WEIRTON - Williams Country Club hosted a sell-out crowd on Saturday for Fanfare, the Weirton Medical Center Foundation's annual gala.
Guests of the fundraiser were treated to a performance of Broadway songs and popular music by Eddie Mekka, who appeared as Carmine Ragusa in the hit 70s TV series, "Laverne and Shirley."
Mekka was nominated in 1975 for a Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for "The Lieutenant." He first appeared on "Laverne and Shirley" in 1976. The series ran from 1976 to 1983. He has appeared in dozens of TV shows going back to the 1970s including "Fantasy Island," "The Love Boat," "The Guiding Light," and more recently in shows such as "The Young and The Restless," "ER," "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "Crossing Jordan," and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," among others.
The Express, one of the region's premier jazz quartets, accompanied Mekka on classics such as "The Lady is a Tramp," "Luck Be a Lady," and "Doing It Our Way," the theme song from "Laverne and Shirley."
"We were thrilled to have Eddie join us this year. He is a wonderful entertainer and this was a real treat for our guests," stated Kevin Brown, executive director of the Weirton Medical Center Foundation.
In addition to dinner and the performance, guests had the opportunity to browse items included in a silent auction and participate in casino-style games for additional chances to enter the grand prize drawing.
ENTERTAINER — Eddie Mekka, who spent a number of years starring on the television show “Laverne and Shirley” as well as on Broadway, performed a number of songs at the Weirton Medical Center Foundation’s Fanfare Gala hosted at Williams Country Club on Saturday. The Tony Award nominee shared a number of stories, including encounters with other performers such as Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra. -- Angelina Dickson
TAKING A CHANCE — Following dinner and a performance by Mekka, guests at the Weirton Medical Center Foundation’s Fanfare Gala participated in casino-style gaming in hopes of winning more chances to enter the grand prize drawing for a four-night, five-day trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., along with two Ripley’s combo passes and $500 in travel expenses. -- Angelina Dickson
Brown said the Weirton Medical Center Foundation has been raising money for community projects to help the needy for 23 years. He said in that time, more than $1.5 million has been raised to buy new equipment and put programs in place that would not have existed otherwise.
"We'd like to thank our guests and our sponsors," he said. "The support has been overwhelming and without you we couldn't host such a successful event."
Fanfare sponsors included Assure America, BrickStreet Insurance, Buck Consultants, Business Records Management, First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank, Radiology Associates Inc., U.S. Security Associates, Triad USA, Tri-State Medical Group, Visiting Angels (DeFeliceCare), The Weirton Daily Times/Herald-Star and WesBanco.
All proceeds will benefit the Weirton Medical Center Foundation in support of the Weirton Medical Center and the Foundation's Healthy Community Grants, which fund community projects to improve the health of area residents.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)