Just Say Yes’ “Building Bridges” Will Celebrate With Romos, Brown And Chances For Gragg Gems, Royal Dining, Grelle Artwork And More

Tony and Candice Romo*

David Brown*

As if having former Dallas Police Chief David Brown as the keynote speaker and Honorary Co-Chairs Candice and Tony Romo weren’t enough for the 7th Annual Just Say Yes (Youth Equipped to Succeed) Celebration’s Building Bridges,” organizers have put together quite a line up for the Wednesday, April 19th raffle and live auction fundraiser at Belo Pavilion.

Sue Gragg necklace*

For the raffle, it will be “a custom-made diamond necklace by jewelry designer extraordinaire” Sue Gragg. The winner will be able to select their choice of an 18-karat white, yellow or rose-gold necklace. And to add that personalized touch, they’ll have “their name, or a word of their choice, encrusted with diamonds.” If your chance ticket is picked, you’ve got your Mother’s Day gift locked down! The value of the necklace is $1,400 with raffle tickets going for $25 each or 5 for $100. The raffle winner does not need to be present to win, and there is no limit to ticket purchase. Raffle tickets are available here.

There’s an added incentive to buy those raffle tickets online. There will be a drawing prior to the event to have a VIP meet-and-greet photo opp with keynote speaker Brown.  The Photo-Opp winner must be present to win. Each raffle ticket purchase serves as one entry into the contest.

In addition to a silent auction, there will be a live auction including:

Darren McGrady (File photo)

  • A Royal Dinner Party by Eating Royally Owner/Chef Darren McGrady (Value: $5,000) — Chef Darren will prepared a three-course dinner for ten at your home, just like he did for Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. After dinner, he’ll regale guests with stories about the good old days at the palace.
  • A Week in Kauai, Hawaii (Value $3,000) — With plenty of time to plan, four guests will enjoy the luxury lifestyle at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club’s oceanfront digs from April 14 thru 21, 2018. Whether it’s just taking it easy lounging on the beach or checking out the sites where major Hollywood films have been made, Kauai has everything.
  • Western Artist/Member of Cowboy Artists of America Martin Grelle Artwork — Two pieces of art by the renowned Western art master will be up for bid.
    • The first piece is a 13” by 10” original drawing in custom frame of a Native American on horseback. (Value $3,800)
    • The second is a 33” by 38” giclée of “Prayers of the Pipe Carrier,” which Grelle created a few years ago.  It is an artist personal proof, No. 4 of 5. BTW, the original won the Buyers Choice Award at the 46th Annual Cowboy Artists of America exhibit in 2011. (Value: $1,750)
  • Two-Night Hunting Trip at Giesecke Ranch (Value: $2,500) — For the hunter, the Giesecke Ranch outside of Llano is the perfect place to hunt deer, turkey and wild boar. In addition to having the use of a crew cab pickup, the winner will have ranch owner Dick Giesecke himself assist in finding the spots to explore.

(This offer expires December 31, 2018, and does not include Thanksgiving, Christmas or opening weekend of hunting season.)

Building Bridges*

Regarding this year’s theme — “Building Bridges —  Just Say Yes Development Director Marissa Leach explained, “Just Say Yes is ‘Building Bridges’ this year because we recognize the need for connection. Our youth can set the stage for a stronger connection with each other, their families and ultimately our community. With your support, we can further the Just Say Yes cause by building connection in our youth, ultimately creating long-lasting connectedness within our community.”

While individual tickets are $250, $1,000 will get two tickets plus the photo opp with David B.

* Photo provided by Just Say Yes

JUST IN: Junior League To Receive Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Jane Doe Award And Former Police Chief David Brown Tapped For HeROs Award

As part of the 24th Annual Genesis Women’s Luncheon celebration, the announcement has just been made of the 2017 Jane Doe Award and the 2017 HeROs Award recipients.

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support CEO Jan Langbein, the Jane Doe Award that “recognizes individuals, groups or organizations that display an extraordinary commitment to standing alongside women seeking freedom from domestic abuse” will be presented to the Junior League of Dallas’ President Bonner Allen, who will represent the JLD.

