Canine Companions For Independence Graduation At Kinkeade Campus Changed Lives For Both Humans And Their New BFF

Linda and Terrence Marler

May is filled with graduations and that applies to pooches as well as youngsters. On Friday, May 5, Canine Companions for Independence held a graduation ceremony at its Canine Companions for Independence Kinkeade Campus at the Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving. It was overflowing with humans like Jan Rees-Jones with Susan McSherry, Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Linda Marler and her husband Terrence Marler as well as four-legged types.

Before the graduation took place, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had been the driving force for Texas’ only CCI, teased new Baylor Scott and White CEO Jim Hinton, who had just recently arrived in North Texas from New Mexico: “When Jim first got here, he asked me what are those green objects. I told him, ‘Jim, I know you’re from New Mexico, but those are trees. We have a lot of those here.’ ”

Jim and Kristen Hinton and Ed Kinkeade

Following Ed, Jim told the crowd, “I love my wife first, I love my dogs second and I love my kids third and I’m completely unapologetic about that.”

Despite the Hinton dogs still living for the time being in New Mexico, Jim confessed that he does Facetime with them. “The good news is that they recognize my voice and I’m still a little bit of a wag. I miss those dogs terribly. To me this effort is a convergence of two things that I am passionate about: one is dogs and the other one is healthcare, taking care of people. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Ed Kinkeade. It is his vision; it is his passion; it is his unique way that has caused this to exist.”

Jim recalled his attending the previous graduation and “I asked the question that all first-time guests ask, ‘Why are all these Kleenex boxes sitting around?’ And so for the past several months, I’ve been building up this moment with my wife [Kristen] and she is with me today. I’ve noticed that she’s already getting a little teary and we haven’t even started the darn program yet. So, she’s going to be a mess before this thing is over. ”

Luckily, there were boxes of tissues placed throughout the room. Sure, it was Cinco de Mayo to the rest of the world, but it was a parting of relationships for some in the room and for others it was the coming together for a lifelong journey.

Canine Companion for Independence puppy in training

Canine Companion for Independence puppy graduate Dutch II

One group consisted of young Labradors that for two years had been raised through the “awkward years,” thanks to volunteer puppy raisers. These dogs had been loved, hugged and been exposed to the world. Now, they were leaving the comfort of their homes and stepping up to a new level of education that would take place at the facility for months by skilled trainers. Their goal was to become the “companions” for those in need.  

Judy Schumpert and #18

A word about the puppy raisers; they range from all types. Some are families; some are prisoners; and then there was Judy Schumpert, who was turning in her 18th dog and already training her 19th : “I’m either on a mission for God or a glutton for punishment. I’ve got to keep doing it until I can do it no more.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone living, loving and working with a puppy for two years and then giving them up. New puppy raisers Mary Catherine Lombardi and Erica Hotvedt admitted, “When we got started, I think we knew what we were getting into. But I think the final goodbyes are harder than we expected.”  They recognized that their puppy Yoshi III, however, was destined for a truly remarkable role.

That purpose became so apparent when the graduation of the new teams took place. For the past two weeks, the seven humans had arrived and lived at the facility to be matched and trained with their new best friends.

Edgar

Chosen as class spokesperson for the graduating teams, Edgar, with Chase V at his side, eloquently told of the importance of this program for the graduating humans. One was an autistic child, whose outbursts would “calm down immediately” when her pooch, Tess VI, “came to the rescue.” Thomas, whose weakened motor skills caused by cerebral palsy resulted in his dropping things to the floor, had been helped by  Atlas IV retrieving them for him. Wheel-chair-bound youngster Lauren‘s arm was subject to bouts of spasticity and limited control, but when Egan II lay down at her side, it was still and under control. Edgar himself admitted that there were times when he would fall out of his wheelchair and Chase’s bark command would sound the alert for assistance. Thanks to Dutch II, wheelchair-bound Lauren was looking forward to getting out on her own and not being “a burden on my parents.” Sara, who works with first responders in dealing with PTSD, would be assisted in the future by Aiken II, who would be “the non-judging entity in the room that helps the patients relax.” 

