TACA Custom Auction Gala Item #6 — An Unforgettable Evening With The Dallas Cowboys And Dean Fearing

TACA Custom Auction Gala Co-Chair Wanda Gierhart has connections and great taste, don’t you know. She’s managed to get one of country’s best known culinary kings to come on board as part of this auction item. And adding some muscle to it, she’s scored some additional heavyweights for this delicious package that will be auctioned off by auctioneer Louis Murad on Friday, September 8, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

An Unforgettable Evening With The Dallas Cowboys And Dean Fearing* (Value: Priceless)

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart (File photo)

Troy Aikman (File photo)

Daryl Johnston (File photo)

Emmitt Smith (File photo)

He’s known for many things. Dean Fearing has been cowboy boot-wearing chef at both the Mansion and now The Ritz Carlton. He’s part of “The Lost Coyote Band. He’s given loads of time and talent to countless area nonprofits. He’s TACA Custom Auction Gala co-chair. And he just happens to be engaged to his Co-Chair Wanda. Told you that Wanda had “connections and great taste.”

The winner of the sweet deal will have Dean having the time of his life creating a three-course Southwestern dinner in the winner’s home-sweet-home for a dozen folks.

As for those serving up the courses, Wanda and Dean tapped a trio of cowboys… well, former cowboys like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Daryl Johnston. But don’t get your hopes up for a speedy meal. After all, selfies do slow things down when “the help” is this crew. Just imagine Troy throwing a platter to Daryl to hands off to Emmitt. Oops! Better keep the good china locked up in the pantry.

BTW, since the meal is based on the foursome’s availability, football season is likely to be out of the question.

*Courtesy of Dean Fearing, Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston and Emmitt Smith

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Meal For The Minds Luncheon

According to Metrocare Services CEO Dr. John W. Burruss,

John W. Burruss*

Emmitt Smith*

NFL and Cowboy Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith will speak to the 2017 Meal for the Minds audience this year.  Mr. Smith is renowned and respected not only for his Super Bowl championships and NFL achievements, but also for his substantial success in business and his goodwill and generosity.  His extraordinary life provides him a unique platform to influence others about mental health care issues.  Mr. Smith encourages everyone to speak openly about the need to seek help while advocating for increased access to mental health care.

Metrocare Services celebrates our 50th anniversary this year! In 1967, no one spoke publicly about mental illness.  In 2017, the stigma of mental illness is lessened because of those with the courage to speak out and those with the means to support them.  Last year, as a result of this community’s willingness to battle the challenge of stigma, Metrocare helped over 57,000 adults and children with mental health needs and/or developmental disabilities, more than ever before!

The goal for Dallas must be complete elimination of this stigma.  It’s an honor to have Mr. Smith further that goal by speaking at Metrocare’s Meal for the Minds on how we can each play a role in “breaking the silence, fighting the stigma and changing minds.”

To amplify his and all of our voices, NBC 5 will be our media sponsor to assist us in promoting this year’s Meal for the Minds. Additionally, NBC 5 will continue to build awareness of Metrocare’s wide range of programs for those who need mental health care, services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, primary care, housing, and supportive services.

The 2017 Meal for the Minds luncheon will be held Thursday, October 5, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.  The silent auction begins at 11:00 a.m. and the lunch program begins at 11:45 a.m.  Individual tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $1,500.  For tickets or sponsor information, please visit our website at www.metrocareservies.org/events.  For questions, contact Tameka Y. Cass at 214.743.1220 or email Tam[email protected]

* Photo provided by Metrocare

Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon Speaker Ronan Farrow Described Domestic Violence as A Form Of Terrorism Within The Home

Noontime on Tuesday, October 4, had something for everyone. But, alas, along with the plethora of choices, decisions had to be made. For more than a thousand, the answer was The Family Place’s 2016 Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

After all, Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa and Marvin Singleton had arranged for an all-star lineup — honorees Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Dallas Cowboys First Daughter Charlotte Jones Anderson and Dallas Police Chief David Brown along with Honorary Co-Chairs Pat and Emmitt Smith and keynote speaker Ronan Farrow.

With that cast of headliners, it was understandable that some didn’t make it. They had very good excuses. Pat Smith was with her dad, who was undergoing surgery, and since it was his last day as Dallas police chief David Brown was back at headquarters spending his last few hours with his comrades.

But the MIAs were hardly noticed in the VIP meet-and-greet with loads of guests including Lynn and Allan McBee (he’s been rehearsing with the Dallas Opera), Ros Dawson, Underwriting Co-Chair Carol Seay and Phyllis Comu who reported that she relieved not to be waking up in the middle of night in preparation for last month’s Fur Ball.

At 11:10 the man-of-the-hour Ronan slipped and looked like any very cool 20-something. But among this stiletto and silk skirt crowd that type of fella couldn’t make it by totally unnoticed, so word quickly made the rounds the “he” was in the room.

Sure, he had famous genes, but on his own Ronan had accomplished so much in his 28 years. Having graduated from college at the age of 15 and was accepted by Yale Law School at when he was 16. He deferred attendance “to work as special adviser to former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.” Ronan did earn his law degree before he was 24. Named a Rhodes Scholar in 2012, he was leaving after the luncheon for Oxford London to defend his dissertation on violence. And that was just a smidgen of his credentials.

Regarded by many within the national media as the spokesperson for the millennial generation, he was asked his opinion if the flood of aging baby boomers might overwhelm the millennials. Without hesitation, Ronan didn’t hesitate and responded, “We don’t have the problems that say China has. There are a lot of parts in the world where there’s going to be this massive imbalance of generations and it’s going to cause all sorts of social tension. I think we’re going to be okay in the United States.”

Marvin and Lisa Singleton, Ronan Farrow, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Marvin and Lisa Singleton, Ronan Farrow, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Ronan Farrow, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Ronan Farrow, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Then taking his place in front of The Family Place backdrop, Ronan looked a bit bewildered by the grip-and-grin setup. One photographer had the VIP type shot in front of the backdrop and a second one would have step to the far left to be shot in front of a curtain. The explanation was that a lot of the media didn’t want shots in front the sponsor board. Oh.

At times the meet-and-greet seemed a bit unorganized. Unlike other photo opps where one staffer/volunteer stood at the front of the line advising guests to place their purse on the table and move quickly, this one was a little more casual. While the lineup of guests waiting their turn for a photo with Ronan stretched the length of the room, some were a little surprised to see others standing nearby and hopping into additional photos “with friends.” Wonder if Emily Post had a section on cutting in line?

Nevertheless, Ronan showed his cool factor and good naturedly went with the flow. However, he did perk up like a kid when he saw Charlotte approach. They hugged and he congratulated her on the award. Then they posed for photos with Emmitt Smith adding to the cool factor.

Erin Young Garrett, Cindy North and Angela Batra

Erin Young Garrett, Cindy North and Angela Batra

As the photo session wound down, guests headed to the Chantilly Ballroom. Snapshots around the room: Cindy North was taking a break from being with her dad at UT Southwestern following a double lung transplant. She was lunching with her plan Erin Young Garrett and Angela Batra … 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill reported that they were focusing on the next ten days of supporting 2016 CBB Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber’s American Cancer Society fundraising on Saturday, October 15, at Gilley’s… and others including Annette Simmons, Anita Arnold, Sandy Chapman, Kimber Hartmann, Kelli and Jerry Ford, Joyce Fox, Sally Hoglund and Distinguished Co-Chair Julie Turner.

Kelli and Jerry Ford

Kelli and Jerry Ford

Annette Simmons and Anita Arnold

Annette Simmons and Anita Arnold

Sune Solomon and Anne Stodghill

Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill

Joyce Fox

Joyce Fox

The guests settled down because they had a full agenda starting off with Lisa and Marvin welcoming the guests, Rev. Abe Cooper Jr. of Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church providing the invocation and a video address by Mayor Mike Rawlings “officially welcoming” and thanking attendees for supporting The Family Place and recognizing the honorees and his hero The Family Place CEO Paige Flink.

