A centennial celebration, with the theme of Making a Difference, took place recently honoring the work of New Canaan's Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County. The event, which took place at The Country Club of New Canaan, raised more than $177,000 for the benefit of the patients.

Brian Williams, news anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, was the honorary chairman of the gala and the veteran newsman gave a special welcome to guests at the event from the anchor desk at NBC.

"We all know how important the visiting nurses are and how vital their work is to the members of our community," Willliams, a New Canaan resident, said. "At all stages of life, whether a person is recovering from an illness, needs long-term care, or is at the end of life, the caregivers at Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County are there, making a difference, day in and day out, providing care and compassion in the comfort of home."

The gala was co-chaired by volunteers Janet Lebovitz and Nancy Rauscher of New Canaan. Larry Comstock was the master of ceremonies for the evening. The event featured cocktails and a dinner along with live and silent auctions. Guests enjoyed musical entertainment by cabaret performers Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano.

Three couples were honored at the centennial event -- Lois and Harlan Anderson and Charlotte and David Brown of New Canaan; and Kathy and Curt Welling of Wilton -- in gratitude for their commitment to the community and to the work of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

"We are thrilled to be celebrating 100 years of caring for the community and to be honoring these three exemplary couples whose leadership, support and wise counsel has helped us to grow and thrive," Sharon M. Bradley, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, said. "We are deeply grateful to Brian Williams, Larry Comstock, Janet Lebovitz, Nancy Rauscher, all our corporate and individual sponsors and program advertisers, our volunteer benefit committee and everyone who so generously contributed to this fundraising effort. The funds raised at this event will touch the lives of the many patients in need in our community. We are overwhelmed and gratified by this wonderful outpouring of generosity and community support."

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Corporate event sponsors included AmeriCares, Ark Restaurant Group, The Wilton Bank, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Hoyt Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Lincoln Financial Group, Mercy Home Care, People's United Bank, Ring's End Lumber, Servco Oil, Shiseido Americas Corporation and its subsidiary companies, Shiseido America, Inc. and Zotos International, Inc.

Other corporate support came from New Canaan Medical Groups, Cohen & Wolf, PC, Fairfield County Bank, Fairfield County Community Foundation, Franco's Wine Merchants, The Greens at Cannondale, HTG Investment Advisors, Marcum L.L.P., McKesson, The Law Offices of Karen Wackerman Myers, Norwalk Hospital Foundation, Pegasus Surgical, Reynolds and Rowella, The Village Market, Cleary Realtors, Halstead Property Group, Bank of New Canaan, Stewart's Market and Willis.

Members of the volunteer benefit committee were Carol and George Bauer, Ken Bernhard, Alison and Larry Comstock, Suzanne and Vince Doria, Christina Duncan, Louise B. Goodridge, Lila and Buck Griswold, Judy and Hal Higby, Sue and Don Hudson, Anda Hutchins, Peter Lebovitz, Al and Dana Nickel, JoEllen Oskin, Nancy and Roger Sayler, Carlyn and Don Tiefenthaler, Jeb Walker and Anita Waxberg.

A nonprofit community organization for 100 years, Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County provides professional nursing and support services, senior care management, physical rehabilitation, health education, community wellness programs and compassionate hospice care for adults and children in New Canaan and throughout Fairfield County. Visit www.visitingnurse.net.