JUST IN: After-School All-Stars North Texas Hits A Home Run With 2017 World Series MVP Jose Altuve For Third Annual Rising Stars Luncheon

While this spring’s nonprofit events seemed to be ladies-only when it comes to celebrity draws (Kristin Chenoweth, Katie Holmes, Chrissy Metz, Hilary Swank, etc.), it’s not the case. The After-School All-Stars North TexasThird Annual Rising Stars Luncheon that was such a hit last year with Dak Prescott has scored another super-duper athlete — Jose Altuve!

Jose Altuve*

Please, oh, please, don’t let anyone know that you haven’t heard of him. That’s like saying you haven’t heard of Dak!

Just this past year Houston Astros second baseman Jose was named both the 2017 World Series Champion MVP, AP Male Athlete of the Year, the Hank Aaron Award and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year.  

The shortest active player in the Major League Baseball standing at 5’6”, his journey to greatest almost didn’t happen. In 2007 when he was just 16, he tried out for the Houston Astros in his hometown of Maracay, the scouts initially decided to take a pass on his participation. Why? He was too short and lied about his age. But thanks to his father’s encouragement, he returned the next day with his birth certificate in hand. Eventually, he got his chance to show his stuff and it was so impressive, they signed him up as an undrafted free agent.

As for the rest of the story, Jose will share it at the ASAS luncheon on Wednesday, March 28, at Northwood Country Club.

Chairing the event will be a trio of father-son teams — David Bland with son Adam Bland, Brad Reeves with son Cole Reeves and Logan Stout with twin sons Miles Stout and Cooper Stout.

According to ASAS Board Chair Ben Lange, “We are incredibly excited to hear Jose Altuve’s personal story about how he overcame obstacles to achieve success today. We know this luncheon will help ASAS North Texas reach even more students with a safe place to go after school.”

This lunch will be a biggie. Like last year, don’t be surprised if parents get their kids out of school to attend, listen and be inspired by both Jose and the ASAS program.

Working with middle school students in Dallas, “they have grown to serve more than 650 students this year with a safe place to go during the ‘danger zone’ hours of 3-6 p.m. Every day, ASAS studenst receive a healthy snack, targeted tutoring or homework time, and enrichment clubs like robotics, basketball, fashion design, lacrosse and cooking.”

Don’t strike out and get your sponsorships/tickets now!

* Photo provided by After-School All-Stars

Animal-Loving Karen And Jeff Banister Step Up To The Plate As Honorary Co-Chairs For Operation Kindness’ 25th Annual Canines, Cats And Cabernet

Alexandra Banister, Jacob Banister and Jeff and Karen Banister*

Texas Rangers General Manager Jeff Banister is a familiar name in the sports pages and on the evening news. But what some might not know is that he and his wife Karen Banister have two kids, Alexandra and Jacob, two Labradors (Bella and Scout) and two Maltese (Gracie and Cooper).  

Since the baseball season ended last month, the folks at Operation Kindness took advantage of the pooch-loving Banisters’ down time and arranged to have them serve as the honorary co-chairs for its 25th Annual Canines, Cats and Cabernet at the Omni Dallas on Saturday.

Nelda Cain Pickens (File photo)

According to Operation Kindness CEO Jim Hanophy, “Canines, Cats and Cabernet gets bigger and better every year, and we are honored to celebrate our 25th anniversary of this event with Jeff and Karen Banister. We know that with their support we will be able to knock this year’s event out of the park.”

But the Banisters aren’t the only ones cheerleading for the organization. Operation Kindness supporter Nelda Cain got involved with the no-kill shelter through her friend/OK Board Chair Kathy Kinser. As Nelda explained, “I have loved getting to know the powers that be at Operation Kindness and feel my efforts are entirely worth it. It is the oldest no-kill shelter in Dallas and serves the entire county including Fort Worth. It is also amazing what a following the organization has attracted, as the work is needed and successful.”

One of the highlights will be the furry guests of honor that have loved staying at Operation Kindness, but would love to find permanent homes.





In addition to a dinner and a live and a silent auction, there will be a raffle for a seven-night stay at an RCI Resort in the city of the winner’s choice plus a $500 Visa gift card for airfare. Chances are just $50, but are in limited supply.  