Following the video, Paige provided a state of the union for the organization that has been on the forefront of providing assistance for victims of domestic abuse. Among the developments is the new 40,000-square-foot Ann Moody Place that is currently under construction. It has been specifically designed for victims of family violence. Among the many offerings that Paige listed, it was interesting to note that the facility’s ability to accept family pets received applause from the audience. It seems, according to Paige that there are families that will not seek help if it means leaving their pet behind.

Paige Flink, James Dondero and Sally Hoglund

Paige Flink, James Dondero and Sally Hoglund

She then reported that they were in the final $2.8M stretch of their capital campaign’s goal of $16.5M. This news was a perfect lead in for the introduction of Highland Capital Management Co-Founder/President Jim Dondero, who announced “the firm has awarded a $1-million challenge grant to help The Family Place raise the final $2.8 million for its Legacy Campaign in the next six months.”

In other words as Paige explained, Highland Capital Management was offering $1M, if The Family Place could raise $2M. Immediately, Paige told all to pull out their phones and instructed on how to submit their donation. The place looked like a Pokemon Go convention.

After lunch, Paige was back at the podium with ugly statistics about domestic abuse including 158 women killed in the state of Texas. That was an increase of almost 20% over 2015. On the screen were the names of 16 women, who were murdered in Dallas and Collin counties. None of these women had services at The Family Place.

Recent developments by The Family Place have been the opening of a counseling facility in McKinney and on Sunday, October 30, the state’s first shelter for men will be opened. In the past, The Family Place has had to put these male victims of domestic abuse in hotels which was not therapeutic nor cost effective.

In recognition of those making a difference, the awards were presented with Major Alfred Diorio of the Domestic Violence Unit standing in for Chief Brown.

Marvin Singleton, Alfred Diorio and Lisa Singleton

Marvin Singleton, Alfred Diorio and Lisa Singleton

In accepting her award as Texas Trailblazer of the Year, Charlotte eloquently told how the Cowboys and the NFL were taking the situation of domestic abuse to heart. As part of their effort, she has had Paige involved in working with the Dallas Cowboys to “face this issue together.”

It was then time for Ronan to speak to the group and that he did. He started of saying, “I am very, very nerdy.” Highlights of his talk were:

Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow

  • His visiting The Family Place that morning and talking with a hotline operator by the name of Maria. She told him that it is sometimes so hard to get callers to openly speak about their abusive situation. “They say they’re only being yelled at, when in fact what’s happening is brutal abuse.”
  • He came to the lunch in two respects: “As a reporter who has tried in earnest to cover this issue and also, of course, I come to you as a sibling and as a son, whose life has been profoundly shaped by family abuse. In both respects I’ve seen two things. One, how far we have come and how the conversation around this issue is changing. And, two, how much farther we still have to go.”
  • Charlotte Jones Anderson: “It is fitting that The Family Place is honoring Charlotte Jones Anderson here today. She has been at the center of the firestorm over the league [NFL]. But she has also been in the transformation of how they approach this issue. I was talking with her about it yesterday and saying that I was going to mention some of my reporting on this. And she told me that, ‘You know the media often exclusively focuses on the negative and not progress being made. I work at basic cable. This is not news to me. She’s right. There is progress.”
  • His own family experiences: “It was also two years ago in that same time frame (during the Ray Rice episode) that my sister Dylan Farrow wrote about her own experiences with domestic abuse alleging that our father Woody Allen had groomed her as a young girl with inappropriate touching and had eventually sexually assaulted her when she was seven years old. It’s a story not unlike experienced by women at the shelter I was at today. Whether you are famous or live a completely private life, whether you are rich or poor, I learned firsthand that this can happen in any family.”
  • The media’s treatment of Dylan’s story: “At the time, many newspapers refused to run my sister’s story. She tried to speak out, but the issue was just too hot and editors told me privately the alleged perpetrator was just too powerful for them to touch it. Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and a longtime advocate for victim’s rights, put it on his blog. Soon afterwards The Times gave her alleged attacker twice the space and a prime position in the print version of their paper. It laid bare just how differently we treat vulnerable accusers, particularly women, as opposed powerful men who stand accused. After she went public, too, my sister faced a campaign of shaming, of character assassination orchestrated by our father’s powerful PR firm. Those around her, my mother, me were tarred as well though we weren’t involved…just easy targets. This is one reason why so many families stay silent for so long. And why so many abuse survivors find themselves left all alone. At the time… I hate to admit it, but I even hesitated and kept as quiet as long outside of a single brief statement of support for my sister. And my sister had to look on as the press quickly swept her story under the rug. She was retraumatized by every lifetime achievement award, every golden profile. But in Hollywood as well something began to change. Just a few days after my sister’s story ran, Gawker used that story as their lead in reviving another set of allegations against another beloved comedy icon, Bill Cosby. What followed were two years of painful cultural re-examination about how we talk about this issue, about how we confront abuse when the alleged perpetrator is powerful. So much so that when the Hollywood Reporter ran the latest of those glowing profiles this year, people were actually angry. The tone changed. Women especially, but increasingly as often men, too. And when the Hollywood Reporter approached me asking for a follow-up assessing the issue as a reporter and as a member of that family, I finally made the tough choice to embrace speaking out about this as well.
  • Current situation: “My sister and my mother still face public shaming. My own Twitter feed is still razed by daily death threats from angry fans. But there is also an outpouring of support by thousands of people saying, ‘I have been there, too. My family has been there, too.’”
  • The future: “There is more to be done, but how far we have come. Domestic abuse is not an NFL problem. It is not a Hollywood problem. It is an American problem. It is a global problem. And it is an urgent one. As all of us in this country lived out the shock and the horror of The Pulse nightclub shootings this past summer, we learned that the murderer had beaten his wife, as had the gunman behind the fatal hostage crisis in Sydney two years ago. In fact 16% of perpetrators in mass shootings between 2009 and 2015 had previously been charged with some kind of domestic violence.
  • Terrorism: “These acts are a form of terrorism. They are the embodiment of the worst and most destructive human impotence to control others through fear and violence. And with other forms of terrorism, allowing this one to fester hurts and threatens all of us. It threatens our cultural integrity, our ability to insure all of our freedom. That’s why I felt I had that obligation to speak here today in support of my own family and to try to keep the conversation going whatever small way I can through my reporting.” But speaking is not enough. We all know that.”
  • The Family Place website: “It is so inclusive. Inclusive of the many LGBTQ youth who face abuse. Of the men who face abuse.”
  • His family: “Rewind for a moment to my childhood. I’m about 12 years old, sitting down for dinner at the family dinner table. To my left are Quincy and Isaiah, African American, both born to drug-addicted mothers in American inner cities. Across from me are Tam and Minh, both blind and adopted from Viet Nam and a teenager in mine, who has been with this family most of her life. She was adopted as a young girl. We are all having a heated debate as is usual the case at the Farrow family dinner table.  And Quincy goes, ‘Well, as a black woman…’ And Minh stops her and says, ‘Whoa, whoa, wait. Quincy is black?’ … Every night was like that. We were a mini-United Nations or, at least, a United Color. Fourteen siblings adopted from around the world and reflecting the world’s worst problems. Siblings with cerebral palsy, with polio, blind, paraplegic, learning disabled. The people I loved most in the world were the people the world left behind. Many had faced years of abuse before I ever met them or they became a part of my family. The kind of abuse that leaves scars physical and emotional that you can never outrun sometimes.”

In closing he told how Maria admitted that hardest things she has to tell a caller, “Sorry, but we’re full.” With that Ronan made one last plea for guests to support The Family Place in providing shelter. “When my mother started adopting kids in the 70s, people called her crazy. When she faced her most vicious attacks after my sister’s allegations more recently, they called our family a commune, a shelter, not a home. But my family was both a home and a shelter. And I am so deeply proud of that. I have been so grateful to have seen the value of giving someone shelter when they need it most. I cannot think of anything more powerful and precious to give someone.