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Receiving the 2017 HeRO Award, which was established in 2013 to “honor men who use their voice and influence to take a public stand against domestic violence,” will be former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Past recipients include Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings in 2013, Dale Hansen in 2014, Joshua Ragsdale in 2015 and Roger Staubach in 2016.

David has been a busy fella since trading in his uniform for civilian garb. In addition to having a new job with ABC News, he’s been collecting accolades like being the grand marshal for the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 11, and receiving the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award at Belo Mansion tomorrow.

David Brown (File photo)

Jan explained, ““The Junior League of Dallas has walked hand in hand with Genesis since the very beginning.  Our Junior League volunteers bring passion and professionalism to their placements that in many ways serve as an extension of the Genesis staff.

“Long before Chief Brown was thrust into the national spotlight for his heroic efforts during the tragedy that struck our city last July, he was a hero in Dallas and a hero to Genesis. The Dallas Police Department walks in lockstep with Genesis to help create a safe community, and Chief Brown understood all along that we cannot have a safe community if we do not have safe homes.”

Nikki and Crayton Webb (File photo)

Arianna Huffington**

Luncheon Co-Chairs Nikki and Crayton Webb have arranged for the awards to be presented at the luncheon’s patron party on Thursday, May 11.

A limited number of individual tickets for the Monday, May 15th luncheon at the Hilton Anatole featuring Arianna Huffington are available. For a few dollars more, patron level is also available plus the perks of attending the patron party.

* Photo provided by the Junior League of Dallas 
** Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter And Support

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

34th Annual Friends Of The Dallas Police Banquet Paid Tribute To Dallas Finests With Awards And Acclamations From City Leaders

The appreciation for Dallas law enforcement has continued since the devastating tragedy of Thursday, July 7. This show of admiration was showcased at the 34th Annual Friends of the Dallas Police Awards Banquet on Tuesday, November 1, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. With all the pomp and circumstance it deserved, the occasion had the Dallas Police Department Honor Guard, the Dallas Metro Police Pipes and Drums, the Dallas Police Choir and city and local leadership as more than 150 police officers and employees were honored. Here is a report from the field: 

Coming barely four months after the July 7 attack on Dallas police officers, the Friends of the Dallas Police Awards Banquet on Tuesday, November 1, honored the families of the fallen and injured officers while also recognizing outstanding employees throughout DPD. The 34th-annual banquet paid tribute to approximately 150 distinguished officers and non-sworn employees who have shown strong merit, leadership and courage throughout the past year.

“In what has been one of the most painful and difficult years in our city’s history, the officers and staff of the Dallas Police Department have been a beacon for law enforcement around the nation,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “I’m truly grateful to the Friends of the Dallas Police for drawing attention to the daily dedication and sacrifice demonstrated by these superb men and women, who serve and protect on the frontline and behind the scenes.”

Rene Lozano Jr., David Pughes and James. M. Gentry*

Rene Lozano Jr., David Pughes and James. M. Gentry*

Top awards were given to Senior Corporal James Gentry, who was named the John T. McCarthy Officer of the Year, and Rene Lozano, Jr., who was named the James Taylor Non-Sworn Employee of the Year. Gentry works in the South Central Patrol Division, and Lozano is a senior police dispatcher. Also, homicide detective Eric T. Barnes was named the 2016 James R. Leavelle Detective of the Year.

In a somber ceremony, families of the fallen officers received the Police Cross, given in memory of Dallas Police Department Sergeant Michael Smith, Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Officer Patricio Zamarripa and Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson.

The officers who received injuries on July 7 were presented the Friends of Dallas Police Line of Duty Award. They are Dallas Police officers Sergeant Giovanni Wells, Officer Ivan Saldana, Officer Jorge Barrientos and Officer Gretchen Rocha; Dallas Area Rapid Transit officers Jesus Retana, Misty McBride and Lee Cannon; and El Centro Officers Corporal Bryan Shaw and Officer John Abbot.

Additionally, Mayor Rawlings saluted former Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown, who recently retired from the police force. The Friends of the Dallas Police presented a clock in honor of his leadership and passion during his career.