From the left: (seated) CCI graduate team Lauren and Egan; (standing) Puppy raisers Andrew, Ella, Mark, Angela and Lauren’s mother

Edgar continued, “These stories are a mere excerpt of what has happened in the past 10 days. Can you imagine what is going to happen in the next 10 years? All of us graduates would like to say thank you for being here today, whether you’re a donor, a puppy raiser, a volunteer. Even if this is your first time with Canine Companions, that’s how it starts. That how you get the ball rolling.”

Summing up the two weeks of team training, he addressed his fellow graduates: “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one. And here we stand on the brink of a 10-year-journey. It won’t always be easy, but I promise it will be worth it. All the troubles that we deal with daily will soon be alleviated by an incredible new resource, my new best friend that is unconditionally at our side just waiting to help anyway they can. Thank you.”

As the new teams headed home for a new life of independence, the new recruits were taken to their CCI spotless digs for the next step in their education to be a life-changing partner for someone in need.   

Lauren and her mother

And that’s why the boxes of Kleenex were throughout the hall.

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Theme – “Evening In The Alps” – Announced At Jan And Trevor Rees-Jones’ Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Estate

The Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party generally attracts 60-75 guests. But on Thursday, May 4, the headcount was just shy of 200.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

Well, yeah! After years of designing and construction, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones had made their 15,000-square-foot home the site of the 2017 CCB theme announcement, and even the most stay-at-home types weren’t going to miss this one. And it was one that was not to be missed.

Channeling Frank Lloyd Wright into the 21st century, this baby overlooking the Dallas Country Club was brilliant, to say the very least.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones home

The Rees-Jones’ connecting home offices showcased the couple’s different styles. His wood shelves and drawers with hardbound books had a perfect view of the golf course. Her gloriously sleek and gleaming office, with shelves filled with framed photos of family and friends, was surrounded by the creek and the towering trees. Connecting the two offices was an open doorway and a see-through fireplace.

As guests entered the home, they were greeted by 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella and a couple of snow bunnies lending a feel for what would be announced. Then it was decision time: go outdoors on the terrace, or wander through the house with its mammoth windows and wonderful art collections. (Jan’s is modern, while Trevor’s is western, by the likes of such legends as C.M. Russell and Frederic Remington.)

Janie Condon, Margaret Hancock and Angie Kadesky

Cynthia Beaird and Tiffany Divis

Before the announcement took place, the guests were enjoying hors d’oeuvres by Cassandra and revealing their stories of the day. Janie Condon was preparing to Southwest it to Kentucky to greet her first granddaughter… Cynthia Beaird had had a rough day. Forget her being stuck on the tollway for nearly an hour; she had dropped her purse and broken an ornament on it. Then, arriving at the CCB reception, she was more than an hour late and still was on her way to husband Brice Beaird’s performance… Lisa Singleton was late arriving. She had been way north on the tollway for the 2017 Cattle Baron’s Trailblazer party at another mega-estate belonging to Howard Hughes Corporation CEO David Weinreb.

Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement guests

Bob White and Pam Perella

Quietly, the bunnies disappeared from view and guests were herded onto the terrace. Pam, standing next to a covered easel, thanked Jan and Trevor and the evening’s sponsor Bank of Texas, who was represented by Bob White. Bob, an old hand at these occasions, made his comments brief, thanking the CCB for what they do so well—raise money “in buckets.” While Pam recognized key people in the crowd like event producer Tom Addis, the bunnies were seen just below the terrace inching their way up the steps along with Bernie the St. Bernard, which had arrived earlier in the day from New Jersey. Just in time, they joined Pam on the other side of the easel as it was uncovered and Pam announced the 2017 theme would be “Evening In The Alps.”

Snow bunnies, Bernie the St. Bernard and Pam Perella

However, it should be noted that word evidently had slipped out to some of the CCBers, since a few wore snow-white outfits and others’ ensembles were highlighted by sparkling designs.

It will be interesting to see how the 1,000+ guests interpret the theme on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole to benefit area children’s nonprofits.    

