A Beacon of Hope Luncheon Introduced Faces Of Hope And Had Glennon Doyle Melton Mix Humor And Honesty About Mental Health

As final preparations were underway on the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel for “A Beacon Of Hope” silent auction and luncheon benefiting the Grant Halliburton Foundation, a VIP reception was taking place on the fourth floor’s City View room on Thursday, February 23.

Foundation President/Founder Vanita Halliburton was surrounded by people whose had been touched by teenagers dealing with mental health issues. She herself had created the foundation due to the suicide of her son Grant Halliburton at the age of 19 in 2005 after years of suffering from depression and bipolar disorder.

Dealing with teen mental health is very difficult issue for a fundraising event. It’s a delicate weaving of the emotional turmoil and hope for helping others overcome such challenges. On this occasion, Vanita was celebrating the launch of a new program — Faces of Hope. As Faces of Hope Chair Barb Farmer explained, the collaboration between the foundation and Gittings was to honor people within the community who “work in diverse ways to promote mental health every day.”

This year’s group of Faces included Suzie and Mike Ayoob, Senior Corporal Herb Cotner, Julie Hersh, Terry Bentley Hill, Patrick LeBlanc, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Sierra Sanchez and Priya Singvi.

Sierra Sanchez, Priya Singhvi, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Mike and Suzie Ayoob, Terry Bentley Hill, Julie Hersh, Herb Cotner and Patrick LeBlanc

In addition to pieces of crystal being presented to each of the Faces, their portraits were displayed in the lobby on the second floor.

Gittings Faces of Hope portraits

Following the presentation, Vanita had the day’s speaker author/blogger/newly engaged Glennon Doyle Melton briefly talk. Her message was that you can let tragedy drive you forward for the better or let it drive you further down.

Then, right on cue at 10:55, Vanita directed the patrons to the second floor to check the silent auction and buy raffle tickets. On the way down, Barb showed a bracelet that she got from last year’s raffle. It seems her husband bought ten tickets and claimed it was his. Luckily, he gave it to Barb.

Tom Krampitz and Terry Bentley Hill

Hailey Nicholson and Shannon Hollandsworth

The patrons discovered the lobby and ballroom jammed with guests like Tom Krampitz, Shannon Hollandsworth with daughter Hailey Nicholson. Dixey Arterburn was walking through the crowd with a Starbucks cup and a very hoarse throat. Seems she lost her voice at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Ball the Saturday before.

Dixey Arteburn and Ginger Sager

Taylor Mohr and Amanda Johnson

Taylor Mohr was with her buddy Amanda Johnson, who lost her sister to suicide resulting in Amanda’s working with others involved in such emotional crisis. Unfortunately, there were many in the audience with similar reason for being there. Luckily, they were there to not just support Grant Halliburton Foundation but each other.

Steve Noviello and Vanita Halliburton

Just past noon, KDFW reporter/emcee Steve Noviello recalled that the first year only 100 people attended the luncheon. Now eight years later there were more than 400. In introducing Vanita, he told how when he first met her in her office, he had remarked about the art on the walls, only to learn that it had been done by Grant.

Vanita told about the Foundation and its purpose to help young people struggling with mental health crises. In the past suicide had been the third leading cause of death among young people from ages 15 to 24. It is now second among those between 10 and 24. In Texas, the average is one suicide per week among young people.

After a break for lunch, Vanita and Glennon took their places in chairs on stage. Less than 30 seconds into the conversation, Glennon’s headset mic wasn’t working. A man hustled to the stage with a handheld. Despite the change of mic, there continued to be rustling noise over the PA. Another handheld was brought to the stage for Vanita. It didn’t seem all that necessary, since Glennon appeared to need no help in sharing her life of bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction and her personal views.

Glennon Doyle Melton

She got sober when she was 25 after being in addiction for a decade and a half. Then she got married and life was good until her husband told her that he had been unfaithful. Learning that news, she just couldn’t stay in her house, so she headed to her yoga class, where they had her go to a hot yoga room. Upon entering the room, Glennon thought, “What the hell is this?”

When the question was raised about what the yoga members’ intentions were that day, Glennon admitted, “My intention is sit on the mat and not run out of the room.” The results? “It was the hardest 90 minutes of my life.”

While her talk was a mix of self-deprecating humor and brutal honesty, it was definitely not a scripted speech but rather just Glennon just being Glennon. 

But her message was clear — “My entire life is to not to avoid the pain of life.” She also said that as a parent, “It’s not our job to protect our children from pain.”

In closing, she consoled those who had suffered the loss of loved ones to mental illness by saying, “Grief is just the proof of great love.”

