You Only Need This Information Once To Save Your Life

As Kevin Hurst described earlier today, Mother Nature doesn’t discriminate. No matter how skinny, rich or what zip code one claims, she feels free to unload with her tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail and locusts (okay, so the locusts may not be part of the mix). That’s why during certain parts of the year, especially spring and fall, she really slams the North Texas area with zeal.

For this reason, it’s imperative to have a “WhIP“ (What If Plan). Have you got a place to hunker down? Do you know just what you need to have in your hunker-down sweet spot?

What’s that? It only hits trailer parks and places that you’ve never heard of? Oh, please! Forget that. You’re demanding an example? Okay, you’ve got it. 

Gloria Eulich Martindale (File photo)

Just ask Gloria Eulich Martindale, who is smart, gorgeous and a roll-up-your sleeves fundraiser, as well as being a lady who knows firsthand. She was at her farmhouse on Saturday, April 29, when Mother Nature unloaded. The house was wiped out and Gloria and her family were lucky enough to have a basement that had been used “to store stuff” to hunker down.

Or, if you think it only takes place in the rural areas, hit the “Rethink” button. It was just a couple of years ago that the elegant Turtle Creek area got slam-bammed by a Ma Nature temper tantrum with a sledgehammer toppling trees and devastating the area.

If schools and commercial buildings have fire drills, think about holding your own. Here are some things to check:

  • Do you have people who will check on you if they don’t hear from you following a weather sweep?
  • If you have a VIP documents (i.e. insurance, birth certificates, passports, etc.) and a home computer, should they be part of your escape plan?
  • Have you had a dress rehearsal?
  • Do you have an app that will alert you of threatening weather in your area? If not, check with the local media. They’re free and more than willing to alert you. Despite Arianna Huffington‘s suggestion at the recent Genesis Luncheon of not sleeping with your cellphone on your bed stand, do it. If Arianna complains, tell her to check with us. There’s a time and place for everything.
  • What about the elderly? If you have a “vintage” member of your circle, have you checked on their game plan? They may pat you on the head and tell you not to worry. Don’t fall for it. Nicely demand that they show you where they would go and how to contact them, just in case.
  • What about your critters? How will you handle them in such a crisis? Having them micro-chipped can be a life saver. 

Tonight may result in another “Duh” occasion, but why not use it as an opportunity to do that drill and to let each in your household take responsibility, if a weather or whatever crisis should arise?

Kevin Hurst Provides A Firsthand Look On How North Texans Are Pulling Together Following Recent Tornadic Devastation And How To Help

With spring weather sporadically tearing up families and homes, its devastation only provides a rallying point for both friends and strangers to help the healing process. Following the recent onslaught of tornadic activities on Saturday, April 29, Neiman Marcus Director of Charitable Giving and Associate Volunteerism Kevin Hurst was able to see firsthand the ruination and the coming together. He has kindly shared his experience in the following report with photos:

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

If you have not personally been affected by a man-made or natural disaster, then you most likely have not seen first-hand what the destruction really looks like. The one-dimensional electronic images on TV, online, and print do not accurately portray the three-dimensional devastation.

As the director of charitable giving, and the steward of Neiman Marcus associate’s donations to the Neiman Marcus Disaster Relief Fund, I was recently invited to take a tour and witness the catastrophic damage that Canton and the surrounding communities suffered when four separate tornadoes moved through the area on Saturday, April 29. On May 4, I joined the American Red Cross and other corporate supporters for a 60-mile journey just east of Dallas.

During the drive, we heard all of the facts and figures:

  • four tornadoes, one of which was an F4 (the second highest type),
  • one tornado stayed on the ground for 51 miles, which is completely rare
  • 7,019 meals served to affected families and volunteers
  • 2,910 comfort and clean up kits distributed
  • The speed at which two emergency shelters had been set up
  • 100 homes destroyed or uninhabitable

The facts and figures are just that…facts and figures.  

On the day of our tour, the sky was a vibrant blue and not a cloud in sight…there was even a slight breeze to keep things cool. Just the day before, the area had once again been under a severe storm watch with the possibility of hail. In fact, we were told to wear thick sole shoes and long sleeve shirts. In addition to the storm damage, the demolition of homes had already begun causing insulation particles to float in the air. I recall seeing one house being torn down as we drove down a rural road and thought about the juxtaposition of the destruction with the glistening elements in the air.  It almost seemed like snowflakes floating to the ground.

We had been coached that we should not ask too many questions. Each person would be at a different place in the grieving process. It was best to let them talk as little or as much as they wanted and we should simply say “I am sorry for what you are going through.”

It wasn’t until we started delivering water to those families that reality set in. I think it is safe to say that our demeanors changed from that of an outsider looking in, to one who was now able to truly empathize with those affected.

Our first stop was at a trailer home. We were greeted by a 60-something year old gentleman, “Mark,” seated in a lawn chair in the middle of his yard. He was having lunch which consisted of a hamburger, bagged chips, and a bottle of water; all of which were provided by the local church that had set up grills to help feed their neighbors. Mark’s 86-year old mother, sister, and a young child were all home when the storm hit. They huddled together in an interior room. When it was over, the entire mobile home had been lifted eight inches and moved one foot from its original foundation. The branch of a large tree fell directly into the middle of the home, most likely preventing it from being completely blown away. Needless to say, their home is uninhabitable. The irony is that most of their personal possessions like photographs and keepsakes were all intact.

As I snapped these photographs, I again thought about the juxtaposition of the scene…the tattered American and Texas flags proudly displayed and waving against a backdrop of ruins.

Blue tarp covers the hole left from the tree branch*

To compound the tragedy, Mark’s brother was visiting in a travel camper and was inside of it with his dog. The tornado picked it up, slammed it on its side, and peeled the roof off extracting all of the contents. Thankfully the two walked away with minor cuts and bruises. The door of the travel camper was located wrapped around a tree.  

Campers on its side*

Inside camper with roof peeled off and door of camper wrapped around tree*

As we were visiting, a retired veteran and neighbor, “Bob,” came to talk to us. At first glance, his house directly across the street appeared to be unscathed, however that was not the case. He shared that the entire roof pulsated up and down during the storm loosening ceiling joists and cracking walls. As a trained storm spotter, he knew exactly what to do in the case of a storm and was prepared with a back-up generator, thus allowing him to continue living in his home. Being trained doesn’t necessarily mean that you are exempt.  