For more photos of the party, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Announcement Reception

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

Leave it to the Crystal Charity Ball ladies to land one of the most talked about estates-in-the-making in the Park Cities for the theme announcement of the 2017 children’s nonprofit fundraiser. The home-sweet-home a la Frank Lloyd Wright belonging to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones drew nearly three times the usual number for such an occasion on Thursday, May 4.

Snow bunnies, Bernie the St. Bernard and Pam Perella

With the night air being spectacular and the terrace overlooking the Dallas Country Club golf course and Turtle Creek, 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella with a couple of snow bunnies and Bernie the stuffed St. Bernard at her side revealed the theme would be “Evening In The Alps.”

While the post is being finalized, check out the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Itty-Bitty Gold Medalist Simone Biles Scored A Perfect Ten For Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” Luncheon Guests Of All Ages

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki

If Episcopal School of Dallas or The Hockaday School staffers noticed that their lunchrooms were a bit scant of students on Tuesday, April 25, they were right. The lasses were at the Hilton Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom with their parents’ permission.

The occasion was Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar Luncheon.” Now, normally it might be considered a grown-up event, but this one had two mega-athletes — Olympian God Medalist/former foster child Simone Biles on stage and Maverick main man Dirk Nowitzki as one of the day’s award recipients.

As mom Tracy Lange surmised, a couple of the moms hosted a table for their girls, and others quickly followed suit filling the ballroom with 700.

Tracy Lange, Livia Lange, Amelia Schoellkopf, Olivia Hohmann, Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Kate Eastin and Monica Eastin

Sydney Hoyl and Kristi Hoyl

While some might question pulling the young ladies out of school, others reasoned that in addition to seeing world-class role models, the girls had the opportunity to be part of a grownup fundraising experience.

Some of the young luncheoners, like Livia Lange, Amelia Schoellkopf, Olivia Hohmann, Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Kate Eastin and Caroline Bagley, were dressed to the nines. Too bad they’re too young for 10 best Dressed. Others like Sydney Hoyl opted to stay in their school uniforms.

Simone Biles and Ron Biles

The photo opp for guests and Simone was a bit of a ramble scramble due to Simone’s late arrival. She had been delayed due to an interview in another area of the hotel with KXAS/emcee Meredith Land.

Walking to the front of the room with her father, Ron Biles, Simone’s 4’9” size seemed even more so standing next to 7’0” Dirk. Still her smile was as big as ever despite having taken a flight from Los Angeles following her appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” the night before.

Even before folks like Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Jenny and Trevor Rees-Jones III, Stacey Walker, Jessica Nowitzki, Lydia Novakov, Tracy Rathbun, Monica Eastin and Pam Busbee took their seats, the raffle tickets were sold out.

Pam Busbee

Tracy Rathbun

Stacey Walker and Bryan Dunagan

Following the welcome by Luncheon Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens, the invocation by Highland Park Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Bryan Dunagan and a luncheon of pecan crusted chicken breast salad, the following awards were presented:

  • Award of Compassion to Dirk Nowitzki
  • Award of Excellence to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones
  • Award of Service to Gary Borofsky representing Dillard’s

Jonathon’s Place’s CEO Allicia Graham Frye told the group that last year, 277 children were handled by Jonathan’s Place. She finished her remarks saying, “My wish is that every child that comes across my path would feel loved.”

Allicia Graham Frye and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

It should be noted that unlike the Chick Lit Luncheon, the audience was silent during the award presentation and Allicia’s remarks.

It was then time for Simone to chat with Meredith Land on stage. The undercurrent in the room seemed to race, as if Santa had just popped down the chimney. For those close to the stage, they got a pretty good look at the twosome. However, the quality of the lighting and video created shadows, making the on-screen presentation challenging.