Mike Rawlings, David Pughes, David Brown, Joseph Hannigan and Matt Walling*

Mike Rawlings, David Pughes, David Brown, Joseph Hannigan and Matt Walling*

Presented by Highland Capital Management at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, the dinner attracted one of its biggest crowds ever. In addition to Mayor Rawlings and former Chief Brown, special guests included interim DPD Chief David Pughes, DART Deputy Police Chief Matt Walling, El Centro College Police Chief Joseph Hannigan and elected officials. WFAA’s John McCaa served as emcee.

Including the major awards announced that evening, the Friends of the Dallas Police also recognized sworn officers and non-sworn staff members in a variety of categories: Medal of Valor, Meritorious Conduct, Police Commendation, Life Saving, Police Shield and Bureau awards.   Many awardees know before the banquet that they were winners, but six award winners – including Reserve Officer, Field Training Officer, Supervisor, Departmental Non-Sworn Employee and Departmental Officer of the Year – were announced at the event. The award recipients were chosen from nominations made by DPD supervisors based on an officer and employee’s overall yearly performance.

Founded in 1982 by a group of Dallas business leaders to recognize DPD employees for outstanding performance in the line of duty, the Friends of the Dallas Police Awards Banquet raises money to celebrate the men and women of the Dallas Police Department who risk their lives every day to make Dallas a safer city. Founded in 1982, the Friends organization believes that, no matter their position within the department, each of DPD’s employees has made a commitment to better the city and the quality of life of its citizens.

Other top awards included the Marvin R. Bullard Supervisor of the Year Award, which went to Sergeant Barry W. Ragsdale, and the Field Training Officer of the Year to Senior Corporal Kimberly M. Crawford, who works in the Northwest Patrol Division. The Johnny Sides Rookie of the Year Award – announced at an earlier event hosted by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce – was presented to J. Branden Helms, who works in the Central Patrol Division. The Joe C. Jones Reserve Officer of the Year Award was given to Reserve Lieutenant Vickie Colwell, who has volunteered nearly 3,000 hours and an average of 300 per year.

A number of Bureau Awards also were presented. In the Office of the Chief of Police Bureau, honorees were traffic enforcement specialist Gabriel Aguilar and Senior Corporal Tramese D. Jones. Administrative Bureau awards went to manager Joe Escalona and Senior Corporal Nicole Walton. Investigation Bureau honors were presented to research specialist Bashu Bhatta and detective Eric Barnes. Public service officer Sharon Fletcher and Senior Corporal James Gentry were saluted in the Patrol Bureau. The Strategic Deployment Bureau winners were office assistant Alva Robinson and Senior Corporal Kevin Nickell in the motorcycle unit. The Support Bureau honored senior police dispatcher Rene Lozano Jr. and Senior Corporal Dwight Beaty.

Anu Agrawal and Vanessa Castanon*

Anu Agrawal and Vanessa Castanon*

The 2016 Educational Scholarship Award, which goes to the child of  a Dallas  Police Officer for college use only, was given to Vanessa Castanon, the daughter of Detective Mario Castanon, a 25-year veteran of the DPD’s narcotics unit. Vanessa is currently a senior honors student at Dr. John D. Horn High School and will pursue a major in forensic sciences next fall at Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio.

“Dallas is fortunate to have one of the finest – if not the best – police departments in the nation,” said Mitch Paradise, chairman of the Friends of the Dallas Police. “On behalf of the Friends of the Dallas Police, we hope this evening, in some small way, conveys our gratitude and shines the spotlight on the exceptional work day-in and day-out by the men and women of the DPD.”

John McCaa and Mitch Paradise*

John McCaa and Mitch Paradise*

Sponsors included

  • Chief Sponsor ($10,000)  — Highland Capital Management.
  • Captain Sponsors ($5,000-$9,999) — American Airlines Center, Cigna, Freeman Auto Group, Don Henley Family, Al G. Hill Jr., The Men & Women of Hunt Consolidated Inc., Ellen and John McStay and Sewell.
  • Lieutenant Sponsors ($3,500-$4,999) — Kroger and John McReynolds
  • Sergeant Sponsors ($2,500-$3,499) — Ruth and Ken Altshuler, AG&E Structural Engenuity, The Baldridge Foundation, Holly and Doug Brooks Family Foundation, City Credit Union, Club Corp., Dallas Mavericks, GFF and Lyda Hill
  • Corporal Sponsors ($1,500-$2,499) — Apartment Association of North Texas, Balfour Beatty Construction, Bellatorra Skin Care, Hillwood Development Company LLC, Invesco, Holt Lunsford Commercial, JLT Beverages LP/Julie and Jim Turner, Rita and Steve Millwee, Martha and Doug Morris, Matthews Paradise Office Development, Michelle and Jeff Wheeler, NorthPark Center,  Erle Nye, PGV Pediatrics, Vin & Caren Prothro Foundation, SMU, Stantec and Mary and Mike Terry
* Photo credit: James Edward

