Ocean City Today

Believe in Tomorrow will honor Gerachis at gala

By Kara Hallissey | Mar 30, 2017
Lee Gerachis, owner of Malibu’s Surf Shop on Eighth Street and the Boardwalk in Ocean City, will receive Believe in Tomorrow’s Hero by the Sea award this year.

(March 31, 2017) Only a few tickets remain for Believe in Tomorrow’s annual Gala by the Sea taking place from 5:30-10 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Oceanfront tomorrow night on 67th Street, where guests will be served dinner from Touch of Italy, along with complementary beer and wine, while supporting a good cause.

“It is a beautiful evening to spend with your family and nice to see what we do,” said Wayne Littleton, coordinator for the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Respite Housing Program. “When you see families return every year, it feels like we must have had an impact.”

The 16th annual event benefits the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s House by the Sea on 66th Street. The facility is open year-round to provide a free getaway to the beach for critically ill children and their families whenever they may need to escape the stresses of their child’s illness.

A recently acquired location on 65th Street will serve military pediatric families, as well as larger or extended families that may require the assistance of medical or family support because of their child’s illness and end-of-life circumstances.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. in the second-floor ballroom of the hotel with a cocktail hour kicking off gala festivities as well as antipasti and pizza appetizers and music by Joe Smooth until 7 p.m.

Dinner from Touch of Italy will include a filet, crab cake, potatoes, salad, vegetable, starch and bread. Sweet Disposition will provide desserts.

DJ Wax will take over at 7 p.m., guests can have their photo taken in front of a Believe in Tomorrow backdrop and other surprises will take place throughout the night, Littleton said.

Tickets to the black-tie optional event generally cover gala expenses, which makes the activities and auction vital to generating funds.

This year, guests can purchase mystery boxes or a diamond in the cupcake sponsored by Park Place Jewelers. For $10, participants will receive a gift card or jewelry inside the mystery box. In addition, they could take home a diamond necklace while enjoying a cupcake for $10 as well.

There will be a wine wall and silent auction with sports and “Karate Kid” memorabilia, jewelry, restaurant gift cards, baskets and sports tickets.

Joann Phillips, who visited Ocean City many times through the Believe in Tomorrow program with her daughter, Erin, will be the guest speaker.

“She will talk about how Believe in Tomorrow has had a lasting impact on their family,” Littleton said. “They’ve become a part of us and that is what’s great about our program. They become a part of our family.”

Each year, Believe in Tomorrow gives out its Hero by the Sea award. Lee Gerachis, owner of Malibu’s Surf Shop on Eighth Street in Ocean City, will be honored at the gala this year.

“He is a humble man and good soul,” Littleton said. “We send kids down for surfing lessons every week and there is never a limit. We can send as many people as we want and adults are always included. He treats the kids like royalty, the whole staff is wonderful and the kids come back dressed head to toe in Malibu apparel.”

In celebration of Gerachis, many aspects of the night will have surf themes including the mystery boxes.

“He donates all the time and I usually don’t have to ask,” Littleton said. “We are very excited about giving him the award.”

“It feels great and wonderful to be a part of such a great organization. I am grateful they let me participate,” Gerachis said. “We meet unbelievable families and kids. It is such a heartfelt organization and a way for the community to come together and support each other.”

The Believe in Tomorrow Foundation will also be recognizing Laurie Chetelat, a teacher and advisor for the Connections Club at Stephen Decatur High School, and Mary Berquist, a teacher and coordinator of the National Honor Society at Stephen Decatur High School, with awards.

“They do so much for the children,” Littleton said.  

To end the evening, Littleton will announce the raffle winner, which costs $50 a chance. If 100 tickets are sold, someone will take home $2,500 and if 200 are purchased, someone will walk out with $5,000.

 “You get to dress up and celebrate special people like, Lee [Gerachis],” Littleton said. “I feel very blessed to give him the award.”

Only a few of the 200 tickets being sold remain and the cost is $75 per person or $150 per couple. For more information or to buy tickets, call Littleton at 410-723-2842.

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