Dallas Historical Society’s Awards For Excellence In Community Services Recipients Displayed Insight And Graciousness In Accepting Their Honors

While the Dallas Historical Society‘s 2017 Awards for Excellence in Community Services crowds gathered outside the Fairmont’s International Ballroom, the VIPs and 2017 Awardees attended a private reception in the Venetian Room on Thursday, November 9. For some it was a great opportunity for people whose paths had never crossed to meet up.

Lindalyn Adams, Mary McDermott Cook and David Brown

Diane Bumpas and Bill Helmbrecht

Caro Stalcup

Joan Walne, Mary Suhm and Laurie Evans

For instance, historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was almost giddy meeting former Police Chief David Brown. Speaking of David, he reported that due to his ABC contract, he was splitting his time between Dallas and New York City… Across the way, Laurie Evans was doing the swivel head looking for her husband Dr. Phil Evans to arrive. She knew he would be there, but when? … Already on the scene were past Award recipients Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, who were there to celebrate Kern’s brother Hobson Wildenthal’s being recognized for his work in education…. Patricia Meadows reported that the family home in the State Thomas neighborhood was on the market… and others like Joan and Alan Walne, Mary McDermott Cook, Louise Caldwell, Diane Bumpas, Caro Stalcup, Mary Suhm, Creative Arts Awardee Carolyn Brown, Arts Leadership Awardees Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller and Sports Leadership Awardee Tony Dorsett with his wife Janet Dorsett.

Louise Caldwell

Marnie and Kern Wildenthal and Mary McDermott Cook

Janet and Tony Dorsett

Phil Evans

 

Just moments before the chimes called the group to the luncheon, Laurie was relieved to see her husband arrive with a big smile. Seems he had gotten an early Christmas gift — a million-dollar grant —from an “anonymous” donor. That’s a pretty darn good excuse for a delayed arrival.

The ballroom was filled to the max, as people like Jill Bernstein, Sandi Chapman, Kimber Hartmann, Gail Thomas and Lee Cullum took their seats. At 11:50 a.m., Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas called the group to order. Following an invocation by St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church Rev. Chris Girata, Stewart introduced Luncheon Co-Chairs Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery, who welcomed the group. They were followed by Dallas Historical Society Chair Bill Helmbrecht, who officially thanked all for attending and supporting the society.

Kaysie Montgomery and Carol Montgomery

All of this was done within six minutes! Promptly at high noon, Stewart reported that the program would continue in a few minutes and guests should settle back for lunch. Missing in action was table host Bobby Lyle, who was under the weather, but his table was filled with Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean… Arriving just after luncheon was underway was Shirley Miller.

Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean

At 12:25 p.m. Stewart was back at the podium and invited the award recipients to take their places in chairs on the stage.

Some of the highlights from the acceptance speeches were:

Carolyn Brown and Hobson Wildenthal

  • Hobson Wildenthal for Education — The University of Texas at Dallas Executive VP recalled how 50 years ago TI was created and the UTD resulted. 157 National Merit Scholars were in this year’s freshman class and it was designated as the Best U.S. College less than 50 years old. He finished saying, “Margaret McDermott is the queen of Dallas.”
  • Steve Pounders for Health/Science — The internist told how in 1981 he was just starting his care and discovered a disease that was affecting young men that would late become known as AIDs. It would become his life’s calling resulting in his serving as the primary physician for men in the Dallas Buyers Club. He thanked Veletta Lill, Resource Center’s Cece Cox and his spouse James O’Reilly.
  • Willis Winters for History — The Dallas Park and Recreation Department Director gave thanks for the recent passage of the bond: “One of the first projects will be the restoration of the Hall of State.”
  • Jorge Baldor for Philanthropy — The Cuban-born businessman acknowledged that 800,000 have been the recipients of DACA and encouraged audience members to support the Dream Act. He went on to thank the event and kitchen staffs and finished by reporting that several hundred students are living under bridges and still going to school.

Then the most poignant moment came unexpectedly. It was when former Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett accepted his award for sports. He admitted that he was a little taken aback by the people, and went on to recognize the late Cowboys Coach Tom Landry, who made Tony understand that things were going to be tougher in the NFL. Landry held Tony back and it taught the young football player patience.  Tony went on, saying, “I was always told that I was too small, time and time again.” Through effort and determination, he was able to play in the NFL for 13 years.  

