event Centre at LaSalle Landing. Gemus said they enjoyed the event's previous home at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, but they now have more room at the LaSalle facility.

“Country At Heart” sells out quickly because of the support of sponsors and guests, many of which return annually.

“Over the years, we've been so lucky to have the support of our sponsors,” he said. “The guests come year-after-year too.”

People enjoy coming to a fundraiser in casual attire, Gemus added, as they attend in jeans and have fun. The meal was presented by BBQ Feast out of London with the alcoholic beverages being served by Wolfhead Distillery from Amherstburg. His father Norm Gemus helped on the technical setup of the event.

CMHA Windsor-Essex CEO Nicole Sbrocca thanked the attendees and the local real estate firm.

“We are incredibly grateful for the contributions to CMHA and supporting our agency,” she said.

Sbrocca said the money will be devoted to the agency's youth hub. She said that is a “comprehensive space” with a number of services to help area youth with mental health issues.

The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team will return with an event Father's Day weekend, as they are bringing back Ribfest. Gemus said they are taking over organizational efforts and the event while they were looking at it returning to the Libro Centre grounds, they ended up going to Ramsay St. for the three-day event. Four ribbers and other food vendors will line the street with town council giving its approval at their most recent meeting.

Having Ribfest downtown keeps their costs lower, he added, and they will be partnering with other businesses in the area. He said there will be a charitable component as well with more information on that to be confirmed soon.

Country at Heart returns, helps out local CMHA branch 

By Ron Giofu

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