A Private Gala Toasts Center for BrainHealth’s New Brain Performance Institute Building

Debbie Francis and Paul and Gayle Stoffel*

The private grand opening for the Center for BrainHealth‘s new Brain Performance Institute building off Mockingbird Lane felt like a who’s who gathering of Dallas’ philanthropic, civic, and business leaders. There were Debbie and Jim Francis (she’s the center’s board chair), Laura and Tom Leppert, Richard C. Benson, Lyda Hill, Brent Christopher, Barbara and Don Daseke, Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Minnie and Bill Caruth, Ann Carver, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, Keana and Morgan Meyer and Stacey and Dan Branch.

Morgan and Keana Meyer and Amanda Rockow*

Stacey and Dan Branch*

Minnie and Bill Caruth and Ann Carver*

Patty and James Huffines and Shelle and Michael Sills were among the 220 guests, too, as Patty and Shelle were co-chairing the exclusive, Thursday, October 12, gala. And at the center of it all, of course, was Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. Sandi took a pause from greeting the guests and said, “I feel like I’m on a mountaintop.”

James and Patty Huffines, Shelle and Michael Sills*

In a way, she was. The $33 million, 62,000-square-foot BPI is the headquarters of what’s said to be the world’s first institute focused on scientifically-based programs aimed at increasing brain performance, enhancing brain resilience, and inciting brain regeneration to the general public.

Larry Speck and Tom Leppert*

Larry Speck of Page, the new building’s lead architect, pointed out that the elliptical, three-story glass structure features communal as well as private areas, plus natural light throughout. Sun shades not only provide shade but are sound-dampening, and all the office desks are standing desks to promote better brain function.

Following an outdoor reception, gala-goers were ushered into the new building for a wonderful dinner of kale salad, roast beef tenderloin and crab cake, and panna cotta with gingerbread. First, though, they heard brief opening remarks by Sandi, UT Dallas Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal, and Ian Robertson, the Center for BrainHealth’s T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Scientist. Quipped Robertson: “I’m really honored to be Sandi’s wing man.”

Soon 30 “Distinguished Guests” swooped down from the second floor to take their place among the diners, leading each table in dinner conversation about the center’s cutting-edge work. Among the distinguished guests were Clint Bruce, Dr. Elliot Frohman, Xiaosi Gu, Daryl Johnston, and Rob Rennaker.  

Earlier in the day, Chapman had led a “Reimagined Ribbon-Cutting” for the new BPI building. As guests including Former First Lady Laura Bush and Benson, the UT Dallas president, looked on, the ceremony depicted the lighting of two glass neurons igniting across a simulated brain synapse. The neurons had been designed by artist David Gappa, who also created an “educational synapse glass ceiling” in one of the building’s rooms that’s shaped like an ellipse, representing the frontal lobe of the brain.

“This isn’t just about preventing dementia, although that’s important to so many. It’s about improving brain performance and health in everyone right now,” Leanne Young, the BPI executive director, commented about the new headquarters. “The Institute will help young people focus in school, retrain the minds of those affected by military experiences or sports injuries, strengthen mental acuity among corporate leadership, and empower each … of us to take charge of our own brains.”

To wrap up the private opening gala, guests were ushered into the BPI room that’s shaped like an ellipse. There, Johnston told the crowd, “As usual, when you work with Sandi Chapman, it exceeds your expectations.” Then everyone lifted their glasses in a champagne toast to the BPI’s long-awaited, much-anticipated new home.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Grovel Alert: Patriot Party’s Colors Of Courage

Patriots Party’s Colors of Courage Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon have just sent word that tickets for the dinner, dancing and auction benefiting the Housing Crisis Center on Friday, November 3, are getting scarce.

Housing Crisis Center 2017 Patriot Party*

Perhaps it’s because along with Honorary Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker, Laura and Dennis have moved the fundraiser to the Bush Institute with retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli as the speaker.

And, of course, the Carrekers’ Jet Linx support has provided a real lift in spirits and funds.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect to set the mood for the upcoming Veteran’s Day on Saturday, November 11.

Before it’s too late, check out the tickets and sponsorship opportunities here!

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon List Of Highland Park Village Merchants Participating In The Annual Fundraiser Revealed

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele just revealed the list of Highland Park Village merchants for the Equest fundraiser “Reins of Hope” at Brook Hollow on Tuesday, October 3.