Tickets are the gala are available here.

* Photo courtesy of Operation Kindness

2016 Art Ball Auction Item #3: VIP Front Row Experience

In North Texas, not all art is confined to the AT&T Performing Arts District. There is a large number of folks who swear that Dallasites consider sports to be an art form. So, naturally 2016 Art Ball Live Auction Chair Trisha Wilson whipped up a live auction package that is strictly top-drawer sports for this Saturday’s Dallas Museum of Art fundraiser.

VIP Front Row Experience (Value: Priceless)

_MG_5714 Gene and Jerry Jones File photoEven if you don’t like sports, you’ll love making your friends envious as they see you where they only dream of being. For the Dallas Cowboys, the winner of this package will be joined by three guests in Gene and Jerry Jones’ personal box. And you just know what that means. Loads of top-notch food and beverages, pre-games festivities and appears by the Cowboys cheerleaders. And, of course, there will be exclusive access to the field, so you can wave at all of you buds in the stands.

For a Texas Rangers game, there will be box seats for 12. And instead of just taking home a program and selfies, the winner will have a Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar autographed jersey and baseballs autographed by retired Rangers battling champ Michael Young, Rangers’ Manager Jeff Banister and retired Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

As for the Dallas Mavs, no box seats here. No, siree. There will be four courtside seats and, of course, a lot of folks up in the stands wondering, “How come?”

The only problem with this package is that it will totally spoil you for future games. But why not spoil yourself or your favorite sports aficionado?

Compliments of Gene and Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Julie and Jim Turner (Dallas Mavericks) and Taunee Taylor (Texas Rangers)

* Graphics provided by the Dallas Museum of Art

A Passing: Rusty Rose

Rusty Rose, who was known for everything from being a successful businessman, Texas Rangers co-owner, art collector and philanthropist to being “Lela’s and Will’s dad” and “Deedie’s husband,” died last night.

Rusty Rose (File photo)

Rusty Rose (File photo)

While the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Business School graduate was at home with business titans and U.S. Presidents, he was just as comfortable watching the birds of the sky or others shine in the spotlight.

Deedie in accepting the 84th Linz Award in April 2013 thanked her husband saying, “After 48 ½ years of marriage he still doesn’t agree with me on everything, but has supported me in everything.” It was that partnership that helped establish the Deedie and Rusty Rose Foundation, create The Pump House and was part of the group that made “unprecedented gifts of their private collections” to the Dallas Museum of Art in 2005, among so many other contributions.

Most recently Deedie and Rusty presented a $1M gift to Trinity Park in September and served as honorary co-chairs for the Perot Museum’s annual fundraiser in November.

His death leaves a void in numerous lives, projects and organizations. Hopefully, the memories of his achievements and the twinkle in his eye will continue to inspire others to carry on in his stead.

Our most heart-felt condolences go to his family, universe of friends and those who have been touched by his generosity.

Children’s Medical Center’s Tree Lighting Glowed With Derek Holland, Jody Dean, Chris Durovich And A Fella In A Red-And-White Suit

A towering tree with lights surrounded by children and their parents knows no specific religious occasion. It is a moment of happiness, bonding and appreciation. On Monday, November 30, Children’s Medical Center’s garden was ground zero for such a moment.

Children's carolers

Children’s carolers

While patients and their families surrounded the sky-high tree, other youthful patrons had to stay in their rooms. Doctor’s orders, don’t you know. But they didn’t miss out on the official lighting, thanks to the Children’s Medical Center crew. With one crew member making sure nothing blocked the camera from the carolers and Texas Rangers Derek Holland, KLUV’s Jody Dean and Children’s Health CEO Chris Durovich welcoming Santa, the rest of the TV crew was on target despite the evening’s chill.

Chris Durovich

Chris Durovich

Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Speaking of the night’s temps, there were plenty of patio heaters and each chair in the rows around the tree had a white throw for shoulders.

But there really was no need.

