Friday, May 13, 2011

18th Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon benefiting Genesis Women’s Shelter

I had planned on celebrating my birthday quietly, at my desk, with not much fanfare.  

Thank goodness for friends like Karen Lukin, who messaged me on Facebook that her company, Whole Foods, was a sponsor of the Genesis Women’s Shelter 18th Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon and she had a special birthday seat just for me. What a gift!    

Held on May 2, 2011 at the Hilton Anatole, the luncheon started out like any other, with an enthusiastic welcome from emcee Jane McGarry of NBC DFW-Channel 5 and then an address from the Co-Chair's, who were made up of 3 generations of Hunt women: Nancy Ann Hunt, daughters Heather Hunt, Connie Hunt Kleinert and grand-daughter, Ashlee Hunt.  

As the salad course was being cleared, the Maitre D for the hotel came up on the podium and announced that a guest had said she would donate $1000 if he came up and sang some opera for us. "Anything for the cause," he preened as he launched into a short song, which was met with thunderous applause.  

About 5 minutes later, another waiter comes up on stage and says that another guest at the luncheon countered the Maitre D's appearance and would donate $2,000 if he sang for us in French.  At this point, we started to realize this was an act and not a random occurrence. Turns out it was a group called "The Three Waiters" who had an old-West show down compeition to see who could outsing the other one. And then they all sang together.  (see video clip below) It was very original and a refreshing change of pace. Kudos to whomever came up with the idea to use them, they were very well received and it made the lunch super entertaining.

After all the hoopla of the singing waiters, it was time to get down to business and talk about the issue at hand, which for Genesis Women's Shelter is domestic violence against women.

This year, distinguished American journalist, author, former news anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw, was the keynote speaker for the event.

Brokaw couldn't begin his prepared speech without addressing the news about the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden.  He said that a friend who "is very high up in the Administration" called him before the President went on-air to address the nation and said, "Tom, we got him."  It was Brokaw, who then got to call executives at NBC in New York, and inform them what the President's address was going to be about.

Now THAT is scoop.

Mr. Brokaw spoke "as the Voice of a Generation,” honoring our forefathers who survived the Great Depression of the 1920s and fought in World World II, not only overseas and on the battlefield, but at home by contributing their time, materials, and resources to collectively aid in the war effort. By speaking about the productivity and determination those who came before us, Mr. Brokaw said he hoped to encourage a new generation to spring into action and get involved in the fight against domestic violence.

Karen Lukin and birthday girl, Cynthia Smoot

Congratulations to Genesis who surpassed their goal of raising $1 million dollars through this fundraising event.  That is quite a feat!