MySweetCharity Opportunity: Center For BrainHealth

According to Center for BrainHealth Board Chair Debbie Francis and Vice Chair Joel Robuck,

Debbie Francis (File photo)

Joel and Linda Robuck (File photo)*

Our brains were not something that we thought much about until the last couple of decades. However, we now know that it is changeable and there are things that we can do to take charge of it. Here’s your chance to learn how.

We are extremely excited about the grand opening of the Brain Performance Institute on Thursday, October 19. The Center for BrainHealth will open its new, exquisitely designed, Brain Performance Institute building for a full-day public open house from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and a ticketed evening lecture featuring internationally recognized neurologist, scientist and humanitarian Dr. Geoffrey Ling.

The day will be an incredible opportunity to experience and understand the brain in new ways and learn about research-based trainings and assessments at the Brain Performance Institute. You will have a chance to meet the scientists and clinicians behind the research and innovations.

Everyone wants to make keep their brains strong throughout their lives. For that the institute offers and in-depth brain performance assessment as well as clinician-led high performance brain training programs. Specific brain training programs also have been tailored for warriors, corporate executives, athletes and others – looking for a cognitive edge.

Sandra Chapman (File photo)

The programs are unique and the media is taking notice. Our socialization lab for teens was recently featured on “The Today Show.” We were so pleased that the Dallas Morning News followed our mindfulness and high performance brain training program with the Dallas Police Department. Other programs provide support, strategies and information for people recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as their caregivers.

The opening of the Brain Performance Institute represents a lifelong dream come true for Dr. Sandra Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth as well as the many board members who have worked tirelessly to make this day happen – none of which would have been possible without tremendous community support.

Pre-registration is not required for the free classes and trainings throughout the day. The breakfast and lunch lectures are free, but registration is required. The evening event will begin at 6:30 p.m., cost $40 per ticket and include hors d’oeuvres, drinks and inspiring remarks from renowned Johns Hopkins neurologist, Geoffrey Ling, MD, PhD. Dr. Ling is a retired US Army Colonel and former US Department of Defense agency director for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Dr. Ling championed the development of responsive, brain-controlled, artificial limbs.

For further details about the Brain Performance Institute’s public open house or registration, visit www.brainperformanceinstitute.com/go or contact Nina at 972.883.3417 or [email protected].

Center For BrainHealth Toasts Its Board Members, Staff And Plans For A Heady Future

While private parties were in high gear and many like the “robins” (Robin Bagwell and Robin Robinson) were doing the “hit-and-run” so they could make the SMU-Michigan basketball game at Moody Coliseum on Tuesday, December 8, the Center for BrainHealth brainiacs were putting their sweet heads together to wish happy holidays and look forward to the year and years to come.

Sandi Chapman Billie Leigh Rippey and Ramona Jones

Sandi Chapman Billie Leigh Rippey and Ramona Jones

Debbie Francis and Linda Robuck

Debbie Francis and Linda Robuck

While blonde BrainCenter Founder/Chief Director Sandi Chapman greeted all at the Dallas Country Club, Debbie Francis and Linda Robuck were doing the scene solo. Seems Jim Francis was still recovering from a bout of Thanksgiving pneumonia and Joel Robuck had a nasty head cold that he didn’t want to share.

Midway in the evening Sandi and Debbie thanked the crowd that included Kay and Jim Hammond, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Ramona Jones, Barbara Daseke, Billie Leigh Rippey, Laurie and Phil Evans, Ellen and John McStay, Biddy Jordan and Stacey Branch.

Laurie and Phil Evans

Laurie and Phil Evans

Stacey Branch and Biddy Jordan

Stacey Branch and Biddy Jordan

John and Ellen McStay and Jennifer and Coley Clark

John and Ellen McStay and Jennifer and Coley Clark

Debbie got the evening’s program underway by thanking the board members and staff for all their help. She then introduced Sandi, who told how the Center was “busting at the seams” with “115 scientists/research clinicians all focused on brain health.” She then told of their future plans that included BrainHealth RAPID (Revolution to Accelerate Progress through Interdisciplinary Discovery). Well, just that name alone received a whoop and laughter among the crowd.

Dan Branch

Dan Branch

She then had former State Senator Dan Branch speak to the group about the importance of brain health. He is the son, brother and uncle of neurosurgeons. He told how his father, the late neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Branch, had a special interest in “brain health.” When his father died two years ago, he arranged to have his professional collection given to the Center.