Simone Biles

Still, Simone did not disappoint with such revelations:

  • “I was just a crazy kid.”
  • She started gymnastics at the age of six and loved it immediately.
  • Her routine was an hour and half of conditioning, going to school and returning to the gym for her real workout. Such a regimen required more than dedication, it demanded sacrifice like, “I’ve never been to a prom. I cried a lot. Sasha (Farber, her ‘DWTS’ partner) was the first guy that she had really danced with and “he was 20 years old.”
  • Regrets — “I shouldn’t say that I do because of all of the accomplishments that I have from it. It’s all worked very well.”
  • Bullying — “Rise above it and use it as a motivation to do anything that you want to do and to always prove them wrong.”
  • Confidence — “I have very down-to-earth parents. I have amazing friends. My brothers, as well, are supporting me. It’s kind of easy to do that. But at times it gets hard because I want to be a normal kid and do other things. At the end of the day it’s my goal that I want.”
  • Olympics — “I actually didn’t really want to go to the Olympics when I was younger. I said I did because every little girl wanted to, so I would say, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ At a time in my career I knew I could be the best and it scared me so much that I would sometime sabotage my gymnastics. I knew I had the potential, but I didn’t want all that attention on me. It scared me so much. So I would do things on purpose. But I got out of it…. In February 2016 I had a really big breakdown. I had been at the top for three years and I thought this is my really big year, but what if I get hurt. And I started thinking of all these things, so I was too scared to even tumble. I thought if I land wrong, there goes my Olympic game. I would go to the bar and start bawling. It happened for two weeks. I cried a lot. I would go to practice and my coach would be like, ‘Just go home.’ My Dad told me to call my sports psychologist and I said, ‘No, I just want to cry.’ And my dad called him. He came into my room and handed the phone to me and I usually don’t cry in front of him or really anybody, and I just started bawling my eyes out — ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m not going to make the team. Blah, blah, blah.’ He (the sports psychologist) said, ‘Simone, what was the first thing I said to you when you came into my office?’ We chatted about it.”
  • Sports Psychologist — “For three years your parents, your coaches, your mentors, it’s good to have someone that knows your sport, but it helps that it’s not the same person over and over again.”
  • Whom did she not want to disappoint — “I didn’t want to let down America because they had such big goals for me. They expected me to get five gold medals and I only walked out with four, so I felt like I let them down a little bit.” Afterwards she was asked in an interview about how badly she felt getting a bronze instead of a gold, her response was, “I’m sorry if that was your goal. I’m sorry if you guys had to backspace on your typewriter. I’m pretty happy. This was my first Olympics and I’m 19 years old and I’m walking out of here with five medals. My goal was to make the finals. Whatever happens happens. I came out with four golds and one bronze and pretty proud of myself. I’m sorry if I disappointed you because they already crowned me with five gold medals. I think they (the interviewer) was trying to put it on me, so that’s what hurt a little bit.”
  • On the podium — “You feel like you’re a princess up there. It never feels real. I would always look at my parents. They would be bawling and I would then start tearing up. I’m an ugly crier.”
  • Post Olympics — “I haven’t worked out since the Olympics. It is my year off, so that is why I chose ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ I’m going on a vacations with my family this summer.  One is Hawaii and the other is Belize… I eat ice cream every chance I get.”
  • 2020 — “I’m going to train for the 2020 Olympics.”
  • What makes Texas special — “It’s the people. I’m in L.A. right now and it’s very different. I think it’s the southern-ness.”
  • What she misses — “I miss my bed and my dogs. I cook for my dogs. They’re spoiled little things. They have monogrammed beds. They’re not little. They’re German Shepherds. We have three.”
  • First Date — “It was like low key. I had never been on a date before or had a boyfriend. So, it’s all new. We just went to get frozen yogurt. It was a little scary. I’ve trained all my life to go to the Olympics, not to go on a date.”
  • The future — “I think I want to do something with sports management.”
  • Foster care — “[Being a foster parent] really does change a child’s life. It does give them a home, love. A lot of them age out at the age of 18 and that makes me sad. I was very fortunate for my situation. It really does make difference in the kids’ eyes.”
  • She recalled that before being rescued from her birth mother, there were days when she ate her cereal with white.
  • She felt that she would not win “Dancing With The Stars.”

At the end of the conversation, Simone looked out into the audience with each member holding a card reading “10.”   

She was then off to Jonathan’s Place to visit with children waiting for a foster parent.