Lela Rose (File photo)

Hadleigh Shaikh (File photo)

Equest finale (File photo)

Six of ’em are returning with the latest fashions of the season — Carolina Herrera, Escada, Etro, Hadleigh’s, Lela Rose and Market. Joining the veteran retailers will be first-timer Veronica Beard.

The fashion show will be produced by Jan Strimple with Robyn Conlon serving as honorary chair.

Canine Companions For Independence Graduation At Kinkeade Campus Changed Lives For Both Humans And Their New BFF

Linda and Terrence Marler

May is filled with graduations and that applies to pooches as well as youngsters. On Friday, May 5, Canine Companions for Independence held a graduation ceremony at its Canine Companions for Independence Kinkeade Campus at the Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving. It was overflowing with humans like Jan Rees-Jones with Susan McSherry, Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Linda Marler and her husband Terrence Marler as well as four-legged types.

Before the graduation took place, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had been the driving force for Texas’ only CCI, teased new Baylor Scott and White CEO Jim Hinton, who had just recently arrived in North Texas from New Mexico: “When Jim first got here, he asked me what are those green objects. I told him, ‘Jim, I know you’re from New Mexico, but those are trees. We have a lot of those here.’ ”

Jim and Kristen Hinton and Ed Kinkeade

Following Ed, Jim told the crowd, “I love my wife first, I love my dogs second and I love my kids third and I’m completely unapologetic about that.”

Despite the Hinton dogs still living for the time being in New Mexico, Jim confessed that he does Facetime with them. “The good news is that they recognize my voice and I’m still a little bit of a wag. I miss those dogs terribly. To me this effort is a convergence of two things that I am passionate about: one is dogs and the other one is healthcare, taking care of people. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Ed Kinkeade. It is his vision; it is his passion; it is his unique way that has caused this to exist.”

Jim recalled his attending the previous graduation and “I asked the question that all first-time guests ask, ‘Why are all these Kleenex boxes sitting around?’ And so for the past several months, I’ve been building up this moment with my wife [Kristen] and she is with me today. I’ve noticed that she’s already getting a little teary and we haven’t even started the darn program yet. So, she’s going to be a mess before this thing is over. ”

Luckily, there were boxes of tissues placed throughout the room. Sure, it was Cinco de Mayo to the rest of the world, but it was a parting of relationships for some in the room and for others it was the coming together for a lifelong journey.

Canine Companion for Independence puppy in training

Canine Companion for Independence puppy graduate Dutch II

One group consisted of young Labradors that for two years had been raised through the “awkward years,” thanks to volunteer puppy raisers. These dogs had been loved, hugged and been exposed to the world. Now, they were leaving the comfort of their homes and stepping up to a new level of education that would take place at the facility for months by skilled trainers. Their goal was to become the “companions” for those in need.  

Judy Schumpert and #18

A word about the puppy raisers; they range from all types. Some are families; some are prisoners; and then there was Judy Schumpert, who was turning in her 18th dog and already training her 19th : “I’m either on a mission for God or a glutton for punishment. I’ve got to keep doing it until I can do it no more.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone living, loving and working with a puppy for two years and then giving them up. New puppy raisers Mary Catherine Lombardi and Erica Hotvedt admitted, “When we got started, I think we knew what we were getting into. But I think the final goodbyes are harder than we expected.”  They recognized that their puppy Yoshi III, however, was destined for a truly remarkable role.

That purpose became so apparent when the graduation of the new teams took place. For the past two weeks, the seven humans had arrived and lived at the facility to be matched and trained with their new best friends.

Edgar

Chosen as class spokesperson for the graduating teams, Edgar, with Chase V at his side, eloquently told of the importance of this program for the graduating humans. One was an autistic child, whose outbursts would “calm down immediately” when her pooch, Tess VI, “came to the rescue.” Thomas, whose weakened motor skills caused by cerebral palsy resulted in his dropping things to the floor, had been helped by  Atlas IV retrieving them for him. Wheel-chair-bound youngster Lauren‘s arm was subject to bouts of spasticity and limited control, but when Egan II lay down at her side, it was still and under control. Edgar himself admitted that there were times when he would fall out of his wheelchair and Chase’s bark command would sound the alert for assistance. Thanks to Dutch II, wheelchair-bound Lauren was looking forward to getting out on her own and not being “a burden on my parents.” Sara, who works with first responders in dealing with PTSD, would be assisted in the future by Aiken II, who would be “the non-judging entity in the room that helps the patients relax.” 

