Welcome Center display is window to a dream

2013-11-07T21:00:00Z 2013-11-07T23:49:04Z Welcome Center display is window to a dreamBY LU ANN FRANKLIN Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 07, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

HAMMOND | “Let’s do this!” exclaimed Rich AmRhein, of Valparaiso, as he helped pull down the curtains covering a new window scene for “A Christmas Story” Comes Home exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center on Thursday.

The unveiling of a depiction of the scene where Ralphie saves his family from burglars using his Red Ryder BB gun highlighted a benefit for Opportunity Enterprises, a Porter County-based organization that serves 1,100 children and adults with disabilities every day.

“That’s the reaction everyone should have,” said Dave Stupay, CEO of Opportunity Enterprises about AmRhein’s excitement. The young man is one of the adults served by the organization.

“This benefit is a way to introduce Opportunity Enterprises to Lake County,” Stupay said.

In December, OE will begin open its first Lake County facility, a respite home on the Innsbruck Country Club grounds in Merrillville, he said. The home will provide short-term care for clients ages 13 and older from four hours up to several weeks at a time.

Families or caregivers who go on vacation, on a business trip or out for an evening will be able to entrust the person with disabilities to the care of staff at the respite home, Stupay said.

“OE is doing such incredible work. They are the gold standard,” said Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.

“We are honored to have them host their event here, kicking off the annual ‘A Christmas Story’ Comes Home exhibit.”

The new window scene honoring the 1983 film was chosen by visitors in a contest held during last year’s “A Christmas Story” Comes Home exhibit.

“Nothing else came close,” said Batistatos.

The exhibit officially opens Saturday at the Indiana Welcome Center and is presented in agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

It features six animated window scenes purchased from Macy’s by the SSCVA in 2008, Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

For more information about the “A Christmas Story” Comes Home exhibit, log on to http://www.southshorecva.com/achristmasstory/.

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