JUST IN: Julie And Jim Turner To Be Trailblazer Luncheon’s Distinguished Co-Chairs

Marvin and Lisa Singleton (File photo)

Marvin and Lisa Singleton (File photo)

There is absolutely no grass growing under the feet of Texas Trailblazers Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa and Marvin Singleton. As if they didn’t already have an all-star lineup for The Family Place fundraiser on Tuesday, October 4.

How about some name-dropping? Keynote Speaker Ronan Farrow, Trailblazer Awardee Charlotte Jones Anderson, Honorary Co-Chairs Pat and Emmitt Smith and Underwriting Co-Chairs Kristi Hoyl and Carol Seay.

Ronan Farrow*

Ronan Farrow*

Emmitt and Pat Smith (File photo)

Emmitt and Pat Smith (File photo)

Kristi Hoyl (File photo)

Kristi Hoyl (File photo)

Carol Seay (File photo)

Carol Seay (File photo)

Charlotte Jones Anderson (File photo)

Charlotte Jones Anderson (File photo)

But you already knew about those folks. Now Lisa just sent word that they’ve added still another stellar couple to the event — Julie and Jim Turner, who will be the Distinguished C-Chairs for the 21st Annual Trailblazer Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. Between the two of them, they’ve held leadership roles in countless nonprofit and corporate organizations.

Jim and Julie Turner (File photo)

Jim and Julie Turner (File photo)

How about a for instance? Julie has served on such boards and committees as Baylor University Women’s Council, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Baylor Health Care System Foundation, The Senior Source, Dallas Historical Society, Dallas Baptist University, Dallas Woman’s Club, Dallas Garden Club, Cattle Baron’s Ball, Children’s Cancer Fund, The Crystal Charity Ball committee and The Salvation Army. Among her collection of accolades, there is the Baylor University Woman of Distinction Award and the Dallas Baptist University Ruth Award, plus she is a Philanthropy in Texas honoree and a Lifetime Member of the Texas PTA.

As for Jim, his professional life has included being the “principal stockholder and chairman of JLT Beverages LP and a minority owner of the Texas Rangers. His out-of-office duties have included being on the boards of Crown Holdings, Comstock Resources and Dean Foods, where he was named chairman this past August. Having served on the board of Baylor Health Care System for 14 years, Jim was “instrumental in the merger of the Baylor Health Care System and Scott and White out of Temple, Texas, and is chair of the newly formed entity, Baylor Scott & White Health.

According to Julie, “Jim and I are incredibly grateful to serve as Distinguished Chairs for the 21st Annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon. We are honored to be in such good company with a motivated and extremely philanthropic group of chairs supporting the event. The Family Place is instrumental in providing domestic violence victims in our community with the services and support they need and we are pleased to help them achieve their goals through the funds raised by the luncheon and beyond.”

Tickets and sponsorships are available, but you’d better get going before they’re gone.

JUST IN: Human Rights Activist Ronan Farrow To Be Keynote Speaker At 2016 Texas Trailblazer Luncheon

The floodgates have stayed wide open with news flowing through. First is news about the 2016 Texas Trailblazer Luncheon benefiting The Family Place. It was already reported that Lisa and Marvin Singleton were co-chairing the Tuesday, October 4th event at the Hilton Anatole with Charlotte Jones Anderson receiving the Texas Trailblazer Award.

Emmitt and Pat Smith (File photo)

Emmitt and Pat Smith (File photo)

Since that announcement, the Singletons have been very, very busy arranging for a passel of VIP types to join their efforts, like Pat and Emmitt Smith serving as honorary co-chairs. Lisa admitted, “We are also excited to announce that Pat and Emmitt Smith have joined this year’s luncheon as honorary co-chairs and we are extremely grateful to have their support. As author of ‘Second Chances: Finding Healing for Your Pain, Regaining Your Strength, Celebrating Your New Life’ and founder of her non-profit, Treasure You, which inspires women to pursue their second chance in life despite of circumstances or setbacks, Pat brings her own past experiences and passions to the luncheon to help draw attention to a cause that plagues over 30 percent of Texas women.”

Carol Seay (File photo)

Carol Seay (File photo)

Kristi Hoyl (File photo)

Kristi Hoyl (File photo)

Other additions to the Singletons’ team are former Trailblazer Luncheon Co-Chair Carol Seay and former Cattle Baron’s Ball Chair Kristi Hoyl, who will handle the underwriting duties.

Making Carol’s and Kristi’s jobs a heck of a lot easier is the big news of the keynote speaker — Ronan Farrow.

Ronan Farrow*

Ronan Farrow*

Yes, you know the People fodder about Ronan being Mia Farrow’s son and the question of whom his father is. But what you might not know is that the 28-year-old is “an influential voice in government and media, helping traditional institutions address the frustrations — and tap the promise of a new generation.” The Yale Law School graduate has been named “Activist of the Year” by New York Magazine and twice named as one of the “30 Under 30” by Forbes Magazine.

One topic that is especially a priority for the Rhodes Scholar is human rights.

According to Lisa, “As a celebrated human rights activist and vocal advocate for changing the conversation around domestic violence, Mr. Farrow is a perfect fit as speaker for this year’s luncheon. The perspective he brings to the domestic violence discussion is paramount to continuing the important and ongoing dialogue about ending domestic violence. We are thrilled to have him join us in North Texas to share his thoughts.”

Sponsorships and tickets are available now.

* Photo provided by The Family Place

Community Council Of Greater Dallas’ 75 Anniversary Luncheon Scored A Touchdown With Emmitt Smith Chat With Newy Scruggs

On the second floor of the Westin Galleria Hotel in a small reception room, the VIP-types for the Community Council of Greater Dallas’ 75th Anniversary luncheon gathered on Monday, November 2. It was mostly a suit group including presenting sponsor Oncor CEO Bob Shapard, NBC5 Sports Director Newy Scruggs and Levi Davis. But the gals were also there, including Katy Menges and Luncheon Chair Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl. While they were taking full advantage of the coffee bar, they were also waiting for “the man” to arrive. He was none other than former Dallas Cowboy/”Dancing With The Stars” champ/business man Emmitt Smith.

Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl and Bob Shapard

Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl and Bob Shapard

As soon as Emmitt appeared in the Westin driveway, it was as if a rock star had arrived. The flutter of chatter and eyeballing continued up the escalator, past the check-in table and as he made his way through the guests to the sponsor backdrop for photos. He didn’t disappoint, greeting everyone with a big smile, a solid handshake and non-blinking eye contact.

Emmitt Smith

Emmitt Smith

Sydney Huffines

Sydney Huffines

Steve Mansfield

Steve Mansfield

Diana Dutton and Adlene Harrison

Diana Dutton and Adlene Harrison

Upstairs in the ballroom, the crowd of 450 was pretty darn impressive with the likes of Annette Simmons, Diana Dutton, Adlene Harrison, Lee Ann White, Sydney Huffines, Christie Carter, Lottye Brodsky, Clay Jenkins, Lois Finkelman, Veletta Lill, Steve Mansfield, Diana Strauss, Lisa Ogle, Lynn McBee, Royce West and Lupe Valdez.

At 12:20 CCGD Executive Director Martha Blaine recalled how the CCGD, originally called the Council of Social Agencies in 1940, had evolved over the past 75 years providing more and more support to human services organizations dealing with youth, health, seniors, information and referral, human relations, transportation, volunteerism, education and homelessness and housing. There is hardly a Dallas agency that has not benefited from its partnership with CCGD’s. Thanks to the luncheon, financial support will continue the efforts on which so many depend.

Following the meal, Oncor’s Bob Shapard was at the podium and introduced the main act of Emmitt chatting with Newy. While some thought it would be just a couple of guys talking sports, it went well beyond that.

Emmitt recalled that in his hometown, the best running back had been his father. There had been such expectations of his going on to college and playing professional football. But that dream ended when Emmitt’s grandmother got sick.

Emmitt himself would often take care of the ailing grandmother, when his father and grandfather would go to work.

