Louise Herrington School of Nursing’s Going for Gold Gala Raised Funds For Scholarships With TV Producer Derek Haas Keynoting

In this world of high technology and ever-changing development in the health care world, the mainstay of the medical world is the legion of nurses who daily provide the personal and professional care so needed by patients. Needless to say, their education and training doesn’t come cheap. That is why the 6th Annual Going For Gold Gala’s “Coming Together To Make A Difference” benefiting Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) on Saturday, February 25, at the Fairmont Hotel was so important.

Kristen and Jim Hinton, Shelley Conroy and Greg and Susan Pendleton Jones*

With 600 guests including Baylor Scott And White Health CEO Jim Hinton and his wife Kristen Hinton,  Baylor University Louise Herrington School Dean Dr. Shelley Conroy, Baylor University Executive Vice President Dr. Greg Jones and his wife Susan Pendleton Jones and Louise Herrington Ornelas, it was an occasion to “recognize and honor those who serve our communities — both the nurses who care for our sick and wounded and our selfless public servants in the police and firefighting communities.”

Two of those people were LHSON grad 1997 Jessica Haas and LHSON grad 2006 Annie Young, who work in the Richardson Independent School District as school nurses and saved two lives last fall.

On Monday, November 14, Jessica rescued a mom, Sarah Maupin, who had suffered a heart attack at Wallace Elementary just blocks away from the junior high. In addition to being featured in a report by WFAA (ABC) on Monday, November 14, and a story on KTVT (CBS) on Monday, December 5, Jessica was a guest on the Harry Connick Jr. Show on Wednesday, December 21.

During the week of December 5, a student collapsed on the track at Lake Highlands Junior High and Annie provided AED/CPR rescue.

Mary Ann Hill and Louise Herrington Ornealas*

Ray Vaughn*

In addition to celebrating Jessica and Annie, Gala Chair Mary Ann Hill arranged Baylor alumna/NBC-5 Co-Anchor Bianca Castro to serve as emcee. Adding to the special occasion were Dallas Police Officer Ray Vaughn’s singing “Be The Change,” and LHSON alumna Bailey Harrison Moore, BSN 2015, providing “a compelling testimony.”

Derek Haas and students*

With the help of volunteer Gala Task Force members and LHSON Student Ambassadors, Mary Ann also had silent and live auctions, as well as having Baylor graduate Derek Haas (no relation to Jessica) be the keynote speaker. In addition to co-creating and producing NBC’s hit television series “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med,” his newest show, “Chicago Justice,” was just days away from premiering.

Past Going for the Gold Galas have featured champion athletes and celebrities such as: Noah Galloway, a wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom U.S. Army war veteran hero and finalist on “Dancing with the Stars” along with Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrance Williams in 2016; Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Quarterback Robert Griffin III (RGIII) and former Baylor linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary in 2015; America’s gold medal legend Mary Lou Retton in 2014; former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith in 2013 and Baylor’s championship-winning women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, who joined former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in 2012.

LHSON is passionate about preparing exemplary nurses for the 21st century, and the key to doing that is recruiting and retaining outstanding students. Proceeds from the gala provide scholarships as well as funding for the new nursing school building in the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

The evening was made possible thanks to the generosity of Louise Herrington Ornelas, Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr. and the following patrons and sponsors:

  • Golden Gran Gala Hosts — The Ginger Murchison Foundation, Suzanne and Tom Martin and Donna and Scott Miller
  • Gold Benefactor — Marie and John Chiles, Dr. and Mrs. J. Stuart Crutchfield, Shari and Terry Hill, Pam and Mike Jones and Martha and John Minton
  • Gold Patron — Dr. D.M. Edwards
  • Golden Sponsor — Jay and Jenny Allison, Susan Key and Gary E. Baker, Barnabas Foundation Inc./Anita Jones, Ruth and Don Buchholz, Sue and Rex Jennings, Laurie and Mark Nielsen, Alice and Ken Starr and Lois and Dexter Ward
  • Golden Friend — Rita and Carl Bonds, Mr. and Mrs. C. Robert Byrd, Joy (Helm) and Steve Cobb, Chris and Michael Felton, Karen and Paul McDonald, Cheryl and Ron Hylse Murff, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen D. Reynolds, Dr. and Mrs. David L. Ring, Dr. Lisa Stepp, Dr. Kathryn and Don Tinius and Terri Heard and Nancy Withrow
  • Sustaining Member — Dr. and Mrs. C. Brad Bowman
  • Video Underwriter — Brenda and Bob Barkley
  • Invitation Underwriter — Marie and John Chiles
  • Special Underwriter — Suzanne and Martin
  • Table Host — Prosperity Bank and Leisa and Jimmy Winters
* Photo credit: Mary and Michael Hammack

The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour Of The Eight Beneficiaries Resulted In Flowers, Tears And Inspiration For The $5.8M Goal

Like many nonprofits, there comes a once-a-year decision of how the raised funds will be distributed. For 65 years, Crystal Charity Ball has had that come-to moment for the Dallas area children’s nonprofits. To think. There are grown-ups who have survived devastating diseases and overcome miserable home lives and then have had amazing lives, thanks to the committee of 100 women.  

