In the past the featured speaker of the Genesis Annual Luncheon has attended The Jane Doe Award Dinner the night before for a small gathering of major supporters. This year’s speaker, Tyler Perry, was upfront and regretted that he wasn’t gonna make it for the event scheduled for Thursday, May 5. Now, such a development might send some fundraising chairs into a tizzy. Ah, but Genesis Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Gina Betts and Nancy Rogers are far from your everyday co-chairs.
They rolled up their silk sleeves and made a couple of calls to folks who make big things bigger. The result was a no-sit-down, napkin-in-your-lap and ever-so-proper affair. No, siree. The reception took place in the entertainment center at Molly and Doug Barnes’ estate. Just making it past the security chap with the clipboard at the front gate gave a whole new layer to the expression, “You have arrived.”
Once inside the doors, there was the reception room that’s bigger than some condos. Just behind the check-in table was a marvelous view of the outdoor patio that looked so inviting with pool and umbrella-shaded tables. Still, most everybody stayed indoors with Cassandra and her staff passing all types of yummies and libations in addition to a side buffet of goodies. And then there was talk about a surprise that had been making the rounds. Nobody was supposed to know that Betts-Rogers had arranged for “special entertainment” to follow the presentation of the awards, but it seemed that everyone knew. Only they weren’t admitting it.
Genesis Executive Director Jan Langbein greeted all at the front door…At times it appeared to be a Mary Kay Ash family reunion as Richard Rogers walked in and directly headed to Nancy for a hug…Mary Kay great granddaughter Jessica Blair was on the scene, as well as MK’s granddaughter Gena Tadewald, who came into town from her place in Lucas, where she has horses, cows, dogs, sheep and all types of critters…Driving in from Fort Worth were Olivia and Jeff Kearney. Olivia recalled how Doug had told her, “It took me longer to build this house than it took Jerry Jones to build ‘The Star’ in Frisco.”…Genesis Raffle Co-Chairs Katy Bock and Tanya Foster were on hand with their fellas Lawrence Bock and Pete Foster, respectively…Others filling the room and spilling into the adjoining theater’s lobby were Ken Betts, Nancy Ann Hunt, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Kathleen Hutchinson, Michael Flores, Dallas Snadon, Doug Carney, Tracy and Ben Lange, Mary Crosland, Cara French, Lisa Ogle, Beth and Charles Thoele, S.M. Wright II, Genesis Annual Luncheon Emcee/WFAA anchor Ron Corning, Shane Allen, Jane Doe Awardee Serita Jakes with her husband T.D. Jakes, HeRO Award recipient Roger Staubach and wife Marianne Staubach. Roger, who has four daughters, admitted to Jan that “When I was growing up, I would have said it was one [case of domestic violence] in 10 million.” Jan said, “No, it’s one in three.” BTW, it was just a couple of years ago that Staubach daughter Jennifer Staubach Gates received the Jane Doe Award.
Running a little behind schedule, the group finally moved into the cabaret-style theater with tables and chairs. Due to the SRO crowd, more chairs were assembled, but even then the SRO status remained.
On stage, Jan told about the Rogers’ $1M challenge and if it was met, Genesis Women’s Shelter would receive $2M. She introduced Mary Kay VP Crayton Webb, who heads up Genesis’ HeROs Men’s Auxiliary. Admitting to a definite case of “hero worship,” he did a great job introducing and presenting the award to Roger. Crayton recalled that when he asked Roger about former Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy, who had made headlines regarding “an incident” of domestic violence with his then-girlfriend Nicole Holder, Roger responded, “We don’t root for him. I’ll root for the Cowboys, but I won’t root for him.”
Upon receiving the award, Roger added, “If I ever run into Greg, I hope Randy White is with me… Don’t we believe in second chances? Yes, but I’d rather give a second chance to a bank robber than a domestic violence person.” He then thanked Jan for bringing the issue to his attention.
Then Jan presented Serita with the Jane Doe Award for her “Starting Over Ministry,” an 8-week course which offers a curriculum with hands-on practical applications” for women “who are transitioning through some of life’s greatest challenges.” The award is presented to “individuals or groups who display extraordinary commitment to standing alongside those seeking safety, shelter and support.”
Following the presentation of the awards, Jan sprung the surprise entertainment — LeAnn Rimes, who sang much longer than her arranged schedule. It was hard to imagine that it’s been 20 years since a 13-year-old Rimes made history with the release of “Blue.” The voice and delivery still amaze.
* Photo credit: Dana Driensky