Initially Emmitt started off playing quarterback because he wanted to be like Roger Staubach. When he turned 9, his Pop Warner coach suggested that he play another position. But Emmitt was insistent about being quarterback. After all, that’s the position that the girls love, gets the notoriety and handles the ball the most. When Emmitt asked if the coach had seen him play the season before, the coach said he had and that’s why he was encouraging him to change.

That new position ended up being running back and he never looked back.

In high school a new influence entered his life with the arrival of Coach Dwight Thomas, who changed the name of the team from the Rebels to the Gators. He also changed the pep rallies. In the past, white students had been seated on one side and minorities on the other. After Dwight got there, the students were seated according to homerooms.

The coach’s goal was to raise young boys to young men. He did that by instilling structure in his players. That was a life-changing development for Emmitt. It would be the basis for his life both on and off the football field.

One of the ways that Dwight created the structure was by having his players write down their goals. He said, “Until you write down your goals, they’re only dreams.” Once they wrote them down, he had them post the list in their lockers and review them each day.

Dwight’s efforts led the team to winning state both Emmitt’s sophomore and junior years and his holding the national high school record of 45 100-yard rushing games. During his high school career, he made 106 touchdowns.

Expanding on goals, Emmitt admonished the group, “If you’re gonna make a goal, make it big. Everyone should stride for greatness.”

Newy Scruggs and Emmitt Smith

Newy Scruggs and Emmitt Smith

While still in high school, he won a trip to the Rose Bowl for Super Bowl XXI in 1987 and took his quarterback Johnny Nichols. “I picked Johnny because I knew if I picked my mom, my dad would be upset. If I picked my dad, my mom would be upset. And if I’d taken my girlfriend, my whole family would have been upset. Johnny was probably the safest choice.” It was their first trip on a plane. In seeing the game, he was having the time of his life and told Johnny that one day he was “going to play right here in a Super Bowl.” When he did play the 1993 Super Bowl in Pasadena, Johnny was in the stands watching.

Emmitt said another important part of his life was vision. That was what made him realize that he needed to do more than football. He had to create another path and did, so that when he retired in 2005 he knew what to do.

Changing subjects, Newy recalled the University of Florida vs. University of Alabama game where a Gator freshman stole the show running for two touchdowns and 224 yards. He asked why Emmitt had gone to the University of Florida instead of the University of Alabama, where the legendary Coach Bear Bryant was working. A bit hesitant, Emmitt said he didn’t want to embarrass Alabama, but when he was being recruited by colleges, he went to the Penn State-Alabama game. When he, Johnny Nichols and their girlfriends were walking back to the car, a bunch of white frat brothers called him a bunch of names: “It was the first time I’d experienced racism.” The Alabama coach, who was recruiting Emmitt, stood up for him, but still the friends were shocked, saying, “Do you believe what we just saw?” When the coach called the following Monday to apologize, Emmitt said it was all right but he wouldn’t be coming to the University of Alabama.

Ironically, the first game that Florida freshman Emmitt played in was against Alabama, where Newy saw him make the two touchdowns and run the 224 yards.

But Emmitt’s college career was cut short when he decided to turn pro. After all, he thought he would be a top draft pick. While he had wanted to play for the Cowboys since he was 7, the Dallas team was not in the top tier. Emmitt thought he would probably be picked up by Tampa, so he had folks in to party for the big announcement. But no call came. In fact no call came during the first 10 picks. But then the phone rang. It was Emmitt’s brother Emory Smith saying, “You haven’t been drafted yet!”

Newy Scruggs and Emmitt Smith

Newy Scruggs and Emmitt Smith

That didn’t calm Emmitt’s concerns. After all, “Who was gonna pay for this party?”

Finally, his agent called and reported “There’s activity.” The Packers needed a running back. Emmitt thought, “Oh, no, it’s too cold.” Then magically the Cowboys made a trade and he was selected 17th.

That first year was rocky with Emmitt adjusting to Coach Jimmy Johnson. “He used his degree in psychology,” Emmitt said.

At one point, Jimmy unloaded on Emmitt at a Tuesday practice. Baffled and hurt, Emmitt didn’t speak to Jimmy until Saturday. When asked the reason for the treatment, Jimmy said,  “I got on you, but it wasn’t for you. It was for the others. If I get on my best players, the rest of them will stay in place.” Emmitt reflected, “Sometimes the leaders have to be the sacrificial lambs.”

But Jimmy’s leadership impressed the relatively young team as they rose despite the fact that “Nobody gave us a chance.” For the 1993 NFC Championship against the 49ers at Candlestick Park, the rains had “totally soaked” the field. Jimmy walked the entire field and told his players which side of the field was better to move the ball. The young team ended up winning the game (30-20) and going on to win the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills (52-17).

At 1:25 p.m. Emmitt recalled how he and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones handled his 1993 contract negotiation. According to Emmitt, Jerry didn’t want to pay, adding, “Does Jerry ever want to pay?”

Couldn’t tell whether Emmitt was directing that question to a lady seated at a table just a few feet away: Gene Jones.

Emmitt felt that he “did what I was supposed to, and thought I should be compensated.” Jerry balked and the Cowboys started the 1993 season without Emmitt.

In the meantime, there was a collective bargaining going on, and “I had 30 days to negotiate with the other teams and no one approached me. You ponder on that.”

Eventually, having lost the first two games of the season, the salary was worked out, making Emmitt the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

The final subject for discussion was his appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” with Cheryl Burke. Emmitt found that Cheryl was as demanding as Jimmy. He said, “I humbled myself and told her I would do everything you ask. But you’ve gotta respect me and I’ll respect you.”

In addition to winning the mirrored ball and earning a whole new level of exposure, he said, “I learned not to take myself so seriously.”

Have Lunch With Emmitt Smith And Newy Scruggs To Celebrate Community Council Of Greater Dallas’ 75th Anniversary

Emmitt Smith (File photo)

Emmitt Smith (File photo)

Another date to mark on your calendar just arrived. It’s lunch with a couple of cuties — Dallas Cowboy legend Emmitt Smith and NBC 5 sports guru Newy Scruggs on Monday, November 2. Was that an earthquake or were Emmitt and Newy shuddering over being considered cute?

The twosome will headline the 75h anniversary luncheon of Community Council of Greater Dallas at the Westin Galleria Hotel’s Dallas Ballroom.

Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl (File photo)

Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl (File photo)

According to Luncheon Chair Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl, “We are committed to celebrating the many accomplishments of the Council and to moving forward toward its vision to enhance the quality of life in Greater Dallas, enabling each individual to achieve his or her full potential.”

Will the fellows be talking sports? Probably. But if you know Emmitt, he is a Renaissance Man with a talent for business, philanthropy, community involvement and dancing.

BTW, Kristi has already organized quite an impressive host committee including Lindalyn Adams, Joel Allison, Jon Bennett, Jan Hart Black, Debbie D. Branson, Thomas Campbell, Gloria Campos, John Carlo M.D. and M.S., Christie Carter, Key Coker, Levi Davis, Debbie Dennis, Diana C. Dutton, Laura Estrada, Ruben E. Esquivel, Lois G. Finkelman, Veletta Forsythe-Lill, Adlene N. Harrison, Brenda Jackson, Margaret Jordan, Sharon S. King, Hon. Ron Kirk, Matrice Ellis-Kirk, Bob Lowe, Ann Margolin, Sara T. Martineau, Lynn McBee, Ken Menges, Regina Montoya, Alice Murray, Lisa Ogle, Connie O’Neill, Lori Palmer, Caren Prothro, Ann Stuart Ph. D., Michael J. Sorrell Esq., Michelle Thomas, Florencia Velasco-Fortner, Max Wells, Barbara Lord Watkins, Myron H. Watkins M.D., Katherine Wynne and Trea Yip.

So join Emmitt, Newy, Kristi and a boat load of impressive types to support CCGD in its leadership in assisting people to achieve a quality life and to access the services they need. It’s hard to believe that CCGD has been helping area folks since 1940, when “Gone With The Wind” won eight Oscars, Frank Sinatra debuted in Indianapolis with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, France fell to the Nazi invasion, and the population of the city of Dallas was a whopping 294,734.