A Beacon Of Hope Luncheon Father-Daughter Speakers Reveal How The McIngvale Family Work Through Mental Illness

The father-daughter team of Jim “Mattress Max” McIngvale and Elizabeth McIngvale-Cegelski brought their story of struggling with Elizabeth’s obsessive-compulsive disorder to the Beacon of Hope Luncheon on Wednesday, February 11.

With more than 450 guests attending the Grant Halliburton Foundation fundraiser at the Westin Galleria, they kicked things off w

Elizabeth McIngvale-Cegelski and Ann Mirabito*

Elizabeth McIngvale-Cegelski and Ann Mirabito*

Jim McIngvale*

Jim McIngvale*

ith a video interview with Barbara Walters that aired on “Good Morning America” 10 years ago. That’s how long the McIngvales have been warning the world of the “horrors and feelings of hopelessness mental illness brought to their family.”

Elizabeth’s “hope is given in the form of education and empowerment, removing the stigma of mental illness and improving access to help.”

Neatly coinciding with the McIngvales’ focus on young people and their families battling emotional and mental issues was the announcement regarding Teen Contact. Despite the Contact Crisis Line being shuttered in December, the Grant Halliburton Foundation has integrated the Crisis Line’s Teen Contact into its own programming by training more than 3,200 students and staffers.

This development fits with the Foundation’s mission “to help prevent suicide, promote better mental health and strengthen the network of mental health resources for teens and young adults.”

(Editor’s note: Someone might want to update the Grant Halliburton Foundation’s website. It still lists the Contact Crisis Line’s services as being in operation. Families in distress don’t need to get an “out-of-service” message.

UPDATE (Saturday, February 28, at 4:18 p.m.): A Grant Halliburton Foundation representative just reported the following: “The GHF website has been updated.” Congratulations on a speedy response, GHF! BTW, it’s a very thorough list of services available to help those seeking better mental health.

* Photo credit: Dana and Daniel Driensky

Houston’s Mattress Mack And Daughter Liz McIngvale To Headline “A Beacon Of Hope”

Back in the 1980’s, Houston had three legendary personalities known to insiders as “The Three M’s.” That’s because each of their first monikers started with a “M” and they were bigger-than-life — Houston Chronicle columnist Maxine Mesinger, KTRK consumer reporter Marvin Zindler and Mattress Mack (aka Jim McIngvale), whose TV commercials for his furniture store literally jumped off the screen.

Jim CIngvale*

Jim McIngvale*

Both Maxine and Marvin have gone to the Big H in the sky, but Mack is still rocking and rolling. Having graduated from Dallas’ Bishop Lynch High School in 1969, he headed down to Houston to make his fortune. But Lady Luck wasn’t being very nice at first.

First a potential investor in his Gallery Furniture bailed on him. Then the oil industry did the same thing to Houston as a whole. With his last $10,000, Mack put it all in area TV commercials in 1983. Not happy with what was being produced, he took over appearing in the commercial pulling money out of his pocket and shouting, “Gallery Furniture saves you money!

Over the years, Mack and Gallery Furniture grew in size, success and fame. He was the P.T. Barnum of furniture. There was the unmarked truck episode. Originally marketing to lower-income customers, Mack announced that he had arranged for an unmarked truck to deliver his furniture to West University clients so as not to embarrass them.

And then there was the Super Bowl XLVIII promotion that guaranteed a full refund on any purchase of more than $6,000 if the Seattle Seahawks won. Sales boomed with furniture being delivered up to the fourth quarter. The Seahawks won. He refunded $7M to customers. Mack told ABC13, “As far as financially, we didn’t do well,” he said. “But we did a great job building the brand and delighting customers and if we do that, the business will continue to grow.”

He most recently refunded more than $4.2M to 420 customers who bet against the Astros this past October. Again, his attitude was “The customers are happy. We’re happy.”

Liz McIngvale*

Liz McIngvale*

But Mack wasn’t just all business. He was into philanthropy raising money for the Houston Symphony and The Salvation Army and funding the U.S.’s first mobile stroke unit.

Mack has also been a parent and that’s what bringing him to Dallas on Wednesday, February 11, for “A Beacon of Hope Luncheon” at the Westin Galleria. He and his daughter Liz McIngvale-Cegelski will “share the compelling story of their family’s journey through years of battling severe mental illness, told from the viewpoints of both parent and child.”

There were times when Liz’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder had her washing her hands more than 100 times a day and and then trying to open doors with her foot.

Bob and Maloree Banks*

Bob and Maloree Banks*

Presented by the David B. Miller Family Foundation, the luncheon is being chaired by Maloree and Bob Banks to raise funds for the Grant Halliburton Foundation.

This luncheon may not “save you money,” but it just may save your well being.

* Photos provided by
 A Beacon of Hope