2017 Circle of Care Dinner & Auction honors
Randy and Beth Gori
The Circle of Care Award was established in 1994 by Sandy Lauschke and Nancy Ryrie. The two envisioned a way to generate support for Riverbend Head Start & Family Services by recognizing community leaders who exhibit a strong sense of service and philanthropy.
Over the past 24 years, the annual tribute has acknowledged the following recipients: Dr. Paul Pierce, Rod & Jane St. Clair, Essic Robinson, Dale & Carol Neudecker, Judge Nicolas Byron & Josephine Beckwith, Jim Goodwin, Buddy Davis, Paul & Sandy Lauschke, Jack & Betty Jacoby, Don Miller, Anna Beach & Andy Simpson, Ron McMullen, Steve & Mary Lou Cousley, Senator William Haine, Tom & Jeana Hutchinson, Bill & Pat Kessler, Diana Enloe, Ed & Nancy Ryrie, Mike & Cindy Lefferson, Dr. Robert & Charlene Hamilton, Ed & Patty Morrissey, Bill & Vicki Schrimpf, Dwight & Cheryl Werts, Steve & Jane Saale and Lisa Nielson & Michael Moehn.
On May 11, 2017, Riverbend Head Start & Family Services will hold its 25th Annual Circle of Care at the Lewis and Clark Community College Commons, welcoming Randy and Beth Gori to the esteemed circle of honorees. Nielsen and Moehn, both raised in Alton, have served on many non-profit boards and have worked with numerous charitable organizations. Their demonstrated support has made a positive difference in the Greater St. Louis area.
Riverbend Head Start & Family Services is not alone in recognizing the couple's dedication to the community. Friends, family and other community members submitted congratulatory messages for inclusion in the event program. They described Lisa and Michael with words and phrases such as hard working, truly an asset, wonderful, role models, amazing, steadfast and generous. Evident by these sentiments and the record event attendance of 290, the Nielsen-Moehn family is loved and admired by many.
This year’s Circle of Care, themed A Century of Caring for a Brighter Future, also celebrated Riverbend Head Start & Family Services’ 100th Anniversary milestone. The agency was founded in 1916 as the Alton Public Welfare Council. Over the last century, the organization’s name and programs have evolved, but the mission has remained much the same.
The fundraiser began with a cocktail hour featuring the musical talents of local pianist, Gigi Darr. Guests mingled and perused the variety of wonderful items up for auction which included works of art by Joe Emons, Marty McKay and Jeff Vaughn; several sports packages; vacation opportunities and various catered parties in esteemed Alton locations, one being at the Nielsen-Moehn home with Olympic Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee as the guest of honor. The invocation was delivered by Father Ed Murphy of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Louis, a personal friend of the honorees. A delicious dinner of Prime Rib, pasta, salad, seasonal vegetables and assorted desserts, prepared by the wonderful catering staff of Lewis and Clark Community College, was served in stations. As guests enjoyed their desserts, Emmy Award winning anchorwoman and Emcee, Karen Foss, kicked off the program and kept the momentum flowing. Chuck Parr, Riverbend Head Start & Family Services President & CEO spoke to the crowd about the agency’s 100 year history and its everlasting important role in helping at-risk children and their families. Other speakers included Michael McMillan, The President of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, and Dave Braasch, Chairman of the Riverbend Head Start Board of Directors and President of Alton Memorial Hospital. McMillan delivered a testament sprinkled in humor about the faith, love of family, humility and selfless service of the Circle of Care Honorees; Braasch presented the couple with their award. Lisa Nielsen and Michael Moehn then graciously addressed the crowd, thanking Riverbend Head Start & Family Services for the honor and describing their reasons for supporting for the agency and other charitable service organizations. Each spoke about the importance of philanthropy and giving back to the community in areas most in need. The evening concluded with an animated live auction lead by energetic auctioneer Maurice File.
Through event sponsorships (lead sponsors Ameren, John & Jayne Simmons, ABB, Joyce Aboussie, Intren and KS Energy Services), reservations and auction earnings, the event generated over $160,000, a record amount. Riverbend Head Start & Family Services is grateful to all who contributed in any way to this remarkable accomplishment. Proceeds from the Circle of Care benefit the children and families enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Without the community’s support, the organization would not be able to provide its critical services which build solid educational foundations and empowered families.
Special thanks to Lisa Nielsen and Michael Moehn who are largely responsible for the Circle of Care's overall success. They are wonderful champions of the agency’s mission, increasing the public’s awareness of the services and programs available, and they dedicated countless hours to assist in the planning and preparation for the event itself.
Please review the list of our generous EVENT SPONSORS