2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball Made Some Tweaks To The POA Resulting In An Over-The-Top Fundraiser With Dwight Yoakam And Toby Keith

The 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball redefined the words Texas Proud on Saturday, October 15, at Gilley’s. Despite the MIA of Rogers, Hunts, Simmons and all the legendary names of giving, other philanthropists rose to the occasion of fighting cancer with funding.

Andrea Weber, DwightYoakmam and Cara French

Andrea Weber, DwightYoakmam and Cara French

In spite of Co-Chair Andrea Weber having given birth just two weeks earlier and Co-Chair Cara French having been hit by the making-the-rounds stomach virus, their game plan and committee of 100 rose to the occasion and impressed even the hard-to-impress oldtimers.  

Perhaps it was due to some rearranging of thangs. First of all, the decision was made to have two headliners perform — Dwight Yoakam on the Live Auction Stage and Toby Keith on the Andrews Distributing Main Stage. In the past, the evening had centered around one big name performer like Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney on the Main Stage. This move was smart…very smart.

Dwight Yoakam

Dwight Yoakam

Another change in POA was having the VIP party take place in South Side Ballroom with the swells having their own private 30-minute concert provided by Dwight. In the meantime, the general admission types grazed on never-ending vittles, checked out the silent auction and rode the Ferris wheel. One Dwight devotee general admission guest was asked if he was disappointed about missing out on the private performance. His response, after he finished chewing a mouthful of food, was, “Heck, no. We’re having too much fun eating!”

At 7 p.m., the doors to the ballroom were open for all to catch the rest of Dwight’s performance.

Okay, so that’s what was going on publicly. Behind the scenes, just before Dwight went on stage, the VVIPs found themselves queuing up among the catering staff for their photo opp with Dwight. Behind the curtain, all was set up for a quick grip-and-grin including a box for the photogs to use. Seems Dwight prefers that arrangement. One onlooker suggested that it might be due to Dwight’s extra weight. Nah!

As the VVIPs lined up, word was passed that Dwight was present. He accommodated one and all except for one photographer’s request: “Could you raise your hat?” Dwight smiled and said, “No. People don’t want to see my eyes.”

But everybody wanted to see Dwight on stage and he did not disappoint one iota. Playing all his hits—from “Little Ways” and “Fast as You” to “Ain’t That Lonely Yet”—Dwight also performed several songs in tribute to the late Merle Haggard. Thanks to his performance, the energy was in “skyrocket drive.” Even the stuffiest types found themselves being part of the mosh pit.

Hal Brierley, Kent Rathbun, Diane Brierley, Kevin Garvin, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay and Jim Severson

Hal Brierley, Kent Rathbun, Diane Brierley, Kevin Garvin, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay and Jim Severson

Amy Turner and Stephen Ratchford

Amy Turner and Stephen Ratchford

It was the perfect warm-up for the live auction that took place almost seconds after Dwight and his crew left the stage. And what a live auction it was.

Hal Brierley hinted that he and wife Diane Brierley just might take a pass on the Smokin’ Chefs’ Silver Anniversary Dinner this year. They had already bought five or six in the past. Diane smiled. Perhaps Hal was doing a fake pass. Indeed! With chefs Kent Rathbun, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay, Jim Severson, Kevin Garvin, David Holben and Richard Chamberlain on stage, the Brierley got into a bidding war with blonde, turquoise-wearing Amy Turner. Kent and the boys were determined to kick the final tab past the six-figure mark. After a brief huddle, the boys agreed to sell two dinners for $75,000 each. Someone recalled that this solution had taken place in past years, with the two dinners hitting the $100,000 mark.