On Thursday, February 16, CCB Chair Pam Perella, CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers and a busload of ladies undertook a day of visiting the eight beneficiaries thanks to Briggs Freeman | Sotheby’s International Realty’s Layne Pitzer‘s and Joan Eleazer‘s underwriting the tour. It was at one of those stops where the membership saw firsthand how one child and his mother represented the thousands of faceless and nameless other kids who were in need. More about that later.

Before the tour got underway with Andre in the driver’s seat, though, tour director Fredye Factor reminded the group that this year’s “working theme” was TV shows. Since the tour had been tagged as “All My Children,” they had arranged for Susan Lucci‘s cousin Pucci Lucci to address the ladies. Pucci turned out to be CCB member Pam McCallum, whose Pucci was more Blanche Devereaux than Erica Kane.

Big Brothers Big Sister Lone Star — $500,000

Bill Chinn

But it was time to get down to work and things started off with two representative making presentations on board the bus. First up was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star President Bill Chinn, who told how the July 7th shooting in downtown Dallas had spurred them on with a project — Bigs in Blue, which would connect first responders like policeman, fire fighters and city personnel as mentors for at-risk children to “establish strong and enduring one-to-one relationships.”  

Rainbow Days — $500,000

Tiffany Beaudine

Next up was Rainbow Days Director of Development Tiffany Beaudine, who reported that the CCB’s contribution would span three years to purchase a new van for transporting supplies to children living in motels, as well as adding “one new full-time program manager and a portion of four staff members who will assist in implementing programs, and partial salary for the program director.” Rainbow Day’s Project Hope program would also “deliver food weekly including snacks, school clothing and hygiene products as well as an opportunity for homeless children to attend summer day camps and holiday celebrations.”

The children whom they serve often suffer from fear. Too often their lives are filled with gunfire at night and the fear of playing outdoors.  

The Autism Treatment Center — $582,020

Neil Massey

Then the ladies were driven to the Autism Treatment Center to learn firsthand about its Early Intervention Therapy and Educational Capital Campaign. Thanks to the contribution, 101,100 square feet of the present facility will be “reconfigured and remodeled to increase the number of educational classrooms, therapy rooms, counseling offices and other important spaces.” The additional space will allow the Autism Treatment Center to quadruple the number of students who will receive help.

In showing the outdoor playground with its misting umbrella for hot days and the growing garden that provides both education and accomplishment, Development Director Neil Massey looked at the open lot next door. Having outgrown their current facilities, he said that they had tried to buy it from the present owner but had had no luck.

Autism Treatment Center

But it was the classrooms where the ladies learned that patience was a key to working with autistic boys and girls. Structure and patience were not just paramount for the children’s learning to adjust to their special conditions. But those lessons were important to being included in the family life. One lesson was that when an autistic children got frustrated and got physically upset, it was important for them to be ignored until they realized that their actions would not produce results. One CCB-er, upon hearing the comment said, “That probably proves true in all our lives.”

Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation — $541,098

Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation board member Mary Ann Hyde

Next on the itinerary was the T. Boone Pickens Center. The timing of the visit was perfectly planned. It just so happened that the Center’s board was meeting that day with Board Trustee Mary Ann Hyde backed by the board members to greet the ladies in front of the magnificent facility.

So, it may have initially seemed curious to have CCB that benefits children to be providing funds for a hospice facility, but there was a very important aspect of the Pickens Center that affected children — the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program.

Breaking into groups, the membership was shown the facilities that would assist not just those completing their lives, but would also help family, especially children, to be part of the final farewell and adjust to the loss. The 36-bed facility featured suites especially designed to comfort the patients with breathtaking views of the lake, doors that could accommodate the patient’s bed being moved to the room’s patio, and the out-of-sight medical equipment.

Presbyterian T. Boone Pickens Center guest suite

But the main point of the tour was how the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program would help children through the process of grieving the loss “in a healthy and healing way.” There were the Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Education Center and the Harold Simmons Foundation Inpatient Care Center that provided both areas of play and adjustment to loss.  

Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program play room

In one room was a playhouse with super heroes on the walls. While in other rooms were materials for kids to vent their feelings regardless of their ages to social workers, counselors, music therapists and art therapists, who “will encourage healthy emotional growth, and bring unique comfort to children who have lost a sibling, parent or grandparents.”  

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance — $527,770

The next stop was the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance in the West End. While it was perfectly planned to coincide with a group of students, it reinforced the need for the Holocaust’s need to expand to a larger facility. CCB and high schoolers found themselves on top of each other learning about the horrors of World War II and the demonstrations of remembrance.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance’s Paul Lake

One such example was the placement of stones representing the persons who were victims of the Holocaust. One teenager’s attempt to place a stone found their effort falling on the floor, resounding throughout the room. Ironically, the sound of the stone hitting the hard stone floor seemed to draw attention to the solemnity that had filled the room.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance

For a three-year period, the CCB contribution will allow “thousands of Title 1 and economically disadvantaged students to the Museum, free of charge, and will provide their teachers necessary curriculum support.”

Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $1,111,735

Just blocks away from Children’s Medical Center, the CCB-ers donned hard hats and safety glasses to tour Children’s Health’s Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program that was under construction. Planned to officially open with full services in May, it allows youngsters with movement challenges resulting from injuries or chronic illnesses to access all the treatments in one facility. The rooms would provide everything from aquatic treatments to padded rock climbing.

Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program aquatic facility under construction

Thanks to CCB’s contribution, it would be possible to purchase “five pieces of state-of-the-art robotic gait and mobility training equipment: The ErigoPro early mobilization tilt-table, the LokomatPro robotic based partial-weight-bearing treadmill system, the Andago body weight supported mobile robotic gait system, the Natus balance and gait assessment system and the HydroWorx therapy pool. Training for staff and robotic software upgrades are included with the purchase of this equipment.”

Thanks to this “centralized accessibility, thousands of Dallas County children will be able to seek services designed for patients from two to 18 years of age.

As the committee gathered in the main room, they were told of a surprise. It was indeed a surprise. Britt Cupp, who had suffered a trauma to his brain due to a skateboard accident years ago, arrived with yellow roses and a personal note for each of the women. As his mother, Angela Cupp, looked on, Britt handed out the flowers. Unfortunately, when Britt had his accident, he and his family were forced to seek assistance at different facilities throughout the country. Many of the CCB-ers who had children Britt’s age looked on in amazement at the mother and son who had been through so much and were spearheading the creation of such a facility.

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

After a massive group pic with Britt, the CCB-ers with flowers in hand gathered outside for the traditional group picture. Inside Angela had one request — a photo of Britt with 2017 CCB President Pam Perella and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. Little did she know that Brent had made a similar request, saying, “Britt is my hero.”

Hunger Busters — $1,192,500

The CCB bus now headed to West Dallas for the Hunger Busters operation behind a tall wrought-iron fence topped with razor wire. On the side of the small building, the air condition units were padlocked.

Iron fences topped with razor wire at Hunger Busters

New father/Hunger Busters Executive Director Trey Hoobler explained, “We’re in a turf war here caught between two groups.”

But despite the Spartan and tight conditions, Production/Volunteer Manager Gumaro Castillo in the kitchen’s prep area explained how Ford would be proud of the assembly line of volunteers prepping the meals for DISD schools and after-school programs. Having been there eight years, Gumaro pointed with pride as volunteers put together sandwiches.

Hunger Busters volunteers

Thanks to the CCB contribution that would be used over a three-year period, the Feed the Need program would be expanded, “representing a 150% increase in the number of children served, from 2,000 to 5,000 daily. An additional new delivery van and staff support will allow Hunger Busters to serve children and schools on their waiting list for a total of 300,000 additional meals each year.”

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy — $850,000  

Sandra Helton

The final stop of the day was Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy, where Sister Sandra Helton pointed to an open lot adjacent to the school where a cafeteria would be built. She then showed why the new facility would be needed, as she led the group to the present room where children eat. If the current lunchroom was needed for another event, the tables and chairs had to be removed and then replaced afterwards. If a funeral was to take place in the nearby sanctuary, meals would have to delayed.  The kitchen was barely larger than a jet liner’s kitchen.

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy

While the tour was going on, some youngsters took naps on the classroom floors, some practiced in the music room under Brandon McDannald‘s direction and others were hard at work at desks in classrooms.