JUST IN: Jonathan’s Place Adds Tiffany And Mark, Dirk And Jan And Trevor To “A Chance To Soar Luncheon” Namedropping Lineup

Simone Biles*

Boy, talk about name dropping! As if the Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” luncheon on Tuesday, April 25, at the Hilton Anatole wasn’t gangbusters enough with Olympian Simone Biles as the featured speaker, an impressive array of nationally known locals have been added to the lineup.

According to Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye, “We are so grateful to Tiffany and Mark Cuban for their continued support of Jonathan’s Place and are very proud to have them serve as honorary chairs for the luncheon this year.”  

In addition to Simone chatting it up with NBC 5’s Meredith Land, the following distinguished Jonathan’s Place supporters will be recognized:

  • Award of Compassion: Dirk Nowitzki (Dirk Nowitzki Foundation)
  • Award of Service: Dillard’s
  • Award of Excellence: Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones (Trevor Rees-Jones Foundation)

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

While sponsorships are still available, folks who purchase tables at $2,500 will also receive tickets to a VIP reception and photo opp with Simone.

At this date the following sponsors have already signed up:

  • Champion Sponsor: Insperity and Mohr Partners
  • Hero Sponsor: Al G. Hill Jr.
  • Guardian Sponsors: Julie and Scott Bagley, Allison and John Carlisle, Tracy and Ben Lange, Macy’s, Larissa and Mitchell Milby, Kay Sim, Rachel and Brad Stephens, Strategic Dealer Services and Stacey and Reid Walker
  • Defender Sponsors: At Home, Dana and Brad Ayres, Barbie and Bill Borlaug, Keri Brookshire and Susan Mattox, Kimberly and Christopher Cocotos, ConnectThree, Serena Simmons Connelly, Suzie and Bunker Curnes, Mary and Ted Fredericks, Icon Partners, Amy Mahoney and Nikki Wolff, Jenny and Jason Lichty, Alexandra Lovitt, Beth Maultsby and Goranson Bain PLLC, Jennifer and Bradley Norris, Josephine C. Olson, Kerry and Don Peterson, Stephanie and Todd Phillips, Marcellene Malouf and Royal Furgeson, Julie and Eliot Raffkind, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Cordelia and David Rendall, Republic National Distribution Co., Randa and Doug Roach, Southern Enterprises LLC, Verner Brumley Mueller Parker PC, April and John Willingham and Linda and Ken Wimberly

Momentous Institute Hosts Award-Giving Dinner With Author Glennon Doyle Melton On The Eve Of The Changing The Odds Conference

The night before the Momentous Institute kicked off the two-day Changing the Odds Conference, a very special dinner was held on Wednesday, October 5, at Sixty Five Hundred. Not only did Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones receive the inaugural  Changing the Odds Leadership Award, but author Glennon Doyle Melton was the keynote speaker. Here’s a report from the field:

Leslie Melson and J.D. McCaslin*

Leslie Melson and J.D. McCaslin*

More than 400 supporters gathered at Sixty Five Hundred on Wednesday, October 5, for Salesmanship Club of Dallas and Momentous Institute’s 5th annual Changing the Odds Dinner. Guests enjoyed a private dinner and address with speaker Glennon Doyle Melton, bestselling author and founder of the wildly popular Momastery.com. Dinner chairs for the event were J.D. McCaslin and Leslie Melson.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Bill McClung and Guy Kerr*

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Bill McClung and Guy Kerr*

Momentous Institute Chairman Guy Kerr and Salesmanship Club of Dallas Past President  Bill McClung presented Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones with the first-ever Changing the Odds Leadership Award for their significant contributions to the health and well being of children in our community, including those served by Momentous Institute.

Michelle Kinder*

Michelle Kinder*

Momentous Institute Executive Director Michelle Kinder followed by underscoring the urgent need for social emotional health, particularly in light of national events, including the recent Dallas shootings.

“As a city, in the face of the unspeakable – we saw firsthand the difference social emotional health makes — we saw it in Mayor Rawlings and we saw it in Chief Brown. Compassion exemplified,” Kinder said. “Momentous Institute is about showing up in the lives of children so that the next Mayor Rawlings and Chief Brown can emerge. Every person we work with represents a complex story – and a sacred opportunity for kindness, compassion and the expectation of momentous outcomes.”