Derek Holland, Seth Fuller and Jody Dean

Derek Holland, Seth Fuller and Jody Dean

The event came off without a hitch with 13-year-old patient Seth Fuller pulling the switch and lighting the major Christmas tree with its multi-colored lights and all the minor league trees lit up in white. For sports-loving Seth it was Christmas coming early. Not only did he get to partner up with Derek on lighting the tree in front of his folks Cheryl Buchanan and Donald Fuller, he also just became a new uncle.

Children's Medical Center clowns

Children’s Medical Center clowns

Then the crowds headed back to the Butterfly Atrium that looked more like Santa’s wannabe party room with Children’s clowns looking like North Pole elves and stacks of Papa John’s pizzas being prepped by Children’s Health’s John McFarland for delivery to munchkins and their families.

But the event was just the kickoff of a busy week for the Children’s staffers. They still had the Annual Children’s Holiday Parade to orchestrate the following Saturday in downtown Dallas.

Michael Young And Talmage Boston Hit One Out Of The Park For Communities In Schools Dallas Region

Even if you didn’t know the difference between a home run or a runner in your stocking, you would have loved being at the Communities In Schools Dallas Region’s Line Drive Luncheon on Wednesday, November 4 at Edison’s. Part of the reason was having attorney/baseball historian Talmage Boston chat it up with former Texas Ranger great/present Texas Ranger staffer Michael Young. Here’s a report from the field:

Baseball season may be over, but Texas Rangers fans rallied at Edison’s for lunch with Mr. Ranger himself, Michael Young. Young was the guest speaker at the 2015 Line Drive Luncheon, where he appeared with moderator Talmage Boston to “talk baseball” and raise money for Communities in Schools Dallas Region, Inc. (CISDR).

Guests arrived at 11:30 for a VIP Reception in the Bentley Room, where they lined up for exclusive photo ops with Young. From there they moved into Edison’s Gatsby Room for a silent auction, raffle and an All-American Ballpark Buffet featuring Eddie Deen’s freshly grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, served with sweet potato fries, baked beans and plenty of “fixin’s.”

Anne Lindsey Hunt, Michael Young and Davin Hunt*

Anne Lindsey Hunt, Michael Young and Davin Hunt*

The program started at noon with CISDR Board Chair Karl Schmalz and President & CEO Dr. Judith Allen-Bazemore. Dr. Allen-Bazemore thanked the previous year’s Line Drive Luncheon Chairs, Pam and Philip Bush, and introduced Anne Lindsey and Davin Hunt, Co-Chairs of CISDR’s Adopt An Angel holiday giving program. After a brief video about the problems facing today’s at-risk youth, Michael Young and Talmage Boston took the stage for an informal discussion about the Texas Rangers in both the on- and off-season, as well as Young’s life as a father and his advice for kids who want to make it to the Big Leagues.

“Play other sports,” he said. “Don’t just play baseball.”

Talmage Boston and Michael Young*

Talmage Boston and Michael Young*

When asked if he played other sports as a kid, Young said that he played them all: football, basketball, etc. He encouraged the athletes of tomorrow to broaden their horizons, so that they can find out what they’re best at.

Soaking up Michael Young’s life advice were nine students from T.J. Rusk Middle School in Dallas. The students sat up front with guests from Presenting Sponsor Alon USA. At the end of the luncheon, they joined Impact Texas host “Hondo” Robertson to draw raffle winners. CISDR Board Member Lou Ann Richardson won the “Surf & Turf” dining package, and promptly donated it to the students’ chaperon, CISDR Site Coordinator Tambara Pope.

Hondo Robertson, Rusk Middle School students and Judith Allen-Bazemore*

Hondo Robertson, Rusk Middle School students and Judith Allen-Bazemore*

The 2015 Line Drive Luncheon was made possible by Alon USA, Briggs Equipment, the Lawrence B. Dale Family Foundation, Dr. Bonnie Martin & Associates, Claire and Talmage Boston, Lou Ann Richardson, Flowserve, Ernst & Young, Pam and Philip Bush, and Petty & Associates. Part of CISDR’s ongoing 30th Birthday Celebration, the Line Drive Luncheon will be followed up with the Dream Achievers Luncheon featuring Caroline Rose Hunt, taking place on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at the Dallas Arboretum.

