Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vince Rocked the Meyerson!

What a night we enjoyed last evening at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center!

Vince Gill mixed his great, romantic oldies with many new songs from his truly amazing 4-CD boxed set that he's titled "These Days," a tune he wrote for his wife, Amy Grant.

Vince knocked down a glowing review in this morning's paper from Dallas Morning News' entertainment columnist, Mario Tarradell ("'Days' makes the night," Thursday, October 31, 2006, 1G). To read Tarradell's assessment, go to: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/ent/stories/DN-gill_1031gl.ART0.State.Edition2.3e326e9.html

Tarradell summed up the night from an artistic perspective, "The crowd roared its approval. If everybody in that venue doesn't go out and buy a copy of These Days, then nothing else can sell that package. This show was way better than any music video."

Before Vince took to the stage during A Night to Remember 2006, we honored Jim and Betsy Sowell with the Hazel E. Brown Community Partner Award.

Miss Hazel served Central Dallas Ministries up until her death almost three years ago. She was almost 90-years-old. The tribute named in her honor seeks to spotlight the work, contribution and commitment of our partners who have made a lasting difference in our work and in our community.

Thanks to the Sowells' vision and personal commitment, Central Dallas Ministries was founded in 1988 with the help of the good folks at the Preston Road Church of Christ. Jim and Betsy have continued to support, guide and help underwrite the work we attempt in inner city Dallas.

Long-time community activist, CDM Board member and recipient of last year's award, Charlie Mae Ranson helped present the award to the Sowells. Jeremy Wheeler, a young Lincoln High School graduate, who the Sowells sent to Texas Tech University, where he graduated in 2005, shared the story of his amazing experience with the generous couple.

The tribute to the Sowells concluded when CDM Board Chair, Dave Shipley announced the formation of the James E. and Elizabeth Sowell Inner City Scholarship Fund. An anonymous donor created the tribute fund with a beginning balance of $250,000 to be used exclusively for helping low-income, inner city students go on to college. No doubt the fund will grow from this amazing beginning!

Reflecting on all that has happened here since 1988 was an extremely emotional experience for me. With the Sowells on the Meyerson stage, I attempted to list just few of the results of their vision, including:
  • Over 500,000 conservations with people attempting to find a better life
  • Over 40,000 medical and dental patients served
  • Over 2,000 men and women directed to employment
  • Over 7,500 men, women and children received technology education
  • Over 1,000 teens landing summer jobs
  • Hundreds of inner city children enjoying youth day camps during the summers
  • Founding a new community development organization in San Antonio, Texas
  • Establishing the Central Dallas Community Development Corporation with over 800 inner city housing units on the drawing boards
  • Almost 200,000 meals served to over 8,000 children during the summer of 2006 at 102 community sites across our side of the Metroplex
  • Many inner city high school graduates going on to college
  • And much, much more.

Jim and Betsy Sowell exemplify the power and importance of servant-hearted people who desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

The Sowells weren't comfortable with being the center of attention, but all of us felt like this tribute was long overdue.

What a night!


Anonymous said...

It's been years since I heard Joe Schubert speak on spiritual gifts. He was the first preacher I heard speak on this important principle. His favorite was this one: "he who gives, with liberality," from Romans 12. Joe liked to say that in order to really be successful with this spiritual gift, you had to have another gift -- the gift of making money.

Jim Sowell has that gift. And with Betsy, they have truly lived out the "gift of liberality" beautifully.

The people of the Preston Road Church of Christ were supportive in the early days of the ministry that became Central Dallas Ministries, but it was Jim Sowell's passion from day one. And he did not just give his money -- I remember sacking groceries with Jim a time or two. He taught me so much about concern for all people!

I'm glad you honored the Sowell's last night. And I'm glad you remain faithful to his vision.

Randy Mayeux, Dallas

Frank Bellizzi said...

Larry, your list of results made me think of "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."

What you have described is so of God. I love it and thank God for what you and Miss Hazel, the Sowells and others have done and are doing!

Anonymous said...

wow. did vince gill donate the show?

Larry James said...

No, we had to pay him, but this event is a big fundraiser for us and we always net a nice return. At the same time, the celebration promotes our brand in the community. Great night!

Dan-o-mite said...

I cannot believe he charged you. Is that typical?

Larry James said...

Dan-o-mite, yes, entertainers are business persons. Performing is their business. It is how they make their living. No free rides unless you get a real unusual deal from a friend. We paid for him and our net profit was very nice!