If you have any questions, just give Jack Bunning a call at 214.871.5065, Ext. 28. He has all the info.

Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational Gala Honors Magic Johnson With Roger Staubach Award And Parties With Darius Rucker

While Central Expressway was backed up to Richardson on Friday, May 9, the cools and ultra-cools were gathering at the Omni for the super-duper gala prepping for the Emmitt Smith Invitational the next morning. Included in the mix were Roger Staubach after whom the Roger Staubach Award was named, and Magic Johnson, who had been dragged into the Donald Sterling mess. Here’s a report from the field:

“Almost 1,000 guests packed the Omni Dallas Hotel for the Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational, presented by SoftLayer, on Friday, May 9. They were there to pay tribute to Earvin “Magic” Johnson– an iconic NBA superstar who has inspired millions on and off the court with his philanthropy who also happens to be a powerhouse entrepreneur – and his wife Cookie as they received the first-ever Roger Staubach Award.

Magic Johnson, Lance and Cheryl Crosby and Emmitt Smith*

Magic Johnson, Lance and Cheryl Crosby and Emmitt Smith*

“And before the weekend was over, $1 million had been raised for the Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, which creates and funds unique educational experiences and enrichment opportunities for underserved children.

“The Staubach Award has been established “to recognize individuals who have brought together the world of sports/entertainment and business to make an extraordinary impact on the lives of children and youth.” Named for the legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback and real estate icon, the award is given to recipients who exemplify excellence personally, professionally and philanthropically. It is the only award to be named in Staubach’s honor other than one established at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy.

Emmitt Smith, Pat Smith, Roger and Marianne Staubach, Cookie and Magic Johnson*

Emmitt Smith, Pat Smith, Roger and Marianne Staubach, Cookie and Magic Johnson*

Guests entered the Friday Night Party, sponsored by Albertsons,on the traditional “Dallas Cowboy” blue carpet, sponsored by Cigna. When Emmitt and Pat Smith, Roger and Marianne Staubach and guests-of-honor Cookie and Magic Johnson arrived at the same time, it was a mad crush as the three couples posed for pictures, and a throng of photographers fired away.

Alfonso Ribeiro*

Alfonso Ribeiro*

“Pat and Emmitt’s longtime friend, Alfonso Ribeiro (best known as Carlton on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) emceed the event, launching the program with the famous Carlton dance to Tom Jones hit It’s Not Unusual.

“Former Dallas Mavs great Mark Aguirre gave a heartfelt introduction to the buddy he met thirty-something years ago, presenting Magic and Cookie with a sterling trophy created by Tiffany & Co.

Cookie and Magic Johnson*

Cookie and Magic Johnson*

“Magic said that, as he got toward the end of his NBA career, he was looking for a role model outside of sports to follow, ‘someone with a blueprint for giving back and touching the world … but also to show me that athletes could be business leaders.’

“Magic started reading up on Hall-of-Famer Roger Staubach, a person he idolized because of his success and grace moving from the football field to the boardroom ‘without missing a beat.’

“’I decided that’s who I want to be like – Roger Staubach. I’ve been chasing this man for years like a big defensive lineman,’ said Magic.

“Magic added that he was thrilled to get the award from his close friends Emmitt and Pat noting, ‘I’m going to get my hero’s award; this is crazy.’

Magic and Cookie Johnson and Team 22*

Magic and Cookie Johnson and Team 22*

“Magic also praised Pat and Emmitt for their generosity, love and good work benefiting the Team 22 students, who are being mentored and provided with incredible opportunities, and the thousands of North Texas youth.

“When Roger Staubach took to the podium, he started by jokingly stating that he was ‘glad to be alive because most of these kind of awards come after you’re dead.’ He also expressed his enormous respect for and deep friendship with the Johnson and Smith families.

“He added that he and Magic have played hoops together in the Staubach’s backyard, although Roger was quick to point out that it was just HORSE!

“’I can’t think of a better way to kick off our fifth year than with a new award named after our good friend and hero, Roger Staubach,’ said Pat Smith. ‘And it’s such a thrill to give the first award to Cookie and Magic, an incredible power couple who have set the bar very high and been a true inspiration to Emmitt and me.’

Darius Rucker*

Darius Rucker*

“After the program, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Darius Rucker sang over an hour and finished by donating a guitar that he and Emmitt signed. It was auctioned off for $25,000.”

“Alfonso later joined Emerald City to perform Billie Jean, channeling his good friend Michael Jackson with his high notes and dance routine.

Marion and Bennett Glazer*

Marion and Bennett Glazer*

Christie and Robert Ferguson and Marion and Bennett Glazer were the weekend’s honorary chairs. Event chairs were Lisa and Steve Lieberman. Other major sponsors that presented events leading up to the tournament include Ascientia Dallas, Faye C. Briggs, Waste Management, Healthcare Highways, Brown Forman – Tequila Herradura, Big D Party Rentals, GoVision, Dee Lincoln’s Dining Room & Bubble Bar, Starpower, Metro Linen and Murray Media.

Steve and Lisa Lieberman*

Steve and Lisa Lieberman*

Table sponsors for the evening include Andrews Distributing, Fluor Corporation, Jan and Jeff Rich, WorldLink, The Saint Hotel New Orleans, Southlake Medical Supplies, Inc., Marianne and Roger Staubach and Weber & Company.

“There were celebs aplenty from NBA, WNBA, NFL and Major League Baseball and a local star of TV’s The Bachelor (Jake Pavelka) – Marcus Allen, Tim Brown, Joe Carter, Richard Dent, Eric Dickerson, Michael Finley, Charles Haley, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, Jay Humphrey, Rickey Jackson, Daryl Johnston, David Justice, Nancy Lieberman, Kenny Lofton, Roland Martin, Coach Will Muschamp, David Nelson, Nate Newton, Drew Pearson, Preston Pearson, Alfonso Ribeiro, Donna Richardson, Trent Richardson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Winfred Tubbs, Nick Van Exel, Clay Walker, Spud Webb and Darren Woodson.

“During the Saturday golf tourney held at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney and sponsored by American Airlines, the $1 million mark was hit, thanks to fundraising held on the course and a special donation from Healthcare Highways owner Michael Wilson. The Ryan Foundation presented breakfast and lunch; DAPPER Magazine presented the “Dapper Den” gifting suite; Informatica presented the driving range; and Park Place Lexus presented the VIP Pavilion. Food for the award ceremony was donated by Cattleack BBQ. Scott Murray was the master of ceremonies.

Kenny Lofton*

Kenny Lofton*

“The team led by Kenny Lofton, MLB All-Star and Golden Glove winner, won the tournament. They were sponsored by the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities.

“Other major Saturday Supporters were Bethany Healthcare, ESmith Realty Partners, Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation, Cookie and Gary McCollum, PlainsCapital Bank, Reliant Home Health, Service King Collision Repair Centers, Shell, Todd Wagner Foundation, Tolleson Wealth Management, Fossil Group, Pegasus Ablon, Jones Lang LaSalle, Beth and Jim Gold and The Plank Companies.

“A portion of the proceeds from the weekend will be distributed to beneficiaries in North Texas chosen through a grant process this summer. Applications and criteria can be found at www.patandemmittsmithcharities.org. Other proceeds will be used to fund the Smith’s own Team 22 to attend Camp Champions, travel to Washington DC and participate in other unique experience throughout the year.”

* Photos provided by 2014 Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational

Pat And Emmitt Smith Host A “Southern Supper” In Their Driveway For Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational Patrons

Who would have guessed that a drop-dead “Southern supper” dinner would be held in a driveway? Even Emmitt Smith admitted that the place had never looked so good. As one former North California resident said, “This is more like Northern California. It seems like May will never be the same.”

Smith driveway dining room

Smith driveway dining room

That was the four-star evening weather on Thursday, May 1, when Pat and Emmitt Smith had more than 100 patrons for the May 10th Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational over for dinner, Smith-style.