For additional information about Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region, Inc. and its role in educational reform initiatives, please refer to the organization website at www.cisdallas.org. Visit CIS National at www.communitiesinschools.org to find other Communities In Schools locations.

About Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region

Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region, Inc. (CISDR) is a nonprofit organization that provides campus based integrated academic and social support to students deemed at-risk per Texas Educational Agency, in partnership with local school districts. Since 1985, the mission has been to surround students with a community of support and empower them to stay in school and succeed in life. The local CISDR program can be found on K–12 campuses in 12 school districts in Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Hunt and Rockwall counties.

* Photos provided by Communities In Schools Dallas Region

A Passing: Richard Rainwater

There are certain diseases that don’t achieve the prominence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, they become eye-, mouth- and brain-opening life-changing issues, when friends, families and well knowns are diagnosed.

Once of those diseases is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a fatal brain disease. It’s one of the nastiest in the corral of orphan diseases. The initial symptoms are a loss of balance, bumping into objects/peoples and falls.

Well, darn it. That could apply to a toddler or most any baby boomer. The problem is that eventually the patient develops changes in personality, general slowing of movement and problems with visions. Eventually, other problems arise like poor eyelid function, inability to sleep through the night, urinary incontinence/constipation and a stiffening of the neck muscles.

Interestingly, one of the keys to diagnosing the disease lies in the hands of ophthalmologists. They take a long look at the eyes of patients and see the slightest signs that indicate much greater needs than reading glasses.

Because PSP is such a rare disease, it is often diagnosed at Parkinson’s disease “because of the slowed movements and gait difficulty, or as Alzheimer’s disease because of the behavioral changes.”

So, what is the cause of PSP? Fewer than 1% are associated with a family member.

Sunday’s death of North Texas philanthropist/incredibly successful businessman Richard Rainwater resulting from PSP only proves that this orphan disease is very open-minded. It does not discriminate between the rich and poor or the successful and the failure. Diagnosed in 2009 and despite pouring $15M into the research of PSP, Richard succumbed to the disease Sunday.

He was a buddy of Fort Worth billionaire Sid Bass and former president George W. Bush, a part of owner of the Texas Rangers and invested big time in Crescent Real Estate. Still, one can’t help but wonder if making an appointment with an ophthalmologist might have extended his life.

Suggestion: See your ophthalmologist and follow it up with a yearly visit.

To the Rainwater family and friends, we offer our condolences and only wish that this orphan disease like so many others had found its resolution a long time ago.

Ellen And Clayton Kershaw Welcome Cali Ann Kershaw To The World

Ellen and Clayton Kershaw (File photo)

Ellen and Clayton Kershaw (File photo)

It’s a girl for local hometown sweethearts and Kershaw’s Challenge founders Ellen and Clayton Kershaw. Her name is Cali Ann Kershaw and like her parents, she’s a cutie pie. Weighing in at 6 pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 20 inches long, she was born Friday, January 23, at 5:43 p.m.

Anita Hawkin’s Find One Reason To Smile Gets Kicked Off At VH Casual Dining For Women Called Moses

On the eve of his 42nd birthday, Colorado Rockies pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was with his entrepreneur/author wife Anita Hawkins and daughter Troi Hawkins at Victor Hugo’s VH Casual Dining in Oak Cliff. The occasion wasn’t an early birthday party. It was the kick-off party for Anita’s project —Find One Reason To Smile.

LaTroy Hawkins, Troi Hawkins and Anita Hawkins*

LaTroy Hawkins, Troi Hawkins and Anita Hawkins*

Founded in November, the program is “an inspiring Facebook community where uplifting messages are shared daily among the almost 800 members.”

Nicole Reusser and Victor Hugo*

Nicole Reusser and Victor Hugo*

According to Anita, “One Reason to Smile is something given to me by God, that He put on my heart to share with others,” says Hawkins. “We are bombarded by so many horrible things in the news media on a daily basis, but I know that every individual out there has at least one reason to smile, something to be grateful for, and I wanted to build a community where people could share their reasons for joy and be encouraged by others.”

