WARRENSBURG — RISE Community Services held its fourth annual gala, A Night of Inspiration: A Star Is Born, on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Knob Hill Barn 1892 as a celebration of the accomplishments the organization’s individuals have achieved throughout the year as well as a thank you to the event’s donors.

Dinner and entertainment were provided to attendees, which included an auction, raffle prizes and guest speaker Sean Morrissey, a RISE vocational employee.

Warrensburg Police Department Chief Rich Lockhart emceed the gala.

Casey Flowers, RISE communications director, had a part in organizing the gala which she said starts “months and months” ahead of time.

“We bring in some community members to help us gather sponsorships and donations and the entire community comes together to make this night possible,” Flowers said.

RISE gathered raffle items and donations from more than 50 businesses and received more than 30 sponsors for the event.

“We definitely have the community to thank for it,” Flowers said.

The undeniable “star” of A Night of Inspiration: A Star Is Born was Morrissey, who delighted the crowd at every turn.

After being introduced by his parents, Morrissey approached the podium with Lockhart to perform a dance number to a Backstreet Boys track that had the whole crowd cheering.

The two then sat down to an interview, where Morrissey had the chance to thank the people in his life who love and support him.

“Being able to see Sean interact with the chief the way he did and show the community how far he’s come was really cool,” Flowers said. “He’s in the community at Lifetime [Animal Clinic] and Glasscock [Jewelry Corner] and was at Equity Bank for a while. People see him and get to interact with him, so to see him be able to speak to such a large number of people on that scale, it is just really cool to share a little bit of Sean with the rest of the world.”

Morrissey’s presence translates past his time at the gala, with members of RISE lamenting their numerous pleasant interactions with him.

“My very first day at RISE, Sean was having a day that maybe wasn’t his best and it was still a great day. He was still being so great,” Flowers said.

For Morrissey and other members of RISE, the gala was a way to celebrate their individual accomplishments.

“Tonight’s event is really about the individuals,” Misty Miller, RISE executive director, said. “It’s celebrating their life and their journey and how we are able to be a part of that journey.”

Staff Writer Dustin Steinhoff can be reached by emailing dustin.steinhoff@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.

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