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U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, retired Dallas Police Lt. Bill Walsh, Sleep Experts/Christine Cook and Eva Nelson among award recipients to receive their awards at the Texas Trailblazer Awards luncheon on Thursday, October 6, benefiting The Family Place

Back Row: Ron Berg, Plains Capital Bank; Honey Rothermel and Hadley Galt, luncheon co-chairs; Bill Walsh, recipient of the Man of Influence Award; Paige Flink, Executive Director, The Family Place.

Front Row: Christine Cook, Wife, Mom and President, Sleep Experts, recipient of the Advocacy Award; Margot Perot, Honorary Chair; Eva Nelson, recipient of the Real-Life Hero Award.


It was standing room only at La Duni Latin Kitchen in NorthPark Center recently as supporters of The Family Place celebrated the 2011 Texas Trailblazer Award recipients at a cocktail reception sponsored by Artizone.

As guests mingled they enjoyed 1888 Dirtiest Martinis, wines, artisanal cheeses, including a decadent brie that melted in your mouth, and light and tasty desserts customized with white chocolate wafers featuring logos honoring Texas Trailblazers, The Family Place, La Duni and Artizone.

Honorary chair Margot Perot, together with event chairs Hadley Galt and Honey Rothermel joined with Artizone’s Amber Dietrich and Paige Flink, Executive Director, The Family Place in welcoming everyone.

Honey thanked presenting sponsor T. Boone Pickens, The Boone Pickens Foundation - A Communities Foundation of Texas Fund and reminded everyone that the luncheon educates, as well as raises money for The Family Place, working to keep our community safe.

Margot said she admired the work being done by The Family Place and announced U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as the recipient of the 2011 Texas Trailblazer Award saying, “Kay Bailey Hutchison is the first and only woman elected to the US Senate to represent the State of Texas.” The Family Place Texas Trailblazer Award recognizes a local woman who has achieved significant success despite the obstacles she has faced along the way.  She is a woman who has accomplished a "first" and opened the doors of opportunity for other women.  She has made significant contributions either in her community, business or profession.  No matter what her accomplishments, however, she is a woman who has blazed a trail for others to follow.

Honorary Chair Perot also announced retired Dallas Police Lt. Bill Walsh as the recipient of the Man of Influence Award, which recognizes a North Texan who is leading by example to make domestic violence a “community issue” rather than a “women’s issue.”  Through his lifestyle, he is setting a standard of compassion, support and commitment that promotes healthy relationships.

Walsh is a 26-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, where he was a lieutenant and served as the commander of the Crimes against Children Unit. In 1989, he started the annual Crimes against Children Conference that is held annually in Dallas. Also in 1989, he co-founded the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center, one of the largest programs in the country. Currently he is a consultant for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Internet Crimes against Children Training and Technical Assistance Program.

Walsh said his work is a team effort on behalf of all of those who work in the trenches helping prevent child abuse.

Eva Nelson was announced as recipient of The Family Place Real-Life Hero Award for her work with the Girl Scouts in conjunction with various non-profit agencies in our community. This award recognizes a man or woman who contributes to the quality of life in our community without reward or recognition. This individual embodies a positive spirit, and works tirelessly and humbly to help others. He or she demonstrates initiative and goes above and beyond the call of duty to make North Texas a better place.

The Family Place Youth Service Award and Scholarship recipients are Brittany Buretz and Hayley Schmidt. This award recognizes students who are outstanding leaders in their high school communities.  They have participated in The Family Place Be Project Program for a minimum of one year, acting as mentors to educate their peers about healthy relationships in an effort to prevent teen dating violence and sexual assault.

Paige announced Sleep Experts as the recipient of The Family Place Advocacy Award. This award recognizes an organization that has played a vital role in furthering the mission of The Family Place to stop the suffering of women and children victims of family violence in North Texas.  By providing generous financial and volunteer support and promoting awareness with employees, associates and peers, the Advocacy Award recipient is a strong voice speaking out for victims of family violence to improve our community’s response to their critical needs. Since their involvement began in 2003, Sleep Experts has donated over 9,000 beds to help homeless or displaced families.

Christine Cook, Wife, Mom and President of Sleep Experts said, “It is such an honor sharing the gift of sleep since 2003. It is a privilege for Sleep Experts to share and in this small way to have made a difference. We thank The Family Place for inspiring us.”

A round of applause was heard for each award recipient and the big applause came when Paige announced that October 2011 marks her 20th year anniversary of work with The Family Place, which began literally in her home in 1991.

All of the awards will be presented at the luncheon on Thursday, October 6 at the Hilton Anatole, which features Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize winner, co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide with her husband, Nicholas Kristof, as the guest speaker. She is a reporter, business executive and lecturer. This compelling book takes readers through Africa and Asia to meet extraordinary women despite their struggles facing abuses like sex trafficking, forced prostitution and gender-based violence. The stories in the book show how a little help and empowerment can transform the lives of women and girls abroad.  

Event Audience and Goal:

The Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon is generally comprised of corporate sponsors, philanthropists, media, table hosts, and accomplished men and women in the North Texas community.  The event raises funds to support the comprehensive programs of The Family Place and ensure that life-saving services will be available to women victims and their innocent children for years to come.

Tickets and Underwriting:
Sponsorships start at $1500 and tickets are $125 and can be purchased here:
http://www.familyplace.org/Page.aspx?pid=514  The public is welcome, by advance ticket purchase only.

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