When “dozens of posts” started coming in daily, she launched “an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to compile these personal stories into a coffee table book with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the Women Called Moses Coalition and Outreach Center.”

In addition to dining on calamari fries, sweet potato johnny cakes and shrimp and melon ceviche, guests donated funds and “visited the videographer station where they share their One Reason to Smile.”

Debra Bowles*

Debra Bowles*

Guests included Women Called Moses Executive Director Debra Bowles, Susan Norvell, Kendyl Zimmerman, Osasu Woghiren, Jerricka Kelly, Brandon McIntosh, Nicole Reusser, Tricia Washington, Kim Hanrahan, Shanan Wilkerson-Brown, Kristin Smith, MaRiya Jenkins, Esther and Patrick Hubbard, Dianna Johnson, Tyeesha Holt and Kevin Crank.

* Photos provided by
Find One Reason To 

Despite Cowboys Loss To The Cardinals, CARE Breakfast Patrons Partied On Without A Care At Natalie And Mike McGuire’s Home

Despite the Cowboys loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, November 2, the 75 guests including Paula McLeod, Brenda and Bob White, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman and CARE Co-Founder Steve Schiff at the CARE Breakfast patron party were in a great mood. But how could it be otherwise at Natalie and Mike McGuire’s wonderful Park Cities home?

Scott and Jan Osborn, Steve Schiff and Natalie and Mike McGuire

Scott and Jan Osborn, Steve Schiff and Natalie and Mike McGuire

Natalie’s dad, Barry Andrews, who hasn’t missed a Cowboys game in 20 years, admitted that loss without quarterback Tony Romo “was a tough one.”

Barry and Lana Andrews

Barry and Lana Andrews

When CARE Board Chair Jan Osborn was asked if keynote speaker retired Celtic Chris Herren would be at the party on the eve of the breakfast, she explained that he was on his way….from New York. It seems that he had run in the New York Marathon earlier in the day and was flying in. Wasn’t that calling it close? After all the breakfast started bright and early at 8 a.m. at the Omni Hotel with 600 expected to attend. With total confidence, she said he would indeed make it. But again, what if? Then Jan smiled, “Then I’ll get up there and talk.”

Husband Scott smiled, knowing darn well that Jan would handle any situation that might arise.

Speaking of husbands, Honorary Co-Chair/Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw was looking a bit overwhelmed by all the guests. Luckily, Honorary Co-Chair/wife Ellen Kershaw eased his concerns during a brief time out in the hallway.

Bob and Brenda White and Ellen and Clayton Kershaw

Bob and Brenda White and Ellen and Clayton Kershaw

Then the golden Highland Park High School sweethearts posed for photos. When asked if they had been in Africa for their projects in Zambia, Ellen smiled and said that due to circumstances, they’d had to put the trip off to 2015. That circumstance is the upcoming January birth of their first child…a daughter.

How was Clayton handling the arrival of Baby Kershaw? Ellen glowed, “He’s thrilled.”

But before that took place, the Kershaws were carrying on with business as usual, including the Kershaw’s Challenge at the Rustic later in the week. It’s been a success in Los Angeles and this would be the first for their hometown.

Dallas Historical Society Has A Touchdown With Texas Sports Legends At The Hall Of State During The Fair

Leave it to the Dallas Historical Society to set a mighty fine exhibition when the State Fair brings throngs of folks to Fair Park. Knowing how folks love sports, they are showcasing a collection of memorabilia that would set fans’ hearts fluttering — Texas Sports Legend. From championship rings and belts, a Heisman Trophy to an Olympic unitard, all types of sports and champs are right there in the Hall of State. Here’s a recap from the Tuesday, September 23rd “sneak preview:

Texas Sports Legends*

Texas Sports Legends*

“On September 23, the Dallas Historical Society’s Fellows received a sneak preview of this exhibit. Fellows are those who donate at least $1,500 to the Society. They receive exclusive invitations for exhibits and events at some of the most historically significant places in the city.

“Those in attendance included Alicia Landry, Tom Landry Jr., Norma Walker and her family, Veletta and John Lill, Margaret and Lester Keliher, Kathleen and Ban Bywaters (known for helping the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas launch its Trains exhibit).