Looking at the other recipients seated on stage, he went on to saying “These are fantastic and incredible people up here.”

He thanked his wife Janet saying, “What I’m going through is tough, and she puts up with me. It can be really difficult and she understands that that’s not the real me. This is tough.”

Having gone beyond his two-minute limit, Janet was seen quietly approaching the side of the stage. Tony heard her say, “Tony,” and he took note and sat down.

Moments later David Brown took his place at the podium to accept the Jubilee History Maker Award. He could have easily sucked the air out of the room for his leadership for the July 7 tragedy. Instead, David rallied the audience to give Tony another round of appreciation. The applause was deafening for both Tony and David’s act of graciousness.

David went to tell how his father hadn’t wanted him to be “a cop.” But on the day when he was made a lieutenant at the Hall of State, he had what would be the last conversation with his father, who said “You were right in your choice.”

Then David went further back in his history, telling how in fourth grade, he had played Captain George Ludwig von Trapp in the “Sound of Music.” The students had to do more than learn their roles. They had to research the backstory of the musical. Today he had become nostalgic when seeing the white flowers on the tables and hearing the musician play “Edelweiss” — the last song Richard Rodgers wrote with Oscar Hammerstein.

Tying it all together, he said, “Remember who we are, what we stand for, how we should treat each other.” Then he voiced disappointment at the lack of participation in the recent election.

At 1:14 p.m., Bill Helmbrecht returned to the stage and invited all to take part in the annual A.C. Greene Toast.

For more pictures of the day, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Awards For Excellence In Community Service

This year’s Awards for Excellence in Community Services on Thursday, November 9, at the Fairmont was a true gathering of greats in all fields. From the pre-luncheon reception for the recipients to the presentation of the awards, the Dallas Historical Society fundraiser showcased those who have contributed to the betterment of the area.

Lindalyn Adams, Mary McDermott Cook and David Brown

At one point in the program, former Dallas Police Chief David Brown proved just why he had been selected for the Jubilee History Maker.

While the post is being prepared, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Passing: Al Hill Jr.

The tapestry of Al Hill Jr.’s life was one of many threads, colors and textures.  

Al Hill Jr. (File photo)

For many young people, Al was the behind-the-scenes patriarch of Highland Park Village and a very generous and supportive philanthropist. As one person told a new nonprofit development director on how to raise funds, “Go visit Al. He’ll take the meeting and listen. If he likes what he hears, he’ll answer your prayers.”

He was easy to spot at any event. It was his wheelchair that had become a double-edged sword since his fall in 2003 that resulted in his being paralyzed from the waist down. But even that couldn’t dampen his spirits. There was always the smile, especially when he was at events with his daughters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne.

Old-timers remember Al of the late ’60s and early ’70s, when he was just in his 20s. He and his uncle Lamar Hunt spearheaded the growth of tennis, thanks to the World Championship of Tennis. It made sense, since Al had been an ace tennis player at St. Mark’s School of Texas and Trinity University. Tennis was on the launch pad to become a major sports contender like football and baseball. And the timing couldn’t have been better for Al, Lamar and Dallas.

Those were heady days, with Dallas’ new airport making it an international player in the world of travel and such membership nightclubs as Oz on LBJ and elan at Greenville and Lovers Lane for partying it up. To do it up big, Al and Lamar brought in such names as Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Bjorg, who could barely speak English.

But the venture into building the world of tennis wasn’t Al’s only undertaking. Being the grandson of the late H.L. and Lyda Hunt and son of the late Margaret and Al Hill Sr., he was involved in the oil business. Being the nephew of the late race-horse-loving Bunker Hunt, he developed a hands-on interest in horse racing. Being the nephew of Pumpkin Air owner Caroline Rose Hunt, he took on the charter-jet business as well.

And on the home front, he and his beautiful blonde wife, Vicki, were new parents of son Al Hill III and daughters Heather and Elisa.

But it hadn’t all been wonderful for Al. There was the divorce from Vicki, the life-changing fall from his porch in 2003, and legal issues following the death of his mother in 2007. Yet, those developments didn’t slow him down. He ended up adjusting his interests to focus on the building and restoring of Park Cities homes, as well as being a part of the purchase and redevelopment of Highland Park Village starting in 2009.

But it was in philanthropy where he shone, by putting even more of his family’s money and influence into the world of such nonprofits as Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Equest, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Texas, Center for BrainHealth, Salvation Army of DFW Metroplex Command, Big Thought, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, The Family Place, Communities in Schools of Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, The Senior Source, Dallas Historical Society, and many others.