Dan proudly recalled that after University of Texas Chancellor Bill McRaven met with the BrainHealth gang, he placed it as a major goal for the UT system.

Debbie then introduced Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett, who in turn described his three-pronged strategy:

Robin Bagwell, Kimber Hartmann and Dianna Purvis Jaffin

Robin Bagwell, Kimber Hartmann and Dianna Purvis Jaffin

  1. During the first year of the Institute’s Smart Training three years ago, they worked with 56 military veterans. This past year that number was 1,800 in 18 states with just 20 people.
  2. They’ve just recently brought on board Dianna Purvis Jaffin, who has more than “10 years’ experience at the Department of Defense at the Walter Reed Hospital doing human performance for warriors and their families.”
  3. The building of the Institute for Brain Performance is underway and the facility will be open in April 2017.

Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Dinner Honored U.S. Navy SEAL Clint Bruce On Veterans Day

With parades and flags being flown in honor of Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11, the Center for BrainHealth‘s Legacy Award Dinner at the Brook Hollow Golf Club saluted former U.S. Navy SEAL Clint Bruce. Here is a report from the field:

On Veterans Day the Center for BrainHealth grandly showcased that brains and brawn really do go together. As the last place setting was perfectly positioned in a room adorned with masculine shades of gold floral designed by the one-and-only Junior Villanueva of The Garden Gate, 250 brain health advocates began to trickle into Brook Hollow Golf Club in celebration of former U.S. Navy SEAL Clint Bruce, this year’s Center for BrainHealth’s Legacy Award recipient. When this charismatic veteran and former NFL player enters a room, people notice. As retired U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Morgan Luttrell says, “You either stand up with a smile on your face, or you jump up and give him a hug.”

Debbie Francis, Eric Bennett, Karl and Carolyn Rathjen, Clint and Aimee Bruce, Sue and Pryor Blackwell and Sandra Bond Chapman*

Debbie Francis, Eric Bennett, Karl and Carolyn Rathjen, Clint and Aimee Bruce, Sue and Pryor Blackwell and Sandra Bond Chapman*

All eyes turned to the man of the hour as he strutted through the doors clad in a kilt crafted from the family tartan and knee high socks that he dapperly complimented with a bold buckle and his distinguished beard – clearly not a “Movember” only accessory. Naturally, the dinner invitation called for “business formal attire,” but when his friends dared him to go rogue, he didn’t back down.

With a large American flag hanging behind him on stage, Bruce explained his attire. “I thought this was called the ‘Leg You See’ Award, but you all meant ‘Leg-a-cy.’ I get it now. I really do have the best knee caps, and I just wanted to give you all the opportunity to see them.”

Bruce hugged and greeted the Center’s founder and chief director Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD., Brain Performance Institute executive director Eric Bennett, and members of his personally selected Warrior Host Committee that included retired military officers and enlisted personnel from three different branches of service as well as a handful of Navy SEALS, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force veterans.

James and Patty Huffines and David and Suzanne Holl*

James and Patty Huffines and David and Suzanne Holl*

Lisa and Kenny Troutt*

Lisa and Kenny Troutt*

Laurie and Phil Evans*

Laurie and Phil Evans*

As the dinner bell rang about a quarter after 7 p.m., stylish philanthropists including co-chairs Carolyn Perot Rathjen, Dr. Karl Rathjen, Sue and Pryor Blackwell and guests Betsy and Richard Eiseman Jr., Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Kelly Hoglund Compton and sister Kristy Hoglund Robinson filed into the ballroom to hear co-chair Pryor Blackwell begin the evening. He, of course, thanked everyone for attending and recognized host committee members Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Debbie and Jim Francis, Kate and Hunter Henry, Lyda Hill, Charlyn and Rob Holmes, Margot and Ross Perot, Michal and Loyd Powell, Patrick B. Sands, Jane and Bud Smith, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Mary and Mike Terry, Lisa and Kenny Troutt, Heather and Ray Washburne. He then asked the Warrior Host Committee to stand and be recognized. Moments later, he called for all active duty service members and veterans to join the committee and a roaring round of applause ensued.

Lance Hancock, Patrick Sands, Kristy Morgan and Mike Billings*

Lance Hancock, Patrick Sands, Kristy Morgan and Mike Billings*

Blackwell welcomed the guest of honor and explained that Bruce had tragically lost his father during when Bruce was in high school. In one of the most moving moments of the evening, Blackwell asked the crowd, “If you are a father or, one day, you hope to be a father, will you please stand if you think Clint’s dad is proud of him?”

