Author/Sportscaster David Feherty Steps In For Susan Hawk As Keynote Speaker At 32nd Annual CARE Breakfast In November

David Feherty*

David Feherty*

Anyone who has experienced a David Feherty talk knows the former professional golfer/NBC sportscaster/author is a master at storytelling. With a twinkle in his eye and the charm a leprechaun would envy, the bearded Irishman regales folks about people and issues. Whether it’s questioning the return of Tiger Woods to greatness or admitting to his own demons, he doesn’t hold back, but he does it with humor.

In discussing his own struggle with depression and drug/alcohol abuse, he told Golf Digest , “a typical day was 30-40 Vicodin and two and a half bottles of whiskey…real whiskey. Whiskey with an ‘e.’ There was cocaine, there was dope. When I think about it now I’m like, ‘Why am I alive?’”

It’s that self-revelation, plus tales of his shenanigans after winning the Scottish Open in 1986 and the all-too-well-known people who helped him in his recovery, that David will provide at the 32nd Annual CARE Breakfast on Wednesday, November 9, at Belo Mansion.

BTW, David is stepping in for Dallas District Attorney Susan Hawk, “who was originally scheduled for the event.” Due to Susan’s seeking help in fighting her own issues with depression, she had to bow out.

* Photo provided by CARE

Susan Morgan Named CARE Executive Director

Jan Osborn’s tenure as CARE interim executive director was brief. 2016 CARE Board Chair Paula White Hayes just sent word that Susan Morgan will take over as CARE’s executive director on Thursday, March 1.

According to Paula, “Susan brings more than two decades of nonprofit leadership and management to CARE, with most of her experience being in the drug/alcohol prevention and intervention arena. Her wealth of knowledge in program design, grant writing and partnership coalition will be invaluable to CARE. During her tenure with the East Texas Council of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Susan grew the agency from $640,000 to $2.1 million and increased its outreach to over 23 counties. She is recognized state wide for her advocacy on behalf of the addiction and recovery community. Her passion for helping families and children affected by addiction is evident the minute you meet her.”

A graduate of Baylor University, she earned her master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University.

With Pam Murray’s Departure, Jan Osborn To Serve As Interim Executive Director For CARE

For nearly four years Pam Murray has been executive director for CARE with great success. On the heels of the CARE Breakfast at Frontiers of Flight Museum with Charles Haley last fall, she had undertaken the “first ever Youth Rally featuring Chris Herren” in April. But just before Christmas Pam told the CARE board that she had accepted a job offer from EnterHealth.

Sure the board was disappointed to lose her, but it was a great opportunity for Pam and she had helped CARE grow under her direction.

Pam Murray (File photo)

Pam Murray (File photo)

Jan Osborn (File photo)

Jan Osborn (File photo)

But what to do about a new executive director? The board decided to undertake a search to find just the right person. In the meantime, former Board Chair Jan Osborn will serve as interim executive director.

According to 2016 CARE Board Chair Paula Hayes, “CARE has experienced unparalleled growth in our programs and outreach over the past few years. At last count, CARE has served well over 60,000 families. Pam Murray has helped us achieve all of these goals and we are indebted to her for all of her dedication and hard work. We are supportive of Pam as she moves to her new job. At the same time, we are very excited that Jan Osborn will be leading our organization forward as we expand our footprint in the community, bringing education and hope to families struggling with addiction.”

MySweetWishList: CARE

According to CARE Executive Director Pam Murray,

Pam Murray*

Pam Murray*

“CARE has been educating children and parents on the dangers of drug and alcohol use for over 30 years. The average age a child becomes addicted is now around 12. It is important to educate kids before they become closed off to the true information about substance abuse. Evidence shows that teaching kids the truth, while helping them learn to make better decisions and feel better about themselves will have a much stronger impact when a child is faced with the inevitable decision of whether to try an illicit substance.