From the left: (seated) CCI graduate team Lauren and Egan; (standing) Puppy raisers Andrew, Ella, Mark, Angela and Lauren’s mother

Edgar continued, “These stories are a mere excerpt of what has happened in the past 10 days. Can you imagine what is going to happen in the next 10 years? All of us graduates would like to say thank you for being here today, whether you’re a donor, a puppy raiser, a volunteer. Even if this is your first time with Canine Companions, that’s how it starts. That how you get the ball rolling.”

Summing up the two weeks of team training, he addressed his fellow graduates: “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one. And here we stand on the brink of a 10-year-journey. It won’t always be easy, but I promise it will be worth it. All the troubles that we deal with daily will soon be alleviated by an incredible new resource, my new best friend that is unconditionally at our side just waiting to help anyway they can. Thank you.”

As the new teams headed home for a new life of independence, the new recruits were taken to their CCI spotless digs for the next step in their education to be a life-changing partner for someone in need.   

Lauren and her mother

And that’s why the boxes of Kleenex were throughout the hall.

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.

A Gentle Reminder: Hot Dogs Shouldn’t Be Found In Grocery Store Parking Lots

Somehow Dallas bypassed a slow easing into summer and went directly to the hot zone. Unfortunately that warp speed to hot temperatures has evidently resulted in some brain cells being fried. One example took place Sunday at a grocery store in Old Town.

Open window

Open window

It started at 2:55 p.m. when a lovely lady — let’s call her Breezy Brenda — departed her car for the store. No big deal about that. Lots of people were shopping. Only Breezy had left a dog in the car and it was 86 degrees. As she left the car, she lowered the back windows of her VW about three to four inches, just enough for the dog to get its nose out, but not enough for it to escape. But that was also enough room for an agitated dog to bite a child who might try to pet the pooch.

Just as she strolled into the store, the medium-size dog started barking, drawing the attention of a woman who had just departed the store with groceries. Let’s call her Joan of Bark. Well, Joan looked incredulous that a dog in the afternoon heat would be left even with windows opened. When asked if she had a dog, Joan said she had just had her dog of 15 years put down.

According to the Humane Society of the United States:

 

  • When it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes.
  • Rolling down the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car.

 

Joan was now a woman on a mission and knew what to do. Taking a cellphone snap of the car’s license plate, she returned to the store and told the checkout manager, “Travis,” about the situation. Could he make an announcement of the PA that the dog was in distress? No, the person in charge of such things was not available. What about Old Town security? No, they couldn’t do anything either. Only the police could take charge of the situation and he suggested that someone should call them.

Taking groceries to the car

Breezy heading to her car

At 3:10 p.m., Breezy finally had her two bags of groceries, took time to tell a package boy that she had told management how wonderful he was, and then she headed to the parking lot…in the wrong direction. Realizing that her car was not where she thought it was, she changed her direction and found the car with a hot dog inside.

The two problems emerging with the summer heat are:

  • Children and pets have no place in parked cars even with windows open.
  • For your best friends

    For your best friends

    Any and all retailers that promote themselves as animals’ best friends should take more responsibility by alerting customers of a dangerous situation in their parking lot.

Let’s try to make the summer of 2015 casualty-free by working together and thinking.

MySweetWishList: Sons Of The Flag

According to Sons of the Flag Founder/President/CEO Ryan “Birdman” Parrott,

Ryan “Birdman” Parrott*

Ryan “Birdman” Parrott*

“The mission of Sons of the Flag is to provide assistance to military, civilian, and first-responders who have been burned. Sons of the Flag is proud to support the Parkland Health and Hospital System Burn Center here in Dallas. The Parkland Burn Center is one of the largest civilian burn units in the nation, and cares for some 2,000 children and adult burn survivors annually.

Sons Of The Flag*

Sons Of The Flag*

“Sons of the Flag is providing ‘Go Bags’ for families who arrive at the Burn Unit, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and a critically injured loved one receiving life-saving care. ‘Go Bags’ are filled with water bottles, pre-packaged snacks, blankets and other items that will help family members during those first 48 hours of grueling waiting and fear as their loved-one’s burns are being treated. We are in need of water bottles, pre-packaged snacks, and travel size toiletries to help fill these ‘Go Bags.’ Monetary contributions to purchase those items are also appreciated.”

-Ryan “Birdman” Parrott, Sons of the Flag Founder/President/CEO

* Graphic and photo provided by Sons of the Flag

Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s Charles A. Sammons Tower Opens To Provide State-Of-The-Art Trauma And Critical Care

It’s been a long time coming, but the Charles A. Sammons Trauma and Critical Care Tower officially opened Thursday, July 24, with balloons, boldfacers and the best emergency facility south of the Trinity.