Dr. Rathjen then gave the invocation and . Once the table chatter began to subside, Center for BrainHealth advisory board vice chair Joel Robuck headed to the stage and asked past Legacy Award Recipients Lyda Hill (2014), Jane and Bud Smith (2013), Daryl Johnston and Lee Roy Jordan (2012), Dee Wyly (2011), James Huffines (2010), T. Boone Pickens (2009), Debbie Francis (2008), and Dianne Cash (2006) to stand and be honored.

Wally Stone, Jane and Bud Smith and David and Sara Martineau*

Wally Stone, Jane and Bud Smith and David and Sara Martineau*

“Where’s Boone?” Robuck asked, pointing out the energy entrepreneur in the crowd. “The only reason T. Boone is here is because there’s no Oklahoma State University game on. And,” he continued, in a playful effort to explain the absence of two past award recipients. “Daryl [Johnston] and Lee Roy [Jordan], well they’ve been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.”

He discussed the history of the Center for BrainHealth and recounted last month’s monumental groundbreaking for the Center’s new clinical arm, the Brain Performance Institute.

Joel and Linda Robuck*

Joel and Linda Robuck*

“Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman founded the Center in 1999 and since then it has continued to grow and flourish, focused on leading innovative and transformative brain research, improving lives today and changing how we as the public think and act about our most vital organ, the brain,” Robuck said. “Most scientists focus on what is wrong with the brain. But, at the Center for BrainHealth, what is wrong is just one starting point. We want to focus on cognitive solutions.”

“If you were to cross a Texas high school football coach and a southern Baptist preacher, you would get Bruce,” Holley said of his 20-year buddy.

A video featuring “Beef”, a Navy SEAL and one of Bruce’s closest friends who was unable to attend the dinner, congratulated Bruce, saying, “This is just as much Aimee’s award as it is yours. The fact that she’s still married to you is proof that love is blind.” Bruce’s gorgeous spouse who had been by his side all evening chuckled with the rest of the room.

After Bruce’s first visit to the Center for BrainHealth in 2011, he was inspired to write a letter to the leaders of the organization. That letter was a pivotal point in the organization’s history, transforming the Center’s presence in the veteran space. The clever BrainHealth team translated that letter into a video montage of faces and voices that gave the entire room goose bumps.

Bruce’s most profound words, “You can leave a legacy with a name on a building, you can leave a legacy with a name on a stadium, or a door or some invention, or you can leave a legacy with someone.”

Bennett took the stage and told a story about his first encounter with Bruce in which he asked, “Clint, how do you know [the brain training] really helped you?” Bruce’s response, “Ask my little girl, and she can tell you how it helped me. Ask my wife, and she can tell you how it helped me.”

Bennett turned the mic over to Dr. Chapman who recalled some of Clint Bruce’s first words of advice to her regarding working with service member. He said, “Ma’am you can’t call us all soldiers. If you call a Navy guy a soldier, none of them will come.”

Chapman acknowledged her friend, Clint, as their spiritual leader who has a duty driven by a higher power. “He calls me the Jedi, but we are training with Clint because he’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi. Thank you, Clint Bruce for teaching us the way of the Jedi.”

The two embraced and Bruce corrected her, saying, “I am more of a Chewbacca than an Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

The Navy SEAL’s captivating words challenged every person in the room to reflect on their lives, their priorities, their goals and their legacy.

“I don’t remember much about the day they buried my father. What they said about my father is that he used his time to honor his Christ,” Bruce said. “How will you use your time? Will it be about the small things or will it be about the mighty things? We are the ‘not done’ kind. Words are not about you. They are about the things you do.”

He recognized the handful of Vietnam veterans in the room and apologized to them, for when they returned home, they did not receive the same words of gratitude, appreciation and welcome that Bruce and his fellow warriors did.

Bruce concluded his remarks with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”

After an extended and much deserved standing ovation, Bennett closed out the night thanking the hundreds of attendees.

