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Wine, Women, Chocolate

POSTED May 22, 2012 11:05 p.m.

Over 275 women, some donning chapeaus, gathered at The Reata in Oakdale on Friday, May 18 for the fourth annual Wine, Women and Chocolate Extravaganza benefitting the Oak Valley Hospital Foundation. Proceeds from this year’s event went toward women’s wellness and the Center for Human Services.

The theme for the gala was “A Woman Wears Many Hats.”

“In other words we’re a mother, a wife, a chef, an activist, and probably the CFO of our households,” said co-sponsor and pageant emcee Lana Casey who has been hosting the affair since its inception.

Robin Grohl, the other host and owner of The Reata, added to the list of duties including chauffer, nurse, and “a good needed friend when called.”

Several prominent Oakdale women were in attendance including Mayor Pat Paul and former Mayor Pat Kuhn.

This year’s honorees were Vivian Thompson, Vicki Thompson and Valerie Thompson of Oakdale.

“The Thompson sisters are well known and all of them give back to the community,” said Casey.

Vicki Thompson is active in “The Spirit of Oakdale,” a charitable organization that prepares Thanksgiving dinners for the underprivileged.

Valerie Thompson has been serving the community for over 20 years with the Center for Human Services and is currently a board member with that organization.

When describing Vivian Thompson’s contributions, Casey became choked up with emotion, describing how Vivian was an integral part of the Oak Valley Hospital Emergency Room and her over 30 years of service to the hospital.

Both Grohl and Casey were very grateful to the two winery owners that donated the wine for the festivity.

Carolyn Reynolds of Oak Ridge Winery and Judy Guillum of Western Wind Wines were acknowledged for their donations. Reynolds is also active with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center. Guillam promoted women in the workplace by uniquely using women as distributors in the Western Region.

During lunch, the guests were treated to a fashion show from Body Tropics of Oakdale and Chico’s of Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto.

“I’m here to support women’s health and National Women’s Health Week,” said first-time attendee Debbie Baughman, owner of Curves in Salida. “That’s what I do with my business.”

In 2011 the Oak Valley Hospital Foundation raised over $15,000 that was given back to the hospital for women in need. Since its founding in 1980, the foundation has helped to assure women in the area have access to convenient, competent, and compassionate health care in Oakdale.

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