Bob has a cell phone tower on his land. When the company came out to inspect it, the technician climbed about ten to fifteen stories to the top. He reported that he could actually see the trench of destruction in the ground and where the tornado made a 90 degree turn to his neighbor’s mobile home.

I mentioned that our Red Cross guide said people would be at different stages of grieving. For both Mark and Bob they were grateful. Grateful not only that they were alive, but they still had some place to call home. I have to say how “impressed” (if that is even the appropriate word) I was with Mark. He was completely open and seemed almost anxious to share his story. We were told that people find it therapeutic to talk about the event.  He invited us to walk around his property and take pictures. I almost felt like it was a badge of honor for him…perhaps if only because his family was safe. As for Bob, and I suspect because of his storm training, he had a different perspective. He actually said he was “happy” it happened. He explained that this storm actually brought his community together; neighbor helping neighbor.

Showroom buildings (left) new and (right) old*

Damaged vehicles*

Our next stop was a Dodge dealership which took a direct hit. The dealership had just completed construction on the new showroom building on Friday. They were in the process of moving everything over from the small, outdated showroom building across the parking lot when the tornado hit on Saturday. Literally, every vehicle sustained damage. Some vehicles were thrown over 200 yards into an adjacent pasture. All that was left of the new building was the steel frame and the old building was completely flattened. A neighboring house across the pasture took a direct hit. Rather than flattening it, the tornado went right through the middle leaving a gaping path with both sides still standing.

In part, this visit was organized by the American Red Cross to demonstrate their quick response and the programs and services provided in a time of crisis. In reality, it demonstrated so much more. It demonstrated the force of nature. It demonstrated the gratitude and compassion of individuals. It demonstrated the resiliency of a community. For me, it validated our decision to become a National Disaster Partner with the American Red Cross. I mentioned earlier that I act as a steward of our associate’s donations to the Neiman Marcus Disaster Relief fund. This support allows the Red Cross to be ready within hours to activate the volunteer network and provide food, water, shelter, products, and other services that would help those affected start to recover from this life-changing event.

Amaryllis*

One final juxtaposition and photo. Amid the piles of debris at Mark’s home, I saw this Amaryllis flower.  It was seemingly untouched by the winds and flying materials.

The genus name Amaryllis comes from the Greek word “amarysso,” which means “to sparkle.” In Greek mythology, it was the name of a shepherdess who shed her own blood to prove her true love, and in so doing inspired the naming of this flower.

Similar to the flying insulation particles that glistened in the sunlight, this Amaryllis equally sparkled. We can only hope that much like Greek mythology, this lone flower will act as a shepherd of hope for the community and shed pollen to spawn new life.

* Photo credit: Kevin Hurst

Following Oakland’s Ghost Ship Tragedy, Dallas County Fire Marshals’ Clamping Down On Codes May Seem Justified

There have been recent grumblings among the media and party venues about the Dallas County Fire Marshal’s Office clamping down on arrangements. Especially feeling the pinch of the ramped-up of regulation enforcement is the art community that has become a lively part of the North Texas scene with pop-up galleries and events. At a community meeting in July. Mini-Gallery’s Lara Lenhoff said, “They’re killing us. Something needs to be done.”

The problem has been that for a long time the codes were lightly enforced. That has “recently” changed and caught many by surprise. Some suggest that the codes needed to be readdressed. Others claim that there is a reason for such codes.

Today Oakland city officials are being questioned why fire and city codes weren’t enforced, as 36 bodies have been found in the aftermath of  Saturday’s “Ghost Ship” tragedy.

Our condolences extend to the Oakland community and their losses. May we learn from their tragedy and still allow for fundraising and for the art community to flourish.

Oops Alert!: Local Monthly Publication Suffers Awkward Boo-Boo In Publishing 2016 Crystal Charity Ball “Ten Best Dressed”

Some of the best things end up on the cutting room floor. For instance, Kevin Costner’s speaking role as Alex Marshall in the flashback scenes in “The Big Chill” didn’t make it to the big screen. Johnny Depp’s performance in “Platoon,” Charlie Chaplin in the “Keystone Cops,” and John Lithgow’s super-agent Harry Zell in “L.A. Story” all suffered the same fate.

Whatever the reason, directors lived to regret the elimination of such talented types.

So, folks at a local newspaper are wringing their hands about their recent publishing of Crystal Charity Ball‘s “Ten Best Dressed.” It seems that in their September issue, in which they printed Q&As with the 2016 crop, they had an “oopsie.” They left out one of the 10 and ironically it was the one who dutifully followed instructions, filled out the questionnaire and promptly returned it.

While her absence from the article was in all probability not intentional, it was awkward and unfortunate at best.

Pat Harloe (File photo)

Pat Harloe (File photo)

Oh, you’re wondering: Which one was MIA? None other than one of everybody’s favs, the adorably diminutive Pat Harloe.

Unbeknownst to Pat, the MySweetCharity crew managed to get a copy of her questionnaire and present it here for your consideration:

  • Tell us about your family — “I am married to John (an investment manager), and we have five adult children — ages 30 to 37 — with careers running the gamut:  law, medicine, design, marketing and sales — and all living east coast to west coast and in between –“
  • List three community/charitable/civic activities in which you are currently involved or you currently support (with a sentence or two about the cause) — “(a)  TexProtects — past event chair and current supporter; TexProtects’ mission is to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect through research, education and advocacy. (b)  One Heart Project — current supporter; One Heart Project’s mission is to mentor incarcerated and at-risk youth, ages 13 to 17, in six Texas counties so that they have a positive re-entry into their community (c)  And, of course — my heart — Crystal Charity Ball — active member and life supporter.”
  • What is your current support/involvement in the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball? — “I am working hard in three areas:  Underwriting, Children’s Book, and Silent Auction/Special Gifts (my favorite — love bringing in top hotels and resorts).”
  • What is your educational background? — “Greenbrier College for Women and Southern Methodist University.”
  • What is your current/previous career or work history? — “Always sales and marketing:  up until five years ago, residential and high rise real estate; prior to that, high-end 19th and 20th century art.”
  • Please complete this sentence: My favorite thing about the Crystal Charity Ball is … — “Hands down, the impact we have with at-risk children’s lives.  Sitting through long days of Charity Selection, there are times when there is not a dry eye in the room, and we wish we could fund every candidate put before us.  In the end, it is all about giving every child a shot at a better life …”
  • My favorite fashion icon is — “Coco Chanel — who could not resist a woman who embodied humor, grand gestures and drama all at the same time?”
Carolina Herrera (File photo)

Carolina Herrera (File photo)

And, don’t go worrying about the Friday, September 16th presentation at Neiman Marcus Downtown. Pat will be there along with the other nine BD-ers (Anita Arnold, Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Tucker Enthoven, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Julie Hawes and Piper Wyatt), Hall of Famer Betsy Sowell and legendary designer Carolina Herrera, who will receive the prestigious Neiman Marcus Award.