Saturday night, Al’s confinement to the wheelchair ended with his death at the age of 72. One can’t but suspect that he was the first one on the tennis courts the next morning in his after-life.

Our condolences to his family, friends and the countless others who have benefited from his generosity and friendship.

Grovel Alert: Dallas Uncorked Holiday Dinner

Just heard from that wine-loving Haley Hamilton Cogill that there were just a mere five tickets left for Dallas Uncorked’s Annual Holiday Dinner on Sunday, December 10, at Salum. To complement the evening’s multi-course feasting will be Domaine Caneros sparkling and still wines with the Eileen “Doyenne of Sparking Wine in California” Crane on hand for table talk.

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill (File photo)

Leave it to Haley and restaurateur Abraham Salum to schedule the dinner on the heels of the Cowboys game against Giants in the Big Apple. If The Boys win, what a way to celebrate. If they lose, the dinner will be a perfect way to wash away the blues.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit Les Dames d’Escoffier and The Edible Schoolyard. Hopefully, tickets are still available here.

BTW, if you aren’t lucky enough to pop the cork on this one. You might want to check out Haley’s appearance with husband/film-meister Gary Cogill at the Dallas Arboretum’s “Wine And Movies: A Perfect Pairing With Gary and Hayley Cogill” on Monday, December 11. The twosome will talk about their favorite movies of 2017 and seamlessly pair the films with wines. For Arboretum members, the price is $70. For non-members, it’s $75. Once again, membership has its perks.

MySweetWishList: Readers 2 Leaders

Norma Nelson*

According to Readers 2 Leaders Executive Director Norma Nelson,

“My holiday wish is for all third graders in Dallas County to receive the early literacy skills they need to succeed! I’d like to introduce you to three Readers 2 Leaders students: Catalina, Fernanda and Alaina go to different schools, but they have something in common: they all dream of helping others in the healthcare field. Maybe they will become doctors, nurses, or medical researchers! Like all kids, they have big dreams.

“The road from career dress up day at Readers 2 Leaders’ Summer Camp to advanced medical training will be long no matter what, but together we can make it smoother. We know that 2 out of 3 economically disadvantaged children are not reading on grade level by 4th grade, and that makes them six times less likely to graduate from high school, according to data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Imagine if only one of the sweet girls in this photo made it to college! We can’t let that happen.

“At Readers 2 Leaders, children get help learning to read on grade level so they are prepared for the challenges they face on the way to fulfilling their dreams. At R2L, we know that literacy isn’t the only thing kids need to make things go right, but it’s just about the first thing that must! When you support Readers 2 Leaders, you’re helping literacy go right for kids.

Readers 2 Leaders*

“Also, students in Readers 2 Leaders’ programs are making great progress! They gain an average of a year and a half of reading skills in just one year, and 94% of this year’s summer campers did not experience the “summer slide”– in fact, they gained 3.5 months of skills!

“I hope that you will consider donating to Readers 2 Leaders this holiday season.

Catalina, Fernanda and Alaina*

“Your support helps children like Catalina, Fernanda and Alaina get the early literacy skills they desperately need. You can connect with Readers 2 Leaders by donating, attending a tour or volunteering to read with a child in our program. Thank you for helping children in our community achieve their dreams!”

– By Norma Nelson, Readers 2 Leaders Executive Director

* Photo provided by Readers 2 Leaders

A Passing: Eli

Eli (File photo)

Eli worked with more patients than most doctors. You might say he was a general practitioner since his skills were limitless.  And his bedside manner was better than even Marcus Welby’s.

For a decade, Eli was the Numero Uno member of the Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy program. From his birth on March 13, 2007, there was something special about the Golden Retriever. Sure, he was like any dog if a tennis ball caught his eye. But once he arrived at any of the Baylor campuses in North Texas wearing his ID badge and bandanna, he transformed into a care provider.

By an act of the fates, Eli was able to pursue his calling with his partner Linda Marler, who was in charge of the Baylor program. Partner? Yes. Anyone could see that in Eli’s and Linda’s relationship, there was no “owner.” They were partners.