* Photo credit: Grant Miller

Center For BrainHealthy Types Shovel Dirt For Brain Performance Institute Groundbreaking

Unfortunately, there were just way too many top-caliber activities taking place on Wednesday, October 14, around noontime. It was a Sophie’s Choice of what to cover. Luckily the Center for BrainHealth crew were front and center and offered to provide an accurate recap of its much worked-for ground breaking of the Brain Performance Institute.  Please note that the BrainHealth crew admitted that the AC was challenged while providing comments about the event and covering peeps. No wonder these folks are brainiacs! Here goes:

Shelle Sills and Linda Evans*

Shelle Sills and Linda Evans*

More than 200 brain health enthusiasts from across the state of Texas filled an air-conditioned tent marking the exact location of where the Center for BrainHealth’s state-of-the-art Brain Performance Institute will stand come spring 2017. The invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony was beautifully orchestrated by none other than Shelle Sills and Patty Huffines.

Center for BrainHealth Founder/Chief Director Sandra Bond Chapman smiled from ear-to-ear as she hugged friends and greeted steadfast supporters of the Center including T. Boone Pickens, Mary McDermott Cook, Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, Jane and Bud Smith, former Navy SEAL and Carry the Load Co-Founder Stephen Holley, Southwest Airlines’ Chuck Magill John Tolleson and Carter Tolleson.

Lyda Hill, Sandra Chapman and Kimber Hartmann*

Lyda Hill, Sandra Chapman and Kimber Hartmann*

Lyda Hill, a leader of the cause whose $2 million contribution launched the very first Brain Performance Institute program for military services members in 2013, grabbed the attention of groundbreaking go-ers, making a spiritedly entrance and donning a hard-hat outfitted with a Brain Performance Institute logo. Event photographers turned into paparazzi, having a hay day her mindful accessory.

By 11:15 a.m. the AC units were struggling to cool the packed tent and it was time for US Air Force Veteran and former NFL player Chad Hennings, former Dallas Cowboys player turned NFL commentator Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Jennifer Clifford, Brent Christopher and John McStay (who was sporting a black boot cast on his injured foot) to take their seats.

Debbie Francis*

Debbie Francis*

Capital campaign and Center for BrainHealth Advisory Board chair Debbie Francis welcomed the crowd and thanked friend and UT System regent Brenda Pejovich, State Representative Morgan Meyer and former State Representative Dan Branch among dozens of other dedicated individuals including Center for BrainHealth researchers, scientists, clinicians and staff for their tremendous contributions to the organization.

Dianne Cash, Dan Branch and Sandra Chapman*

Dianne Cash, Dan Branch and Sandra Chapman*

Following her opening remarks, The University of Texas at Dallas President Ad Interim Hobson Wildenthal took the podium, singing Chapman’s praises.

“Sandi is a true visionary. Her story is vital to the story of the University of Texas at Dallas,” Dr. Wildenthal said. “We know Sandi is an incredible leader and one of the dimensions of Sandi’s brilliance is her ability to build teams. She is the envy of all of us on the UTD campus.”

Hobson Wildenthal*

Hobson Wildenthal*

James Huffines confessed that his only regret during his service as chairman of the board for the UT System Board of Regents was that his tenure did not overlap with that of Chancellor William H. McRaven.

William McRaven and Patty and James Huffines*

William McRaven and Patty and James Huffines*

“There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that he will play an invaluable part in higher education, much like he did in the military,” Huffines said of McRaven. “Our state and our world will continue to be beneficiaries of his guidance and his full vision. I am proud to call him friend.”

Chancellor McRaven began his remarks saying, “None of us, I mean none of us, would be here if it weren’t for the vision, the energy and the hard work of Sandi Chapman and her team.” He spoke of the importance of the Brain Performance Institute’s mission where everyone will be able to come to make their brains better, whether sick, injured or healthy.

“It was in Dallas more than 40 years ago that Ken Cooper set in motion the physical fitness revolution,” said McRaven, the retired four-star Navy admiral, referring to the publication of ‘Aerobics’ by the physician/Cooper Clinic founder. “And right here in Dallas, we are on the cusp of the next great revolution: the revolution in brain health.”

He continued, “To make the most of the years we have, we need to make sure that brain fitness catches up with physical fitness. And I’m convinced it’s going to happen. The University of Texas System intends to lead this new revolution.”

With the tent filled with many BrainHealth and UT System donors, McRaven addressed their generosity directly.

“One of the things that has surprised me about coming to the UT System hasn’t been the job.” McRaven said. “What has surprised me and what has inspired me has been the great philanthropy and the great donors that I see every day. They not only give of their money, and the money is important, but they give of their time, their energy and probably more importantly, they give of their dreams.”

