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Out & About: Feasting at Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas

Shirley McMarlin
| Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
From left: Dr. Primo and Henna Bautista and Stephanie and Michael Szwerc at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Dr. Primo and Henna Bautista and Stephanie and Michael Szwerc at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
From left: Heather Lincoln, Meghan Scalise, Erica Shaffer and Patti Lebin at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Heather Lincoln, Meghan Scalise, Erica Shaffer and Patti Lebin at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
From left: Lonna Paterline, Peggy McGowan, Laurie English and Tim Loch at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Lonna Paterline, Peggy McGowan, Laurie English and Tim Loch at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Ron and Joanne Eberhardt at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Ron and Joanne Eberhardt at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
From left: Tom Albanesi, Dr. Carol Fox, Michael Busch and Maryann Singley at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Tom Albanesi, Dr. Carol Fox, Michael Busch and Maryann Singley at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
From lef:, Meghan Scalise, Chef Rizzi DeFabo, Jennifer Miele and Patti Buhl at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From lef:, Meghan Scalise, Chef Rizzi DeFabo, Jennifer Miele and Patti Buhl at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Jim Joyce and Dr. Rachel Shipley  at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Jim Joyce and Dr. Rachel Shipley at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Sue Neubert and Doris Rizza sell basket raffle tickets at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Sue Neubert and Doris Rizza sell basket raffle tickets at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, on Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
From left: Tom and Karen Sochacki join Nat and Melanie Pantalone at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, held Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Tom and Karen Sochacki join Nat and Melanie Pantalone at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, held Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Laura Davis and Maria Kraisinger at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, held Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Laura Davis and Maria Kraisinger at the Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas, held Nov. 30 at Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree.

The Excela Health Hospice Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas provided comfort for both body and soul.

Held Nov. 30 in Rizzo's Banquet Hall in Crabtree, the 250 guests were sated with Chef Rizzi DeFabo's traditional favorite foods and satisfied with tales of the work of hospice staff and volunteers.

The annual event includes a video illustrating how hospice serves patients as they approach the end of life, as well as their loved ones.

This year's production, introduced by emcee and Excela Health Veep Jennifer Miele, told the story of the late Victor Behrhorst of Ligonier.

Prior to his passing in 2010, Behrhorst's niece Amy Meade, herself a former hospice bereavement counselor, was able to arrange a final jam session for the lifelong drummer and music lover.

“He was pretty weak when we got there, but he played along as well as he could; and you could tell it really meant a lot to him,” said Pat Petrarca, who joined in on guitar while Scott Brown played mandolin.

All in a day's work of “creating lasting legacies, memories and giving comfort,” said hospice executive director Erica Shaffer.

On the Italian Christmas guest list: Thomas and Ann Albanesi, Michael Busch, Timothy Fedele andLaura Hawkins, Dr. Carol Fox andJim Fox, Timothy andTrudy Loch, Albert andSally Ann Novak, Thomas andKaren Sochacki, Meghan Scalise, Patti Buhl, Dr. Rachel Shipley, Jim and Robin Joyce, Laura Davis andMaria Kraisinger.

Also, Ron and Joann Eberhardt, Mike andKaren Stewart, Eric andMichele Bononi, George Shaner andMichael Philopena, Barbara Ferrier, Mary Catherine Motchar and Jim Clayton, David Volpe, Heather Lincoln and Patti Lebin.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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