20 (or so) Questions With Steve Samaras
2019 Hospice of the Chesapeake Gala Emcee
Interviewer: Michael Hughes
Q: Charity and supporting charitable causes has always been at the core of Zachary’s operational philosophy. Why is that?
S: I’m born and raised here in the city of Annapolis. Being part of the community, I think, makes you appreciate what this town means to everyone. Giving back to these organizations is, as you mentioned, at the core at Zachary’s. We appreciate the involvement and it was shared back with us when we had the fire in 2005. We had hundreds, literally hundreds, of people that came out from these organizations that contacted us, came down to support us, down to help us actually re-open, so it’s good business sense.
Q: You have committed over and over again to helping local charities but Hospice of The Chesapeake seems to be one of those priorities for your support. Why is that?
S: Because it’s an organization that has so many tentacles. It reaches out and touches everyone in the community in some way, shape or form. Much like the hospital, and certainly several other organizations, have that affect in support for the community. Hospice resonates with me personally and my family because of our relationship when my mother was passing.
Q: What is most important to you and Challie and the Zachary’s team about the work they do?
S: As we get older, you start to appreciate what you have had over the course of your life and how blessed we are to be where we are right now and to be able to provide to families that end-of-life support and not only that, there are so many other things that Hospice provides. That, I think is with what most people associate Hospice. To give that love and that support and that care that only they seem to be able to do is pretty remarkable to me.
Q: I think we’ve all been touched by Hospice somewhere at some point in our lives. Those people are angels on earth.
S: They are. They absolutely are.
Q: How many years have you been involved with Hospice of the Chesapeake?
S: Oh boy. That’s a good question. It’s got to be 15 or 20 years or more.
Q: In supporting their big fund raisers, like the annual gala, what do you donate?
S: What it has morphed into is a number of pieces of jewelry that the guests can select from when the winner is determined. There’s a drawing that they have. I don’t really know the numbers, but I do know that the return on investment for what it is we’re providing is important to the organization and that’s what is important to us.
Q: The winner gets to select their piece of jewelry?
S: Yes. We will typically have a very expensive watch. We’ll have a very nice pair of diamond earrings, diamond necklaces, and diamond bracelets. There are four of five items that we provide and we showcase them when people walk in. They buy their raffle ticket and the name is drawn at the end of the night.
Q: That’s much different than the typical, here’s a necklace, thank you very much.
S: We used to do that. They would auction off a piece of jewelry that we provided and let’s assume the value of the jewelry was $10,000. Sometimes you get to that number, sometimes you wouldn’t. Sometimes you would exceed it but more often than not the item would sell for less than the value of the piece. But with this, obviously if you’re selling 200 raffle tickets you know exactly what you’re realizing at the end of the night.
Q: Do you have any idea how much money you’ve helped raise for Hospice of The Chesapeake?
S: I have no clue. I would assume it’s a significant number. And, that’s what’s important to the organization and all of us here at Zachary’s
Q: Do you know where that money goes? Does it fund a specific program at Hospice of The Chesapeake, or a general operating fund?
S: They will select a specific program or programs much like some of the other larger groups do annually. And, they will change. They will identify for what these monies will be providing.
Q: So, Hospice of The Chesapeake is celebrating 40 years in operation this year.
S: It is. That’s why they selected me to emcee this year. They wanted someone in their forties. (laughing)
Q: You are the emcee this year. That’s terrific.
S: Yes, I am. I am. They’ve had Dr. Berman for a number of years provide his auction capabilities. He certainly did a wonderful job and I think he has a conflict this year so they needed someone else or they would have had to hire an auctioneer…which they didn’t want to do. The people at Hospice came to me and asked if I would try my hand at it this year. I’m a little concerned but I think everything will work out.
Q: Have you gone to auctioneer school.
S: No I have not, but they are going to teach me. As a matter of fact, I think we have a meeting at the end of the month where we will go over the program and hopefully I won’t flub it up.
Q: There’s a real art to it.
S: Thanks Michael. No pressure. I know. Thanks so much. (laughing)
Q: Have you hired comedy writers to give you some good material.
S: No I haven’t. What are you doing that night? (laughing)
Q: What else about your relationship makes this so special for you and the team at Zachary’s? I know their leadership, their executive director, a few board members and from top to bottom that place is world class.
S: It is a well-run organization. The funds that they raise annually support the community at a level that we look for when we are providing our support. The administrative fees are a fraction of what they could be. And, the people…the people we’ve met on the gala committees that we have been involved in, the people through the organization, as you pointed out, from top to bottom are top class and individuals that you just can speak highly enough about. These caregivers at the ground-level…they are special human beings.
Q: Indeed. The event is coming up Saturday, March 16th at the new Live! Hotel in Hanover
S: Yes, I would like to invite everyone to come out and support Hospice of The Chesapeake for this year’s gala. We are going to have a great time.
Q: Thank you Steve.
S: Thank you.
Preview the Zachary’s jewelry you could win at the 40th Annual Hospice of the Chesapeake Gala!