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As a way to get more involved with the communities and to give back, Marlene Weber offered romantic makeovers to two Dutchess County couples on Feb. 21 at her Millbrook and Poughkeepsie locations.
According to Margot DeNies, in charge of marketing and public relations for the spas, Weber decided that she owed the community a lot and wanted to give back. She said after coming up with a couples package, which included pampering at the spa, a limo ride to dinner, and a ride home, she asked people to write to her with their inspirational stories.
“We chose people who were very deserving. It was really a hard decision to make,” said DeNies.
Nominated for the Poughkeepsie spa treatment were Beacon residents Art and Jennifer Poirier. Art gave Jennifer the gift of life when he donated a kidney to her in 2006 when hers were failing. He rearranged his schedule so he could not only donate an organ, but brought Jennifer to medical appointments and stood by her through the difficult times.
In Millbrook, Poughkeepsie residents Amanda and Dana Marra were honored. They were chosen because of their decision to adopt four brothers and sisters, all under the age of 6, more than a year after they started to provide foster care for them. From the very beginning, wrote their nominator Lorraine MacPherson, the couple took on challenges, treating the foster children like their own, tutoring them, taking them to swimming lessons, and teaching them about selfless love.
“I am certain that Amanda and Dana have little time alone together, and truly think that they deserve to win your Valentine love story contest, since they discovered the love inside necessary to take on four additional children,” said MacPherson.
Dana said the day of pampering was great, adding that he and his wife had been out on dates, but never like that.
“It was a nice treat,” said Dana Marra.
He said their nominator, MacPherson, was their biological daughter’s kindergarten teacher, and found out that they had an adoption application pending for the four children because “we wanted our family to grow.”
He said he and his wife were unable to have another child of their own so decided to become foster parents, going from one child to five.
He said the reaction to their adoption has been very positive, but said some people asked if they were crazy. He noted that now those people see how much they have worked to build a better life for the four children and say what they did was a good thing.
“Most of the time it’s a positive reaction,” said Dana Marra.
He said one of the people he wanted to thank was a member of his church who had also adopted. He said if not for her positive input they wouldn’t have known where to start.
Amanda agreed that the day was wonderful, adding that it was nice to be able to talk to her husband, something she doesn’t get to do often. She said the spa was very accommodating and was able to really help her relax and get away for the day.
“It was very peaceful and relaxing,” said Amanda Marra.
She said she doesn’t think their story compares to the Poirier’s, but was still thankful for getting the recognition.
Weber began her spa corporation in 1976, with the purchase of a three-stylist salon in Lagrangeville. From then she worked toward the inevitable opening of her first day spa in 1992. Since then her company has grown to house more than 40 technicians that specialize in all aspects of hair, nails, makeup, skin, and body care. The award winning spas are an active part of the communities they serve, and are also involved in many different fundraisers and charity work.