If you already have your ticket to the ultra-sold-out fundraiser, we’ll see you there. If not, we’ll see you here following the fashion fest!

A Behind-The-Scenes Peak at Corporate Philanthropy In Times Of Disaster

Since Thursday night’s tragedy, Dallas’ fortitude has amazed people throughout the world. From the city leadership to the memorial building at Dallas Police Headquarters, the shooting has only brought the community closer together to heal. One group that deserves a pat on the back includes the various companies that have immediately stepped in to help the victims and support first responders, especially the Dallas Police Department. Reports have been flying into MySweetCharity about restaurants offering free meals for police, Uber providing free rides to people who were stranded in downtown Dallas Thursday night, and offices making space for workers who were unable to get to their own offices located within the crime-scene zone.

Those in the philanthropic sector have not only been finding ways to provide funding, but have joined in lockstep to find the best ways to help. Thanks to their mutual interest in supporting North Texas, many already had a network in place to help each other immediately. One example is the note sent by Neiman Marcus Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst. It provides a behind-the-scenes look at the philanthropic process undertaken by many corporation and reveals why North Texas is a standout when it comes to pitching in. For your consideration, here is Kevin’s note:

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

“It is certainly crazy times…not just in Dallas, but across the land.

I saw your story on Topgolf this morning.  Having been through my first major crisis in Dallas, I was amazed at how the community came together so quickly to support those in need.  In fact, I thought you might appreciate a behind the scenes look on the corporate philanthropy side.

“Like everyone on Thursday evening, I watched the late breaking news to see how things unfolded.  When I finally turned off the television, the devastation was not at its worst. When I awoke Friday morning at 4:30, I immediately checked the news.  That is when reality set in. That is when I went into ‘philanthropy’ mode. As the Director of Charitable Giving at Neiman Marcus, among other things, I oversee the Disaster Relief fund. Although we are a National Disaster Relief Partner with the American Red Cross, there are some crises that need different attention. It should be noted that the Neiman Marcus Disaster Relief fund is entirely funded by the generosity of associates during the annual giving campaign.

“The first step to determining support is to understand the need and identify the appropriate partner(s). In the case of the Dallas attack (and even the recent massacre in Orlando), it is about victim support. This is where the research and due diligence begins. For me, Assist the Officer Foundation (ATO) immediately rose to the top. What most of Dallas may not realize is that there is a network of philanthropy professionals from Dallas companies both large and small. I immediately reached out to my peers at the Dallas Corporate Citizens Network. Although we meet in person on a regular basis, we often email and talk to share best practices and collaborate. Friday, July 8, was one of those days that the spirit of teamwork excelled. We immediately started sharing ideas and names of organizations that we were each considering. As we learned of new initiatives and funds being established during the day (United Way, Dallas Foundation, and Communities Foundation of Texas…to name a few), we shared. In the end, we were all able to make informed decisions about what we deemed best for the community and our respective companies. It was truly remarkable to see how expeditiously and efficiently decisions were made and instituted.

“Throughout the corporate offices of Neiman Marcus, a similar decision-making process began in the wee hours. Decisions and recommendations included staff from the executive offices, human resources, security, marketing, public relations, internal communications, corporate visual, social media, and philanthropy. In the end, the corporate offices and Downtown store remained closed on Friday (safety concerns for associates and greater community), internal messages from the CEO were sent to associates, a corporate message was posted to our clients through social media, memorial windows were designed and installed in the two Dallas stores, and charitable partners were identified. The store memorial window was installed on Friday at NorthPark and on Saturday at Downtown once the store was re-opened. The Neiman Marcus family is always extraordinary; however, there was something about the day and the efforts that made Friday uber-extraordinary.

Neiman Marcus window at NorthPark*

Neiman Marcus window at NorthPark*

“The Neiman Marcus story is certainly not unique. I think there is an opportunity to highlight the amazing efforts of the corporations that react and support the community on a regular basis…more than the usual gala and event support…the quiet support that happens behind the scenes. I personally collaborated with American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, WFAA, Fossil, and of course, our valued partner, Communities Foundation of Texas.

“I personally hope that we never have to go through this process again in Dallas…or anywhere…but the reality is that we are in different times.  It is comforting to know that we have the compassion, professionalism, and ability to collaborate for the good of the greater community.”

* Photo provided by Kevin Hurst

UPDATE: Companies Are Already Taking Up Topgolf’s Invitation To Donate To Assist The Officer Foundation

It seems that Topgolf scored a hole-in-one with its being one of the first to donate $10,000 to Assist The Officer Foundation (ATO) and inviting other businesses to join in. It was just reported that the invitation was taken up by PlainsCapital, which donated $25,000 to ATO. In addition, RBC Wealth Management-U.S. is donating $10,000.

The airlines also got on board. Not only are they offering to help fly in families affected by the tragedy, American Airlines is donating $50,000 to ATO and Southwest Airlines is kicking in $75,000.

These contributions are truly amazing when you realize that there was probably nothing budgeted for such a situation. Yet these companies and countless others found the funds to help the victims and their families.

It simply amazes one to think the challenges that this area has faced — a Presidential assassination, a Delta Airline crash, a Super (Ice) Bowl, the Ebola Virus, killer storms and now Thursday night. And yet, the people and companies meet the challenges each time by coming together with resilience, compassion and grace.

Topgolf Initiates Healing Process To Financially Help Dallas Shooting Victims And Their Families

Despite the shock of last night’s shootings, area companies and people are already stepping up to help the victims. The folks at Topgolf have undertaken a “grassroots effort of Dallas businesses supporting local law enforcement after last night’s tragic events downtown.”

According to Topgolf’s Amanda Hill, the Dallas-based company is “pledging $10,000 to the Assist The Officer Foundation, an organization dedicate to making a difference in the lives of families of fallen officers… We’re asking other Dallas-based businesses to join us in donating to the Assist the Officer Foundation.”

There are 12 families, whose lives have been shaken to the core within the last 18 hours. While the emotional loss is daunting, the financial impact is something that the community can assist by donating here.