The weather was simply perfect for the cocktail party around the pool and on the terrace. It was one of those evenings when it was cool enough that not a mosquito buzzed the premises, but the guests were chatting non-stop.  Doug Murray with galpal Jenny Wise revealed that mom and dad (Carole and Scott Murray) were MIA. Scott has been under the weather like so many for the past week. Among the din, Dee Lincoln‘s legendary laughter could be heard.

Jan Miller and Carol Roberts

Jan Miller and Carol Roberts

Jan Miller and Jeff Rich were hugged the moment they walked in. The next week’s schedule wasn’t going to allow much hugging. Monday they were clearing the ground floor of their home of minutiae in preparation for a predictable book signing. The author? Rob Lowe. No further explanation needed, huh?

On Wednesday they were announcing plans for the 2014 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala. The Miller/Rich co-chairs have plans for the 2014 DSO gala on Saturday, September 13. They have very big plans.

Then Thursday it was another event for YPO.

Skylar Smith and Jasmin Lawrence

Skylar Smith and Jasmin Lawrence

But back to the Smith celebration. While Pat was receiving congrats on the upcoming gala and tournament, she was glowing when the topic of daughter Jasmin Lawrence came up. It looks like Jasmin is headed to Durham, North Carolina, to attend Duke.

Then the guests strolled to the driveway for a seated dinner at brown-clothed tables with twinkling lights overhead, Booker T. Washington jazz musicians including Loa Ho, Sam Scwall, Addison Jordan and Jackie Whitmill on stage with Booker T. Washington staffer Bart Marantz nearby and white boards boasting the sponsors.

Watermelon stack salad

Watermelon stack salad

Behind the scenes, Spice of Life’s Jeff Kollinger was staging a dinner Southern-style with food donated by Albertson’s. The first course came to him in the middle of the night. Watermelon, Spanish manchego stack, arugula pesto, olive oil, balsamic glaze, cracked black pepper and micro greens came together for a killer salad. One of the key ingredients? Pecans in the dressing. The next course was serving bowls and platters of boneless double-dipped southern fried chicken, Chef “Charles’s” country gravy, smoked Texas brisket with sweet honey BBQ sauce and family-style sides like mashed potatoes.

Dinner table

Dinner table

Things missing were hominy, grits and biscuits slabbed with butter and honey. But then there wouldn’t have been room for homemade Texas bread pudding in whiskey sauce, fresh seasonal fruit and mini-fried pieces.

Bennett and Marion Glazer

Bennett and Marion Glazer

Among the crowd passing the bowls were Honorary Co-Chairs Bennett and Marion Glazer, Nancy Alvi, David CraigCathy Harbin, Lisa and Steve Lieberman, Cheryl and Lance Crosby, Albertson’s Carol Roberts, American Airline’s Ann Spalding and husband Tony, Jordan Case, Pete Willis, Ronelle and Peter Ianace, Fossil’s Janiece Evans-Page and Stacey Marsh and Stephen Giles sans wife Clarice Tinsley, who was holding down the fort at KDFW-CH. 4.

Janiece Evans-Page, Stacey Marsh and Anne and Tony Spaulding

Janiece Evans-Page, Stacey Marsh and Anne and Tony Spaulding

Pat and Emmitt Smith

Pat and Emmitt Smith

Emmitt with mic in hand said, “Drink up, drink up. Herradura is in the house. Ya’ll seen my billboards?” Pat added, “This is not a night to diet or to cut back! Wear your Spanx.”

Emmitt Smith To Headline MD Anderson’s “A Conversation With A Legend Luncheon”. . . In Houston

Emmitt Smith (File photo)

Emmitt Smith (File photo)

The MD Anderson’s “A Conversation With A Legend Luncheon” is well known for having the cream of the crop of world personalities. Why just in the past couple of years, the Dallas luncheon had former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Virgin’s Richard Branson.

The announcement of the legend for the April 29 Houston luncheon was just made. . . Dallas’s own Emmitt Smith.

It’s nice to have the Houston folks acknowledge a Dallasite as a legend. Emmitt will do an outstanding job of representing North Texas.

Pat And Emmitt Smith Along With Hard Night’s Day Help MakeAWay Charities Raise Funds

If you loved the Beatles or better yet Dallas’ own Hard Day’s Night, then you’ll want to put a hold on Saturday, October 27. The HDN foursome will be appearing at the Westin Galleria to benefit MakeAWay Charities.

Pat and Emmitt Smith (File photo)

The ever-gorgeous Pat Smith and her dancing husband Emmitt will be the honorary chairs for this fundraiser that “has helped over 1,000 families in need of a helping hand to get by in hard times.”

If MakeAWay is new on your non-profit lists, makes sense. Established by Kathy and Mike Hayes, it’s only a couple of years old and was founded to directly assist single-parent-headed families in distress. They provide “direct assistance to these and other hard-working families in financial catastrophe so the families can stay intact, in their own homes, and out of debt and poverty.

“Without the assistance of MakeAWay Charities, those families would have been facing a devastating foreclosure, missing school and medical appointments due to unreliable transportation, and putting single parents in a position where those who depend on them most are put at risk due to inability to pay rent, an electric bill, or for a car repair.”

Starting at 6 p.m., the 60’s themed “Get Groovy With MakeAWay” presented by Generational Equity will include dinner, dancing and, of course, auctions (silent and lively) for everything from Gringo boots, a Cowboys helmet donated and signed by Tony Dorsett to a trip to Paris hosted by La Madeleine founder Patrick Esquerre.

Todd Wagner Recruited Nonprofit Support With Faces, Food And Fun At Cowboys Stadium With The Terminator And ZZ Top

Todd Wagner

Todd Wagner is a man with a mission. Yes, as he’ll be the first to admit, he and Mark Cuban captured lightning in a bottle with their sale of Broadcast.com to Yahoo. And, yes, he does live a life that youngsters and grownups fantasize about — jetting to meet up with headline makers, dining with the international set, being married to a gorgeous and charming woman. Why he even confesses that as a child, his household was pretty All-American without fear of neglect, poverty or ignorance.

Perhaps it’s that latter point that caused him to realize the importance of saving today’s youth from a downward spiral and the need for caring and responsible adults to step forward and to make a difference for good. And, of course, it didn’t hurt that he had friends who shared similar feelings, like former California Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of the After-School All-Stars program. All of this added up to more than, “Gee, I’ll write a check,” from Todd. He doesn’t work that way. Instead he created the Todd Wagner Foundation in 2000 to provide funding for nonprofits in need of support.

Still even that wasn’t enough for the former Akin Gump attorney. Like a devoted preacher, he wanted others to be inspired to personally get involved with money and (wo)manpower.

Sure, Todd could have written a letter to friends and associates or twisted some arms over lunch, but Todd doesn’t do anything the way the average Joe does. Instead he decided to throw a big old fundraising bash, “Change: Making a Difference for our Youth,”  to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the foundation. Thanks to his underwriting the May 10th event, 100% of the ticket prices and contributions would be “donated directly to our three charity partners [After-School All-Stars, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and KIPP — Knowledge is Power Program] to help propel them forward and reach even more young people.”

And while Todd was eager to raise funds and awareness for his night, he wasn’t going to pick pockets to do it. For instance, there was to be no silent or live auction. Todd admitted that auctions make him feel uncomfortable and, besides, his guests had already forked out a chunk of change just to be there. No, his next goal was to get hold of their minds, hearts and souls. To do that he was going to use food, faces, facts and fun.

But where to do this. A hotel just wouldn’t do for the “WOW!” factor that Todd wanted. Where else would you find such a venue to impress locals and out-of-towners? Well, where else but Cowboys Stadium.

Troy Aikman

As for the faces, such famous names as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Rather, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith were dropped, with possible others to be added.

Emmitt Smith

And what about the fun? Well, just dining on the field at Cowboys Stadium ain’t shabby, but Todd wanted folks to party hearty, so he got ZZ Top. Remember, this is Todd.