Thanks to the CCB commitment, a 12,500-square-fooot cafeteria and fine arts center will be built that will be “available weekends for 1,300 children who attend religious education classes and also for Science Fairs, Band and Choir concerts, fundraisers like their Fall Festival and Grandparent’s Day. Funds will also be used for a dedicated fine arts center, giving Santa Clara students many more options in band, music, choir and art with designated classrooms where they can safely secure their instruments and supplies. Additionally, funds will provide a parish office and conference room, allowing for more students in the existing school.”

It was then homeward bound and ten months of fundraising to provide $5.8M for the children of Dallas.

For more photos from the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Sons Of The Flag Endowment For Burn Care Supplies Is Established At Parkland Health And Hospital System

Over the years Parkland Health and Hospital has become renowned for being the only adult and pediatric center in North Texas verified by the American Burn Association. In addition to its reputation for its specialized treatments, it has provided it for those who are uninsured.

Yesterday afternoon, the Sons of the Flag established the Sons of the Flag Endowment for Burn Care Supplies with a $12,500 contribution that was matched by anonymous donation via Parkland Foundation.

Mary Meier-Evans, Herb Phelan, Ryan Parrott, Steven Wolf, Stephanie Campbell, Kathy Doherty and Beth Dexter*

The results? The $25,000 total will “support and enhance burn care at Parkland Health and Hospital System by providing wound kits and supplies for uninsured burn patients.”

According to Sons of the Flag President/CEO Ryan Parrott, “This is an exciting opportunity for Sons of the Flag to live out its mission and expand access to critical supplies and treatment for many in our community who cannot afford them. To partner with Parkland Foundation in supporting the Parkland Burn Center through this endowment is an important step in ensuring we are doing everything we can to improve burn care throughout North Texas.”

On hand for the announcement in addition to the media were Sons of the Flag Director of Development Mary Meier-Evans, Parkland Foundation Development Officer Beth Dexter and Parkland Burn Center’s Dr. Herb Phelan, Dr. Steven Wolf, Stephanie Campbell and Kathy Doherty.

The Sons of the Flags has also provided more than $10,000 in in-kind donations of Go Bags, clothing, toys, snacks and holiday decorations thanks to its supporters and volunteers.

Parkland Foundation President/CEO David Krause said, “We are grateful for the ongoing generosity of Sons of the Flag and their commitment to helping the patients in Parkland’s burn center. Their most recent gift to establish an endowment to support the burn center will help Parkland provide life-saving care to burn patients for generations to come.”

Sons of the Flag “is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting military, first responder, and civilian burn survivors by providing funding for innovative research, technology and education. We bring together passionate community leaders, pioneering physicians, experienced military service members, dedicated first responders and purposeful civilians to complete our mission.”

* Photo provided by Sons of the Flag

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.

Helping Our Heroes Commemorates 9/11 By Celebrating And Raising Funds For Those In The Military And First Responders

While some folks took time to recall 15 years ago on September 11 when two planes destroyed the Twin Towers, one plane flew into the Pentagon and still another plane missed its target thanks to strangers on board, the Helping Our Heroes organization used the occasion to raise funds for those in the military and first responders who have made incredible sacrifices. Here’s a report from the field:

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Helping Our Heroes gathered at Frontiers of Flight Museum to honor heroes in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard, as well as local police, firemen and first responders. The dinner and auction benefited Folds of Honor, which provides annual educational scholarships to the families of those killed or disabled while in active duty, and the Semper Fi Fund, which provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

John Christensen and Gail Leonard*

John Christensen and Gail Leonard*

Barbara and Trip Bomar*

Barbara and Trip Bomar*

Justin Cleveland and Jerald Cleveland*

Justin Cleveland and Jerald Cleveland*

Mike and Lisa Engle*

Mike and Lisa Engle*

Approximately 200 people including Barbara and Trip Bomar, Justin Cleveland, Jerald Cleveland, John Christensen, Gail Leonard and Lisa and Mike Engles arrived to W. T. White’s Junior ROTC standing at attention. During the cocktail reception, guests perused the silent auction tables with items such as an autographed football from Emmitt Smith, Coco’s Bangles and dozens of restaurant and spa packages to name a few.

Brian Aft*

Brian Aft*

Promptly at 7:00 p.m., Event Co-Chair Mike Marasco introduced the Color Guard who presented the colors, and 15-year-old Lindsey Fish sang the National Anthem prior to guests sitting down for dinner. Event Co-Chair Travis Wilson introduced the 2016 Guest of Honor Gen. James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, who spoke about how his office at the Pentagon was destroyed after a plane hit the Pentagon and how America was changed following the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Local hero and this year’s Honorary Chair Cpl. Brian Aft also took the stage to tell his story as a Marine. On April 8, 2011, Aft struck an improvised explosive device while patrolling on duty in Afghanistan. Taking the brunt of the explosion, Aft suffered numerous injuries including the loss his lower extremities.