The foundation provides such services and programs as confidential counseling program, finance assistance (injury/illness), Dallas officer/reserve death benefits (on or off-duty) and line-of-duty benefits.

And this opportunity to help is not limited to companies. Individuals are more than welcome to donate.

Thank you, Topgolf, for providing the input of information and seed money. It is an important step in the healing process.

A Morning Of Mourning

For baby boomers and other old-timers, the news of the sniper(s) in downtown Dallas killing people knee-jerked them back to the nightmare of November 22, 1963. They remembered the days and years of Dallas being damned as a “city of hate.” This time it was a victim of hatred.

It was hard to imagine that the spot where 800 had peacefully marched to protest shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge had become a war zone with police as the key targets. Despite the resulting chaos of civilians running for cover and an unknown number of assailants, city leaders immediately came together to resolve the situation.

For Mayor Mike Rawlings, it had been a rough week already. In addition to the torrential flooding that resulted in the loss of an off-duty officer on Tuesday, his mother-in-law, Willine Gunderson, who had lived with the Rawlings family, had died Monday. She had been more than an in-law for the mayor. At night after putting in a long day of running the city, he would go to her room and talk with her before joining the rest of the family. Just hours before the downtown ambush, he had attended her funeral in Canton. Now, just past midnight, he was mourning the loss of officers and consoling his city.

But he was also letting the world know that Dallas would not tolerate the assassinations. Backing him up was Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who was commandeering the fluid developments. Not only was the city under siege, the situation also provided a ripe opportunity for widespread vandalism. Luckily, the latter was stopped before it could take hold.

But even at this time when Dallas city and county leadership was rising to the occasion, there were some who evidently didn’t realize the gravity of the situation.

In the days ahead, there will be funerals and healing. In the weeks and months ahead, there will be revelations. In the years ahead, this nightmare will require patience, understanding and grit for Dallas and the rest of the country.

The Burning Issue Facing 4th Of July Celebrants

Fireworks are both dazzling and dangerous. The folks over at Parkland Health and Hospital System’s Regional Burn Center report that “on average, 230 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In 2014, nine people died due to eight fireworks-related incidents, and in at least two of those cases, the victims were not the users.”

Parkland itself has had 10 patients requiring hospitalization in its Burn Center due to fireworks in the past couple of years. Needless to say, they’d like to have no one needing the Center this 4th of July. To achieve this zero-patient goal, they’ve provided the following safety tips regarding fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse
  • Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them

Interesting fact: According to Parkland Burn Program Manager Stephanie Campbell, “If you, a family member or friend are injured, call 911 immediately,” Campbell said. “Don’t use ice to cool fireworks burns or place them in a tub or pool of cold water. Immersing the whole body causes core body temperatures to drop dangerously.”

And the old adage of applying ointments, butter or steroidal salves to burns ain’t such a great idea “because they seal in the heat.”

Two-Legged Critters Are To Blame For Vicious Canine Mauling And Killing

MySweetCharity loves critters. Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, welcome to the MySweetCharity universe! But like two-legged animals, all dogs aren’t lovable. Sure, there’s the debate that their perfections/imperfections are due to genetics and/or owners, but until dogs can drive cars and fill out IRS forms, they are still subservient to humans.

Over the past few days, a deadly situation took place where a woman was viciously attacked and killed by a pack of dogs. These animals will no doubt pay the price for their crime and their human owners will be charged for allowing this dangerous condition to exist.

But that’s not the answer. And neither is blaming Dallas Animal Services. This problem is one that continues to divide this community. The occasional stray dogs in parts of the city are snatched up immediately and returned to their grateful owners, thanks to microchips.

In other parts of town, litters are born and blown off to survive according to the age-old rule of survival of the fittest. These creatures know no hugs, no healthcare, no tags. They are turned out and revert to their basic animal instincts because their owners allowed them to be born.

The answer is not massive euthanasia at the hands of the DAS staffers. The long-term solution is to prevent their being born thanks to humans being responsible and not channeling their own primal urges.

When Dallas puts an full-court press in irresponsible areas of the community and enforces the rules and regulations, the atrocities will subside. But this will only happen when constituents stop looking at this problem as a “cute puppy” issue and address it as the critical health and crime problem it is.

Hilton Anatole’s Towne Park Service Once Again Left A Yucky After-Taste For Fundraising Luncheoners Thursday

Tim Gunn’s talk for Community Partners of Dallas’ Chick Lit Luncheon on Friday, April 1, at the Hilton Anatole was a home run. Only strikeout was the valet parking. One guest waited an hour before the Anatole’s in-house valet staff admitted, “Sorry, but somebody moved it.” Luckily, the vehicle was found. But as the driver left he saw about 50 guests still waiting for their wheels.

Hey, what’s the problem? It was a big luncheon crowd of over 1,200 and “oop’s” do happen. But then it happened again yesterday at the Anatole. And this time it was on a much grander scale, resulting in an automotive tsunami and two major fundraisers having to delay their POA and having guests arrive late for the program.

It might have been excusable if the two events had been handled by two competing valet services, but the Anatole’s in-house parking service Towne Park was in charge. One would think that the in-house staff would be prepared with a game plan for such an undertaking and loads of parkers.

And what was the challenge? The New Friends New Life’s “Wings” luncheon with Amal Clooney as the featured speaker was scheduled for the Chantilly Ballroom, with a projected attendance of more than 1,500. The VNA’s “Legends and Leaders” luncheon with journalist Jim Lehrer in the Imperial Ballroom was scheduled to have more than 650.

Insider info: As anyone in the hospitality industry knows, evening events usually have two people per car, while lunches tend to have more single-driver cars.

Thus, these two groups converged upon the Anatole complex at the same time for the events starting at 11:30. Instead of having off-duty police directing traffic at the intersection of Wycliff and Stemmons frontage road, one lone uniformed man was at the hotel’s Wycliff entrance. Another policeman turned away cars approaching from Market Center Boulevard and large planters blocked other entrances. The result was hundreds and hundreds of cars trying to wedge into less than three entrances, and traffic backing up on both roads. Unfortunately, frustrated drivers trying to cross Wycliff ended up blocking the cross section with 18-wheelers and cement trucks playing “musical lanes” with Mercedeses and Priuses. At times it looked like a vehicular version of the La Brea Tar Pits of vehicles.