With a ladder extended from a Dallas fire truck out front, guests were greeted at the East Colorado entrance with a jazz band and escorted to elevators to the sixth floor. While the top floor is still in raw condition, it was totally decked out for the dedication with banner, food, and ceiling netted with blue-and-white balloons. And the views were nothing to scoff at. Time and again, guests commented how the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was the perfect backdrop for the new facility that has been recognized as one of three adult Level Two trauma center status. With the opening of the tower, Level One status is just around the corner.

Methodist Dallas Medical Center President Laura Irvine told the SRO crowd, “For the first time, I can mention that the American College of Surgeons will be recommending approval of our designation as a Level 1 trauma center.”

The event commenced taking on more of a pep rally with smiles and applause non-stop.

Methodist Healthy System Board Chair Levi H. Davis summed it up, saying, “This is an awesome day!” He also reminded the business leaders in the audience that Methodist is the largest employer in Oak Cliff, with 3,900+ “lifesavers” on staff.

Adding to that hoorah was City Councilman Scott Griggs, who evidently doesn’t believe in understatement. He announced, “This is the best [healthcare] facility not only in Dallas and Texas but in the whole world. You are definitely world class!”

George Schrader

George Schrader

Following a video, Chris Kleinert, who chaired the BrightER Capital Campaign, told the crowd, which included Methodist Health System President Steve Mansfield, SMU President Gerald Turner, former Dallas City Manager George Schrader, Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Louise Bright III, Carol Seay, Nancy Bierman and Chris’ adoring wife, Ashlee Kleinert, that he was a bit nervous about the day. When Methodist Health System Foundation President/CEO April Box Chamberlain first invited him to tour Methodist, he had never been there before. It became apparent that the hospital was outdated, outmoded and overcrowded. Seeing the immediate need and the future of the area, he signed on to raise more than $20M. That was 29 months ago. One of the first things Chris did, besides telling Ashlee of the ginormous undertaking, was to draft his in-laws, Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, as honorary co-chairs. Then he and the Methodist team went about raising the money. Instead of pounding his chest over this amazing accomplishment, Chris turned the tables and attributed the success story to the donors, staff and city officials.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and April Box Chamberlain

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and April Box Chamberlain

Chris then introduced Nancy Ann and Ray. According to Nancy Ann, the couple who will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next year, didn’t know they were to speak.

Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt

Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt

Ray praised the people on the capital-campaign committee and said they were Dallas’ future leaders. “They took time to volunteer for something that is really, really important. . . . That’s what has made Dallas great [over the years]. It makes you feel very optimistic about the future of Dallas.”

He scoffed at the idea that Nancy Ann and he had done more than serve as “cheerleaders” for the project. Then Ray reminded the assembled group that “Dallas has no reason to exist.” And except for leaders like these — Mayors Bob Folsom and Erik Jonsson and former City Manager George Schrader — “the city wouldn’t exist as it is today.”

Nancy Ann Hunt and Joy Duncan

Nancy Ann Hunt and Joy Duncan

Then the event’s closer was Nancy Ann. The shy little blonde rose to the occasion by saying without hesitation, “This is a game-changer for Dallas.” She said Methodist has always been a light shining bright, but no one recognized it. Then she added: “As Chris said, today it is a neon light!”

As the Hunts stepped down from the stage to take their seats, all in the room rose to give them a standing O.

Immediately, the staff, committee and key leaders rolled out a “never-ending blue ribbon” with Methodist printed in white. As they held the ribbon around the perimeter of the room, a “virtual ribbon cutting” commenced followed by a drop of hundreds of blue and white balloons.

Virtual ribbon cutting

Virtual ribbon cutting

For Methodist Health System PR pro Kathleen Beathard, it was a poignant occasion. Come August, she’ll be heading to a job in North Dallas. But before leaving, she’s tackling one last challenge. It seems that when you type in the Dallas’s campus address —1441 North Beckley — on the Apple map locator, the iPhone geniuses send you up to North Dallas. Don’t make that mistake. Just look across the Trinity for the tallest building atop a hill and head for it. That’s Methodist, the tallest and newest addition to North Texas’ stellar collection of trauma centers.

BrightER Campaign Was On Cloud 9 Celebrating Success With Super-Duper Heroes

There are those who think Eddie Deen’s is about as far south as Dallas goes. Their unfortunate luck. Dallas is much richer. Sure, there are the tree-covered hills of Kessler Park, the St. Philips incubator of tomorrow’s leaders, the Bishop Arts District, the future home of the HP Byron Nelson Championship and so much more.

