There is one thing that Trevor Rees-Jones doesn’t need — a microphone. That’s especially true when he gets his dander up like Thursday. At the ribbon-cutting of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center‘s spanking new Rees-Jones Child Protection Center, he proved it to a large filled-beyond-capacity auditorium.
The new facilities are four times as large as the stately mansion at 3611 Swiss Avenue, across from Baylor Medical Center, on the outskirts of downtown Dallas. The old place indeed had charm, but the kid-like
footprints of thousands upon thousands who entered seeking help had long ago outgrown its original plan, aka the brainchild of Ruth Altshuler and Bill Walsh back in 1991.
When the twosome plotted, planned and raised the funds to have a haven for children suffering from neglect and abuse, they probably thought the numbers would not be so amazing as heart-rending. Alas, over the past 23 years, the quantity grew as did the stories that accompanied these little ones. The marvelous thing about munchkins is their resilience and ability to adapt. They didn’t care if the old facility was state-of-the-art, so long as there were state-of-the-heart people inside to care for them.
Still, the numbers demanded expansion. The old building was busting at the seams and there was talk that Baylor would eventually need the property for its own demands.
According to DCAC President/CEO Lynn Davis, Mary Blake Meadows was approached about overseeing a campaign to raise millions of dollars to provide for a new facility. She said she would only do it if husband Chuck agreed to pitch in. They went on holiday and the story goes that Mary refused to return until Chuck agreed. There is no definite answer how long that vacation lasted. The good news is that Mary and Chuck stepped up and took on the challenge.
During the opening ceremony, Chuck reported that such names as Bobby Lyle and Ruth advised them on how to make it happen. There were so many names, both well-known and unknown, that contributed to the effort. But one name that was front and center was Rees-Jones. Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones‘s foundation provided $5M toward the DCAC’s $11M capital campaign.
When asked to speak, Trevor passed off the mic that had been performing spottily. But his voice carried throughout the hall. Yes, he was eloquent, but, more importantly, he spoke for all of the community, simply drawing the line that the abuse of children would not be tolerated.
When he was finished, Lynn told the group that more was needed to recognize the Rees-Jones’ support. Immediately, all rose and gave the couple a standing ovation.
Then the group was told all too briefly of the initial effort created by Ruth and Bill. Not all the details were shared, because almost everyone knew the well-known story. But Lynn told the twosome that the portraits of the Swiss house that was displayed on an easel would be installed in their homes to thank them for their dedication from start to finish. With that another SO took place.
First Unitarian Church of Dallas Rev. Aaron White gave the blessing. He, like so many, wished and prayed that there was not a need for DCAC, but was grateful that it would be a sanctuary for the most vulnerable in the community.
As guests like Janie McGarr, Andy Stern, Mary Black, Caren Prothro, Paige Flink, Ronnie Berg and Carol Seay dispersed for tours of the 56,000-square-foot building, Jan and Trevor posed for pictures both inside and in front of the center with their team.
As Trevor departed, he said that he had to take off for another charitable effort. Someone asked where he was headed. The answer: his office. He’s got to make more money to give away for children and education.