One guest who had left their office in the Turtle Creek area at 11 didn’t make it to the Wings luncheon until past noon due to the traffic jam.

A VNA organizer delayed the luncheon program  after hearing tales from arriving guests of 30-minute waits in traffic. That person said it wouldn’t be as bad afterwards, because the VNA had arranged to stagger their event to end after the Wings luncheon, thereby relieving the congestion.

Alas, the best laid plans of mice, men and event planners don’t always happen. One VNA guest who was one of the first to hand in their valet ticket waited 40 minutes for the car to be pulled up. Another woman in a wheelchair moved faster than the cars in the porte-cochere. While guests holding purchased centerpieces patiently searched the horizon for their cars, some Towne Park management types with bellies hanging over their belts were seen laughing at the situation. Or, perhaps they were just sharing a joke?

The luxury hotel’s in-house valet service continues to be its Achilles heel. It tends to be a recurring issue for money-conscious nonprofits. Why? It’s the money, honey. If the fundraiser uses an outside parking service, the hotel charges the organization a fee (usually $3) “per plate” for the use of its parking lot. That’s in addition to paying the outside valet service. In other words, if you’re expecting 500 cars, that’s $1,500 on top of the independent valet charges.

In capturing sponsors, many nonprofits offer valet parking sponsorships. And naturally, the cheaper the sponsorship, the more likely it’s going to be scooped up. But what sponsor wants to be known for providing frowny faces and tapping toes waiting for a car that’s “just over there”?

Suggestion to sponsors: If you’re approached about sponsoring valet parking at the Anatole, ask which service will be used. If it’s one of the independents like Jack Boles or Gold Crown, go for it. If it’s Towne Park, your name just might be taken in vain by potential customers.

To Avoid Future Problems Take “Stuff Selfies”

The gift wrap has been cleared out. Gifts have been exchanged. Thank-notes are in the mail. Donations have been made to help the tornado victims.

Still the question lingers. How could you be prepared for such a calamity like a tornado, a fire or a burglary? Sure, your insurance is paid up and you’ve got a top-notch security system, but there’s something else you could do. And you could even have the kids help. It will be fun.

Take that camera that you haven’t used since your last vacation and take photos of everything room in your house. Don’t take just one photo per room. Take pictures of every angle of the rooms and as many contents as possible. For those items that you just couldn’t live without, like your computer, appliances, TV’s, take a closeup and then a snapshot of their serial numbers. Oh, don’t forget the jewelry and silverware.

But you’re not done yet. Go out to the garage and take a photo of each of the cars including their Vin numbers and license plates.

Now, go outside and take pictures of your house from all sides.

You’re almost done. Head back inside and gather all the family credit cards and photograph each one. Both sides, no cheating.

Then take photos of the family members and the pets.

Wow! Did you ever know you had so much stuff?

Take the memory card from the camera and take it to your bank and put it in your safety deposit box. If you don’t have one, get one. You’ll find all sorts of ways of putting it to use like storing birth records, stock certificates, wills, passports, etc.

But remember if you make any major changes or additions, you’ll want to take your camera and shoot away.

Sure, it’s a pain but there are a lot of folks in Copeville, Garland, Rowlett and DeSoto who wish they had done it. Not only will you have peace of mind, but your insurance company is going to make you their favorite client.

Social Media Is Helping Reunite Pets Displaced By Tornado With Owners

The Rowlett Animal Services is posting photos of pets on Facebook that have been turned in and/or are missing.

Rowlett victim looking for its family*

Rowlett victim looking for its family*

According to the staff, they’re okay when it comes to supplies. Well, they could use some bins to store some of the food that has come in. But in the days ahead, they know they’ll need help financially to house the homeless critters as they wait for their humans to find permanent, animal-friendly digs.

Another Facebook source for lost and found critters is Lost and Found North Texas Pets .

In the meantime, if you have a pet that isn’t microchipped, head to your vet and get it done pronto. There are a lot of folks, who wish they had done so last week.

* Photo courtesy of the Rowlett Animal Services

Neighbors Wait To Begin The Process Of Discovery And Recovery In Tornadic Torn-Up Communities

In the aftermath of Saturday night’s invasion of angry weather, the added problem of cold, wet weather has now set in. Many have been at a loss on what to do to help those living in the devastated areas. Luckily, the answer came from a “Rowlett resident,” who reflected the strength, appreciation and resilience of the victims:

“We are a community in waiting at this point. Waiting for the go ahead for non-residents of the highly impacted areas to enter and begin clean-up. I’ve been following the city website for updates (http://www.ci.rowlett.tx.us/CivicAlerts.aspx). Looks like they are directing most monetary donations to the Red Cross. (I had the fortune of working with them Saturday to help setup at an elementary school near my home. It was a humbling experience.)

“Many of our churches and schools are ‘full’ of donations at this point; however, I don’t believe residents have resourced them as they are still trying to gather their belongings from what remains. I believe that we will know more about needs in the next day or two as the agencies and insurance companies make their way through, and residents emerge.”

The upshot is that at this point, the operative word for now is “Patience.” It’s a hard word to swallow, because the desire to help now is so overpowering. But the immediate needs are being met as residents begin the process of discovery and recovery. In the weeks to come when all the TV cameras are gone, the struggle to rebuild will make Sisyphus’ challenge look easy. That’s when they’ll really need a help from their neighbors, whether it’s a donation, volunteering an extra pair of hands or perhaps investing in their community.

In the meantime, if you have a little change leftover from the Christmas shopping, you just know the Red Cross would welcome it.

North Texans Discover A Devastated Landscape And Neighbors In Need

Last night Dallas took it on the chin with Rowlett, Garland, DeSoto and Collin County really taking the brunt of the tornadic storms. While the weather guessers and emergency sirens did an excellent job warning people to take cover, such conditions were truly overwhelming. As most in the North Texas area were spared, thousands discovered the brutality and cruelty of nature’s forces.

Today the experts were surmising that Garland alone had an EF4 tornado killing eight people and destroying home after home. In the world of tornadoes, an EF4 is only trumped by an EF5. That means Garland had 200-mile winds that made a deadly cut through the city as it marched from DeSoto northeast toward Farmersville.

