Boston Marathon bombing survivor is chamber speaker

By on September 20, 2017
Rebekah Gregory

Boston marathon bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory will be the keynote speaker at the Ephrata Area Chamber of Commerce’s Biennial Fall Dinner Oct. 5.

Gregory, now 30, is one of 17 leg amputees which resulted from the terrorist attack April 15, 2013.

“The planning started almost two years ago,” Chamber Executive Director Andrea Glass said. “We started to look at the local speakers’ bureau. As we looked through different choices, we kept coming back to Rebekah’s name. We really liked her story and liked what she stood for.”

Gregory also authored the book ‘Taking My Life Back,’ which was released April 4. The book can be ordered, along with the dinner reservation, at a discount of 25 percent for the price of $15. She will be available to sign the books during the event.

“We’re hoping it’s a speech that will motivate those in the audience to look at ways that they can make a difference in their own lives,” added Glass. “That there is always hope at the end of the day.”

The program begins with a VIP reception and press conference and runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Casa di Fiori at The Inn at Leola Village in Leola. Tickets are $75 for chamber members and $85 for non-members. Reservations are limited and available through Sept. 28.

Reservations for the dinner and book can be made in three ways. Online at ephrataareachamber.org; by phone at 717-738-9010; or by e-mail at lackerman@ephrataareachamber.org.

There will be a few extra books available the night of the dinner for purchase, however the chamber recommends pre-ordering.

Several local businesses and organizations have become program sponsors. These include Platinum sponsor Wellspan Ephrata Community Hospital, Gold sponsors Members First Federal Credit Union and Retreat at Lancaster County, plus Bronze sponsors Weinhold, Nickel and Company and United Disabilities Services.

“They (the sponsors) are absolutely critical,” Glass said. “We would not be able to bring someone here like Rebekah without the support of our main sponsor (Wellspan).

Another familiar face at the dinner will be emcee and Channel 8 television reporter Meredith Jorgensen.

“I heard Meredith speak at an American Business Women’s Association event,” said Glass. “Talking about her own struggles with adversity and how she triumphed as a cancer survivor. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

In addition to the speakers, attendees will be treated to a four course dinner Glass is particularly excited about.

“If you’ve never been to the Inn at Leola, the food is simply amazing. It will be a wonderful experience. From the plated salad, to all the different entrée choices, it starts with passed Hors D’oeuvres and ends with a sampler of desserts.”

This dinner only takes place every other year, as part of the Chamber lineup.

“In the fall, we always like to do a special event with the community,” Glass said. “In the even years, it’s traditionally been a murder mystery. In the odd years, it’s traditionally been a fall dinner.”

Glass looked back on the two-plus years she has held her position with the chamber.

“We certainly continue to grow and evolve, which is really exciting. Last year, we grew our membership by about ten percent. When we started looking at the demographics, we realized that we were serving 29 different zip codes.

“We’ve also seen us become even stronger in our program offerings,” Glass said. “We work on community partnerships with DEI (Downtown Ephrata Inc.) and the Ephrata Alliance. We continue to grow in a number of different ways, which is exciting.”

The Casa di Fiori at The Inn at Leola Village is located at 38 Deborah Drive in Leola.

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