Each year, the Deepwood Foundation -- the charitable arm of the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities -- recognizes an individual and an organization for their work in helping the developmentally disabled.
This year, they named Rich Elwell Citizen of the Year and the Knights of Columbus Counsel No. 13755 of St. Bede the Venerable Church as organization of the year.
Furthermore, they thanked Elwell and the Knights during their fundraiser last week at the LaMalfa Centre.
Elwell has served on the Lake County Board of DD/Deepwood Board for 12 years, as well as the Deepwood Foundation Board. He has supported the organization in any way he can, even donning green tights, a pointed hat and elf costume for the Jingle Belles fund raiser.
He has always been one to encourage others to recognize "the needs and abilities of people with developmental disabilities," said Rikke Coach, the Deepwood Foundation Director.
"He's just an all-around good guy," Coach said. "He's just very involved, and he's a very strong advocate — if there's something that needs to be done, he will take charge and make sure that it gets done."
Meanwhile, the Knights of Columbus group was selected as organization of the year because of the help it provided in raising funds for Deepwood. Every year they organize volunteers to stand outside of stores and small businesses to collect money for Deepwood Foundation.
Typically, the group generates $3,000 to $4,000 per year for the developmentally disabled, and has provided Deepwood with more than $26,000 throughout the years.
Elwell and the Knights were recognized during the Deepwood Foundation's annual silent auction fundraiser last week at LaMalfa Party Center.
The evening had a Mardi Gras theme, complete with jesters passing out programs, masks, beads and noise makers, a gypsy telling fortunes, silent auction, raffles, Cardi-Gras, Spirit Wheel and live auction.
The event was organized by a volunteer committee, led by Coach.
Thank you to Lynnmarie Landwei-Phillips for sharing her photos.