As first responders like Texas Taskforce 1 continue their search for the injured and utility crews try to restore some type of normalcy to tattered neighborhoods, families are seeking help at the following shelters:

  • Cornerstone Baptist Church, 8200 Schrade Road, Rowlett  (Ph. 972.475.4403)
  • First United Methodist, 4405 Main St., Rowlett (Ph. 972.475.3667)
  • Rowlett Community Center, 5300 Main St., Rowlett (Ph. 972.412.6170)
  • Stedham Elementary, 6200 Danridge Rd., Rowlett (Ph. 972.463.5887)
  • Red Oak Middle School, 154 Louise Ritter Blvd., Red Oak (Ph. 972.617.0066)
  • Frank D. Moates Elementary School, 1500 Heritage Blvd., Glenn Heights (Ph. 972.230.2881)

Still others are trying to locate their pets that got lost in the evening nightmare. Luckily, lost animals are being turned into area shelters like Rowlett. Dallas Companion Animal Projects is providing info and Plano Media Director Steve Stoler has been using his Facebook page trying to connect lost parents and pets.

Needless to say, insurance companies are in overdrive trying to help victims start the long, arduous process of rebuilding.

After you count your lucky stars that you made it out of the night unscratched, consider

  • donating money to the Red Cross and The Salvation Army
  • checking social media for possible friends who might be in need
  • taking food and money to area animal shelters and the North Texas Pet Food Pantry
  • preparing your household just in case another episode takes place (i.e. storm shelter, microchipping the pets, emergency plan, etc.)
  • contacting your church and favorite nonprofit to see what they are doing to help.

On the other hand, what not to do? Don’t

  • Go to the afflicted area. It’s chaotic enough with victims and professional assistance.
  • Fall for unproven scams seeking financial aid for the victims.

Any nonprofit that is offering services or is in need of assistance to specifically help the Christmas Day After Disaster (CDAD) victims, please send your requests to [email protected] and we’ll try to get the word out. But you need to get the info in by close of work Monday. Please put in the subject line: “CDAD Assistance” and the name of your organization.

Please realize that like any disaster, there are two major stages: immediate recovery and longtime rebuilding. In the days ahead, please don’t forget the second stage. Neighbors will continue to need your support.

As you settle back in your comfortable and familiar digs, think about those so would just like to find a photo.

JUST IN: The Day After Christmas, North Texas Is Royally Slammed

The North Texas area is being hit by all types of tornadic activities. Alerts are going off like a teenager discovering the love. People who never, ever thought they might be a victim of such events are hunkering down. After all, those things happen to other people. Not any more!

Check with your neighbors, elderly folks and disabled. They’re probably going to blow you off, because they have backup plans. But still. It doesn’t hurt just to check in.

Tomorrow morning when the sun rises, it will be a time to help neighbors who were hard hit. Take them in. Go through your cupboards and closets. Surely you can part with something there that they might use.

While you might help the folks next door or across the street, why not help those you’ve never met? It’s simple. Just make a donation to the Red Cross.

Monday, you can rethink having a safe room or tornado shelter on your wish list.

If we’re able to post Sunday, we’ll direct you to where you can help. We regret we can’t post more, but we’re under two mattresses with three hummingbirds and a partridge that wishes it was in a pear tree.

Tasties To Avoid A Holiday Trip To The Pet ER

Pooch in search of tasties

Pooch in search of tasties

With the holiday quickly approaching, there’ll be plenty of feasting. While weight gain is a worry that can be done away with in January, another concern might be for the family pooch — accidental poisoning. The Om Nom? app is a quick reference guide that lists what is okay and “Yipes!” for dogs. It does cost 99 cents and is only available on iPhones/iPads, but it might prevent an expensive run to the pet ER on Thanksgiving Day because your best friend couldn’t resist that turkey leg or Auntie Fan gave him/her some chocolates.

Quick quiz: Which of the following are very bad for dogs? Apples, grapes, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes?

Follow the jump for the answers. [Read more…]

Update On Kristina Bowman

Inquiries have been flooding in about the status of photographer Kristina Bowman, who took a nasty spill Saturday morning at The Dallas Opera First Night after party.

Short answer: As of this afternoon, she is at Presbyterian Hospital in Hamon Tower following surgery on Wednesday.

Long answer: Kristina was taken to Baylor’s ER Saturday morning, where the staff said the break of her right kneecap was so severe they felt a specialist was needed. As one doctor told her, if she had taken a chisel and hammer and hit the sweet spot, she couldn’t have done more damage.She was sent home with pain killers because there was a lot of pain. BTW, her bedroom and bath are upstairs, but she struggled to make it to bed.

As soon as possible, she got into see a specialist on Tuesday expecting to go home and return for surgery. But, no! The doctor sent her straight to Presbyterian, where surgery was performed Wednesday morning. It wasn’t until Kristina was under that they discovered the damage to the knee was far worse than the X-rays initially showed. Her 34-year-old (“I’m old enough to be his mother!” -Kristina) surgeon, Dr. Donald Hohman, was amazed that she endured the pain.

She was told that this operation would be just the first of several, a blood clot was discovered under her knee and the knee was to remain totally immobile for eight weeks. Then they would decide how to proceed.

Liz Perales and Kristina Bowman

Liz Perales and Kristina Bowman

The good news is that Kristina’s longtime partner Liz Perales, who was scheduled for surgery herself, has postponed it and has been by her side throughout. Kristina has received calls from loads of friends and even this morning Jack Knox was at her bedside with a box of La Madeleine goodies and a Café Pacific sweatshirt.

On the not-so-good-news side is that this time of year is the peak season for photographers and her income is pretty well shot. No, take that back. It’s really shot (no pun intended). Kristina has no idea how much business she’s lost, since clients are already scheduling other photographers when they would have used her. (Suggestion: If you were going to use Kristina, let her know, so she can know you were thinking of her.)

Now that Kristina is recovering from surgery, she’s accepting visitors, calls, cards and good thoughts. You might want to call to make sure that she’s still at Presby and that she’s not sleeping.

Dr. Karen McClard And Michael Hefton Discussed Trauma Treatments For Children At The Children’s Trust Luncheon

To be a parent nowadays is to take on one of the most daunting responsibilities around.

And it should be. Forget the Beaver Cleaver days when a chocolate-chip cookie or a pat on the head solved all the world’s problems.

Karen McClard

Karen McClard

On Tuesday, September 15, The Children’s Trust had nearly 60 guests for lunch and a session with Dr. Karen McClard, who had herself been a patient at Children’s when she was six weeks old with a heart murmur. Eventually she had open heart surgery at 5. While some kids would gotten their fill of hospitals and doctors, Karen embraced it wholeheartedly, becoming a pediatrician.