With his commanding presence, McRaven turned over the microphone to Sandi, who spoke of why Dallas has thrived as a city “because of visionary leadership” and how the Center for BrainHealth team is made up of “impatient explorers determined to close the gap from scientific discovery to improving human lives – today.”

Chapman, in the spirit of our ‘smart’ city, reminisced on the history of Dallas commerce, reflecting on trains and planes as economic drivers and proclaiming one more with the addition of the Brain Performance Institute: brains.

Eric Bennett*

Eric Bennett*

Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett rounded out the row of speakers by starting with a story.

“My niece can tell me with confidence where her head, shoulders, knees and toes are,” he said, “but she looked stumped when I asked her where her brain was.”

Guests giggled at the statement, but Bennett wanted to capitalize on his stance that too much research stays in research.

“We are not the solution for all the problems, but we have the research to benefit tens of thousands of people every year,” Bennett said.

He applauded Page, the architect and engineering firm behind the “iconic on a budget” building design that pays homage to the brain’s CEO or cognitive executive officer, the frontal lobe, and explained that the goal of the Institute’s aesthetic is to instill clients with a sense of empowerment as soon as they walked through the doors.

Before relinquishing the mic, Bennett challenged every person in the room with a call to action.

“The brain likes options,” he said, checking with the closest brain scientist in the room to make sure he had not misspoken. He then challenged everyone in the room to one of three options to help the Institute raise money and awareness that start with the letter “D”: donate, do and discuss.

The ceremonial dirt followed, symbolizing the beginning of a new era. All six speakers plus groundbreaking Co-Chairs Sills and Huffines, stood at the foot of the stage behind a 20’ x 3’ white box filled with dirt. Holding gleaming silver shovels, each scooped, lifted and turned the dirt before confidently shoving the shovels back into the metaphoric earth. The groundbreaking moment was met with a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd.

Patty Huffines, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis, Sandra Chapman, William McRaven, James Huffines, Hobson Wildenthal and Shelle Sills*

Patty Huffines, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis, Sandra Chapman, William McRaven, James Huffines, Hobson Wildenthal and Shelle Sills*

After the program, guests filed to the back of the tent for a reception complete with freshly made mini-donuts and table décor replete with mini construction cones, dump trucks and loaders. Many stayed to visit with old and new friends while sipping tea or water and enjoying chicken fried quail bites and other brain food, of course.

* Photos provided by the Center for BrainHealth

Brain Performance Institute’s Capital Campaign Heads For the Final Stretch At Debbie And John Telleson’s Estate

While mega-millions have been raised to fight cancer and heart disease, the rumbling for recent years has shifted to the health of the gray matter. As one person said Wednesday, May 13, if you don’t have a healthy mind, the rest is secondary.

Daryl and Diane Johnston

Daryl and Diane Johnston

Bill Caruth

Bill Caruth

Minnie Caruth

Minnie Caruth

Sandi Chapman

Sandi Chapman

Dan Branch

Dan Branch

So, nearly 200 high rollers like Lucy Billingsley, Dianne Cash, Minnie and Bill Caruth, Dan Owen, Lynn McBee, Carol and Don Glendenning, Robin and Norm Bagwell, Diane and Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Stacey and Dan Branch, and Pat and Charles McEvoy put aside the threat of thunderstorms to hear plans for the construction of the Brain Performance Institute, the Center for Brain Health’s facility for clinical programs. Course it helped that the gathering was taking place at Debbie and John Tolleson’s estate with Chef Darren McGrady in the kitchen cooking and entertaining guests and staff.

Kimber Hartmann, Patty Huffines, Debbie Tolleson, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis and Sandi Chapman

Kimber Hartmann, Patty Huffines, Debbie Tolleson, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis and Sandi Chapman

The rain held off just enough that folks wandered to the terrace overlooking the pool, cabana, catering cottage and the side tennis court just past the fountain.

John Tolleson

John Tolleson

Eventually at 6:30 all gathered in the living room to hear the presentation. John Tolleson introduced his old business partner/Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett, who admitted that going from wealth management to brain health had been “a big stretch for me!” In regard to brain research and bipolar disease, “we’re at the tipping point,” he said. Eric went on to explain that the Brain Performance Institute will bridge the gap between research and products, with the goal of helping more than 250,000 a year.

