Bobby Ann Nash to be honored at Chesterwye gala
CHESTER — Friday evening, April 13, is “Lucky Friday,” according to Chesterwye Foundation Chairman Wheeler Baker. This year marks the 51st anniversar y of the founding of Chesterwye, the adult facility in Grasonville that assists in improving the lives of adults with developmental disabilities, and April 13 is the date of the Chesterwye Foundation’s annual fundraising gala — a dinner and live and silent auctions. This year the event will be held in the commubnity room at Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department. Doors open at 5 p.m. Following dinner, the live auction, including the famed black walnut cake, will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person.
During the program, Chesterwye founder Bobby Ann Nash will be honored for her work in getting Chesterwye started.
Why did she do it? The answer comes straight from her home. Shortly after her son “Chip” was born with Down Syndrome in 1964, Nash set out on a crusade. While attending a kindergarten meeting for parents, she stood up and announced that the county had very few programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities, nothing for adults, and she intended to do something about it. She pointed her finger at everyone in the meeting telling them she would need all of their help. There was no escape from what she felt was her mission to help those who were affected. It wasn’t just about “Chip” — though he was the driving force behind it. Chip is now 54 years old, the youngest of Nash’s four children.
Wheeler Baker said, “Before Chesterwye, most rural areas had no programs to assist with this need. Afflicted adults were just talked about, like ‘There’s old crazy Joe.’ Bobby Ann Nash made the difference. She organized everyone she could talk to, to help raise funds, to provide programs. Bake sales, selling shirts, cookouts, you name it! Bobby Ann was a stalwart through the good times and bad times. She’s a very good woman and has a very good family. Bobby Ann really deserves this recognition!”
Baker continued, “The late Dr. Harry Rhodes started the Chesterwye Foundation in the 1980s. He did it because he said, ‘We can do better!’” Rhodes, the former Queen Anne’s County Superintendent of Schools from the early 1950s through his retirement in 1967, following his overseeing the integration of public schools here, he continued his activity in the county helping Bobby Ann Nash organize Chesterwye for developmentally disabled adults, to provide those adults with a brighter future. The foundation serves as the fundraising arm of the Chesterwye Center.
This year’s major project is to be able to furnish the new home that is currently under construction on State Street in Stevensville. When neighbors opposed building a homeless shelter located there, it was decided instead that a new home for adults with disabilities managed by Chesterwye would go there.
“We need funds to be able to furnish this new home. That’s the main goal of this year’s dinner/auction.” Baker said.
The meal for the evening will be catered by Chesapeake Creations, with the choices of either filet mignon or Chesapeake Chicken. Local D.J. Sky Brady will provide music.
To order tickets for the event, call Lois Miller at 410-827-7048, ext. 306, or email lmiller@chesterwye. com. Deadline for advance tickets is April 6.
From left, Chesterwye Foundation Chairman Wheeler Baker, Chesterwye founder Bobby Ann Nash, Queenstown Bank President and Honorary Chesterwye 50th anniversary Dinner/Auction Chairman Tommy Rhodes and Chesterwye Executive Director Debra Langseth attend...