The top-tier guests arrived for a locker room get-together to rub shoulders, elbows and hands with Todd’s star lineup. As they awaited the VIPs’ arrival, a staging area was set up for official grip-and-grin photos to be taken. Event organizers scurried around with headsets trying to manage the locker room, the reception in the Miller Lite Club, on the field and everywhere else in the Wagner World.

Local favorites Troy and Emmitt were first to arrive. They’ve gotten to be such old hands at the celeb deal that they made everyone feel right at home.

Emily Eisenhauer

While waiting for others to show up, Emily Eisenhauer looked around, “I really don’t think there’s a women’s restroom in the locker room.” And, Emily, despite the strides women’s lib has made, it’s doubtful there will ever be a need for one!

Dan Rather

At 6:45 p.m. broadcast legend/evening  Dan Rather moseyed on in and immediately ran into Teri and Scott O’Glee. After chatting a bit, Dan realized that duty called and he headed over to the photo zone. Were the O’Glees old buddies with Dan? Nope, but they were from Austin and had mutual friends.

Nicholas Sparks

While Troy, Emmitt and Dan were very accommodating with photos and chats, eyes were still wandering around the room looking for the Terminator. No sign. But wait! Over at that cafe table with the blonde. It looked like. . . could it be? . . . by golly, it was Nicholas “The Notebook” Sparks with his wife Cathy. Should he have been in the meet-and-greet VIP lineup? Heck, no! According to Nicholas, who was just in town a month ago for New Friends New Life, he was just a paying guest like everyone else. Was he just here for the party? Nope, again. He was meeting with Ray Hunt the next day and then for dinner with Todd at Reunion Tower.

Aaron Brenner, Mike Feinberg, April Allen and Richard Barth

At another table were a threesome that looked like just nice guys. It turned out they were from KIPP —  Founder Michael Feinberg, Richard Barth and Aaron Brenner up from Houston for the event and to spread the word.

Darcie and Brett Hull

OMG! Who else was just hanging out in the locker room under the star-radar? Near the entrance was a couple that seemed like the kind you’d like to settle back on a Sunday afternoon and watch a football game with. Turns out they might be better to watch a hockey game. They were Darcie and Brett Hull.

Now, the crowd was growing and it was getting a tad bit crowded. A photographer asked Gina Ginsburg which of the Cowboys’ lockers she would like to be shot next to. No problem finding one. But there was a slight problem. The nameplates were at the top of the lockers . . . about two feet higher than Gina. Hey, that’s no problem. Gina just hopped up on the wooden bench in front of the locker for the photo. She invited husband Scott to join her, but he took a pass.

Still no Arnold. Oh, well, there was still the big show to come. Perhaps he would appear on the field.

At 7:19 a line of student mariachi violinists and guitarists paraded in and out of the locker room.

Just 11 minutes later, the event wranglers were starting to show signs of “head ’em up and move ’em out” time.   But before they could rustle their herd of guests through the passage to the hallway, a big old traffic jam stopped all motion. It was a bewhiskered, smiling Arnold. Immediately like a queen bee surrounded by drones, he was three-deep in middle-aged guys. Guess it was all the locker room testosterone in the air.

Holly and Stubbs Davis

Eventually, the guests made their way to the big reception in the Miller Lite Club, where the partying was showing signs of launching thanks to Holly and Stubbs Davis, Tanya and Pete Foster, Ginger and Kent Porter, and Kandis and Bill Hutchinson.

Pete and Tanya Foster and Ginger and Kent Porter

But the reception was just a waiting room. Soon the guests were ushered on to the field through a drum line complete with Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Emerging from the dark club, they were a bit blinded by not only the bright lights on the field but also seeing their images on the Jumbotron overhead. One fellow was so busy taking pictures of the Jumbotron with his face on it that another log jam stopped the action.

With very little direction, guests figured out where to head — toward the end zone with stages and tables all set up.

Molly and Doug Barnes and Lee Bailey

A bit dwarfed by the immense size of the stadium, the party set up seemed cozy. Three stages stood where the goal posts usually were. On either side of the main stage were two mega stars from which fireballs were shot in the air. With her back to the stage and chatting with friends, Lee Bailey said, “I didn’t see them (fireballs), but I felt them.”

A head table that was as long as an 18-wheeler was placed perpendicular to the main stage and surrounded by dozens and dozens of round tables with fiesta salads in place. Beyond the side stages were buffets . .  not two, not three, but four. . .  with southwest Caesar salad, chef-carved bent buckle smoke house brisket, slow roasted pulled pork, and signature BBQ sauce, roasted chicken enchiladas with house-made sour cream sauce, chipotle grilled chicken with Mexican-style rice, roasted yellow squash, red peppers and zucchini, southern green beans, traditional mac and cheese and jalapeno cornbread muffins with creamery butter. Just beyond were dessert tables with mini-candy bar cupcakes (Snickers, Heath Bar, Almond Joy and Junior Mints), mini-sweet treats (strawberry balsamic macaroons, chocolate raspberry and cappuccino cookie pops), fruit and assorted mini-cookies.

Late arrivals Lynn and Allan McBee and Anne and Steve Stodghill slipped in late. They had been at Tom Hicks’ for the kick-off of the Boots and Bling weekend.

Kari Wagner

As the 450 guests started making their way to their tables, they were greeted by a spectacular-looking blonde wearing a black Stetson with rhinestone longhorn, a black sleeveless turtleneck and fringe skirt. Was she a Victoria Secret model? Nope. She was Kari Wagner (aka Mrs. Todd Wagner). She graciously posed for photos with guests.

Finally, everyone was seated with some diving into their pre-set salads and others waiting for a “We’re off and running” announcement. Dan opened with some opening jokes. He must have heard from Toastmasters that a joke should be inserted. Uh, Dan must have had the late Andy Rooney write his jokes. Bless his heart. They were so grandfatherly but flat.

Todd then spoke and opened with it’s “just another average Thursday night in Dallas.” He must have had Jon Stewart writers working on his lines. Then he got down to business announcing that thanks to the group gathered, $1.1 million had been raised thanks to their involvement. He shared the idea of holding the event with Kari, who “nudged me to have the event.” He then endeared all by emphasizing, “There is no live auction or anything to pull money out of your pockets.” You could hear blood pressures lowering throughout the crowd. Later Todd admitted that, “When I’m pushed or pressured, I’m not interested.”

Then he revealed facts and numbers that may have raised those same blood pressures:

“I view that we are at a crossroads in this country. To highlight this, I am going to trot out some statistics for us all to chew on during our dinner.

  1. Youth in the U.S., about 7 out of 10 graduate from high school
  2. 5 out of 10 minorities graduate from high school
  3. More than 1/3 drop out in 9th Grade.  That’s right let’s say that again, 1/3 never finish 9th grade.   What are your job and life prospects then?
  4. America ranks 12th among nations in percentage of college graduates among our young population.
  5. America ranks 14th among nations in reading; 17th in science, 25th in math. AND we are supposed to be the world’s superpower (at least for now)?
  6. 75% of young Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are unable to enlist in the military today because they have either failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record or are physically unfit.

“What does this mean? Well, it certainly puts our future work force at risk—remember, folks can’t get meaningful jobs if they aren’t properly educated. And that high national unemployment rate of over 8-9% is nearly 20% for those without a high school diploma. Puts our global competitiveness at risk. Puts our national security at risk.”

Bill Hutchinson and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Like attentive St. Marks and Hockadaisies, the audience sat in their places and paid attention because this information was daunting. But just as tummies were starting to grumble, Todd turned things over to Dan who announced, “It’s time to eat.” Like Babe heading to the trough, most guests hit the buffets, but for others it was a perfect time to check it out with the VIP crowd. Anne Stodghill, who had known Don Henley from years past, sidled up to him at the head table and talked about their mutual challenges of home renovations. Bill Hutchinson with an arm around Arnold whipped out his iPhone for a self portrait. Alas, Pat and Emmitt Smith exited quietly into the night. No excuses needed. Everyone in the know knew that the Smiths were chairing the 1992 Dallas Cowboys reunion the next night. Troy chatted it up with guests and fawning wait staff.