“In 2013 we took our CARE programs to Collin County and began working with school districts to continue early education and intervention programs. On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, CARE will hold its first ever Youth Rally featuring Chris Herren, former NBA star and sober since August 1, 2008. Chris will share his story of abuse and recovery with hundreds of youth from Collin and Dallas County in hopes of reaching at least one person and making a difference in their lives. Our venue holds 3000 youth and adults and our goal is to fill that to capacity. With the cooperation of school districts, kids from around the city will arrive on buses for the rally to participate in entertainment, giveaways, enjoy vendors and to hear from Chris Herren.

“CARE’s SweetWish for this year is to acquire sponsors who wish to make this event happen. Sponsorships start at $500 and can be in-kind donations that would appeal to a high school audience. Partner with CARE in 2016 to work to end adolescent addiction in our community.”

-Pam Murray, CARE executive director

* Graphic and photo provided 

MySweetCharity Opportunity: CARE Breakfast

According to the CARE Annual Breakfast Chair Shirley Cohn,

Shirley Cohn*

Shirley Cohn*

“The annual CARE Breakfast is crucial to supporting the mission of CARE and its programs that serve those within our community suffering from drug and alcohol dependencies.

“We are thrilled to have Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, and his wife, Ellen, as honorary co-chairs, and former Boston Celtic’s basketball player, Chris Herren, as the featured speaker at the breakfast. Herren, who struggled with substance abuse for much of his basketball career, has been alcohol and drug-free since August 1, 2008. He has shared his harrowing story of abuse and recoveryin his memoir, Basketball Junkie, as well as in numerous interviews throughout the Emmy-nominated ESPN Films documentary Unguarded. Herren will continue to share his story at the CARE Breakfast in hopes of reaching just one person and making a difference in his or her life.

Chris Herren*

Chris Herren*

CARE (Chemical Awareness, Resources & Education) was established in 1984 as a response to the increasing problems related to drugs and alcohol. CARE is a valuable community organization that funds education classes for families struggling with substance abuse and provides speakers for students, parents and educators throughout the greater Dallas area. Guests are invited to enjoy breakfast while supporting CARE and the crucial assistance they provide for individuals and families who struggle with the challenging repercussions of substance abuse.

Pam Blankenship*

Pam Blankenship*

“CARE Executive Director, Pam Blankenship, adds, ‘We are honored to have Chris share his powerful story and bring awareness to the work CARE is doing in Dallas and Collin County to help those struggling with addiction. The Kershaws are true advocates, and their dedication to helping others is extremely inspirational. This is going to be a truly special 30th anniversary breakfast.’

“The breakfast will be held Monday, November 3, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. at the Omni Hotel. Individual tickets for the breakfast are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $600. For tickets or sponsor information, please contact the CARE office at 214.526.8986 or email [email protected]. Space is limited and reservations are required.

“We hope you will grab your sports-loving family and friends, and join us for this special morning!”

* Photos provided by CARE

Matthew Perry Sends His Regrets

Matthew Perry*

Matthew Perry*

If you had your hopes up about becoming “friends” with Matthew Perry, reconsider.

He ain’t coming to town for the CARE breakfast after all. Seems that his new series got the “go-ahead” and he “sends his deepest apologies.”

In his place, former NBA player Chris Herren will be the featured speaker for the November 3 fundraiser that starts at 8 a.m. at the Omni.

Everything else stays the same. Shirley Cohn is still the chair. Ellen and Clayton Kershaw are still the honorary co-chairs. Bank of Texas is still the presenting sponsor. And the proceeds go to CARE (Chemical Awareness, Resources & Education).

Back on Matthew. He’s been a busy boy. In addition to playing Oscar in the remake of “The Odd Couple” series, he just put his “Perry House” rehab center in Malibu overlooking the Pacific on the market. It can be yours for a very friendly $12.5M.

* Photo provided by CARE

JUST IN: Matthew Perry To Headline CARE’s 30th Breakfast

Before everyone takes off for a Good Friday weekend, good news is coming. The latest is the 30th anniversary breakfast for CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources & Education).

