It turned out that Paul Quinn College and the battle against domestic violence were only two degrees of separation for two on stage folks at The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Award Luncheon. But more about that later.
Despite the slight drizzle and the 70-degree weather on Wednesday, September 26, the VIP reception commenced in the Omni Dallas Hotel’s Fair Park Room. The days’ keynote speaker Tamron Hall looked pretty darn adorable and right at home. Shouldn’t have been a surprise since Tamron cut her reporting teeth at KTVT-CH. 11 back in 1992. From that she rose through the newsroom ranks to being part of the “Today” team. Now, she was headed to having her own show in development.
But as guests like Julie and Jim Turner, Kristi Hoyl, Kristen Hinton, Paige McDaniel, Joanna Clarke, Bianca Jackson, Carol Seay, Stephanie Seay, Danielle Giglio and Margo McClinton Stoglin joined her for photos, Tamron never slowed down.
As the 750 guests including Louise Griffeth, Tia Wynne, Cara French, Annette Simmons, SuSu Meyer, Trisha Wilson and Jill Smith settled in the ballroom, the program got underway with Event Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Amy Turner welcomed the guests and were followed by stories about three women, who had escaped lives of domestic violence thanks to The Family Place.
As a surprise for the luncheon, it was announced that the Nancy Lieberman Charities were going to make possible for The Family Place to have one of the organization’s Dream Courts.
Following the presentation of the Advocacy Award to Bank of Texas, the Faith-Based Vision and Leadership Award to Union Coffee and the 2018 Verizon Be Project Scholarship to Sarah Erlenbusch and Kathy Pham, a video introduced Paul Quinn’s President Dr. Michael Sorrell, who accepted the 2018 Texas Trailblazer Award. He recalled as a graduate student at Duke he manned a crisis hotline hearing women in need help. “It scarred me. It left me a changed man. I had no idea that these things took place…. I love The Family Place because they give hope to people.”
As the clock was ticking down, emcee Jody Dean was joined onstage by Tamron for a chat. The two were old friends having worked together at KTVT. It was during their conversation that Tamron revealed that her mother had attended Paul Quinn.
Other highlights of the sit down included:
- Despite being more connected than ever before, Jody asked why does the problem of domestic violence continued? “I think it persists, but there are great accomplishments. If I am looking at the bump in the road, I am not seeing the road. I want to see that it (the bump) is there, but I want keep going to jump over it.”
- Tamron’s feeling “a lot of guilt and shame” about not helping her sister Renate Hall’s being a victim of an abusive relationship. It was her death in 2004 that brought home to Tamron the devastating issue of domestic violence.
- After championing the issue, Tamron felt that she needed to create the Tamron Renate Foundation, so the that her sister would not be forgotten.
- When asked if she talks to her sister, Tamron said, “I don’t know if I talk to her as much as I hope she sees what I am doing and I hope that she knows that I am sorry.”
- Jody that asked what Tamron thought her sister would say to her. Tamron broke the solemn mood saying, “She’d asked why my legs are so shiny and if I had put Vaseline on them.”
- When she was at a conference for journalists in Houston, a man told her that she would never make it as a anchor because her eyelashes were too long. “It made me mad. Imagine what he thinks now.”
- She admitted that being “a true Texan I actually have the state tattooed on my body.” For a big enough donation, she was willing to show the donor.