Petrolas named co-chairs of Fourth Street health gala

STEUBENVILLE – Eileen and Dr. Frank J. Petrola have been named co-chairs of the 2013 Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Gala set for 6 p.m. on April 21 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.

“Ann Quillen (executive director of the health center) asked us to co-chair this year’s gala and we said yes. I have always wanted to help out and it has been a busy few months planning and organizing for the gala,” explained Eileen Petrola.

Her husband, Dr. Frank J. Petrola, has served as the volunteer medical director at the health center since it opened its doors in a former dinette on March 13, 2006.

“This is our way of giving back to the community,” said Eileen.

“We want the gala to be an elegant evening where the majority of women will wear gowns or cocktail dresses and the men will wear tuxedos or suits. This is one night of the year when everyone can get dressed up and enjoy themselves for a very good cause,” added Eileen.

“I actually got involved before the clinic opened by attending the Ohio Association of Free Clinics meetings. Pastor Bruce Hitchcock of the Urban Mission Ministries had wanted to open a free clinic in Steubenville. He had several people involved in the early planning stages. So I started helping, along with Janet Sharpe and Mary Mihalyo,” recalled Frank.

He is a family physician with Trinity Family Health Centers and health commissioner for the Jefferson County Health Department. And while he continues to serve as the clinic’s medical director, he is quick to point out his wife Eileen “is doing all the work for gala.”

“Our goal this year will be to meet the standard set last year when the gala raised $100,000. The health center does so much good for so many people and we have plans for expanding our services in the future,” Frank added.

“The Young Ambassadors program is once again involved with the health center, and this year we will award one Patricia Fletcher $1,000 scholarship and two Patricia Fletcher $500 scholarships to the Young Ambassadors who raise the most donations. And we actually have more area high school students involved this year in the Young Ambassadors program, which is encouraging. It is very nice to see the students involved in the community program,” explained Eileen.

“Last year we had 400 mystery boxes for sale at the gala and they were sold out very quickly. This year we will have 500 mystery boxes available for a $10 donation and every box contains a nice prize,” she added.

“We really need to support our community and the Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center. There are so many people who are in need of medical help. We have so many people who are working but don’t have health insurance so it is wonderful we have the health center here. People need us and we need to be there for them,” Eileen said.

“And if anyone would like to make a donation to the health center they can do so by dropping it off or mailing it to Ann Quillen at the health center,” Eileen Petrola noted.

According to Quillen, the health center is continuing to work on opening a new dental clinic.

“We have the equipment and offers of help from several area dentists. But we need to find appropriate space. And the dental clinic remains a high priority for us. We have already started offering free mental health counseling in conjunction with Jefferson Behavioral Health. And Dr. Santiago Ching is providing treatment for Hepatitis C, which is a real problem in our area,” said Quillen.

“We are now open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday as well as evenings when doctors are available to come to the health center. That can make for long days for our staff but we want to be available for our medical providers and our patients,” added Quillen.

“And we are always looking for more medical providers to donate a little time at the health center,” said Quillen.

“Our annual gala is our major fundraiser and we are very fortunate to have such a dedicated committee. We start working on the gala in January and by early April we have a major event taking place,” added Quillen.

She said reservations for the gala are now being accepted at the Fourth Street Health Center or by calling (740) 283-2856.

“We will be announcing the honorees to be recognized at the gala in the very near future as well as special events for the gala,” said Quillen.