For years, Linda and Eli would daily go to “their” office on the first floor of Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation and set up schedules and work with all types of patients. In some cases, it was just to provide some comfort for a patient who missed their own dog. For others, it was helping a young person trying to regain the use of their hands after a motorcycle accident. And for still others, it was quietly putting his head in someone’s lap when they were having a bad day.

Linda Marler and Eli (File photo)

However, it was more than the patients who got the Eli treatment. Baylor staff members would greet them as they walked through the halls.  Their little office became the “must-stop-by” spot for anyone working in the building. It was never surprising to see a patient in a wheelchair roll up to the door to see how Eli was doing. The Golden Retriever greeted each visitor with a wagging tail and a smile. Yes, Eli did smile.

Alas, poor Eli had to put up with some of Linda’s silliness. She would balance everything from treats to balls on his nose to show how obedient he was. Everyone from children to the most highly educated specialist would look in amazement as he held his nose just the right way until Linda gave him the signal to release.

Eli in the center with Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy testing team (File photo)

And, of course, Eli became the rock star of the Animal Assisted Therapy program. The temperament testing team considered Eli not to be a dog, but rather one of the testers. When new dogs would be tested for the program that was considered one of the toughest, Eli would quietly lie nearby until Linda needed him.

Eli (File photo)

As the years passed, Eli found himself training a new puppy in the Marler household. The pup’s name was Micah and, like Eli, he was a Golden Retriever. Only Micah was a bit of a cut-up. As a youngster, he got loose and was the victim of a hit-and-run. Luckily, Micah pulled through, but it is believed that Eli took him aside and told him to get his act together … which he did.

In recent years, Eli’s muzzle was turning white and he was slowing down a bit. After all, that’s why he had been training Micah to take over some of his duties. But Eli was still showing up for work with Linda and taking care of their patients and staff.

Just this past Sunday, an email was sent by Linda, “Went to ER today. Eli has hemangiosarcoma … We brought him home with us…..giving him extra love and attention. He is not eating….. it is only a matter of time.”

That time came last night, when Linda watched her partner cross the rainbow bridge.

Crystal Charity Ball Committee Does A “Mary Tyler Moore” Singalong For CCB Chair Pam Perella On The Eve Of The Children’s Nonprofit Gala

T’was the night before Crystal Charity Ball and all through the Anatole the finishing touches were being polished up for the 2017 fundraiser for the Dallas County children’s nonprofits. With nails broken and fashionably torn jeans, the committee had finished their three days of installing the “Evening In The Alps” finery in the Chantilly Ballroom. To celebrate their year of working under the leadership of 2017 Chair Pam Perella, a champagne get-together was held in a suite high atop the hotel.

When Pam started her reign a year ago, she announced that the internal working theme would be TV shows of the ’70s. Still it became known that Pam’s fav program had been “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” How simply wonderful and typical of ever-smiling Pam.

But as CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers noted tonight, “Mary Tyler Moore died just days later.” That might have put a crimp on the POA, but this was a Pam project and the energy and collaboration continued in a MTM spirit.

Anne Besser, Leslie Diers, Cheryl Joyner and Elizabeth Gambrell

Tonight as a surprise for Pam, the committee led by Pam’s chief lieutenants (Anne Besser, Leslie, Cheryl Joyner and Elizabeth Gambrell) led the group in singing the theme song of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” with the lieutenants tossing their berets as the end.

Stacey Walker, Lisa Cooley, Caren Kline, Connie O’Neill and Angela Nash

While the CCB team is a gangbuster in raising funds for area charities, they had better not think about going professional with their choral singing. Still, Pam, with husband Vin Perella supporting her, was truly touched by the moment, the laughter and her cohorts.

Vin and Pam Perella

Another surprise was the arrival of Matthew Trent’s donation to the silent auction. For ages, Silent Auction and Special Gifts Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Cheryl Joyner had been crossing their fingers for the arrival of Trent’s handiwork. Alas, it arrived just that night and too late for the catalogue. As the ladies opened the box, they discovered a beautiful gold necklace with a brilliant gold fish highlighted by white sapphires valued at $15,000+.  BTW, Event Producer Tom Addis has truly created an Alpine experience, from a skiers’ hut to the aroma of fresh-cut firs. And that’s just for the cocktail party!

