Heading into this year’s Holiday Gala, Tom Hecht reflects on a single question: “Where would we be if Osceola Medical Center wasn’t here for us during this pandemic?”

Hecht, Executive Director of the Osceola Community Health Foundation, said the Foundation’s annual Gala has also been affected by the pandemic. Not to be sidelined, though, this year’s affair will be a virtual event on Dec. 3, rather than the in-person event that has been one of the largest holiday gatherings in Polk County every year.  

Hecht said he hopes the community will come together online to honor the caregivers of Osceola Medical Center, and support wellness and fitness programs here in Osceola.

“Our frontline health care workers are risking their lives to save ours.  Now is the time to come together as a community and show them how much we value their heroic efforts,” Hecht said.

While current conditions make it impossible for the community to gather for the Gala as they have for the past 18 years, an exciting new program will air Dec. 3 via the Internet.

OCHF is providing an evening of excellent entertainment with Chris Kroeze (runner-up on The Voice), Bradley Whitford (Emmy Award winning actor: The Handmaid’s Tale, The West Wing, Get Out) and Wendy Maybury (Grammy-nominated comedian). Hecht said their presentations were taped at Big Rock Creek, where previous Galas were held. 

The new, virtual Osceola Gala features an online auction, including six different trips, an online store to help with holiday shopping, and a much larger reach through this national broadcast.

As an independent, nonprofit hospital, OMC depends on the generosity of people in our community who want access to local health care and wellness opportunities for their employees, family, friends and neighbors, Hecht said. This year, OCHF is hoping to raise $200,000 to support fitness efforts on its campus and wellness programs in the community.

“Across our area, not only are we seeing that donations are down, but our children, our elderly, and all of us need the lifesaving medical care that we could not have imagined last year. To honor our caregivers and help our community take positive steps to fight COVID-19, please join us on December 3rd.”  You can register and find out more at

 “Your support of the Osceola Community Health Foundation is an investment in the health of our community,” concluded Hecht.

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