Throughout the lunch, Karen emphasized the need for moms to rely on their gut feelings and to call their pediatricians when something just isn’t right with their munchkin.

The focus of the discussion was childhood trauma and emergency solutions. Acknowledging that the three obvious reasons to take a child to an emergency room were if

  • The child is turning blue or can’t breathe.
  • The bone is sticking out.
  • There’s so much blood “you need a mop.”

Karen emphasized the fact that too often when a childhood trauma takes place, the distraught parent takes them to an “adult” medical facility nearest the house or incident. Just as the Laura Bush Institute for Women’s Health has promoted time and time again the gender differences in diagnosing and treating men vs. women, so that attitude should be applied to children vs. adult situations. Too often child patients end up, through no fault of adult physicians, receiving adult treatment that may be too much for their still developing bodies.

Michael Hefton

Michael Hefton

Karen stressed the need to contact the pediatrician in cases of emergency, so the receiving medical facility will be alerted and prepared for the situation.

Regarding the recent development of “emergency rooms” that have popped up in the area, she voiced concern that while they were great in many regards, they probably didn’t have a pediatric expert.

Joining Karen at the dais was Children’s Associate Chief Nursing Officer/VP Michael Hefton. Like Karen, he “grew up in a hospital” having survived leukemia. He explained that “Children’s is an academic medical center. It is the only academically affiliated medical center pediatric health system in North Texas. We are associated with UT Southwestern’s medical school.”

About 60% of the children needing trauma care are male and the average age is 6 years old.

Then he reeled out the breakdown of traumatic cases that Children’s encountered in 2014:

  • 133 sports injuries
  • 50 dog bites
  • 190 motor vehicle accidents
  • 66 motor/pedestrian accidents
  • 55 ATV accidents
  • 17 gunshot injuries
  • 71 abuse cases
  • 594 falls
  • 73 bicycle injuries
  • 218 struck by objects
  • 73 trampoline injuries

He then told of all the preventive programs that Children’s offers, including how to properly fit a car seat and pool safety.

In the Q&A session, the parents proved they are being pretty darn savvy about today’s potential dangers. One mom told how her young son had been discovered face down in the pool. Luckily, he was found early enough that all seemed right and she checked with her doctor that they were out of danger. However, a few hours later he started showing physical signs that were distressing and he was taken to the doctor. Thanks to his parents’ monitoring, he was saved from what is called “dry drowning.”

Another concern was allergic reactions. Karen said the best way was to test food allergies — shellfish, peanut butter and scrambled eggs — in small quantities early in the day to see if there is a reaction. She told how some parents have driven to her office parking lot to test their child in the car.

Regarding concussions, she said anytime a child vomits, loses consciousness, has pupils that don’t match and/or experiences a seizure should result in an ER trip.

Yes, today’s parents are true champions in their children’s lives, and they rely on pediatricians and specialized trauma facilities to back them up when an emergency arises.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: I Can Still Shine Program

I Can Still Shine Program (ICSSP) has been in business for over 5 years. Prior to 2011 we had another Battered Women’s agency for 15 years. We have worked for years to break the cycle of abuse. We are a faith-based agency. Our primary focus is helping clients heal by showing them love and kindness. We offer a fresh start to women and children from all walks of life.

I Still Can Shine*

I Can Still  Shine*

“I Can Still Shine Program helps battered and abused women and children after they leave an abusive homes. We are a safe supportive center for women and children from all walks of life, with no exceptions. We provide our clients the opportunity to choose safety, over victimization, domestic violence and drug abuse.

I Still Can Shine*

I Can Still Shine*

“We have helped over 9,000 women and children have been aided in some way by the organization over the years. We try to fill in the gap of other organizations. While not a shelter, ICSSP seeks to fulfill a wide array of needs.

“Because of North Texas Giving Day we had 49 new donors to our program. It was a huge success as a first time participant. The Giving Day donors helped us with emergency care, and other needs for over 200 women and children.

I Still Can Shine*

I Can Still Shine*

“Due to this event, we were able to help one of our moms get a place to live. We applied funds toward rent and got her out of harm’s way. She had been abused for many years. We were also able to help many more clients with emergency needs and counseling.

“November and December client needs increase due to stress from holidays. For many families, the abuse makes the holidays a sad rather than a joyous season. That’s why we strive to help as many as we can with Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts.

“At any one time, ICSSP has 75 to 80 women/families actively being assisted in some way by our program. Our goal is to help over 500 women and kids a year. All abused women are encouraged to apply.

I Still Can Shine*

I Can Still Shine*

“We are always open for any type of donation. We accept financial and monetary donations, cars (new and used), household items, furniture, dishes, appliances, blankets, school supplies, toiletries, food bank items, and clothing. We’re eager to accept anything that can help struggling moms begin a new life.

“We’d love for you to get up and give on September 17 from 6 a.m. to midnight! Donations will be amplified so your dollars will go even further for women and children in need of our support.

“Donations are accepted by ICSSP by appointment on Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at our Warehouse Location: 9125 Rumfield Rd., North Richland Hills, TX 76182.”

-By Brenda Jackson, Founder

* Photo courtesy of I Can Still Shine

Elder Financial Safety Center To Host A Free Symposium On “Financial Frauds And Scams: The Crime Of The 21st Century”

Thank heaven, child abuse has countless organization and individuals fighting to end the terror in young lives. But at the other end of the spectrum are the abuses and crimes committed against seniors. On fixed incomes and wary of all types of “con jobs,” they don’t know where to turn or whom to trust. More and more don’t even have family to rely on.

That’s where Elder Financial Safety Center steps in. As a result of The Senior Source, the Dallas County Probate Court and the Dallas Attorney Office, the Center will hold a free symposium on Saturday, August 22, from 9 a.m. to noon at Lovers Lance United Methodist Church.

The subject will be “Financial Frauds and Scams: The Crime of the 21st Century.”

Addressing the subject will be Dallas Morning NewsDave “The Watchdog” Lieber and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Tami Lucero.

According to Elder Financial Safety Center Director Julie Krawczyk, ““Financial exploitation, frauds and scams inflict devastating consequences on their victims and are a pressing concern for older adults and their families in our community. This symposium brings together a wide range of experts in one place to provide resources and tools and to answer questions. Attendees will also learn how to access the prevention, protection and prosecution services of the Center from representatives of each collaborating partner.”

Since some seniors may not admit their own vulnerability, their children and caretakers just might want to sign up for the seminar.

