There are times when keeping up with Mayor Mike Rawlings is tougher than hot-footing it with a roadrunner. Friday, October 25, was such a day. From lunch to two dinners, the man was in transit nonstop for nonprofits in addition to running the city of Dallas.
Ambassadors For Hope
The Vogel Alcove’s Ambassadors of Hope Awards Luncheon at the Omni on Friday, October 25, was one of the events where emotions ranged from joy to poignancy.
The happiness was rather overwhelming as guests watched the children of Vogel Alcove sing on stage and the honorees were recognized (Doris Budner Award for the late Sheila Chapman, Thelma Vogel Award for Mayor Mike Rawlings, Corporate Champion for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Media Partner for Rucker & Co., Kids Helping Kids for Girl scout Troop #2996 and Volunteer Award for Regina Bruce).
Even keynote speaker Jeanette Walls managed to skillfully tell her story with humor and reality about her so perfect life that wasn’t so very perfect as a child and how it confronted her one day as she discovered her mother digging through the trash on the streets of New York City.
However, when Luncheon Co-chairs Janelle Pinell and Ricki Rabin along with Vogel Alcove CEO Karen Hughes discussed the plight of homeless children, the faces in the audience could not help but register the overwhelming concern and sorrow for the homeless children of Dallas. The reality hit home that every day there are 20-30 children hoping to get a chance for assistance by the Vogel Alcove. And then there was the video which had children providing laughter (“I want to be a rap star.”) to sadness (“I want to be happy” and “I want to go home”).
Mike Rawlings, who was accompanied by his son Gunnar, admitted that when he was the “Homeless Czar” involved with successful programs that “Vogel Alcove was at the top of the list and used its money well.”
As one person put it so succinctly, “The children of Vogel are homeless but not hopeless.”
Funds from the lunch including a $25,000 matching gift challenge were designated to go to the Vogel Alcove’s $3.2M campaign for the remodeling of City Park Elementary School “for the expansion of our programs and services.” Within the 55,000-square-foot former DSID school, “homeless children will be able to learn, play and feel safe and cared for.”
H. Neil Mallon Award Dinner
Just the VIP reception for the World Affairs Council’s 30th Annual H. Neil Mallon Dinner was packed in the Anatole’s Wedgwood Room lobby. Even a slide rule would have had problems trying to squeeze through this group of OMG impressive types like the honorary chairs (Nancy and Richard Fisher, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy and Tom Price and Micki and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings), the dinner chairs (Marjorie Adams, Barbara and Steve Durham, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ron Kirk, Melinda and Mike Lafitte and Tina and Trey Morsbach) for starters. But there were a couple of good reason for the quantity and quality of guests. First the 30th H. Neil Mallon Award was being presented to Lucy Billingsley. Second, it was featuring National Geographic contributor/photographer Joel Sartore.
Looking quite proud was Lucy’s mother, Margaret, whose husband, the late F. Trammell Crow, also received the award.
In the Chantilly Ballroom with a sea of tables covered in Mediterranean blue tablecloths, the guests were welcomed by World Affairs Council Board of Directors Chair Robert Kantner and President/CEO Jim Falk welcomed the group.
Following a dinner of grilled filet of beef on wilted spinach, wild mushroom sauce, pan seated Chilean sea bass, white wine butter sauce, quinoa pilaf with dried fruits and steamed broccolini and roasted golden beets followed by dessert of a trio of Crème Brûlées (maple, chocolate and traditional), Danny Rollins of presenting sponsor Alcatel-Lucent introduced the video tribute to Lucy in which Mike Rawlings described Lucy as “a woman of the world right here in Dallas.”
As the lights came up, Marjorie Adams and Matrice and Ron Kirk introduced Lucy. Matrice said, “We’re all better off because of Lucy.” While husband Ron diplomatically followed up with, “Really the only three words a woman wants to hear come out of a man’s mouth are: ‘Honey, you’re right.’”
As the crowd rose to give Lucy a standing O, the petite red-haired business woman hoisted the award high in the air. Her acceptance was so typical of Lucy: “Matrice—Eloquence. Skip Ron!” Says, “I’m not anyone to honor. But boy do I love it! … I’m representing all of us.. . . ” “What a world … what a city … what an evening. Thank you all.”
To top of the evening, Joel gave the keynote speech. Far from being a lesson in photography and what’s the best type of camera to use, Joel showed how his life has evolved from his first camera to shooting around the world. Somehow, he smoothly wove in the importance of saving endangered species and environmental education for children. Using humor, sincerity and a collection of amazing photographs, he was the perfect way to compliment an evening honoring “a woman of the world.”
Shaken Not Stirred
It was a typical night for Mayor Mike Rawlings. He had no sooner attended the Neil Mallon Dinner at the Anatole, then he was up and rushing over to the Adolphus for the Friends of Wilkinson Center’s “Shaken Not Stirred” black tie fundraiser. Who says you can’t be in two places at the same time?
But the Wilkinson event presented by ORIX Foundation was a must. After all Event Chair Lisa Sievers and Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder had arranged for Mike and wife Micki to be the evening’s honorary chairs. Luckily, his presence wasn’t missed in the early part of the evening due to the silent auction and the cocktail reception.
But his timing was perfect as he arrived just in time for a couple of photos and the elegant seated dinner (A salad of Poached pear with field greens, gorgonzola cheese, candied pecans with lemon dressing; entrée of duo of smothered beef short rib and herb marinated chicken, merlot demi and hickory smoked potatoes; and dessert of grand Marnier crème Brule with fresh berries and chocolate mousse cake) in the ballroom that was decked out like James Bond had ordered it. On each of the 30 tables were napkins displayed as if they were tuxedo shirts with black ties.
After dinner, the popular fundraising game of “heads and tails” was played followed by Anne’s and Mike’s emphasizing the past successes and future plans for the 31-year old organization that has evolved from a neighborhood food pantry to a multi-service program that addresses the underlying causes of poverty and helps them overcome the obstacles. This past February thanks to donations an funds raised by the annual gala, the Wilkinson Center opened a Family Education Center for the expansion of its services.
In addition to 261 dinner guests, 250 arrived later for the after party that lasted until the wee hours of Sunday. Too bad they weren’t able to join the supper and live auction in which such items were auctioned off as:
- “In the Swing,” a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to the Master’s Championship Golf Tournament. Includes airfare, three-night hotel stay and two passes to the final weekend of the tournament.
- “No Reservations Needed,” Celebrity Chef Wendy Krispin will whip up a menu sure to please for ten in your home, ranch home or lake house (within two hours of Dallas). Savor a specially designed menu complete with wine pairings.
- “Off to the Races,” a trip for two to Oaklawn in Hot Springs, AR, with airfare and a two-night stay at The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa. Race day includes a tour of the racetrack and barns, box seats, VIP visit to announcer’s booth for a race call and presentation of the trophy at the winner’s circle.
- “Westward Bound,” Enjoy the Fort Worth Stock Show as never before as you and a friend look stylish in your new hand-crafted, custom-made Olsen-Stelzer cowboy boots and Resistol cowboy hats for two! After an exciting day at the Stock Show and Rodeo, relax with a stay at the Worthington.
- “Sports Authority,” the legendary Norm Hitzges and The Ticket Sports Radio invite four people to be their guests on the Norm Hitzges radio show. Be the first to know breaking sports news! Breakfast for four before the show included.
After the festivities, Mayor Mike headed home to rest up for another day of being everywhere.
* Photo credit: Andrew Buckley