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Benefit concert to aid Village of Progress on Aug. 21

Ryan Kaun and Myron Fason of Servi Pro, clean at the Village of Progress on Sunday morning. The Kenosha, Wisconsin company was busy trying to get the facility cleaned up so business could resume as soon as possible. Photo by Earleen Hinton
Ryan Kaun and Myron Fason of Servi Pro, clean at the Village of Progress on Sunday morning. The Kenosha, Wisconsin company was busy trying to get the facility cleaned up so business could resume as soon as possible. Photo by Earleen Hinton

The White Pines Resort will offer a performance by longtime musician and tribute artist, Denny Diamond, during an interactive concert at the Pines Playhouse, Aug. 21, that will benefit flood cleanup and repair efforts at Village of Progress Inc., in Oregon.

In July, a flash flood raged through the 26,000 sq. ft. facility, leaving 80 percent of its handicap-accessible, graded-floor workshop and outbuildings, about a foot under water.

“It was unlike anything I had ever seen before,” said VOP Board Member Merlin Hagemann. “When I got into the building, I was totally amazed! Anything that wasn’t fastened down was floating. Water was bubbling out of the walls; it was crazy. The rush of water sounded like what you’d imagine when the Titanic sank.”

As fast as the floodwaters rushed in, they receded, leaving in their wake, a thick coating of mud.

“All that was left was mud, and it was in the cupboards, just all over,” Hagemann said.

The flood destroyed files, drywall, sheetrock, desks, furniture and products Village clients make for its contractors. Though efforts to salvage as much as possible were made, Wahl Clipper, VOP’s largest workforce supplier, had to discard 5,000 of its clippers.

“Wahl sends over all of the components of making up the box that you see on store shelves. Folks here put the razor in a vinyl case, assemble the box, place the instruction manual, scissors and all of the components into the box. The boxes are put into trays that are then put on skids; thousands of units go on a skid. Then we shrink-wrap the skids and put them on a trailer,” Brion Brooks, executive director of VOP said,

As disheartening as the devastation was, board members, staff and volunteers knew getting the facility up and running again was vital.

Since 1969, VOP (a private not-for-profit) has created programs that assist Ogle County adults with developmental disabilities. It provides a place to develop work and social skills, while aiding the business community with an unstoppable workforce.

Temporary offices were fashioned in the Duane Herrmann Building, one of few areas that didn’t suffer significant damage, and the production team of about 90, only lost one day of work.

Brooks said flood insurance is nominal, anticipating the damage to fall into the several hundred, thousand dollar range. He expects the workshop to be reopened by the end of the week.

“Hoping to move out of the cramped 4,000 sq. ft. area, but, in terms of repairing everything, that will take several months. At least we have the area where we take care of our people and it is safe them to come back now,” he said.

Staff also has been extremely supportive. Private citizens likewise, have come in droves offering a hand.

“We are very humbled by the community support of us during this time, and I am very appreciative of White Pines putting this on for our benefit. It shows the level of compassion that the area has for our mission,” Brooks said.

“The show is going to be great,” Hagemann said. “I think the fundraiser will help with a lot of what the insurance will not pay for. Beth [Henderson], president and founder of White Pines Resort, always steps up to the plate to get things done. And Denny is a great performer. It’ll be a good night to just kick back and give thanks for what we’ve got; it could have been a lot worse.”

Vice President of Operations at White Pines Resort, Jerry Campagna said Denny Diamond, a Playhouse favorite, will record a promotional video during the event.

Crowd input is welcome, as he will revamp his entire act, from his stage name, costume and, set design, to his playlist, adding in the likes of Louis Armstrong, Glen Campbell, Jim Croce, Bobby Darrin, Tom Jones, Dean Martin, Willy Nelson and many more.

“In essence, here’s your chance to play the role of a show producer, have real input assisting Denny in taking his gig to the next level—And, support a local nonprofit in need!, Campagna said.

White Pines Resort will be donating 50 percent of all ticket, food, beverage and cabin sales, to Village of Progress Inc. to help offset costs of flood damage to its facility.

White Pines Playhouse is located inside of the lodge at 6712 W. Pines Rd., Mt. Morris.

For show and cabin reservations call 815-946-3817 or email info@whitepinesinn.com.

Village of Progress’ Sherri Egan is filtering calls for those who wish to help with fundraisers, donations or volunteers. She can be reached at 815-732-2126.

For more information visit www.villageofprogress.org.

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