ARMC Mainland Auxiliary luncheon comes with a ‘cherry bomb’ surprise

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Board members of the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Mainland Auxiliary stand with former hospital chef Harrison Keith Whitted of Atlantic City Sept. 12 at the Mainland Campus. Whitted, who prepared his original “cherry bomb” dessert for the Auxiliary’s Cherry Blossom Ball in the late 1970s, was invited as a special guest. Staff recreated the dessert and served it during the luncheon. GALLOWAY – Representatives of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Mainland Campus recognized and thanked the ARMC Mainland Auxiliary Board members for their dedication to the hospital during an appreciation luncheon Wednesday, Sept. 12. The Auxiliary has raised more than $2 million to benefit patient services since its inception in 1974.

“We truly appreciate the Auxiliary and the work they do,” said nurse Kathy Birkenstock, assistant vice president of nursing.

Harrison Keith Whitted of Atlantic City, who retired in 2003 after working at ARMC’s Atlantic City Campus for 40 years as a chef, surprised the Auxiliary by attending the event to celebrate and cut their cake. Whitted created the original “cherry bomb” dessert for the Cherry Blossom Ball, the main fundraising event the Auxiliary held in the late 1970s.

With instruction from Whitted, Birkenstock and administrative assistant Patricia Karaisz

re-created the “cherry bomb” ice-cream cake as a special surprise to Auxiliary members. The center also re-named the annual appreciation luncheon the “Cherry Blossom Luncheon.”

“Renaming the luncheon honors auxilians of the past and recognizes current auxilians,” Birkenstock said. 

“We were thrilled and surprised by the ‘cherry bomb’ dessert. We waited 35 years to taste it again, but it was well worth it,” said Linda Stanton, Mainland Auxiliary president. “It was heart-warming that Kathy and Patty cared enough to take the time to make the dessert for us. We are also flattered Chef Whitted attended the event. We made sure his dessert was on the menu at all our fundraising events because we believed it was so good it increased attendance. It was so nice to see him again.”

“I was honored to be invited to the luncheon and see some of the ladies I met years ago,” said Whitted. “I am impressed by the Auxiliary and their dedication to fundraising. It was a pleasure to be part of the event. The ‘cherry bomb’ was delicious. I couldn’t have made it better myself.”

According to Stanton, the original Cherry Blossom Ball fundraiser was sponsored by the Atlantic City and Mainland Auxiliaries of the then-Atlantic City Medical Center. Venues for the event included Deauville-Sheraton Hotel and Motor Inn, Haddon Hall, and Penthouse Boardwalk Hotel in Atlantic City.

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center chef Harrison Keith Whitted serves a slice of his “cherry bomb” cake to Mainland auxilians during a Cherry Blossom Ball fund-raising event in 1977.

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