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Group extends legacy of Jennifer LeVan

Written by Dustin B. Levy, The Evening Sun | Apr 16, 2016 9:50 AM
jen-levan.jpg

Friends of Jen plans to retire the mortgage on the Adams County Arts Council offices, which will allow them to name the Arts Education Center in LeVan's honor. (Photo: Submitted to The Evening Sun)

Jennifer LeVan wore many hats in her lifetime. She managed a Harley-Davidson dealership. She held down a job as a ski instructor. She had a high-profile catering career in Philadelphia, which helped make her garden parties a huge hit. But maybe her most important role was as a local philanthropist.

LeVan, who lived in Gettysburg, died in February 2015 at the age of 56 from breast cancer, a disease she raised money for long before she was diagnosed. Her friends and family formed Friends of Jen in December to honor her memory and raise money to retire the $350,000 mortgage for the main offices of the Adams County Arts Council in downtown Gettysburg. Achieving this goal would allow the council to name its Arts Education Center in LeVan's memory.

On April 21, they will be coming together for "Tee It Up Fore Jen," a golf tournament at The Links at Gettysburg and one of a series of events aimed toward achieving Friends of Jen's goal. The event, which will begin at 1 p.m. with a $100 entry fee, will feature golf, driving range practice, putting greens, a hole-in-one contest for a Harley Davidson as well as other contests, a barbeque buffet, refreshments, prizes and raffles.

The effort to honor LeVan stems from her and her husband David LeVan's dedication to the arts council. The couple managed Battlefield Harley-Davidson in Gettysburg together.

Darlene Brown, co-chair of Friends of Jen, said it would be "fitting" to name the Arts Education Center after LeVan.

"Jen and David were wonderful people to the arts council," said Darlene Brown, co-chair of Friends of Jen. "They gave many hours of their time."
Brown described how the LeVans opened their home every year for an annual garden party and absorbed all costs.

With her background in catering, LeVan would put out lavish spreads with food she made herself with the help of some friends.

"It was something people looked forward to every year," said Chris Glatfelter, executive director of the Adams County Arts Council.

In lieu of the annual garden party, the arts council will be holding a "Jammin for Jen" island party at the LeVan residence on June 4. Glatfelter said the event would be a twist on LeVan's party because "the committee felt there was no way they could ever replicate her garden party." She described LeVan's death as a "tragic loss in the community."

LeVan's philanthropic work in the region was extensive. She started Pink Journey of Lights, an October event raising awareness for breast cancer in York and Adams counties. The cover for its Facebook page reads "continuing the vision of Jennifer LeVan."

She also held "Support Our Troops" events following the War in Iraq. Battlefield Harley-Davidson held a "Bon Voyage" party for an employee going on a trip to Hawaii as part of the Make-A-Wish program. The list goes on, much like the memories of LeVan to the many in the community she touched over the years.

LeVan "never had an enemy" and "embraced everybody," according to Brown. Friends of Jen's cause is a direct extension of LeVan's tireless, giving nature. Later in the year, the arts council will hold a memorial motorcycle ride for LeVan in June at Battlefield Harley-Davidson as well as "Jingle Ball for Jen" in December at Oxford Hill Manor.

"Jennifer LeVan was really a force of nature and everyone that knew her loved her, and I think we all really miss her, and I think it's wonderful these events are being done in her memory," Glatfelter said.

More information

To register for "Tee It Up Fore Jen": Visit AdamsArts.org.

To make a donation in Jen's memory: Visit AdamsArts.org/In-Memory-of-Jen-LeVan.

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between The Evening Sun and WITF. 

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