Moose then talked about how sports and brain health had changed over the years. No longer are football and boxing regarded as “contact sports.” Rather, he said, they are “collision sports. We no longer say, ‘He got his bell rung.’ Now, my bosses at Fox say, ‘No, he got a traumatic brain injury, and it’s serious.’ ”

Mark Roy and Eric Bennett

Mark Roy and Eric Bennett

Next up was 26-year vet U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mark Roy, who is now doing the brain training program. “I need this stuff. It kind of gave me my life back,” Roy said. “It made me more effective. I started eating better, too.” But he also emphasized that not all vets have been as fortunate as he — “Two in my unit committed suicide.”

Phil Craver

Phil Craver

While all were moving and enlightening, it was 60-year-old Phil Craver. who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, that really hit home. With his wife Nancy Craver standing by his side, he hesitated, appearing a bit uncertain of what he would say. The waver in his voice only emphasized the situation that had challenged him and his family. The former CFO told how the signs of his disease had evidently been apparent for eight years before being diagnosed. Nancy then took the mic from her husband, telling the guests, “Concentrate on what you have left, not what you have lost.”

Nancy and Phil Craver

Nancy and Phil Craver

Looking around the two-story library filled with high rollers and beautiful people, the elegance of the evening had transitioned into a scene of compassion. As they witnessed a man suffering from a neurological disease, they empathized. After all, some had themselves lost family members to the brain disorders. Others wondered if those signs might be part of their future.

Luckily, Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Debbie Francis and Patty Huffines, who have been spearheading the efforts to reach the $33M goal, offered a brighter future. Having already raised $24M, the two blondes said their wish list is for 100 people who will give $100,000 or more.

Adding to the hope in dealing with issues challenging healthy brains, Center for BrainHealth’s Dr. Sandi Chapman reported that the North Texas Center for BrainHealth has become a showplace for professionals and those in need of neurological assistance, including working with vets.

Yes, it was an impressive evening at a showplace with a stellar crowd. But as the sea of baby boomers continues flooding upon society in the days and years to come, it will take such assemblies to provide and energize resources to keep brain health just that …healthy.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Brain Performance Institute Reception

Don’t you love brainy types? No, not the smarty pants ones who put everyone down because they scored a decent number on a Mensa test. Rather, think about those folks who are into energizing the vitality and brilliance of the mind.

Kimber Hartmann, Patty Huffines, Debbie Tolleson, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis and Sandi Chapman

Kimber Hartmann, Patty Huffines, Debbie Tolleson, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis and Sandi Chapman

Those types of people gathered on Wednesday, May 13, at Debbie and John Tolleson’s incredibly fabulous estate to rally funds for the final stretch of the Brain Performance Institute.

Phil Craver

Phil Craver

While the post is being prepared with a touching presentation that caused sad lines in even the most “fixed faces,” the photos are over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner Salutes The Warriors’ Heroine Lyda Hill With Accolades And Hugs

Despite the arrival of the season’s first bone-chilling temperatures, Veterans Day activities were not to be deterred. Throughout Tuesday, November 11, parades, lunches and the showing of Travis: A Soldier’s Story at the Majestic saluted past and present veterans.

Over at the Joule Hotel, the BrainHealth Center’s Legacy Dinner got underway with a very special tip of the hat to the veterans and Legacy Awardee Lyda Hill.

Sandi Chapman

Sandi Chapman

April Box Chamberlain

April Box Chamberlain

Nicole Small

Nicole Small

Dianne Cash

Dianne Cash

John Hart

John Hart

Allie Beth Allman

Allie Beth Allman

Lucy Billingsley

Lucy Billingsley

Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh

Marti Carlin

Marti Carlin

But before all the hoop-la started, a reception took place in the Fortnight Ballroom with a pretty impressive crowd of 240 including Ellen and John McStay, Sue and Brett Ringle, Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Debbie and Jim Francis, Caroline Rose Hunt and Del Frnka, Kay Hammond, Patrick Walsh, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Tincy Miller, Patsy Donosky, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Jody Grant (Sheila was in New York City), Toni and Boone Pickens, Margot and Ross Perot, Barbara and Steve Durham, Nicole Small, Bobby Lyle and Lottye Brodsky, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones and Ka and LL Cotter.

Following a minute by minute schedule, everything was right on target as the group adjourned to the Mosaic Ballroom for dinner and the program.

