|(left) Ryan and Dawn Neufeld (right) Jane McGarry and Steve Kemble|
Holly Forsythe, LeeAnne Locken, Bill Griffin, Parris Rigby and Gina Noble
I got a call from Gene Gates last Tuesday. He is one half of the adorable The Gene & Julie Show on KVIL 103.7 Lite FM every weekday morning. Gene & Julie had connected with Megan Saunders, one of the survivors from the Aurora movie massacre. Megan shared her story on Gene & Julie's radio show via telephone from Colorado. They were so moved by her struggle and her need to help her community that Gene's call to me went a little something like, "We want to do a fundraiser for those affected by the shootings in Aurora last week. Are you in?" And so began a three day whirlwind off phone calls, emails and postings on social media channels to pull together a benefit.
|(left) Gene gates, Matt Nordgren and Julie Gates (right) Melissa Poe|
The first thought was to host a buffet style dinner and charge $50 a ticket. I wasn't so keen on that idea. It was fellow hostesses LeeAnne Locken and Parris Rigby who called Holly Forsythe, owner of Sambuca. Forsythe not only donated her venue in Uptown but offered up hors' de ouvres for guests at no charge. This is really when things started picking up speed. David Kiger of Worldwide Express and Bill Griffin of Bill Griffin Real Estate wrote checks to underwrite funds so that all of the proceeds could go to benefit the victims and survivors. Carter Malouf donated a beautiful pearl necklace for us to raffle off. The whole project just came together seamlessly, with so many offering their resources to help.
Last Thursday, local media like Jane McGarry, Giselle Phelps from CW33, Teresa Frosini from CBS 11 and Danielle Vollmer from CW33's EyeOpener joined us at Sambuca to support and even broadcasted live on site. Bravo TV's Most Eligible stud Matt Nordgren was such a good sport and allowed us to auction off a date with him (raising $500!). And other Dallas starts like former NFL player Ryan Neufeld and his VH1 Football Wives spouse Dawn Neufeld, Steve Kemble and Melissa Poe from Big Rich Texas all showed up to support this cause and helped us promote the event through their social media channels.
|Aurora, CO survivor Megan Saunders shows that Dallas helped raise over $12,000|
Gene & Julie's goal was to raise $10,000. In the end, we raised over $12,000 that will go to aid the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy. They say everything is bigger and better in Texas - clearly, that includes our hearts and our willingness to help our fellow man.
photos: Bob Manzano