Lisa Cooley

Lisa Cooley

Last year’s dinner co-winner Lisa Cooley had already won her party night earlier in the auction, by picking up the Texas-Sized Party At Gilley’s for 200, complete with Rivers And Rust, for $55,000. When asked how she planned to use the party time, she held up her two hands flashing five fingers on each. Hello? Come again. She’s going to use it for her upcoming 55th birthday.

Gail and Cliff Fischer

Gail and Cliff Fischer

The Bring Out The Big Guns! Package got a standing ovation, thanks to the presentation by Stand 2 Armory team made up of former Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Green Berets and Dallas SWAT, who would provide a day of shooting all types of machine guns for seven people. Said one of the guys, hyping the package: “Nothing says America more than guns, explosions, and curing cancer!” It went for $82,000.

But the big OMG number of the night was dropped by Cliff Fischer. He hit the $100K mark with a Texas-sized smile for the Steak You Claim On A Night With The Boys…. the boys being Troy Aikman, Charles Haley, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Darren Woodson and the steaks being courtesy of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Seems that Cliff bought the package last year, held it at his mansion-sweet-mansion, flew in folks from around the country and had one heck of a great time. This time he’s planning on doing it even bigger and better.

The bidding was so impressive that credit card companies were reeling from the numbers coming out of Dallas.

Of course, there was a bargain or two. For instance, Swiss explorer Johan Ernst Nilson told the crowd that the last time his Bhutan Adventure was put up for auction, it went for $170,000. Guess Dallasites aren’t into trekking through “the happiest place on Earth.” It was picked up for a measly $38,000.  

Mary C. Corrigan

Mary C. Corrigan

Andrea Nayfa, Dawn Greiner, Nancy Gopez and Kris Johnson

Andrea Nayfa, Dawn Greiner, Nancy Gopez and Kris Johnson

Brook Hortenstine and Paige Westhoff

Brook Hortenstine and Paige Westhoff

Samantha Wortley and Bina Patel

Samantha Wortley and Bina Patel

And that was just a snapshot of the live auction that ran right on schedule thanks to the Baronesses ringing those cowbells and auctioneers Wendy Lambert and Amy Assiter running a tight ship. In fact it finished early, so the folks could get back for seconds of food or hit the casino games that made Choctaw looked like a bingo parlor.

Luke Lange

Luke Lange

Toby Keith and gals in blue

Toby Keith and gals in blue

That was just enough time to amble next door to the bigger-than-a-small-town tent for Toby Keith on the Andrews Distributing Main Stage. Behind the scenes, the VVIPs lined up for a grip-and-grin with Toby. Despite the line seeming never to end, Toby howdy-ed everyone and even signed cancer-survivor Luke Lange’s cowboy hat.

Just after the last couple posed with Toby and he was headed to the stage, someone noted a couple of Dallas police standing nearby. Shoot! What was one more photo? Toby liked the idea and so did his crew and so did the policewomen. Picture snapped and Toby was on his way.

Like Dwight, Toby didn’t disappoint. It was as if more than 3,000 had all overdosed on Red Bull.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Still another change in operation this year was the line of security types stoically seated in front of the stage facing the thousands. This arrangement helped prevent a mosh pit from taking place and blocking the view of the peeps sitting at tables upfront.

And speaking of “change,” the CBB abacuses are still counting up the amount that will be put on the check to support cancer research and development.

2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill have their work cut out for them, and they love the challenge. It’s gonna be hard to improve on this one.

For more photos from the night’s fun(d)raising, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

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

JUST IN: A Request For Gatorade

Everyone is donating money and building a memorial to support the Dallas Police Department following Thursday night’s shootings. The following message was just received from Donna Mason:

“I spoke to one of my North East [Police] Station contacts, asking what they need at this time.  He said they could use Gatorade for the officers out in the field in all this heat. If any of you wish to help in that way, just drop it off at the North East Station.”

Even if you can’t afford a financial contribution to the Assist The Officer Foundation, you might consider buying a case of Gatorade.

BTW, the North East Station is located at 9915 East Northwest Highway, just east of Flag Pole Hill. You can’t miss it. It’s the one with the balloons, bouquets and flags out front.