Matthew Perry*

Matthew Perry*

First, everybody’s “friend” Matthew Perry will be the featured speaker for the Monday, November 3rd event at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

Known to most for playing Chandler Bing on “Friends,” the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor has made it his mission to help others battle the disease of addiction. In addition to spreading the word about a battle that he undertook, he has also “opened a sober living home for men called the Perry House, which is committed to help men recover through a twelve-step program and meditation.”

Breakfast Chair Shirley Cohn has even more in store for the fundraising/awareness building event. She has arranged for the ever-adorable Ellen and Clayton Kershaw to serve as honorary co-chairs.

According to Shirley, “We are thrilled to welcome the entertaining Matthew Perry and Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of CARE. This annual event is crucial to supporting the mission of CARE and its programs that serve those within our community suffering from drug and alcohol dependencies. We hope you will grab your friends and join us for this special morning!”

Talk about a home run!

Suggestion: This news is so very hot that it’s not even on CARE’s website yet. So call 214.526.8986 or email for your tickets starting at $150 per person and sponsorship opportunities pronto. Space will be limited and demand will be great.

* Photo provided by CARE

Share-A-Date: CARE Breakfast

Senior Pastor Paul Rasmussen

Senior Pastor Paul Rasmussen

Unlike years past where speakers for the CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources and Education) breakfast were flown in to speak to the sell-out crowd, this year a local source was tapped. Highland Park United Methodist Church Senior Pastor Paul Rasmussen will speak on the topic, “Missing From The Family Portrait  – A Personal Lens into Living with an Alcoholic.”

Paul, who grew up “in a family battling addiction,” has faced the challenges of living and working “in a community surrounded by addiction.”

According to Breakfast Chair Paula McLeod, “The Annual Breakfast is the primary funding source for CARE, which is supported solely through the contributions of individuals, businesses and proceeds of fund raising events.”

The Monday, November 4, breakfast will be held once again at Belo Mansion.

Author David Sheff Is Returning To Dallas To CARE To Launch “A Heart To Heart” Lunch And His New Book, “Clean”

David Sheff and Jan Osborn (File photo)

David Sheff and Jan Osborn (File photo)

When author David Sheff was in Dallas last fall for the breakfast benefiting CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources & Education), he chatted with CARE Board Chair Jan Osborn about his to-be-published book. In addition to impressing the room filled with guests, David was equally impressed with CARE and told Jan that “he would like to come back to Dallas on his book tour and do a fundraiser for CARE.”

According to Jan, “He followed through on his offer. . .”

He sure did! David will be at the Dallas Country Club on Wednesday, April 10, to launch “A Heart to Heart,” CARE’s first spring fundraiser and to discuss and sign his newest book,”Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy.”  The luncheon seating will be limited to 100, so better get those tickets.  All proceeds go to CARE.

BTW, the night before David will also speak at a free event, so if you can’t afford to attend the luncheon, you can hear him at Highland Park High School. David’s message is especially important for any parent who is dealing with, or might one day start the journey into the world of, drug/alcohol abuse, for their children’s sake.

CARE’s 2013 Board Of Directors Announced

CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources & Education)’s 2013 Board of Directors has just been announced. Chair the group will be Jan Osborn. Joining her on the board will be: Lyda Akin as Marketing Chair, Kate Alpert as Secretary, Robin Bagwell as Development Chair, Anne Brock and Becky McCamey as Past Chairmen, Bill Browning as Treasurer, Gary Cochran as Clinical Liaison, John Legg as Parent Liaison, Paula McLeod as Program Chair, Leslie Melson and Michael Sorrell as Education Liaisons, Steve Schiff as Counsel and Lee Ann White as Highland Park United Methodist Church Liaison.

