‘Twas the Monday before Thanksgiving and the Anatole was busy, busy, busy. While out-of-towners were hustling out the door to awaiting buses for tours of Dallas, locals were heading to The Senior Source’s 2015 Spirit of Generations Luncheon.
This luncheon tends to be the daytime version of the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award Dinner because the honoree never knows what to expect.
While nearly 900 checked in at the Grand Ballroom, patrons gathered for a private reception with honoree Baylor Scott and White CEO Joel Allison. Despite his being an old hand at hosting such gatherings, Joel seemed a little overwhelmed at the attention given him by the likes of Boone Powell Jr., Becky Bright, Elaine and David Nelson, Bob White, Randi Halsell, Barbara Stuart, Debbie Oates, Suzy Gekiere, Caren and Pete Kline and loads of Baylor types (Robin Robinson, Lindalyn Adams, Jennifer Coleman and husband Brad Stribling and, of course, Joel’s “bride” Diane Allison).
On the other hand, The Senior Source President/CEO Molly Bogen was all smiles despite this luncheon being her last to oversee. After 40 years, Molly was retiring. Little did she know that Luncheon Chair Elizabeth Gambrell and The Senior Source team had a surprise up their silk sleeves.
By 11:45 the patrons were headed to the Grand Ballroom.
As the head-table guests took their place promptly at 11:55, Community Partners of Dallas VP Joanna Clarke told that her support of The Senior Source came through her learning about the organization through her Junior League of Dallas days.
At noon sharp The Senior Source Board Chair Gregg Ballew introduced the table, and Baylor Scott & White Health Chief Mission and Ministry Officer Mark Grace gave the invocation.
But before the lunch commenced, Elizabeth thanked her committee and the underwriters. She then added that all but two of the past 21 luncheon chairs were present.
Luncheon (assorted Fall greens, drive cranberries, candied pecans, red and green applies, shaved Parmesan and Balsamic vinaigrette; herb crusted breast of chicken, wild mushroom sauce, webani rice with scallions, braised red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots and asparagus; and pear tart with dried cherries) was served with the talk of the day being Thanksgiving. Sharon Popham was flying with the rest of the family to their place in New Mexico, while husband Roy Popham was driving with all the food and stuff. Sharon was thrilled that there was already snow on the slopes…After orchestrating many past Thanksgiving feasts, Carol Seay was “just showing up.”
Following lunch, Molly introduced a video on the Elder Financial Safety Center shedding light on the ugly side of seniors “being victims” of financial abuse. According to the video, $37B is lost annually by older citizens due to financial abuse and “roughly 37% of seniors are abused financially.” Luckily, thanks to a collaborative effort by The Senior Source, the Dallas Country District Attorney’s Office and Probate Courts, the Center was providing “prevention, protection and prosecution services” for older adults. In the video Molly seemed to almost appeal that this program was her parting wish for the organization that she had grown and grown up with for 40 years.
Gregg returned to the podium encouraging guests to volunteer and support the organization’s efforts.
Then he announced “a little deviation from the agenda here.” To his far right, Molly looked startled. She didn’t know of any “deviation.” And she wasn’t supposed to. Gregg gave a tip of the hat to Molly, saying that like any great leader, she was leaving her organization better than she found it. But despite her years of working with seniors, she might need some help adjusting to retirement. With that a video was shown featuring Mayor Mike Rawlings, Molly’s son Joseph Bogen (“Hey, Mom, now you can fulfill your lifelong dream of running for public office”), retired WFAA anchor Gloria Campos, retired Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow and The Ticket’s George Dunham (“Clear up those felony warrants you have”). With that Molly was given a standing ovation.
Before the guests could take their seats, Steve Blow himself appeared on stage in scrubs telling Molly, “This retirement gig is great!”
He told the audience that despite his outfit he hadn’t launched into a second career: “Healthcare has not gone that crazy.” The reason for the scrubs was his doing research on honoree Joel.
A video described Joel as the “most earnest man in the world” with such statements as
- “Compared to him, Boy Scouts seem kind of shifty.”
- “His groupies include the Pope, the Dali Llama, Oprah.”
- “In college, he refused to play offensive tackle because it was …offensive.”
- “Even his competitors list him as their emergency contact.”
- “He once urged Mr. Rogers to be kinder to the people in his neighborhood.”
Steve admitted that he had undertaken “Operation: Find A Fault” to “dig up some dirt” on Joel. It was unsuccessful, but Steve dug up some “turkeys” like
- “A Big Sleep” — Working out before 5 a.m. every day at the Tom Landry Center, Joel was given his own key because nobody could get up that early to open the center. He thought it would be a good idea for all the Baylor staff to work out and sent out a memo. The next morning at 4:45 a.m. the place was packed with doctors, nurses and staff. While an invigorated Joel carried on the day’s duties, his teammates looked a little worn out.
- “Unnecessary Roughness” — His dedication to Baylor University football is renowned. He thought it might be just the thing to “broadcast Baylor games throughout all the medical centers.” However, hearing Joel and the senior leaders hollering, “Rip ’em up. Tear ’em up; “Sic ’em, sic ’em!” was a bit “unsettling.”
Steve told the group that Joel’s favorite comedian was Jeff Foxworthy and how Jeff’s understanding of medical terms didn’t quite sync with the Oxford Dictionary of Medicine. Examples:
- Benign — “What you be after you be eight.”
- Morbid —”Dang, a higher bid than mine.”
- Fibula — “Well, that’s just a little old lie.”
- Barium — “That’s what doctors do when patients die.”
- Dilate — “To live long.”
Steve then turned the program over to The Senior Source’s Honorary Lifetime Director and Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Chair Margo Goodwin, who got down to business and told of his dedication, his integrity and his accomplishments.
She recalled when Boone Powell Jr. hired Joel over 40 years ago he recognized Joel’s humility and compassion and “those core traits have stayed with Joel forever.”
Upon receiving his award, Joel displayed the “core traits” that Margo spoke of. He graciously thanked Margo, Steve, Gregg, Elizabeth, Elaine and David Nelson, Boone, his family and described The Senior Source as “the most outstanding organization in this community.”
In typical Joel fashion, he accepted the award “on behalf of the men and women of Baylor Scott and White Health that I have the privilege of serving every day. And it’s because of their dedication, their commitment, their compassion and their passion for delivering health care that I stand here before you.”
He also thanked the volunteers including the Baylor board and publicly saluted Molly.
Joel then turned his remarks to his just joining the “senior ranks” and said, “I’m looking forward to receiving the services” of The Senior Source. According to Joel, 10,000 other baby boomers are joining that status daily.
As an aside, he told the audience that he was going to go to The Senior Source “and have them help me understand the Medicare bill that I’m going to be receiving.”