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.

JUST IN: Developments In The Aftermath Of Dallas Shootings

Due to last night shootings and the follow-up investigations, the following will take place today:

  • Dallas City Municipal Court, George L. Allen Sr. Civil Courts, Dallas County Administration and Dallas County Records buildings and the Old Red Museum will be closed today and will reopen Monday.
  • The area bordered by Ross Avenue, Houston Street, Jackson and Griffin will be blocked off.

    Downtown Dallas traffic plan for Friday, July 8, 2016*

    Downtown Dallas traffic plan for Friday, July 8, 2016*

  • Among the businesses closed today are Neiman Marcus Downtown and the Neiman’s corporate offices. If you have plans for a meeting or attending a retail establishment in the Central Business District, call ahead and make sure that it’s open.
  • The West End Station and the CBD West Transfer Center will be closed until further notice.
  • For downtown workers, it is suggested to either work from home or get an early start due to parking will be congested due to the cordoned off area.
  • If you have time, consider donating blood for those trying to recover from their injuries.
  • At noon today, there will be an interfaith gathering at Thanks-Giving Square “to heal wounds.”

For further updates throughout the day, check Dallas City News.

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas City News.

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

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.

It’s A Good Time To Support Dallas Police Officers And Other First Responders

While most Dallasites slumbered thanks to Mr. Sandman on Saturday, June 13, the Dallas police headquarters across the way from South Side on Lamar was under fire. Many woke up the following morning to news about the “incident” and watched on TV the morning’s developments with the gunman being killed.

It was safe to watch at home, but imagine having to be one of those responders facing gunfire and potential explosions, or being their families monitoring developments.

While the politicos chew on how to better support the Dallas Police Departments, others are grass rooting support.

Need a for instance? Okay, how about the Merriman Park/University Manor neighborhood?

It started, like many, with a single idea. Resident Katie Quinn thought “We should do something to reach out our very stressed-out police force.”

According to MPUM Officer Donna Mason, “We did take a sheet cake to the Northeast station, along with a thank you ‘you are the best’ card to Chief David Brown.”

Now the little development created in the 1950’s has ramped up and created a 10-foot banner to place on the Northwest Highway entry and declared “to color our neighborhood blue to show our support of the Dallas Police Department.”

Merriman Park/University Manor banner*

Merriman Park/University Manor banner*

Taking it a step farther, they’re having “rolls of blue ribbons cut in 1’ lengths for people to tie around a tree or tacking to trees, on porches — anywhere visible so all residents have an opportunity to show their support.”

The message in this case is to support the Dallas police, but perhaps it needs to be expanded to include all first responders. It doesn’t have to be a community effort like MPUM. It can be an individual one. If you’re driving by and see a policeman or a fireman, roll down the window and say, “Thank you.” Make an effort to introduce your munchkins to first responders. They need to recognize these uniformed people and feel comfortable around them. Write your City Council representative and let them know of your support for these individuals, who daily step between victims and danger.

* Graphic provided by Merriman Park/University Manor

How To Prevent The Grinches From Spoiling Your Holidays

All gifts aren’t going to be arriving via the chimney thanks to a jolly, old soul in a red and white outfit. Just as scheduled deliveries are being made throughout the area, so are unplanned pickups by some very naughty gnomes. And then there those wicked ones who have the effrontery to spoil your shopping expeditions.

The Dallas Police Officer Katherine Robinson just sent this memo suggesting how to overcome holiday hassles. You might want to eyeball it because it might make the difference in your holiday:

“During the holiday season most people are thinking of last minute shopping and large meals. However, not every one considers the holidays a time to celebrate, but rather an opportunity to commit a crime.

“Unfortunately, the holiday season provides a criminal with many opportunities to spoil holiday cheer. Busy parking lots and hurried shoppers are just two elements working for a potential thief. Also, we make his job easier by ‘advertising’ our recent purchases.

“By knowing what makes you more likely to be a victim of a “holiday” crime, you can take steps to reduce your risk.