Glennon Doyle Melton*

Glennon Doyle Melton*

Melton inspired the crowd as she recounted years of love, hurt, addiction, bravery and healing with her trademark authenticity and wit.

Melton is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoirs “Love Warrior,” of which the evening’s guests received a signed copy, and “Carry On, Warrior.” She is also founder of Momastery.com, an online community reaching millions of people each week, as well as the creator and president of Together Rising, a nonprofit organization that has raised nearly $5 million for women and children in crisis.

The dinner preceded Momentous Institute’s annual Changing the Odds Conference (October 6-7), a two-day conference at Omni Dallas that brings more than 1,600 mental health and education professionals (from 132 cities, 29 states and 7 other countries) together to hear best practices in social emotional health from thought leaders around the world.

* Photos provided by Momentous Institute

DCAC Guests Enjoy A Private Concert At The Home of Amy And Kelcy Warren

It’s not every day that guests get to visit the palatial home of Amy and Kelcy Warren in Preston Hollow, or enjoy an intimate concert there in the Warrens’ private music room. But that’s just what about 60 people did on Tuesday, April 5, when the Warrens hosted a thank-you event for generous supporters of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, which serves abused children in Dallas County.

Among the guests welcomed by Amy and Kelcy and Lynn Davis, DCAC’s president and CEO, were Barbara and Steve Durham, Imad Anbouba, and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones. Imad and Trevor work in the same industry as Kelcy, the billionaire founder of pipeline powerhouse Energy Transfer. Imad is on the board of one of Kelcy’s companies, and Trevor—another energy billionaire—shares an office building with Warren. The Warrens and the Rees-Joneses also share membership in DCAC’s Circle of Hope for major givers.

The busy Warrens were just back from a trip to Washington D.C., where Sheila and Jody Grant helped them celebrate Kelcy’s induction into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. The evening’s hosts were also getting ready for their annual Cherokee Creek Music Festival on their ranch just outside Cherokee, Texas, northwest of Austin. One of the performers at the festival, David Barnes, was also the featured attraction for the DCAC supporters this evening.

After enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres on the first floor of the Warrens’ 8,000-square-foot mansion (it formerly belonged to software magnate Larry Lacerte and his wife, Joyce), the guests moved upstairs to the mini concert hall to listen to Barnes, whom Amy and Kelcy had not heard in person before. The Nashville-based, Grammy-nominated rock/country/Christian singer-songwriter has released eight albums, including his most recent, “Carry On, San Vicente.” In 2011 Blake Shelton recorded David’s song “God Gave Me You,” which became Blake’s fifth No. 1 country hit.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones Lead The Ribbon Cutting For Dallas CASA’s New Headquarters And Expanded Child Advocacy Services

All eyes were on Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones when the couple arrived for the April 16 ribbon-cutting ceremony at Dallas CASA’s new headquarters building at Swiss Avenue and Texas Street. After all, it was a donation of $1.4 million from Jan and Trevor’s foundation that had helped jump-start the new building, which will enable Dallas CASA to expand its services. Even so, Trevor was characteristically low-key as he waded into the gathering crowd.

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones and Beverly Levy and Greg May*

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones and Beverly Levy and Greg May*

Would he be speaking this morning?, someone asked him. “No talking, no,” Trevor said. “We’re just here to cut the ribbon.” Jan, meantime, said that she’d taken a tour of the 25,000-square-foot building about a week earlier, and found it “a fabulous facility.” CASA, whose volunteers advocate in court for abused and neglected children, deserves such a building, Jan added, because “they do tough work.”

The ribbon-cutting for The Rees-Jones Center for Children’s Justice attracted 350 RSVPs, including a number of longtime CASA supporters. Among them were Billy Hines of NorthPark Center—it’s supported CASA’s “Parade of Playhouses” for years—philanthropist Sarah Losinger, CEO Scott Sheffield of Pioneer Natural Resources, and Dallas County Commissioners Mike Cantrell, Elba Garcia, Dr. Theresa Daniel and County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Addressing the distinguished crowd before the ribbon was snipped, Jenkins said, “I love you guys [at CASA]. The work that you do is just amazing. My friend Ron Kirk told me, ‘Never talk about anybody but your family, because then you’ll have to mention everybody.’ But I’m going to break that rule.” He proceeded to do so by singling out Jan and Trevor, then Beverly Levy, Dallas CASA’s president and executive director. “This is the best CASA in the United States,” Jenkins roared, “and she’s the best executive director!”