From left (seated): Jan Osborn, Leslie Melson, Anne Brock and Pam Blankenship; (standing) Gary Cochran, Paula McLeod, Kate Alpert, Steve Schiff, Becky McCamey, Lyda Akin, Bill Browning, Robin Bagwell and John Legg

CARE “provides awareness, resources and education regarding alcohol and other drug issues.  In 2012, CARE reached over 12,000 individuals in churches, other community groups and across 40 school campuses. Over 400 students and adults were involved in education courses presented by CARE, and $15,000 in scholarship money was awarded to deserving graduating seniors.”

One of the ways that CARE raises awareness and funds is through its annual breakfast featuring such speakers as Chuck Magione, John Laroquette and David and Nic Sheff.

Photo provided by CARE

CARE For Every Mother’s Son And Daughter

Thank goodness for coffee. As people gather around the coffee bar with its decaf and really lively java, other guests check in with the valet parkers at Belo Mansion. This is the biggest crowd ever for the CARE breakfast that previously had had the likes of Chuck Magione and John Laroquette.

Despite the fact that Daylight Savings Time ended just the day before on Sunday, November 4,  the 7:15 a.m. start time seems so early.

Anne Besser, David Sheff, Nic Sheff and Pam Blankenship

As both china and Styrofoam cups fill with Starbucks, speakers/authors David [“Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction”] Sheff and son Nic [“Tweak”] Sheff are welcomed like old friends, following the patron party held the night before at Barbara Hunt Crow‘s home.

Nothing Bundt Cake centerpieces

At 7:25 the doors to the ballroom are opened. Nothing Bundt Cakes are the centerpieces on the table. They can be had for a mere $30 donation to CARE.

This group is in hyper drive because of dedication, or perhaps too much caffeine.

Jan Osborn and Bryan Starnes

In the back of the room are a group who look like every mother’s sons. Some have buzz cuts, others have glimmers of manhood thanks to the facial hair. They look around the room at such types as Event Chair Anne Besser, Jan Osborn, Robin Bagwell, Michael Fowler and Yvonne Crum. These socialites and executive types are as foreign to these youngsters at this time of day as Kate Middleton and Prince William.

It’s obvious that getting up this early for such an event is not their normal routine. Orange juice is the drink du jour. Coffee is secondary. Sweet rolls are hiding under a linen napkin in a basket.

While they may appear a bit out of place at their table, Nic would have probably felt right at home with them. In their universe, they’re cool and young guys.

7:32 a.m. — Heather Furniss is at the next table. The boys are gazing at her. Everyone looks and sounds like they double-dosed on espresso except for Table #47. It’s doubtful they’re going to take home a Bundt cake. But they’ll take something else home.

7:35 a.m. — CARE Executive Director Pam Blankenship asks everyone to sit down to fill in any seats that are remaining. Scrambled eggs and bacon are being distributed. One of the last to arrive at table #47 stands up and reaches across the table for a sweet roll in a basket across the way. It’s gone in two  bites.

7:40 a.m. — “We have more coming in. We’re at capacity,” the call out is made. The few empty seats are quickly filled with late arrivals.

Bob White and Robin Bagwell

7:46 a.m. — Pam welcomes the group and recognizes key people (Susan Hutchison, Bank of Texas’s Bob White, etc.), earning rousing applause. Table 47 applauds despite appearing to look like they’re not quite sure why they’re clapping.

7:53 a.m. — A video is shown. All eyes are staring at the two screens.

Yvonne Crum and Terry Bentley Hill

7:56 a.m. — The video ends and Terry Bentley Hill stands at the podium. She had appeared in the video recalling her husband’s and daughter’s suicides due to drug/alcohol abuse. She tells how at the patron party the night before, she had seen “herself in David’s eyes” — a parent who had lost their child to addiction.

She introduces David to the crowd.

8:01 a.m. — As David takes his place on stage, he gets a hug from Terry. “It’s only 5 o’clock in California,” David says. “I feel like I’m home,” looking at the faces searching for help and answers.

