By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- From time to time, there are people that pour out such love and affection for a community, you can't help but take notice.
This year, Bernard and Margaret Grall will be recognized for their contributions and dedication to the community with the Good Samaritan award from the Samaritan Center in Vero Beach.
From toy drives, to softball, to school advisory boards to church functions and chairing fundraising campaigns for local charities, the Gralls have demonstrated all of the aspects that define a good Samaritan, directors of the nonprofit said.
The award will be presented to the couple on March 11 at the Samaritan's Center's 20th annual, "Home is Where the Heart Is" gala at the Quail Valley River Club. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, a sit down dinner and a live auction.
Reservations are $125 per person and the money raised at the event will go toward the Samaritan Center, said Tracy Segal, Samaritan Center program administrator.
Teresa Wonka, a member of the fundraising event committee and a personal friend of the Gralls, said their generosity and care really set them apart and are the reason why they were chosen for this award.
"I have known the Gralls for more than 30 years and I babysat their kids when I was in high school," Ms. Wonka said. "The Gralls are the same people whether they are out helping the community in various ways as they are behind the walls of their home."
In 1990, Bernie and Marge transformed their office at Tara Plantation into a Winter Wonderland known as "Christmas at Tara." Since then, families up and down the treasure coast have made the trip to Tara at Christmas a family tradition, according to a press release.
"The family puts up the lights and decorations themselves for that," Ms. Wonka said. "Marge is a very giving person and they're both wonderful people and you never feel uncomfortable around them."
The Grall family also hosts the annual "Night of Lights" event which benefits the Exchange Club of the Treasure Coast as well as food and toy drives benefiting the Samaritan Center, Homeless Family Center and the Salvation Army.
Ms. Segal said she was thrilled to have Mr. and Mrs. Grall as the guests of honor at the annual gala.
"They're just good people, very passionate about family, community, faith and giving," Ms. Segal said. "The Samaritan Center funding comes mainly from fundraising efforts and private donations, so the proceeds from the gala will go a long way to accomplishing the nonprofit's mission to end homelessness and bring families to independent living in the community once again."
For tickets or more information about the event or about The Samaritan Center, call (772) 770-3039, or visit www.samaritancentervero.org.