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Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln was all ablaze in silver and gold as guests gathered for the inaugural Miracle Night for Madonna on Nov. 30.

Thanks to sponsors, generous bidders and the committee, net proceeds from the event raised over $150,000 to help advance world-class rehabilitation at Madonna.

Highlighting the beautiful evening was the Crystal Angel Award presentation to loyal Madonna friends Tom and Lisa Smith. Powerful patient stories and generous community support made for a magical evening.

Rich Claussen, master of ceremonies, expressed special gratitude to sponsors Sampson Construction, Landscapes Unlimited, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., Hafner Vineyards,, V2 Content - Brandon and Tiffany Verzal, and Wilderness Ridge.

Because of generous donations from businesses and friends, guests chose from a wide array of live and silent auction items including a California wine country trip, a foursome golf weekend at Victoria National Golf Club in Indiana, Disneyland passes, unique artwork, a “glamping” trip and more.

Claussen also expressed appreciation to the Madonna Ambassadors for their help with the Technology Break for the gala. The Madonna Ambassadors, a dedicated group of past patients led by Brandon, Tiffany and Alexis Verzal, used peer funding to help Madonna purchase the AlterG bionic leg. Their funds were matched by, a subsidiary of Sandhills Publishing. During Miracle Night for Madonna, guests also raised additional funds to bring this state-of-the-art technology to both Madonna campuses.

Lauren and John Pugliese chaired the event committee, which also included Kaylen Akert, Marilyn Dongilli, Paige Flynn, Julia Gale, Adam Hayes, Lisa Kiechel, Liz Koop, Kris Love, Britta Muhleisen, Melissa Murante, Kim Shirk, Tawnya Starr, Audrey Svane, Dan Vokoun, Brittany Wesch and Susan White.

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L Magazine editor

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