Emmitt and Pat Smith

With wine flowing, guests enjoyed seconds and thirds until a video was introduced revealing the message of the night. Todd didn’t look all that happy. People were too busy chatting and not paying attention to the video. He made a mental note that a follow-up was needed with copies of the video being sent to guests like mints on a pillow in a fine hotel.

It was then followed by immediate past president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Roxanne Spillett on the stage to the left and national youth of the year Nicholas Foley on the right. Back to the left stage the KIPP Austin Steel Drum Band performed. Heads shifted to the right stage, where an animated Michael Feinberg and Richard Barth talked about KIPP. From the back of the venue, the After-School All-Stars San Antonio Mariachi Band paraded once again.

Whew!

They were indeed getting Todd’s message across, but it was getting a bit wearing with heads swiveling like center court at Wimbleton.

In between presentations, emcee Dan sat on a stool to the side of the main stage. It was now time for the grand finale. Dan introduced Arnold, who unlike the other speakers, strode straight from his seat at the head table to the podium. Without notes he told of his admiration for Todd and the success of After-School All-Stars. He was the perfect closing act and Todd looked pleased.

It was now time for recess. . . uh, partying, as ZZ Top took to the stage, living up to their reputation for simply fine music. The audience responded but not with a mosh pit. They didn’t hesitate, but instead of thrashing about with bodies, they saluted with cell phones to send photos back home to friends, families and babysitters with the note, “We’ll be late getting home.”

ZZ Top

But it wasn’t as if everyone was so prim and proper. Thank heaven, Kandis Hutchinson popped up on stage for a dance alongside Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard.

ZZ Top

While it’s not surprising for guests to send thank-you notes to the host in the days following, a hoarse-throated Todd was in high gear to follow up. Yes, he had raised $1.1M for the three nonprofits, but he still wanted guests to sign up for board positions and to get involved. To gently remind them of his wish, he had copies of the video sent to guests as he and Kari flew off to Cannes and the Prague to take care of other business demands.

Emmitt Smith Is Speed-Supporting Area Nonprofits

Emmitt Smith

You just thought Emmitt Smith had put away his running shoes. Nope, the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer/”Dancing With The Stars” champ has been busier than “The Avengers” the past few days. Here’s a brief rundown on his presence for the nonprofits world:

  • THURSDAY NIGHT — Celebrity guest for posing for photos with Troy Aikman and guests at the Todd Wagner Foundation Gala at Cowboys Stadium.
  • FRIDAY NIGHT — Co-hosted with wife Pat the reunion of the 1992 Dallas Cowboys at the Stonebriar Westin benefiting the Pat and Emmitt Smith Foundation
  • MONDAY LUNCH — He was the celebrity guest for the TACA auction item won by RBC Wealth Management’s for a behind-the-scenes tour of Cowboys Stadium (aka “the house that Jerry built”) with RBC Chairman John Taft, RBC Director/TACA Chairman Andy Teller and a bus load of RBC friends and associates.
  • MONDAY NIGHT — He and Pat co-hosted First Lady Michelle Obama at a very private party at their home.
  • TUESDAY — Let’s hope he’s gonna take the day off because it’s his birthday. Happy b-day, Mr. Smith.

T. Boone, Emmitt And Roger Upped The Ante For Expanding Worlds With Flying Footballs And Talk

It’s challenging when your annual luncheon doubles in size and that’s what happened to LaunchAbility‘s “Expanding Worlds 2010” lunch Tuesday at the Fairmont. Last year’s event of 200, mostly gals, at the InterContinental Hotel for an onstage conversation of Elaine Agather, Linda Custard and Tincy Miller, grew dramatically. Instead of being north of LBJ in the intimate Malachite Room, this year’s venue was held straight in the heart of downtown Dallas at the Fairmont’s International Ballroom. In place of three proper ladies chatting, it was guys whom other guys just wish were their best friends — T. Boone Pickens, Emmitt Smith and Roger Staubach (pictured right  with, from the left, T. Boone Pickens and Emmitt Smith).

The results — twice as many guests and many, many more men!

The VIP reception starting at 10:45 a.m. in a part of the International Ballroom proved to be a bit of a challenge. It appeared that everyone was a VIP and wanted to have their photos taken with Boone and Roger. Word had spread through the crowd that Emmitt “was running late” and wouldn’t be there til lunch started. Also, someone said that he would not be signing anything.

As the official event photographer hustled people through to have their official “grip and grin” photos taken with Boone and Roger, the two VIP’s cordially and good heartedly posed with one and all.  The whole scene reminded one of high school prom photos without corsages.

On the sidelines, Ebby Halliday who came up with the idea of having “the triplets” for the star attraction sat smiling gleefully at the mass that had responded to her suggestion. That gal knows how to create a winning operation.

Former KXAS-CH. 5 anchor Mike Snyder was talking with friends about his involvement with American Airlines and the veterans program.

On the other hand, across the ballroom table hostess Ruth Altshuler was masterminding the arrangement of guests at her table by placing cards at each seat. Smart move on Ruth’s part. Recently luncheon and dinner guests have been complaining that after placing their materials at a certain seat at a table, they return only to find that other table guests have moved them to another seat. It happened at this event — several times at several tables. Gee, you would have thought the guests were preparing to go on a death march instead of to eat.

But all was soon forgotten when lunch began and a video presentation about LaunchAbility was partly shown. Alas, the tape stopped midway, but adlib expert/ emcee Scott Murray picked up the story without missing a beat. Who needs a video when you have Scott?

Also helping in the communications at the luncheon was signer Connie Miller (pictured), whose hands never stopped throughout the event.

Soon it was time for the Big Three to take to the stage. Before they took their seats, Roger got his hands on the two footballs that had been autographed by the three and auctioned off. Emmitt warned the hundreds of guests, “Folks, watch out. He is going to throw it.” And Roger did just that, twice. The first time caught some off guard. The second time set a covey of guests scrambling to catch it. The fellow who caught the ball put it neatly in an empty seat next to him with pride, only to have an event staffer retrieve it for the winning bidder.

Scott quipped, “Come to think of it, the Cowboys are in the market for a quarterback, Roger.”  To which Roger responded : “I was trying to get warmed up for the Jacksonville game next week.”

The ball throwing naturally launched the conversation into the sports arena. Here are some highlights from the chat (pictured from the left, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach and T. Boone Pickens): [Read more…]

Who Is Responsible For Tuesday’s Lunch With T. Boone, Emmitt and Roger?

Last year’s LaunchAbility‘s* “Expanding Worlds 2010 Luncheon” featured a conversation with an all-star cast of gals (Elaine Agather, Linda Custard and Tincy Miller) with the late Paul Bass serving as interrogator. . . or, rather moderator. It was one of Paul’s last on-stage appearance and quite memorable as he combined humor with typical Paul Bass witticisms in chatting with the ladies.

Before the organizers had even had time to clear the tables, Ebby Halliday (pictured) asked LaunchAbility CEO Cathy Packard, “That was great. Who are you going to get for next year?” Cathy admitted that she hadn’t started that thinking process yet and asked Ebby who she would recommend. Without hesitation, the ageless Ebby with that well-known twinkle in her eye said, “T. Boone Pickens, Emmitt Smith and Roger Staubach.”

After Cathy got up off the floor from the suggestion of the stellar trio, she realized that Ebby was dead serious and told Ebby that it would be a killer group, but how do you get on the schedule of these three never-stop, national headline makers.

“I’ll get T. Boone and Roger,” Ebby smiled. “You get Emmitt.”

While Cathy didn’t know Emmitt, she did know former sports anchor Scott Murray, who was an old friend and had helped produce the past lunch. And Scott came through with Emmitt.

So, when you see the three chaps on stage at the Fairmont next Tuesday, just remember that it all started with the twinkle in Ebby’s eye.

* formerly known as Special Care & Career Services