“The days after 9/11 were the worst of times, but they were also the best of times because people came together and were more appreciative and thankful for their country,” Gen. Amos said. “It is organizations like Helping Our Heroes that are truly making a difference in the lives of veterans and anyone who serves. “I am thankful for the opportunity to be here tonight.”

Following the remarks, Wes Pool of Murad Auctions led an energetic game of Heads and Tails before the live auction began. Guests bid on a variety of packages including a trip for four to Washington D.C., a Sunday night wine and food tasting at Chamberlain’s Steak and Chophouse, and a handmade quilt and signed KA-Bar.

Travis Wilson, James F. Amos and Vanessa Keane**

Travis Wilson, James F. Amos and Vanessa Keane**

On Monday, September 12, 2016, Gen. Amos joined golfers at Brookhaven Country Club for the second day of Helping Our Heroes fundraising efforts. More than 90 people grabbed breakfast tacos courtesy of Torchy’s Tacos before watching the presentation of the colors and singing the National Anthem. Following their morning on the course, the teams gathered for an awards ceremony and cookout lunch with hot dogs and chips provided by Frito Lay. Proceeds from both events benefited Semper Fi Fund and Folds of Honor.

* Photo credit: 
Tamytha Cameron 
** Photo credit: 
Rhi Lee

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Turns 25 Today

If you bump into Ruth Sharp Altshuler, ret. Lt. Bill Walsh, Jan or Trevor Rees-Jones, Lynn Davis or any of the more-than-can-be-counted backers of Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, wish ’em an “unhappy birthday.”

Hello? What the heck? DCAC has done incredible works of amazement helping “child victims of abuse.” Why the “unhappy” birthday? It’s an unhappy birthday because each one of them no doubt wishes there was no need for DCAC to exist.

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center*

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center*

Until that day comes, Dallas is blessed to have a haven for “more than 44,000 children and their non-offending family members” to have “found justice, hope and healing through the services provided at the Center. Over the last 25 years, DCAC has become a national leader in the Children’s Advocacy Center movement and is recognized internationally for its expertise in cutting-edge therapy programs for victims and for its community and professional education programs including the annual Crimes Against Children Conference.”

At its still spanking new facility, DCAC “houses five units of Children Protective Services (CPS), the Child Abuse Unit of the Dallas Police Department (DPD) and an Assistant District Attorney.”

Let’s all look to the day when DCAC gladly shutters its doors because child abuse no longer exists. Until then, let’s ramp up the effort to help them and the innocent victims who live within the North Texas neighborhoods.

One way to support DCAC’s mission is to participate in one of their “signatures events throughout 2016 — especially on Tuesday, April 26, at the Appetite for Advocacy luncheon featuring keynote speaker Brené Brown.” The event will be held at Sheraton Dallas Hotel and is being co-chaired by Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach. Tickets are on sale now!

* Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

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.

Entrepreneurs For North Texas Brought Out Countless Volunteers And Vets For Freedom Day To Improve Great Trinity Forest

Nearly 1,000 volunteers commemorated 9/11 by giving time and efforts as part of Entrepreneurs for North Texas Freedom Day. Friday, September 11, started off with an opening ceremony at Texas Horse Park with Carry The Load Clint Bruce giving the keynote address.

From 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. they concentrated their improving Great Trinity Forest acreage by “building accessible pathways, installing bleachers and irrigation, building raised garden beds, constructing tiered seating and loafing sheds, clearing and cleaning trails and riverbanks and installing fresh landscaping.”

The crowd was made up of 700 volunteer employees from 100 EFNT member companies and 300 veterans from Carry The Load, The Mission Continues, Iraq and Afghanistan, Veterans of America, Veterans In Business, Honor Courage Commitment and Team Rubicon.

North Texas Brainiacs Could Save The Day And Lives

With all the talent and funding in North Texas, could someone please create a program that will alert people when a child/elderly person/pet is in a car in sweltering temps or frigid weather?

Emergency vehicle (File photo)

Emergency vehicle (File photo, obviously)

And while those high-techie types are being amazingly brilliant, could they develop a software for vehicles and/or cellphones that warn when an emergency vehicle is in the area? Too many times an emergency vehicle’s sirens cannot be heard by drivers resulting in a dangerous situation or a loss of minutes in providing lifesaving services for a patient.