CASA ribbon cutting*

CASA ribbon cutting*

Following brief remarks by Beverly and Darrin Lawrence, superintendent for Austin Industries, which put up the new building, CASA board Chair Greg May said the beautiful facility would be “a gathering place for the Dallas child-welfare community for years to come.” With that, a group of 20 or 30 scissors-wielding officials stepped forward to help cut the ribbon and open the new building for business. For what seemed like many long seconds, however, they stood there with blades poised, unsure of what to do. It was then that Trevor took charge, barking out, “One … two … THREE!” as the ribbon fell to the floor.

Looks like the ol’ benefactor did some talking after all.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

Roberts S. Folsom Leadership Award Patron Party For Mike Boone Reaches New Heights At The Ritz-Carlton

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones

Jan Rees-Jones teases that she and husband Trevor are like Lisa and Oliver on TV’s “Green Acres.” She’s a city gal and he loves the country life. That explains the twosome having a penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton and a land-line home in other parts of Dallas. But it was the Ritz residence with its two terraces overlooking downtown Dallas and toward Fort Worth, a mind-boggling collection of western art and furnishings that would send any interior decorator swooning, that was the place to be Tuesday night.

Rees-Jones western art

The only thing missing were jokes about lawyers. You know, how many does it take to . . .. That’s because Dallas’ finest legal eagles were filling the Rees-Jones nest in the sky for the Methodist Health System Foundation‘s Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award patron party. The reason for all the barristers and other influential types like Toni Brinker, Gerald Ford, Jim Francis, Sarah and

Mike Boone

Ross Perot Jr. is one of Dallas’ great attorneys — Mike Boone — will be presented the award on Tuesday, October 30, at the Hilton Anatole.

However, despite the splendor of the surroundings and the heady crowd, there was a certain tension in the room about staying close to the timeline. At 8 p.m., the second presidential debate was to take place. Jan laughed at the thought of guests feeling a need to scurry home to watch the debate. “We’ve got lots of TV’s here,” she said, indicating they could just settle back and watch it at the Rees-Jones place.

April Box Chamberlain

Methodist Health System Foundation President/CEO April Box Chamberlain looked like a homecoming queen when it was revealed that a record-breaking amount ($1.45M) had been raised for Mike’s designated group — Methodist’s neurology operations.

Host Trevor admitted that his relationship with Mike was not due only to their recent professional dealings [“I was very fortunately put in touch with Mike Boone. He doesn’t need a new client, but he has helped me in a way that’s beyond belief. … He must be the first cousin to the Energizer Bunny. … I don’t think he (even) has an assistant”], or their both being honored with the Folsom Award. Rather, Mike was the referee when Trevor played on a fifth-grade YMCA football team. Trevor smiled and said of Mike, “So, he must be really old.”

Fred Hegi

Another one who didn’t pull any punches in talking to the group about the honoree was dinner co-chair Fred Hegi, whose relationship with Mike started at SMU. “Mike and I go back a long time. Met 50 years ago at SMU. I was a green naïve freshman, and Boone was a hazing senior.”

Then, getting serious, Fred said what most already knew — Mike is the go-to guy for many non-profits with legal issues.

Marla Boone

With his wife Marla looking on, Mike then recognized Robert S. Folsom’s son, Steve, and kidded him that his dad had had the “longest eligibility” ever for NCAA football — seven or eight years.

Mike then told the group that Methodist System is so important to this area, especially for the Southern Sector. In touring the new trauma facility and talking to Dr. James Moody, he made the decision to direct the money raised from the evening to the neurological programs.

In keeping with the timeline, the talks were over promptly at 7:30, and the guests hit the elevator to make it home in time for the debate.