Kathleen and Ban Bywaters*

Kathleen and Ban Bywaters*

“They viewed interesting items in the exhibit such as:

  • Tom Landry‘s Championship Rings
  • Curtis Cokes' championship belt*

    Curtis Cokes’ championship belt*

    Curtis Cokes’ Championship Belt

  • Nastia Liukin‘s World Championship Medals and Olympic Unitard
  • Roger Hornsby‘s Cardinals Uniform
  • Davey O’Brien‘s Heisman Trophy
  • Michael Johnson‘s Track Shoe
Tom  Landry Jr., Margaret Keliher, Lynn and Allan McBee*

Tom Landry Jr., Margaret Keliher, Lynn and Allan McBee*

Lynn and Allan McBee, Dallas Historical Society’s co-chairmen of the board of trustees, said, “Since it was founded in 1937 by some of Dallas’ most prominent leaders, Dallas Historical Society’s Fellows have provided one of the strongest funding sources, public endorsement and valuable special events’ financial resources for the Dallas Historical Society. For those interested in seeing historically significant exhibits, such as the Texas Sports Legends, we encourage you to join the Fellows. We also have a series of programs and events especially for this membership group.”

“Those interested in joining can go online at Dallas Historical Society.

“’Whether they grew up here or became a member of a Texas-based team later in life, there are many legends to be honored who have contributed to Texas athletics,’ said State Fair of Texas President Mitchell Glieber. ‘We know that we cannot honor them all, but we thank the Texas Sports Hall of Fame for loaning us a selection of sports memorabilia for fairgoers to enjoy during this year’s Fair, themed “Deep in the Heart of Texans.”’

“A selection of the inductees from the Texas Sports Hall of Fame who will be highlighted in this exhibit include: auto racing legends – A.J. Foyt and Johnny Rutherford; baseball legends – Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan; basketball legends – Rolando Blackman and Clyde Drexler; boxing legend – George Foreman; football legends – Joe Green, Tom Landry, and Doak Walker; golf legends – Ben Crenshaw and Lee Trevino; hockey legend – Mike Modano; rodeo legend – Don Gay; soccer legends – Mia Hamm and Kyle Rote Jr.; swimming legend – Eddie Reese; tennis legend – Zina Garrison; and track and field legends – Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson.”

The exhibition will be on display until Sunday, October 19 (aka the last day of the State Fair).

Photo credit: Steve Foxall

Dallas Children’s Theater’s “Knights And Princesses Dream Ball” Had A “Young” Co-Chair Help Exceed The Evening’s Goal

Inside the dimly lit theater at the Rosewood Center for Family Arts, children as well as adults dressed up as “knights” and “princesses” were scurrying around the room, laughing and chatting and waving swords around and having their photos taken onstage. Even Dallas Children’s Theater Executive Artistic Director Robyn Flatt and DTC board member Yvonne Crum had donned royal outfits. The occasion was the Dallas Theater Center’s Knights and Princesses Dream Ball, a fundraiser held in conjunction with the DTC’s current production, “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale“.

In addition to the photo opps, the unique, fairy-tale-themed fundraiser featured a “Royal Feast,” and then a dance (to Disney-type music) spun by DJ Sir Seth. About 160 adults and kids turned out for the event, which was the first of its kind and intended to raise money for the DTC’s “sensory-friendly shows” for children with developmental disabilities. Under Chair Karen Travis, and with former Texas Ranger Michael Young and his family serving as honorary chairs, the fundraiser exceeded its $25,000 goal. As a result, the DTC says it will be able to produce three more sensory-friendly shows in 2015. The October 11 performance of “Rapunzel!”, by the way, will be the DTC’s last sensory-friendly performance of this calendar year.

Kershaw’s Challenge’s Dallas Deets Revealed For November 6 “Live Benefit Concert”

In this time when sports lovers shudder at new “problems” for professional athletes, it’s nice to know that Dallas has produced one whose only problem is that there’s just not enough of him to go around. The chap is former Parkie/present L.A. Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

Jan Osborn, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, Sarah Oliai and JoAnn Ryan (File photo)

Jan Osborn, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, Sarah Oliai and JoAnn Ryan (File photo)

He and his high school sweetheart/wife Ellen must have been made by Mattel. They’re just too good to be true. In addition to being professional baseball darlings, they established Kershaw’s Challenge in 2010 to help “impoverished children.”