Legendary B.J. Thomas Took The Stage For Northwood Woman’s Club’s Annual Kaleidoscope Fundraiser At Intercontinental Hotel

While the rest of North Texas was resting after a morning of runs/walks on Saturday, October 28, the Northwood Woman’s Club was in overdrive at the Intercontinental Hotel for its annual Kaleidoscope 2017 “Believe in Love” fundraiser. In addition to having The Triumphs on stage, the star of the night was the legendary B.J. Thomas. Here’s a report from the field that was delayed due to a MySweetCharity elf’s being asleep at the wheel: 

No raindrops fell Saturday, October 28, on the Northwood Woman’s Club Kaleidoscope 2017 “Believe in Love” Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel. The only raindrops at the event came later in the evening in a song when music legend B.J. Thomas took the stage and sang his Grammy winning hit “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”

Upon arrival, guests mingled and explored the silent auction items and wine pull. As guests moved to their tables for dinner, they viewed a slide show featuring the beneficiaries of the event—Attitudes and Attire, Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UTD, Cristo Rey Dallas, Dallas CASA, Interfaith Family Services, St. Simon’s After-School, and NWC Scholarship Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas.

Gala chair Leslie Apgar welcomed guests into dinner as the band The Triumphs took the stage to play during dinner. The Triumphs, the original band that recorded with B.J. Thomas, added a touch of nostalgia to the evening with their familiar hits from the sixties and seventies.

Sharyl Weber, Patricia Kay Dube and Vaughn Gross*

To start the evening’s program NWC President Patricia Kay Dube welcomed everyone and thanked them for supporting the event. She then turned the program over to Master of Ceremonies and Auctioneer Dean McCurry, who recognized guests from each of the beneficiary organizations, including Dallas CASA President and Executive Director Kathleen LaValle and St. Simon’s After School Executive Director Maria Vizzo.

To start the live auction, Dean urged the crowd to “bid up” on a variety of live auction items. He kept the bidding lively for hot sports items such as a Cowboys game experience that includes tickets in a suite and on field passes, and a suite at a Mavericks game for twelve people. Travel items up for auction included a vacation home in Breckenridge, Colorado and a stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii. The live auction concluded with a trip to New York in December to see the Billy Joel concert, and this item generated so many bids that several additional trips were awarded to bidders.

B.J. Thomas*

Ready for the featured entertainment of the evening by five-time Grammy winner B.J. Thomas, the crowd enthusiastically welcomed B.J. to the stage and filled the dance floor to sing along and dance as he performed his many hit songs, including “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “Hooked on a Feeling” and many others.

The Triumphs closed out the evening with more music and dancing.

The best part of the evening was the success of the event in raising funds for NWC’s beneficiaries and scholarship fund.

* Photo provided by Northwood Woman's Club

Let Your Old Bag Be Someone Else’s New Bag

Rumor has it that temperatures will start acting more winter-like next week. Suggestion: Start doing the great wardrobe transition. Put into storage those cottons, shorts and flip-flops. Pull out the boots, cashmeres and snuggly coats.

And while you’re going through your closets, you just might run across a handbag that has been out of commission for a while. It still seems good as new, but it just isn’t quite going with you current look. So, why leave the poor little thing hidden away, when it could really spruce up someone else’s look?

If you brave it up and decide to part company with your purse, you can take it to any Bibbentuckers. They gathering handbags through December for the Attitudes and Attire program that provides “work-appropriate clothing and accessories to all women who attend our workshops.”

According to sources, “Our inventory of accessories is very low, and we need your help! Please consider going through your closet and pulling work-appropriate handbags that you could donate to us.”

MySweetWishList: Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

Julie Diaz*

According to Perot Museum of Nature and Science Chief Advancement Officer Julie Diaz,

“The Perot Museum celebrates its 5th birthday this December!

“We are grateful for the support of the North Texas community, which has allowed us to serve 5.5 million people since our opening in 2012 and enabled us to fulfill our mission of ‘inspiring minds through nature and science.’

“Our wish this holiday season is to give the gift of discovery to North Texas families who might not otherwise have the means to visit. A contribution in support of the Perot Museum’s Financial Aid Program – which gives over 100,000 school children from all over North Texas the opportunity to experience the Museum’s amaze-your-brain fun and learning – would be meaningful!

Perot Museum of Nature and Science*

“Your gift to this program is a great way to help us spark curiosity in the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. Our goal is to distribute $500,000 in financial aid this year – you can help make that possible! Check it out here. For more info, call 214.756.5808.

-By Julie Diaz, Perot Museum of Nature and Science Chief Advancement Officer

* Photo provided by Perot Museum of Nature and Science