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Out & About: Old-time Italian Christmas benefits Excela Hospice

Shirley McMarlin
| Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, 1:33 a.m.
From left: Georg and Martha Banks of Scottdale join Excela hospice nurse Missy Clawson-Rietscha of Hempfield for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
From left: Georg and Martha Banks of Scottdale join Excela hospice nurse Missy Clawson-Rietscha of Hempfield for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
From left: Joan Roth of Greensburg, hospice volunteer coordinator, joins hospice volunteers Susan Neubert of Jeannette, Patty Provance of Greensburg and Lauretta Eisler of Greensburg for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
From left: Joan Roth of Greensburg, hospice volunteer coordinator, joins hospice volunteers Susan Neubert of Jeannette, Patty Provance of Greensburg and Lauretta Eisler of Greensburg for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
Committee members (from left) Heather Lincoln of Ligonier, Maria Kraisinger of Latrobe and Kristy DiGiacomo of Greensburg gather for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
Committee members (from left) Heather Lincoln of Ligonier, Maria Kraisinger of Latrobe and Kristy DiGiacomo of Greensburg gather for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
Hospice nurses Lindsay Carr (left) and Angie Zona, both of Greensburg, gather for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
Hospice nurses Lindsay Carr (left) and Angie Zona, both of Greensburg, gather for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
From left: Jim and Dr. Carol Fox, Excela chief medical officer, join Helen Burns, Excela chief nursing officer, for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
From left: Jim and Dr. Carol Fox, Excela chief medical officer, join Helen Burns, Excela chief nursing officer, for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
From left: John Sphon, CEO of Medcare Equipment, Bob Rogalski, CEO of Excela Health, and Tom Albanesi, CFO of Excela Health, gather for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
From left: John Sphon, CEO of Medcare Equipment, Bob Rogalski, CEO of Excela Health, and Tom Albanesi, CFO of Excela Health, gather for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on Thursday evening, November 29, 2018.
(from left), Ron and Joann Eberhardt pose for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on evening, November 29, 2018.
(from left), Ron and Joann Eberhardt pose for a photo during the Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas for Excela Health Hospice, held Thursday at Rizzo’s Banquet Hall in Crabtree on evening, November 29, 2018.

The good folks at Excela Health Hospice know there’s nothing like a good Old-Fashioned Italian Christmas , especially when Chef Rizzi DeFabo is preparing the food.

That’s why they return every year to Rizzo’s in Crabtree for their signature fundraising event.

This year’s gala took place Nov. 29, with a record crowd of 290, according to Excela spokeswoman Robin Jennings .

A special gala feature is the presentation of a video focusing on a family that has benefitted from hospice services. The subject of this year’s video was the late Lucille Rolla of Scottdale, who passed away May 25 at age 87.

Rolla’s daughter and son-in-law, Martha and Georg Banks of Scottdale, were on hand, along with Rolla’s hospice nurse, Missy Clawson-Rietscha of Hempfield.

Jennings said the theme of the video — and the gala itself — was continuity of care and the relationships that are built, from the hospital, to home care, to hospice.

The melancholy aspect of the evening was counterbalanced by the good company, abundant food and drink, raffle tickets sold by gaily bedecked hospice volunteers, photo booth courtesy of Jessica Hickey , music by Adam Fitz and — to top it all off — the holiday cookie table.

Event committee members included Kristen Barber, Kristy DiGiacomo, Heather Lincoln, Cindy Paul and Meghan Scalise . Tony Marino served as emcee.

Seen from hospice staff: Erica Shaffer, Jim Joyce, Laura Davis and Maria Kraisinger .

From Excela: Dr. Carol Fox with Jim, Dr. Rachel Shipley, Helen Burns with Michael, Tom Albanesi with Ann, Janice DeVine, Timothy Fedele, Al Novak with Sally Anne, Bob Rogalski and Rob Firment .

Also seen: Ron and JoAnn Eberhardt, John and Linda Dixon, Jim Clayton and Mary Catherine Motchar, Barbara Ferrier, Norma Skillings, George Shaner and Michael Philopena, Eric and Michele Bononi, Ralph and Donna Scalise, Barbara Raitano, Phil Dymond, David Volpe and Terry Graft and Linda Brown.

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

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