Since then the twosome have had a very hands-on involvement working with organizations and pulled together more than $900,000 for programs.

For the past three years, they’ve held fundraising events in Los Angeles. Well, shoot! That’s where Clayton works. But now it’s time to raise fun as well as funds in the Kershaws’ hometown.

As reported earlier, they’re gonna have a party and not just any old party — LIVE Benefit Concert! It will take place at The Rustic on Thursday, November 6, and will benefit Dallas’ Mercy Street’s effort to build a Little League “Field of Dreams,” as well as CURE International and Arise Africa.

Mercy Street welcome committee (File photo)

Mercy Street welcome committee (File photo)

Oh, you want to know who will be on stage. Emerald Blue will be the opening act and Clay Walker will be the main act.

General admission tickets will be going for $60, but you might want to check the VIP ones because there will be a VIP reception and you just know the Kershaws will be easier to congratulate there.

After you get your ticket, reward yourself by shopping for something casual and adorable.

For ticket info and sponsorship opportunities, you’ll need to sweet talk Anna Staples.

Texas Trailblazer Awardee Harold C. Simmons Is Honored With Joe Torre Going To Bat For The Family Place

The Texas Trailblazer Award Luncheon VIP reception in the Anatole’s Carpenter Ballroom was filled with those who love baseball and hate abuse. While featured speaker Joe Torre stood his ground with a big smile posing for photos with guests, others had a cup of coffee and a chat to catch up before the luncheon benefiting The Family Place. One of the big topics was Saturday September 27.

Annette Simmons, Amy Simmons and Joe Crafton

Annette Simmons, Amy Simmons and Joe Crafton

Pegasus Ball Honorary Chair Yvonne Crum was talking about the Autism Treatment Centers of Texas fundraiser taking place at the Fairmont, while Mission Ole Co-Chair LeeAnne Locken was promoting the Trinity River Mission funder that will be underway at the same time at One Arts Plaza…Carolyn Tillery, who departed Beverly Drive before it departed newsstands, has been busy writing a book. She was a happy camper about some recent news and has already started working on her second one…WFAA’s Dale Hansen briefly appeared and quickly disappeared…On the other hand, Annette Simmons and Amy Simmons stayed for the entire reception with Joe Crafton…Foodies Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates were catching up.

Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates

Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates

At 11:25 the reception broke up and the herd of guests headed to the Imperial Ballroom on the third level. For many it was their first time to venture into the former Khmer Ballroom that had spent the summer getting a new look. Like a socialite with a recent “well-done refreshening,” the difference was pleasantly noticeable. First thing was the smell of new in the air. It was as if the carpenters, painters and other craftsmen had just left the place. The hallway leading to the ballroom was a bit on the dramatic side with new carpeting and lighting that spotlighted the art along the way. The reception area and ballroom were basically the same space, but the new paint, carpeting and lighting had turned the old girl into a more polished lady.

In the back of the room near the production platform, emcee Gloria Campos was being fitted with her mic. Her hair is a bit longer and she’s loving “retirement.” Her version of retiring is another person’s idea of a second career.

Lana and Barry Andrews

Lana and Barry Andrews

As she headed to her place up front, the nearly 1,000 guests kept arriving. Michal Powell on crutches arrived with Aileen PrattMary Brinegar was keeping her fingers crossed that the weather would hold out for the Rory Meyer’s First Anniversary dinner scheduled the following Sunday…At front row tables were Kelli Ford, Sydney Huffines, Lana and Barry Andrews and Sharon McCutchin…Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and Stephanie Seay were receiving congratulations for the record-busting luncheon.

Travis and Stephanie Hollman

Travis and Stephanie Hollman

Stephanie Seay

Stephanie Seay

At 11:42, the Booker T. Washington Jazz Combo 1 played “Proud To Be An American” with the female singer not quite sounding like Lee Greenwood. Hey, it’s not an easy song to sing, but the meaning is easy to understand. You just try singing it in front of 900 strangers.