Among that last group is Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Most only associate this oasis of wellness with the annual Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award dinner. But that’s only a hint of the incredible work and need for their mammoth facility.

Luckily, the powers-that-be tapped Chris Kleinert to chair a Herculean task — raise $20M for the $122M Charles A. Sammons Trauma and Critical Care Tower.

In a world that was recovering from the recession and a city that had been worked over financially for such ventures as the Performing Arts District, Perot Museum, Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Klyde Warren Park, Bush Center and so many other worthwhile projects, Chris had his work cut out for him.

But he recognized the truly incredible need and was inspired to get the job done.

Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt and Ashlee Kleinert

Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt and Ashlee Kleinert

On Thursday, June 12, Chris official checked his assignment off his “Must-Do List.” At Cloud 9 Café in Reunion Tower, the Methodist Health System Foundation folks like Honorary Co-Chairs Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, Chris’ wife Ashlee Kleinert, Heather Hunter, Bishop Mike McKee, Dr. Bob Simonson, Methodist Health System Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Folsom and Methodist Health System President/CEO Steve Mansfield celebrated in typical Methodist Health System Foundation style.

Heather Hunt

Heather Hunt

Steve Mansfield

Steve Mansfield

Unbeknownst to Chris and his family surprises were just around the bend.

As the sun was setting, the revolving space stopped right on cue with the Methodist Dallas campus in the background.

Methodist Health System Foundation President/CEO April Box Chamberlain told the crowd, “You are all here today because you chose to be a hero, stepping up to the challenge, and meeting the need. Chris Kleinert is one such hero. He agreed to chair this BrightER Campaign on his first visit to Methodist Dallas Medical Center. It was then I named him as our own Clark Kent. Once he saw the vision and understood the importance of what Methodist Dallas and exceptional trauma care means to our entire city, he transformed from a mild mannered businessman to a superhero.”

Chris was first presented with a personalized doctor’s lab coat.

Then guests were directed to check out the screens on either side of the stage. There they saw “an animated Superman” looking very much like Chris flying through the air from Methodist. Next thing Superman himself appeared from nowhere on stage. The man of steel and April presented Chris with his own “super” cape.

Evidently, Chris and April had been working so long together, they were of the same mind. In moments, April was called on stage and received her own “super” cape.

April Box Chamberlain, Superman and Chris Kleinert

April Box Chamberlain, Superman and Chris Kleinert

Despite the celebrating frivolity, the fact of the years of fundraising were chilling. In Dallas, there are only adult major trauma centers — Baylor, Methodist and Parkland — that are designated to “handle a wide array of medical emergencies. This designation means that Methodist Dallas is qualified, staffed and equipped to provide advanced care for all forms of trauma, 24 hours a day.” Come July, Methodist will be able to expand its capabilities thanks to the six-story, 248-square-foot Sammons Tower’s with its 58 new emergency rooms, six trauma suites, eight surgical suites and a 36-bed critical care unit

It was revealed that the good old Meadows Foundation had let Chris and the fundraising team that they would provide the final ca-ching — $750,000 — for them to meet their goal. And once again the Meadows Foundation came through like so many others like the Charles A. Sammons Foundation that provided the initial $5M.

As guests drove home, the Reunion ball was lit in Methodist colors with its signature daisy.

This amazing accomplishment was made possible thanks to the following:

  • $1,000,000 and above — The Folsom Family, Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt, Sammons Enterprises Inc., Pat and Pete Schenkel and Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation
  • $500,000 – $999,999 — John and Nita Ford, Traci and Sean Owen, Tammy and Jim McGowan, Hillcrest Foundation, The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation and The Meadows Foundation
  • $100,000 – $499,000Dr. Sam Ahn, Atmos Energy, Austin Commercial, Katherine C. Carmody Trust, Hawn Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Laboratory Physicians Associates, Methodist Dallas Medical Center Auxiliary and The Lupe Murchison Foundation
  • $50,000 – $99,000Associates in Surgical Acute Care/Dallas Orthopaedic Trauma Institute, Horace C. Cabe Foundation, Duda Family Foundation, Ernest Dunn M.D., Ernst & Young LLC, Dr. Sylvia Hargrave, Heather L. Hunt, Methodist Hospitals of Dallas Guild, Steven and Dawn Moore, Brian J. Ratner Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Seegers Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Charles M. Sloan and Dr. Emmanuel E. Ubinas-Brache