RSVP’s can be made by calling 214.823.5700, but the deadline is Tuesday, August 18. Start dialing.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: American Red Cross

“’Tex’ never thought he’d be a disaster victim. But when a tornado tore his home apart this past spring leaving him badly injured, he was grateful to the Red Cross for providing safe shelter, hot meals, blankets and supplies for his family.

Bulk Supplies*

Bulk Supplies*

“As a former commanding officer in the United States Navy, I can’t count how many service members I stood with as I handed them an emergency message from home. Some were facing a breakdown in childcare while others were notified about a birth or the passing of someone they loved. The messages I delivered came from the American Red Cross.

“Already this year, 15 kids have drown in North Texas. That’s unimaginable so the Red Cross is doing everything we can to teach kids how to swim and teen-agers how to guard the water.

Used for the 2014 Aquatic Attraction Lifeguarding course presentation and other materials related to this course.  Pictures depict lifeguards in a waterpark setting demonstrating the skills needed for lifeguards to get certified to work in this environment. Photo by Michael Del Polito/American Red Cross © Stock photo taken for the American Red Cross*

Used for the 2014 Aquatic Attraction Lifeguarding course presentation and other materials related to this course. Pictures depict lifeguards in a waterpark setting demonstrating the skills needed for lifeguards to get certified to work in this environment. Photo by Michael Del Polito/American Red Cross
© Stock photo taken for the American Red Cross*

“From unspeakable tragedies to the uncertainties of military life, the Red Cross helps thousands of North Texas families every day. For each family, the service we provide is meaningful. And thanks to North Texas Giving Day, those services will #MeanMore because of the multiplied gift.

August 1, 2011. Fort Belvoir Army Base, Virginia. Stock photo of the Army. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

August 1, 2011. Fort Belvoir Army Base, Virginia. Stock photo of the Army. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

“Last year alone, we helped more than 1,400 North Texas families after they lost everything in home fires. That’s too many so we launched a campaign to purchase smoke alarms and install them in our most at-risk communities. Ordinarily, a donation of $30 purchases two smoke alarms, but on Giving Day, that gift will #MeanMore.

“We can #MeanMore to military members and their families on Giving Day as we gain additional resources to support our 24/7 emergency message service and conduct briefings at military bases around the area. Nearly 19,000 service members and their families in DFW had contact from the Red Cross last year.

Brian Riddle holds therapy dog Toffee at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Brian Riddle holds therapy dog Toffee at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

“More kids can learn to swim, more lifeguards can be trained and more water safety classroom sessions can be provided because gifts #MeanMore when they’re multiplied.

“We’re honored to be a part of North Texas Giving Day and to see the power of the donated dollar at work. Throughout this campaign, we’ll be using our #MeanMore hashtag to share even more stories that highlight how gifts are used to help North Texans.

“We believe that we can all #DoMore when we join together on September 17, which in turn will #MeanMore to everyone who needs our help.

“Happy Giving Day!”

By T.D. Smyers, American Red Cross North Texas Region Chief Executive Officer

* Photos provided by American Red Cross

The Shadow Of Sorrow Is Cast Over The Dallas Zoo With The Death Of Kipenzi

Little Kipenzi was born back in April with the world watching thanks to Animal Planet Live. Immediately matchmaking was on the tips of tongues with the two young fella giraffes newly born over in Cowtown.

But those hopes and dreams came to a conclusion today when the death of the young female giraffe was reported this evening.

According to Dallas Zoo President/CEO Gregg Hudson, “This is a huge loss for our giraffe herd. To be honest, it hurts terribly. We’re crushed, and everyone here is mourning. Please keep our staff in your thoughts.”

Her death was not as a result of mismanagement or cruelty. It was just because she was young and like any youngster stretched the limits. It seems that during the shifting of the giraffe herd tonight, “the gangly calf began to scamper about the feeding yard, as she has done since her public debut on May 1. She made a sharp turn and ran into the perimeter edge of the habitat. Preliminary results indicate three broken vertebrae in her neck, and that she died immediately.”

To decrease the trauma of the situation, Kipenzi’s mom Katie “visited Kipenzi before veterinarians and keepers removed her.”

“Running is a typical behavior for giraffes of all ages, especially young ones like Kipenzi,” said Harrison Edell, the zoo’s senior director of living collections. “We’ve been very cautious with where we’ve allowed Kipenzi to roam, as we were with her siblings Kopano and Jamie when they were small. It’s heartbreaking that this happened where it did despite our precautions.”

Help Emergency Heat Relief Fund Give A Cold Shoulder To Rising Temperatures

Weather guessers have been panting for the thermometers to hit the 100-degree mark. That number was achieved over the weekend, but that has only heightened the problem for many within the community — the vulnerable. Who are these vulnerable types? They are the poor, the elderly, the sickly and people whom you will probably never know.

One woman recently told how, to save money, she keeps her thermometer above the 85-degree mark in her home and has a floor fan moving at a high rate. When she moves to her bedroom at night, she takes the fan with her because she can’t afford a second fan. On a very tight budget, she puts up with the toasty conditions, so she can afford other things like food and medicine.

Not everyone has the luxury of even one floor fan, an A/C or a healthy enough constitution to put up with such conditions. In fact, North Texas summer heat is a life-endangering situation.

According to Dallas County Health & Human Services Director Zachary Thompson, “When citizens don’t have air conditioning in their homes, they are left in a potentially life-threatening situation.”

That’s where the Emergency Heat Relief Fund comes in. Launched in 2006 by The Dallas Foundation, it was created to provide air conditioning units for the “vulnerable.”

In 2011 The Meadows Foundation and other funding groups partnered up with The Dallas Foundation to “encourage additional community investments.”

Mary Jalonick (File photo)

Mary Jalonick (File photo)

According to TDF President/CEO Mary Jalonick, “Extreme summer heat is here and, unfortunately, many around the city don’t have the means to keep their families cool and safe. By contributing to this fund, Dallasites are tangibly helping their neighbors in need of help right now.”

Over the years nearly $200,000 has been provided for the Dallas County Health & Human Services to “install over 1,100 air-conditioning units.”

But before dismissing this one off as checked off, realize that the summer is only halfway over and the heat is really starting to settle in. Unfortunately, “high demand has depleted the current inventory, and DCHHS needs funding to buy more air-conditioning units for the hot summer days ahead.”

So, why not skip an icy Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino Macchiato for a week and make a donation. You could be contributing to a lifesaving event.