Almost immediately the program was underway with Gloria welcoming the group. She also accidentally described Dale as “a domestic violence advocate.” Hey, it’s easy to do. No, he doesn’t advocate domestic violence, but “an advocate against domestic violence” sounds pretty convoluted. Anyhow, everybody in the room understood what she meant and many got a chuckle out of it.

Before he led the group in the invocation, Fellowship Pastor Gary Brandenburg reminded the guests that the late Harold Simmons, who was being honored at the luncheon, always ended his prayers by saying “…and, Lord, let us never forget how very blessed we are.”

Lunch was served with the menu “inspired by Harold.” Later Dale Hansen would tell the group how he got into it with his table’s server — “I’m gonna need another plate.” But she wouldn’t give it to him. So, he confessed, “I’ll look for a McDonald’s on the way out.”

Paige Fink and Carol Seay

Paige Fink and Carol Seay

As a surprise, The Family Place’s Paige Flink announced the presentation of a video on Harold would be shown. The touching tribute with scenes from his childhood, with family and even walking with his dogs emphasized Harold’s being “loyal, faithful and loving.”

Following the video, Paige revealed another surprise. The Family Place’s child development center at its Safe Campus was being renamed the Harold C. Simmons Child Development Center.

She also acknowledged those present who had been instrumental in helping combat family violence, including the late Dr. Ron Anderson, whose memorial service would take place later in the day.

Then baseball-loving Gloria introduced Joe, reminding the group that he had just been inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Then she attempted to introduce Dale by calling him “the other big white guy in my life” in reference to the first one, her husband. But before she could finish with Dale’s intro, he walked on stage, grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “Okay, that’s all.”

Dale being Dale described Mayor Mike Rawlings and his domestic violence initiatives: “I think Mayor Rawlings is one helluva visionary and one helluva mayor of Dallas. I can’t say that, though!”

He then reeled out the ugly statistics compiled by the Dallas Police Department on the number of domestic violence calls received each year — 13K! Looking out at the audience, Dale stated: “Real men, gentlemen, don’t hit women.”

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Then the conversation between the sports anchor and the baseball legend commenced. It surprised a couple or three folks, who had thought it would cover Joe’s career, as well as his childhood in a family in which his father abused his mother.

Instead the focus stayed pretty straight on domestic violence and on Joe’s taking up the cause against it. Dale told how Joe had been instrumental in getting the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994, and established the Safe at Home Foundation.

It all stemmed from his childhood. Joe was the youngest of five children. “My dad was a bully. He made his wife feel inferior.” His father threw his mother down the stairs when he discovered she was pregnant with Joe.

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

“I was a nervous kid” growing up, with a lack of confidence, because of his father’s violence, Joe said. When Joe saw his father’s car parked at home, Joe went elsewhere. Dale and Joe agreed that the “impact on children has been lost in conversation about domestic violence.”

Joe said, “If you save one child, that’s worth the effort.”

Joe said one of the biggest problems in the crusade against domestic abuse is lack of “awareness.” While the problem needs to be brought to the forefront, he also felt half the stories one sees in the media aren’t true, because of pressures of the Internet. Anybody can make accusations about anything, Joe said. They need to be thoroughly checked out.

Joe Torre

Joe Torre

When the subject of the recent NFL issues with domestic violence was brought up, Joe said, “We can all do more. Mixed message: go be violent on the field on Sunday, and then go on a date.”

But it wasn’t all domestic violence. Touching on baseball, Joe admitted, “I became smarter when I had better players.” He recalled being fired by three teams. Regarding his work with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, he related advice provided by friend Joe Garagiola: “You take somebody’s money, you gotta take their crap, too.”

About the Texas Rangers, Joe said, “They can’t come any closer [to a world championship] than they did.” Just before Game 7 of the 2011 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Joe told Ron Washington, “I’m pulling for you, because I pull for good people.” Joe then added, “Ron seemed to care about the players.”

And, of course, humor found its way into the discussion when Joe reported that male brains don’t fully develop until they’re 25. Dale followed up with, “Or 66.”