MOUNT VERNON — During the month of March, Knox County MRDD has been sponsoring events in recognition of National MRDD Awareness Month. On Thursday, the month was highlighted by a special treat, the Second Annual Celebrity Omelet Dinner. Over 45 celebrity chefs from around Knox County and Ohio served the public pancakes and omelets. Fresh fruits, muffins, Timbits, coffee and juice was also on the menu for guests.
“We are doing this as a part of our awareness effort. Part of the proceeds goes to Special Olympics,” said Andrea Perry-McKay, spokeswoman for Knox County MRDD. “It is just a great opportunity for the community to meet community leaders; the community will be able to put a face with a name and the leaders really love the opportunity to do some very basic community service.”
“This is such a pleasant surprise,” said Steve Oster, director of the KCMRDD. “Our turnout is really good; this is our second year doing it. The first year we had a good turnout, but we have a lot more celebrities this year, about 45.”
Oster said nobody said no when asked to be a chef.
The line of guests was steady, spilling out the door. The dinner began at 5 p.m.; within an hour, cooks were running low on eggs. Omelets of all sizes, topped with different ingredients such as green peppers, cheese, onions, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa, were there for guests to choose from.
“Last year we expected about 100 people and we served about 200. This year we prepared for 200, and we have more,” said Perry-McKay.
“We plan on doing this every year, this is a great chance for everyone to see their community leaders,” she added. “We have every aspect of the community here. We have local businesses like First-Knox National bank; we have People First of Ohio, which is an advocate group for MRDD individuals; we have a lot of political figures like Mike Hillier, the commissioners, and the mayors of Mount Vernon and Centerburg, so it is just a broad section of all the community.
“It is great to know our community supports us. The more chance they get to get involved with individuals with disabilities, the more they understand them. Just meeting the individuals in a community setting like this, you will be less afraid of them the next time you meet an individual with a disability,” she said.
Among the celebrities who put on an apron was State Rep. Margaret Ruhl, District 90.
“This really shows that the community is supporting the organization,” said Ruhl.
“We have a small community. It’s nice to see that people are supporting what we do here,” said guest Taylor Lombardo.
It is very essential to get the community involved, especially with events like this one, said Martha Richardson from Coshocton MRDD.
“I think Knox County does a really good job of letting their community know things,” she said.
A silent auction was also included at the event, giving guests a opportunity to bid on two round-trip certificates from AirTran to over 50 destinations.