He suggests that anyone would be devastated if anyone in their family had a serious illness. “But when it comes to drugs. . . we are very, very ill.. . . we feel alone..”

Then he recalls years ago, “When Nic was a child, he was magic.” To prove his point, he tells how when Nic was asked what color he was in elementary school, Nic responded, “Beige.”

Later Nic really broke from the norm when he wore tights under his underwear.

As Nic grew, he appeared to be great. An A+ student, athlete, plenty of friends, etc.

Then David discovered a bag of pot in his 13-year-old’s room. Nic’s teacher told his parents, “It wasn’t a big deal.” But in hindsight, it was a very big deal that dramatically escalated.

David confesses that he had always thought they were close. Instead the family began a journey leading them through years of hell, rehabs, counselors.

“At first we were blind to what was happening,” David says as if reliving those days. During Nic’s high school years, “I continued to be in denial” until a Friday night when Nic wasn’t home at 2 a.m.. At 6 a.m. still no sign of Nic. A couple of days later, he found his son in critical condition and was shocked when upon recovery Nic hardly recalled the situation and just blew it off as a dumb move and he “didn’t feel he had a problem.”

Eventually, David got him into treatment. “I left him there [at a 28-day program].”

Nic relapsed for four to five years of hell.

“After. . . . ” the room is silent. Even the Belo Mansion staff stares at the father wanting the answer. “. . he [Nic] went through a year-and-a-half of being sober.” Many in the audience, who have been holding their breath, let out a collective exhale.

David then decided to write about it. Initially he thought their family was going through a unique situation. Wrong! Upon publication, he learned that countless other families had their own similar experiences in trying to save their children and, in some cases, losing their kids.

Over the years he has come to find that there are two different thoughts on why kids use drugs. According to to parents, it’s because kids like getting high and peer pressure. However, the kids say it’s stress.

He continues saying, “It’s harder to be a teenager nowadays. Kids are scheduled all the time.”

Then, addressing the adults in the audience, he suggests

  • Spend time with your kids. Have dinner with them.
  • Talk to them and listen.
  • Accept them for what they are and not what you want them to be.
  • Listen to them.
  • If you think something is wrong, something is wrong.
  • This [drug/alcohol abuse] is a brain disease.

8:35 a.m. — David looks out into the SRO room saying, “I’ve talked too long” and introduces shaggy, brown-haired Nic, who had turned 30 this past summer.

As Nic approaches the stage getting a hug from his father, a handful of people sneak out, but the rest stay in place. Unfortunately, half of table #47 leaves.

Nic starts off saying, “I was lucky.” In addition to working on another book, Nic adds how he had gotten married this past summer.

He tells how at the age of 11, he and a friend combined a bunch of alcohols in their family bar and “drank the whole bottle of disgusting mixture. . . There’s something definitely wrong with my brain.”

A couple of paragraphs later, he admits,

  • “Drugs were the only thing that made me feel okay.”
  • “I wanted to be someone else than me.”
  • “Thought the book would fix me, but that pain was still in me.”
  • “I’ve always hated myself.”
  • “One treatment center made me want to use [drugs].”

When it came to the question of which program is right for a person, Nic admits that he “made a conscious effort to find a professional who could work with me. She helped me to get on medication for being bipolar.”

Ironically, the man who had been addicted to drugs at first hesitated, saying, “I don’t want to be on medication.”

The audience laughs.

But it really helped him.

He then swiftly and honestly admits that during his worst period of drug addiction, he got involved in the sex business. It was a quick mention, but it hit hard. David’s magical son had bottomed out.

As he is winding down, Nic multi-tasks pulling out his smartphone to check how much time is left. He wraps up telling how in addition to his marriage, he has two dogs that “are like my kids.”

As Terry returns to the podium at 8:57, more guests make an exit.

At Table #47 only four of the original 10 are still there. Hopefully, all have heard David’s and Nic’s messages along with the OJ and sweet rolls.