Steve Palmer, chairman of the Brew Moon Festival; Susanna Decker of Community Support Services; and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr pose with the oversized check donated from the festival. (Photos by Steve Metsch) 

Steve Palmer, chairman of the Brew Moon Festival; Susanna Decker of Community Support Services; and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr pose with the oversized check donated from the festival. (Photos by Steve Metsch) 

Brew Moon raises $33,000 for two charitable organizations

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By Steve Metsch

Two local charitable organizations will benefit from the 12th annual Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival held in October at the MAX in McCook.

The Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Foundation, based in Indian Head Park, and Community Support Services, based in Brookfield, each received $16,500.

Checks were presented to representatives of each at the McCook Village Board meeting Feb. 20.

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John O’Laughlin discusses the goals of the foundation named for his late daughter.

Steve Palmer, who owns The Stadium Club tavern and restaurant on the second floor of the MAX, also chairs the Brew Moon committee.

“The village,” he said, “is very important to this event.”

“Without the trustees’ support and the mayor’s support, and the support of the entire McCook team, this event wouldn’t happen,” Palmer said.

“As a businessman in McCook, I’m so proud to be part of the event. … We’re helping so many people with the money we raise and giving it out so they can use it for whatever they need,” Palmer said.

In order to qualify for funding, organizations must be not-for-profit and based in the township of Lyons.

“Or else you’re getting calls from California and everywhere else looking for money,” Palmer said.

John O’Laughlin, Kelli Joy’s father and executive director of the foundation, accepted the check.

“Our charity has three legs we like to stand on and all of them remembering our daughter. The first is college scholarships. We’ve given 104 since 2011. They’re worth something about $140,000,” he said.

Camp Tecumseh, a YMCA camp she attended in Indiana, and Maryville Academy, based in Chicago, also get assistance, he said.

Kelly Joy O’Laughlin, 14, was a freshman at Lyons Township High School when she was stabbed to death by a home intruder during a burglary in October 2011.

Susanna Decker, vice president for development, accepted the check for Community Support Services.

“We had a wonderful time at the Brew Moon Festival,” she said.

“Our organization serves more than 1,000 individuals every year, developmentally disabled and intellectually disabled children and adults in 50 different communities,” Decker said.

Community day programs are offered in Brookfield and Cicero, she said. Services for families are offered and Community Support Services has eight homes where residents live.

The donation will be used to pay for art programs, a drumming class, cooking class, computer class and others, she said.

The 13th annual Brew Moon Festival will be held on Oct. 19 this year, Palmer said.

Dozens of brewers from the area and around the nation offer samples. Live music is played, too.

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