Shelby About Town
Laura Bush is honored, Roger Clemens pitches in with a Little League lesson and$2 million is raised for Helping a Hero
Thanks to a windfall of generosity, 21 U.S. military personnel, seriously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, were given the keys to new homes thanks to Helping A Hero at that non-profit's national gala held at the Hyatt Regency Downtown.
A bonus for the young men and women from around the country was presentation of those keys by former First Lady Laura Bush.
Bush was honored at the dinner evening with the first Patriot Award. In addition to her keynote address, several of those soldiers shared the stories of their severe injuries. The heroes receiving keys to homes, outfitted to meet their special needs, included triple amputees, double amputees, burn victims and a female amputee, who lost her leg in an IED blast in Afghanistan.
Even before the curtain rose on the benefit, the organization had raised $1.4 million. With the talents of Mike Sadler of Heritage Auctions, the live auction brought in $600,000 and additional proceeds were garnered at the Big Board, ably manned by Eric Andell and Kelli Stoner. A hero in his own right, Johnny Carrabba contributed three dinners for 24 in his home (as opposed to the planned single dinner) with top bids in that live auction competition coming in at $35,000 each.
Despite his legal woes, Roger Clemens was a money-earner as well. His offer to pitch to a Little League team for an hour was sold to Aimee and Wynne Snoots for the high bid of $25,000.
Applause, applause for gala chairs Carolyn Farb, Chuck Jenness and Stephanie and David Nini as well as for Helping a Hero CEO Meredith Iler.
In a further act of kindness, when it was announced that Mike Bowman had won the raffle for the $11,000 Breitling Watch, donated by Shannon Fine Jewelry, he turned around and presented it to Sgt. J.D. Williams, a triple amputee who had introduced seven hero families to Helping a Hero.
Among guests contributing to the exceptional proceeds were Marshall Iler, Ampegy's Todd Thoman and wife Deanda, Jo and Jim Furr, Bob Ivany, Annette and George Strake, Resa Wing, Paul Somerville, Debbie Clemens, Rita and Chuck Scianna, Franco Valobra, Deborah Colton, Kimberly and Frank DeLape and Tissy and Rusty Hardin.