After two years of postponing, rescheduling and finally having the big day come on Tuesday, March 1, most guests at The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations Luncheon just thought the spotlight would focus only on longtime community leaders Kathy and Larry Helm and the Junior League of Dallas.
But at the VIP Reception beforehand in the Plum Room, another person was being celebrated. Bank of Texas EVP Bob White told the group that in addition to honoring the Helmses, the day was also a celebration of 2002 Spirit Of Generations recipient Linus Wright, who was turning 95. As The Senior Source President/CEO Stacey Malcolmson said later, “around The Senior Source we love to celebrate birthdays.”
Before the celebration moved to the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom, the reception was like a reunion of sorts with guests playing the game of the day — catch-up. Over the past couple of years, Luncheon Chair Robin Bagwell had started the podcast “Reading in Recovery” with her buddy Jan Osborne, with one episode being a conversation with Ray Wylie Hubbard, who discussed his journey to recovery… Margo Goodwin admitted that the two past years of being mayor of Highland Park and serving as co-chair of the Junior League of Dallas’ Centennial Celebration had kept her busy pivoting from one role to another. That, in addition to having husband Dr. Bill Goodwin working from home, then going back to the hospital and then back home… Brent Christopher was in countdown mode for his wedding to Monica Egert Smith on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. When asked if he would be wearing a shamrock green bowtie, the buttoned-down Christopher replied that he would be in a proper black-tie tuxedo… The Senior Source Board Chair Peter Hegi was joined by his folks, 2016 Spirit of Generations recipients Jan and Fred Hegi. Wife Amy Hegi and his sister-in-law Libby Hegi were joining him in the ballroom… Helms daughter Marci Kramer had made the occasion a family affair bringing along her daughters, Mary Caroline Kramer, Hannah Kramer and Charlotte Kramer… Other past Spirit recipients in the room included Diane in white cowboy boots and John Scovell (2017), Becky Bright (2011) and Carolyn Miller (2011).
In the meantime, the ballroom was filling with more than 600 guests like former Senior Source President Molly Bogen, Spirit of Generations Corporate Underwriting Chair Michelle Thomas, Sheila and Jody Grant, Shannon Jurecka, Kim Cox, Sarah Losinger, Ben Renberg and Cynthia Krause as DJ LC had the music rocking just enough but not too loud.
After Peter and Robin welcomed the guests, lunch was served. It should be noted that some guests were surprised that the baskets of bread on the table were removed in many cases just as the entrée was served. At Table 51, one gentleman with special dietary requirements was plateless. After reporting the tardiness of the entrée, he insisted that the rest of the table start eating. Luckily, the wire basket of bread on his table had not been removed, so he was able to have bread and water until his plate arrived as the other guests were having dessert.
Following Junior League of Dallas President Christa Sanford accepted the Molly H. Bogen Service Award on behalf of the JLD, a short video surprised some guests with such facts as loneliness has the same effect on the elderly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; by 2030 it’s estimated that there will be more senior citizens than children in the country; and scams had hit the elderly to the tune of $1B last year. Luckily, The Senior Source is proactive in helping its clients protect themselves, providing classes and resources on financial and emotion well-being, fraud and scams, basic computer skills and more.
As the screen dimmed, Stacey returned to the podium to reinforce The Senior Source’s mission of “enhancing the quality of life of older adults in Dallas.”
When The Senior Source was established in 1961 as the Senior Citizens Foundation of Dallas, the city was far from what it is today. Schools relied on floor fans to cool classrooms; Turtle Creek Boulevard was nothing but a two-way street; while the well-to-do travel to Europe via Love Field, others welcomed heading to Arlington for a new venue called Six Flags Over Texas; Jesuit Preparatory was where Turtle Creek Village stands today and, thanks to J. Erik Jonsson and Karl Hoblitzelle, Hockaday moved from the corner of Belmont and Greenville to way out north to its present day campus; Dallas had two professional football teams — the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Texans; phone numbers were made of seven characters — five numbers preceded by a couple of letters like LA (Lakeside), EM (Emerson), RI (Riverside), etc.; and senior citizens relied on the support of their children for care and protection.
Despite that sobering note, the luncheon shifted gears to honoring Kathy and Larry with “Groovin’ with the Helms: A Tribute To Our Honorees.”
While the Helms’ love of travel, cooking and wine was evident, it was their philanthropy and being the first to help others that played true throughout.
Leading off, the Helms’ adult children Marci Kramer and Matt Helm recalled their parents having the annual vacations with reports from them and their children about their contributions to the community, Kathy’s serving in the school cafeteria and Larry’s penmanship. Neighbors Becky and Paul Lee kidded about Kathy’s asking Paul to remove the corpses of squirrels that he had shot with his pellet gun in the Helms’ backyard. Friends Suzanne and Jim Johnston displayed the book “It Just Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This” authored by Larry that had been the running joke throughout the program; Bank of Texas CEO Norm Bagwell told how Larry’s words of wisdom had sculpted his days as a young banker, with a focus on being true to one’s self and relationships; and Texas Capital Bank EVP Effie Dennison recalled when the George Floyd death took place and Texas Capital Bancshares Chairman of the Board Larry reached out to the associates asking, “What can we do for our community?”; and The Senior Source Honorary Lifetime Director John Taylor III revealed when he was the incoming board chair and Kathy was outgoing, they held quarterly dinners that have continued through the years.
Texas Capital Bancshares Inc. and Texas Capital Bank President/CEO Rob C. Holmes arrived onstage and invited the Helmses to join him and Peter and Robin for the presentation of the Spirit of Generations Award.
In typical Helms style, Larry led off laughing he had been nervous about stories that their friends would share onstage, but he added that “even though we’ve been honored today, this isn’t really about us. It’s about showcasing the needs of older adults … finding ways to help them and also thanking each of you for your incredible financial gifts to this great cause.” After praising Stacey and her team, Larry handed off “to the better half of the team.” Kathy made it short but sweet. She told how they were taught by their parents the importance of helping others and “we have tried to instill [that] in our children and grandchildren.”
For a look at other moments during the fundraiser, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.