“Safety While Shopping

  • “If possible do your holiday shopping during the day and avoid peak shopping periods.
  • “Carry a small purse and carry it under your blazer or jacket. This will make you a less attractive target to purse snatchers.
  • “If possible don’t take children with you during extended shopping periods. You are more vulnerable to a crime if most of your attention is on child care.
  • “Avoid doing all your shopping at once. The tendency would be to have a car full of gifts which increases your chances of being targeted.
  • “Shop with a friend or relative. There is added security in numbers.
  • “As always, lock your car while shopping.
  • “Park your vehicle as close to the shopping center as possible and in a well-lighted location.
  • “Don’t leave packages visible in your car. Place all valuables in the trunk of your vehicle. Don’t give thieves a reason to break into your car.
  • “Avoid carrying large amounts of cash during the holiday season – use credit cards or personal checks.
  • “While shopping, keep credit cards, checks, cash and identification on your person rather than in a purse.
  • “Don’t hesitate to ask mall security to escort you to your car when you exit the mall.
  • “When returning home, scan the parking lot before approaching your car. The element of surprise is a criminal’s most important advantage.
  • “Shop and go home. Don’t make unnecessary stops with several items in your car.
  • “When taking packages from your car to your house don’t leave your vehicle unlocked with packages inside. Also, when you enter your house don’t leave the door open behind you when unloading packages.

“Safety at Home

  • “Don’t display gifts in your windows.
  • “Following the holidays, break down any large gift boxes (televisions, stereos, etc.) and put them in trash bags for discard. Don’t provide thieves with information about new electronics in your home.

“Away from Home for the Holidays?

“Exercise the same precautions during the holidays as during the rest of the year when leaving your house:

  • “Lock all doors and windows
  • “Leave lights and a radio on – preferably on a timer – to give your home a ‘lived in’ look.
  • “If you leave for several days stop mail and newspaper deliveries and have a trusted friend or neighbor watch your home.
  • “Notify the police sub-station in your area and request extra patrol.”

Here are a couple of  suggestions that the MSC elves came up with:

  • Post a “Beware of dog” sign, even if you don’t have a pooch.
  • Do not post on social media your holiday plans for a getaway. And while on your vacation, wait to post photos until you return home.

Dallas City Council Is Holding Town Hall Meetings About 2014-2015 Budget

Tennell Atkins (File photo)

Tennell Atkins (File photo)

The Dallas City Council is holding town hall meetings including the virtual types starting tonight. The subject matter is the 2014-2015 Dallas budget including the library and animal services programs, as well as the police department.

Below is a list of the meetings. It appears that Mayor Pro Tem/Councilperson Tennell Atkins is going to be very available to his neighbors. He’s scheduled a whopping seven meetings!

Like voting, these meetings are opportunities to take part in the city government by providing feedback.

Tuesday, August 12

  • District 1 Scott Griggs — 6 p.m. at Methodist Dallas Medical Center – Hitt Auditorium, 1441 N. Beckley Ave., 75203
  • District 2 Adam Medrano — 6:30 p.m. at Samuell Grand Recreation Center, 6200 E. Grand Ave., 75223
  • District 4 Dwaine Caraway — 6 p.m. at South Oak Cliff High School, 3601 S. Marsalis Ave., 75216
  • District 6 Monica Alonzo — 6 p.m. at Bachman Lake Recreation Center, 2750 Bachman Dr., 75220
  • District 7 Carolyn Davis — 6 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 2901 Pennsylvania Ave., 75215
  • District 8 Tennell Atkins — 6:30 p.m. at Kleberg-Rylie Recreation Center, 1515 Edd Rd., 75253
  • District 12 Sandy Greyson — 7 p.m. at Campbell Green Recreation Center, 16600 Park Hill Dr., 75248
  • District 14 Philip Kingston — 6:30 p.m. at Arlington Hall at Lee Park, 3333 Turtle Creek Blvd., 75219
  • District 9 Sheffie Kadane and District 10 Jerry Allen — 6-7 p.m., Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