Coley and Jennifer Clark and Lynn and Allan McBee

Coley and Jennifer Clark and Lynn and Allan McBee

Dinner Chair Lynn McBee on stage with an American flag covering the wall behind her welcomed guests, pointed out key people and revealed a “housekeeping” tip about the valet POA. Guests were to text the number on the valet ticket and then type in the assigned number on the stub when they wanted their car. In turn the valets would text them when their cars were at the curb. Seemed to be very simple. But a wave of whispers went through the room. It was a new-age way of car pickup. Hey, technology has been making its way into fundraising in recent years. After all, iPads and cellphones were becoming the way to bid in and monitor silent auctions. More about valet texting later.

Center for BrainHealth’s Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett recognized “The Warriors,” adding “I’d never had a calling life until two years ago. It was inspirational for me to take this opportunity.”

Jacob Fuller and Jake Schick

Jacob Fuller and Jake Schick

Retired Marine Corps Corp. Jake Schick, who is the Warrior Relations Specialist with the Brain Performance Institute, told how he had been injured head to toe 10 years ago and of the stress of being under fire. Looking directly at Lyda across the room as if there was no one else in the room, he said, “Lyda, you are the epitome of a force multiplier…There’s only one woman stronger than you, probably — my wife. Brownie points, check!…We will not rest until we get where we want to be. As we all know, complacency kills. We won’t get complacent.”

Following the invocation by Navy SEAL vet Jacob Fuller, dinner (market lettuce salad followed by beef tenderloin and snapper served with risotto-style butternut square barley, sautéed spinach and read wine sauce) was served. That was when the schedule went off kilter. The original plan called for the rest of the program to continue after dessert (banana wafer trifle) was served. But the first two courses evidently took a bit longer than organizers allowed. So, the trifle was put on hold and the program proceeded.

Lyda Hill and Jake Schick

Lyda Hill and Jake Schick

During dinner, Lyda, who usually shies away from being photographed, asked for a snap with Jake.

Debbie Francis and Kimber Hartmann

Debbie Francis and Kimber Hartmann

At 9 p.m., BrainHealth Advisory Board Chair Debbie Francis recognized the warriors and the previous Legacy Award recipients (Dianne Cash, Boone Pickens, James Huffines and Jane and Bud Smith). She then talked about the “soon-to-be” Brain Performance Institute: “With Lyda, one can expect the unexpected. She is tough, but always kind. Smart, yet always eager to learn. When Lyda makes a gift, she makes a true difference.”

A video followed showing how Lyda’s gift had made everything possible including the ability to reach 500+ warriors so far in 2014.

Sandi Chapman and the Warriors

Sandi Chapman and the Warriors

With warriors standing on stage, Dr. Sandi Chapman then told the group of the “two sister problems coming out of the war: PTSD and Traumatic Brain Disorder.” But thanks to Lyda’s “initial capstone gift,” positive results were taking place.

Sandi Chapman, Lyda Hill, Jacob Fuller, Mike Rials and KeeShaun Coffey

Sandi Chapman, Lyda Hill, Jacob Fuller, Mike Rials and KeeShaun Coffey

Upon accepting the Legacy Award, Lyda told the group that it was her nephew Michael Wisenbaker, who “kept bugging her” to do something about the returning vets and their problems. In conclusion, she said, “I’m overwhelmed and honored to receive this.” Then she added that she was accepting the award on behalf of all Americans.

Banana wafer trifle

Banana wafer trifle

As the guests started texting for their cars and heading for the elevators, servers entered the ballroom with desserts in hand.

Alas, the scene at the curb wasn’t quite as glorious as the evening’s program. It was more a Marx Brothers throwback. Corporate CEO’s and community leaders followed the texting instructions and looked like school children who have presented their homework perfectly. For their efforts, they almost immediately received the following text: “The Joule has received your request for ticket 127769. We will notify you when your vehicle will be ready.”

Guests looked relieved that the hi-tech valet program was working so seamlessly.

But those feelings changed when a second text was received — “Unfortunately, no valets are available to retrieve your vehicle at this time. Please try again in 10 minutes or present your ticket to the valet stand.”

Nobody was waiting. Guests hit the valet stand en masse proving the old-fashion way of retrieving cars still worked.

The good news is that it provided a subject for conversation on the ride home or as one guest laughed, “We don’t need those desserts. I’ve got my Baskin-Robbins on the way home!”

As for the Joule, it was back-to-the-tech drawing board to rethink the cool way to retrieve a car.

And as for the vets, they blew it off. It was such a non-big deal after all they had faced and are facing.