Thursday, August 14

  • District 2 Adam Medrano — 6:30 p.m. at Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon Ave., 75209
  • District 5 Rick Callahan — 6 p.m. at Umphress Recreation Center, 7616 Umphress Rd., 75217
  • District 6 Monica Alonzo — 6 p.m. at Park Forest Library, 3421 Forest Ln., 75234
  • District 7 Carolyn Davis — 6 p.m. at Skyline Public Library – Auditorium, 6006 Everglade Rd., 75227
  • District 8 Tennell Atkins — 6:30 p.m. at Tommie M. Allen Recreation Center, 7071 Bonnie View Rd., 75241
  • District 12 Sandy Greyson — 7 p.m. at Renner Frankford Library, 6400 Frankford Rd., 75252
  • District 11 Lee Kleinman and District 13 Jennifer Staubach Gates — 6:30 p.m. at Churchill Recreation Center – Gymnasium, 6906 Churchill Way, 75230
  • District 1 Scott Griggs and District 4 Dwaine Caraway — 6 p.m. at University General Hospital – Auditorium, 2929 S. Hampton Rd., 75224

Monday, August 18

  • District 4 Dwaine Caraway at 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES
  • District 7 Carolyn Davis at 6 p.m. at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church, 4600 Solar Ln., 75216
  • District 8 Tennell Atkins at 6:30 p.m. at Fireside Recreation Center, 8601 Fireside Dr., 75217

Tuesday, August 19

  • District 5 Rick Callahan — 6:30 p.m. at Julius Dorsey Elementary – Auditorium, 133 N. St. Augustine Rd., 75217
  • District 7 Carolyn Davis — 6 p.m. at White Rock Hills Library – Auditorium, 9150 Ferguson Rd., 75228
  • District 8 Tennell Atkins — 6:30 p.m. at Polk-Wisdom Library, 7151 Library Ln., 75232
  • District 11 Lee Kleinman — 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES
  • District 12 Sandy Greyson — 7 p.m. at Timberglen Rec Center, 3810 Timberglen Rd., 75287
  • District 13 Jennifer Staubach Gates — 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Walnut Hill Recreation Center, 10011 Midway Rd., 75229
  • District 14 Philip Kingston — 6:30 p.m. at Times Ten Cellars, 6324 Prospect Ave., 75214
  • District 9 Sheffie Kadane — 6:30 p.m. at Winfrey Point, 950 E. Lawther Rd., 75218

Wednesday, August 20

  • District 1 Scott Griggs — 7:30 p.m. at Martin Weiss Recreation Center, 1111 Martindale Ave., 75211
  • District 4 Dwaine Caraway — 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES
  • District 6 Monica Alonzo — 6 p.m. at West Dallas Multipurpose Center, 2828 Fish Trap Rd., 75212
  • District 8 Tennell Atkins — 6:30 p.m. at Janie C. Turner Recreation Center, 6424 Elam Rd., 75217

Thursday, August 21

  • District 6 Monica Alonzo — 6 p.m. at Jaycee Zaragoza Recreation Center, 3114 Clymer St., 75212
    District 8 Tennell Atkins — 6:30 p.m. at Singing Hills Recreation Center, 1909 Crouch Rd., 75241
  • District 9 Sheffie Kadane — 6:30 p.m. at Harry Stone Recreation Center, 2403 Millmar Dr., 75228
  • District 11 Lee Kleinman — 6:30 p.m. at Fretz Recreation Center Large Room, 6950 Belt Line Rd., 75254
  • District 1 Scott Griggs, District 2 Adam Medrano and District 14 Philip Kingston — 6:30 p.m. at Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St., 75201

Monday, August 25

  • District 3 Vonciel Jones Hill — 6 p.m. at Hampton-Illinois Library Black Box Theatre, 2951 S. Hampton Rd., 75224
  • District 8 Tennell Atkins — 6 -7 p.m., Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

Tuesday, August 26

  • District 3 Vonciel Jones Hill — 6 p.m. at Park in the Woods Recreation Center, 6801 Mountain Creek Pkwy., 75249
  • District 13 Jennifer Staubach Gates and District 14 Philip Kingston — 6-7 p.m.,  Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

Wednesday, August 27

  • District 5 Rick Callahan — 6:30 p.m. at Pleasant Grove Library Black Box Theatre, 7310 Lake June Rd., 75217

Thursday, August 28

  • District 3 Vonciel Jones Hill — 6 p.m. at Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center, 5150 Mark Trail Way, 75232
  • District 5 Rick Callahan — 6:30-7:30 p.m., Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES