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Terry Wilcox, Honorable Charlotte Wilcox, Judy and Terry Wilcox, Honorable Charlotte Wilcox, Judy and Jack Philips | Photo c/o Bob Manzano

The Fifth Annual Boots & Blessings Gala took place on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Austin Ranch to benefit Ally’s Wish. The Flower Mound-based organization grants wishes to mothers battling terminal illnesses, so they may create lasting memories with their children and loved ones. Attendees kicked off the night by perusing an extensive silent auction. TV personality Scott Murray served as emcee for the evening and gathered everyone to their seats where the program began with a rousing game of Heads or Tails with the winner receiving a pair of Dallas Cowboys football tickets. Larry and Pat Conner took to the stage to remember their daughter, Allyson Hendrickson, the inspiration for the creation of Ally’s Wish and the organization’s first wish recipient. They wistfully reminisced about her obsession with candy sprinkles and then invited each guest to take the small bottles of candy sprinkles at their place setting and dose their cupcake in memory of Allyson. Larry Conner then led the room in prayer and blessed not only the meal but prayed that guests would open up their hearts and wallets for the evening to support Ally’s Wish in their fundraising endeavors. Guests then enjoyed live Country-Western entertainment from The Breckenridge Band as they dined on a traditional BBQ fare.

As the dinner hour wound down, Murray returned to the stage to invite this year’s event chairs the Honorable Charlotte Wilcox and Terry Wilcox along with Honorary Chairs Judy and Jack Philips to the stage to say a few words. Charlotte thanked this year’s sponsors ValuTrac Software, Weight Loss Specialist of North Texas, J. Philips Mortgage, Inc, The Monarch Team/Stephanie Carter, along with table hosts, members of the Host Committee and generous event partners for making this year’s event a success. Victoria Van Winkle took to the stage and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after hearing her speak passionately about the impact of having her Mother’s wish granted, giving the family a trip to Disney World and the memories created during that time.

Auctioneer Mike Trent then took to the floor to conduct the live auction. Former Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Casillas joined him to auction off a day of golf he would host. A few minutes into it, Tony grabbed the mic to announce that he was upping the ante by including two tickets on the 50-yard line to an upcoming Dallas Cowboys game, plus a parking pass. Needless to say, hands shot up around the room with this amazing package going for over $7000. The evening concluded with line dancing instruction provided by The Breckenridge Band.

Since its inception, Ally’s Wish has granted over a hundred wishes to mothers who’ve battled inflammatory breast cancer, Leukemia, colon cancer and other terminal illnesses. Ally’s Wish currently has 43 moms waiting to have wishes granted with new requests arriving daily. Wish requests and nominations are accepted year-round and while based in North Texas, Ally’s Wish grants wishes to mothers across the U.S. The stories of the women who have been granted wishes and have touched countless lives along the way are featured on the Ally’s Wish website. To learn more about Ally’s Wish, please visit www.allyswish.org

Photos c/o Bob Manzano

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Michael Molthan, host of M2 the Rock. Photo by Danny Campbell Photography

Michael Molthan is a former drug addict and alcoholic seeking to break the many stigmas surrounding addiction and recovery. Since December 2017, Molthan has used his nightly radio show, M2 The Rock, to motivate and inspire people in recovery and educate their loved ones on ways to best support the addicts they love. The art of storytelling has evolved in recent years through the rise of streaming platforms, and there can be no doubt about the increased consumer demand for both audio and visual content, along with an upswing of content consumption on mobile devices. In an effort to spread the message of hope in recovery to the widest audience possible, M2 The Rock is moving from 1190AM iHeart radio and will rebrand as a digital broadcast. Starting Wednesday, March 20, 2019, the talk show will air LIVE on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube every Monday through Friday, 12/noon to 12:45 pm/CST from Real News Communications Network in Dallas, Texas and be available on on-demand via at Spreaker, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Tuneln, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud, Podbean, Alexa Assistant, Twitch.tv, Google Play, Overcast.fm, Castbox.fm, Podcast Republic, Short Orange, and CloudCaster.  


"Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of the 12 Steps, I want to help others in their struggles with addictions, hurts, habits, and hang-ups through the show by sharing my personal experience and the stories of others in the recovery community who have made it to the other side - one day at a time," said M2 The Rock host, Michael Molthan. M2 The Rock radio recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and has had a variety of guests on i its inaugural year including author Brian Cuban; Real Housewives of Dallas stars D’ Andra Simmons Lock and Tiffany Hendra; and musicians Rachel Stacy, Colicchie, Joe Nester, REM One, B-RAiN and Jam Alker. 
 
For over 25 years, Michael Molthan was known as one of the best luxury home builders in the country. An addiction to drugs and alcohol caused his life to spiral out of control, slowly stripping him of everything that mattered to him, including his business, his relationship with his family, his marriage, his children and finally, his freedom. After 27 arrests and doing close to 4 years in prison, Molthan had a spiritual awakening and turned his addiction over to God. In October of 2017 a series of miracles occurred when Molthan was "accidentally" released from jail on a paperwork error. traveled over 300 miles with no money, no food, and no transportation to meet with his Judge, Jennifer Bennett, to be placed back into jail and then go to prison. Because of the dramatic spiritual awakening Michael experienced during his incarceration and his willingness to do anything to get healthy the Judge granted him another miracle, which was to forgive him and challenge him to pursue a self-correct program. Within a few days, a reporter Molthan had known from his home-building days reached out to interview him and that radio interview led to the miracle of Molthan being given his own show on iHeart radio. In addition to his work on the show, Molthan is an in-demand speaker on the topic of addiction and recovery. www.M2TheRock.com
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On Thursday, February 7, Emmitt Smith hosted supporters and sponsors at DEC on Dragon to kick off this year's 10th Annual Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational. Once again, this year's upcoming Celebrity Invitational golf tournament and gala will be presented by Healthcare Highways May 3-4. This year, the Friday gala will be held at the Omni Frisco Hotel and Saturday's golf tournament will remain at TPC Craig Ranch. Special thanks to Brown-Forman Corporation for providing Tequila Herradura specialty cocktails. Guests were able to witness firsthand the power of mentorship and opportunity as TEAM 22 student, Lauren Marks, announced her scholarship to Yale University. Her accomplishments are just one of many examples to what this organization is all about! To learn how you can attend or get involved, visit www.emmittsmithcelebrityinvitational.com

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Missy Phipps, Nicole Kelly, Melissa Cary, Kim Bain

On Tuesday, Feb. 5 supporters of Ally’s Wish gathered in charming Downtown Lewisville for a night of progressive shopping to kick off celebrations for the upcoming 5th Annual Boots & Blessings Gala. Old Town Wine House, Perc Coffeehouse, Main Street Mercantile and Flourish Flowers & Gifts all offered sips and nibbles to lure in shoppers, although all who attended were happy to shop for a cause. A portion of the evening’s sales went to benefit the charity and aid in their mission to grant the last wishes of moms suffering with terminal illness to give their family one last forever memory. Towards the end of the evening, everyone gathered inside the Old Town Wine House to learn more about this year's gala celebration taking place on April 6th at Austin Ranch. To learn more about the opportunity to attend, visit www.allyswish.org.

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Alanna Sarabia, Kelle Sherpy, Erica Greve, Candace

On Friday, November 16, over 300 guests gathered at The Hilton Southlake to party for a purpose at the 4th Annual TableTops Southlake luncheon. Hosted by Good Morning Texas Co-Host, Alanna Sarabia and “Chewbacca Mom” Candace Payne, the festive gathering kicked off the holidays with 35 beautifully decorated table tops by local designers and community members, a silent auction, wine and liquor pull, and photo booth. The purpose of the gathering was to bring together this local community of influential and philanthropic women for one purpose –– to rescue children out of slavery. Among those in attendance were Unlikely Heroes CEO Erica Greve, Jenny Anchondo Oakes, Donna Maas, Michelle Davis, Lily Moore, Mike Hutchison, Olive Cannon, Roxann Taylor, Cynthia Smoot and Delilah Clap.

100% of the proceeds raised from TableTops will benefit Unlikely Heroes USA restoration home, Goldie’s House, located right here in the Dallas area, which is an oasis of hope for girls once trapped in slavery. “Your dollars are going to provide a child everything they to live a transformed life - including trauma therapy, education, life skills, medical care and most of all, allowing us to model this in a healthy family environment,” said Kelle Sherpy, Director of Dallas Initiatives for Unlikely Heroes.  “Our heart is to give these girls a home. Not just a house, but a home. And your donations allow us to do that. What you are saying to them by being here today is that you’re worth it and you matter.”

TableTops' partnership with Unlikely Heroes is one forged in a mutual desire to see modern-day slavery abolished right here in our backyard. Unlikely Heroes is an international nonprofit organization that rescues and restores child victims of sex slavery, placing them in restoration homes that provide safe housing, medical care, trauma therapy, legal assistance, education, job training and lots of love. With over 100 kids living in their seven homes around the world and one right here in Tarrant County, Unlikely Heroes values "the one" –– the one child that, with the full restorative services, will heal and become the unlikely hero that ends slavery forever. Learn more about Unlikely Heroes mission to bring freedom and safety to more kids at www.UnlikelyHeroes.com.

Photos courtesy of Kumiko Murakami

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Terra Mediterranean is excited to announce their newest location is NOW OPEN in new restaurant district at The Shops at Willow Bend. Opened by brothers, Jalal Chanaa and Adam Shanaa in Dallas in the early 90s, Terra Mediterranean has become an iconic stop for foodies hungry for fresh, healthy cuisine. The menu ranges from freshly prepared hummus, salads and moussaka to gyros, saffron chicken, as well as an array of meat and fish kabobs. During the day, the crowd-pleasing lunch buffet is loaded with traditional Mediterranean favorites while dinner features specialty items such as grilled sea bass, lamb chops, and oven-roasted trout. The combination of quality meats and seafood, fresh produce, legumes, olive oils, whole grains, and bold spices create authentic flavors that are distinctly delicious. Guests to the new location will be able to indulge in Terra’s new Happy Hour menu featuring a select bar menu, $1 off Beers, House Wine at $4, Sangria for $2 off and $5 House Mojitos every Monday to Friday, 5:00 to 7:00 PM.
 
“We are thrilled to bring our Terra Mediterranean concept to The Shops at Willow Bend,” said Adam and Jalal, owners of Terra Mediterranean. “This new location is roughly 6,800-square-feet and will feature two patio areas, upstairs and down, and a large lounge area upstairs that will be perfect for a relaxing evening or that can be transformed for all types of events.”

Terra Mediterranean rounds out the international flavors that have joined The Shops at Willow Bend’s new restaurant district. They are joined by a variety of chef-driven including concepts Knife, created by chef John Tesar, Mexican Bar Company Cocina, Whistle Britches and Ascension coffee shop. Located at 6121 W. Park Blvd in Plano, Texas, The Shops at Willow Bend offers North Dallas customers a unique blend of Texas-style ambiance and world-class shopping, dining and entertainment. Its two levels feature more than 125 stores and restaurants.

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Chike Okonkwo, Francia Raisa, Jessica Oyelowo, David Oyelowo, Erica Greve and Sara Evans pose for a photo at the Unlikely Heroes 6th Annual Recognizing Heroes Charity Benefit at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas on October 27, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images for Unlikely Heroes )

Unlikely Heroes, a non-profit organization that rescues and restores child victims of slavery worldwide held their 6th Annual Recognizing Heroes Awards Dinner & Charity Benefit on Saturday, October 27, 2018. The evening kicked off with award-winning actor, David Oyelowo and his wife, Unlikely Heroes ambassador and actress, Jessica Oyelowo welcoming guests to a very special evening with a with a non-profit close to their hearts. “We love that you are here and to help set those trapped in slavery free” says David Oyelowo. The two described their unbreakable bond they have established with the girls, Unlikely Heroes and CEO Erica Greve. “When you rescued us, you gave us a fighting chance to live and to become educated to help others in need” says Jessica Oyelowo when asking the girls what you like people to know about you and the Unlikely Heroes foundation. The audience roared with applause when Austin Hurst of Hurst Capital announced that he was pledging a ONE MILLION DOLLAR matching grant that will rescue 200 kids and give them full restorative care for a year! He encouraged guests to match his contribution so that together over 400 children would be rescued. 


The evening’s keynote speaker was survivor leader, Rebecca Bender. This year’s event also featured live musical performances by Emily West (America’s Got Talent Season 9) and Pia Toscano. The charity benefit was joined by celebrities from across the nation and more than 450 influencers and prominent members of the Dallas/Fort Worth community who gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. Guests enjoyed an unforgettable evening featuring a live musical performance by Multi-Platinum Country Music Superstar, Sara Evans, an exclusive VIP cocktail reception with celebrity hosts LeeAnne Locken and Melissa Rycroft, silent auction, and red carpet arrivals with special guests, Francia Raísa (Grown-ish), David Oyelowo (Gringo, A Wrinkle in Time, Selma),Jessica Oyelowo (Alice In Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow), Pia Toscano (Netflix’s Westside, American Idol), LeeAnne Locken (Real Housewives of Dallas), Melissa Rycroft (Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor), Shane Stevens(Singer/Songwriter), Chef Tiffany Derry (Top Chef Jr, Bar Rescue), Candace Payne (Chewbacca Mom), Emily West (America’s Got Talent), and fashion designer Abi Ferrin.

The 2018 Awards bestowed upon four deserving honorees for their tireless work in advancing global human rights and outstanding efforts to stop human trafficking.

Hero Award Honorees–

1.     Cathy De La Paz – Detective Dallas PD
2.     Carrie Wright – DCAC and Dallas County MDT Care Coordinator
3.     Elle Snow – Survivor Leader
4.     Alan Schonborn – Governor’s Office Child Sex Trafficking Team and regional Director MDTs

Legacy Award Honorees –

1.     MAVS Foundation
2.     Lowe’s
3.     Pro Players Foundation
4.     Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs
5.     Ryan Van Steenis

Since 2011, Unlikely Heroes has rescued hundreds of children and their journey to freedom starts in one of their 7 restoration homes located around the world, including a restoration home for children rescued from slavery in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. The experienced Unlikely Heroes teams are on the ground in the United States, Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines, providing the very best in restorative care, safe housing, education, life skills, medical care, counseling, stability and love to every single child they care for. Learn more at www.UnlikelyHeroes.com.
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Pat & Emmitt Smith with students at PESC Back Pat & Emmitt Smith with students at PESC Back to School Event

Each year, thousands of North Texas families in need struggle to provide adequate clothing, supplies and medical coverage for their children. On Friday, August 24, Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities gathered 3000 students from seven high need Dallas ISD elementary schools to the Ellis Davis Field House for a back to school experience that included free uniforms from title sponsor, JCPenney, dental screenings and services from DECA Dental; vision screenings and free glasses from Essilor Vision, age-appropriate literature to encourage reading at home from KPMG; and Albertsons/Tom Thumb provided all students school supplies, a new backpack and a bag of groceries to take home.

“Five years ago, two amazing boys wrote to ask Emmitt and I to match the $300 they had earned by doing summer chores, to help some classmates who were being teased because their uniforms and shoes were worn and tattered,” said Pat Smith. “We knew we could do better than that, so we partnered with Dallas ISD to aid as many students as we could who were in financial need. That first year, we helped 400 students. Today’s Back to School experience is now hosted annually in partnership with Dallas ISD and key Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities partners. We are so thrilled that this year we will touch 3000 students and help them start the school year off the right way - feeling confident and ready so that they can focus on learning.”

Students from Herbert Marcus Elementary, John Q. Adams Elementary, J.N. Ervin Elementary, Umphrey Lee Elementary, James Bowie Elementary, Tom Field Elementary, and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary Center begin their back to school experience, led by hundreds of volunteers from JCPenney, Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities back to school premier sponsor and Vehicle Partner - Toyota, Essilor Vision Foundation, Haggar Clothing Co., HKS and Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities Creative Partner- Axxess, by rotating through a variety of stations created to provide them with services needed for a successful school year and make them feel special. Misty Tippen, Corporate Communications Senior Manager at JCPenney, emceed a fashion show featuring students from each of the benefiting elementary schools who modeled IZOD® uniforms being donated to the schools by JCPenney.

From the podium, Emmitt Smith spoke to students, "Stay focused and stay around positive people who care for you. The principals, teachers, volunteers and sponsors who are here today have shown up because we believe in each and every one of you, we believe that you deserve to start the school year off right and we want you to know that each one of you is special and has unique talents." Entertainment for students was provided by Rock-T with The Ricky Smiley Morning Show, DJ Astronaut, the David W. Carter High School Band, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and mascot, Rowdy and an arts and crafts station hosted by Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities Creative Partner, Axxess and IKEA. Uniform delivery services were led by Two Men and Truck.

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2018 C4YL celebrity participants. Photo by Kevin Kazadi.

The 4th Annual “It’s A Jungle Out There” benefit took place on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at the Deep Ellum Art Company.  Former players from the hit TV shows Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother, and American Ninja Warrior gathered to raise funds for Cheer 4 Your Life, which helps teens pursue their passions and provides emotional support to help them stay focused on education and accomplish their goals. The evening’s festivities began with a red-carpet reception where celebrities mixed and mingled with guests dressed in “jungle chic” attire. Photo opportunities were plentiful not only with the with the celebrities in attendance but with snakes and tortoises provided by Wildlife On The Move.
 
Among those in attendance were Wendell Holland, Michaela Bradshaw, Keith and Wes Nale, Missy Payne, Baylor Wilson, Carolyn “Mama C” Rivera, Mike Holloway, Jill Behm, and Sunday Burquest from Survivor; Meg Malley and April Lewis from Big Brother; Uchenna Agu, Tanner Kloven and Ashton Theiss from Amazing Race; and Tom Doweidt, Brittany Hanks, Elliott Jolivette and Joy Strikland from American Ninja Warrior. Local media personalities Bret Mega from Hot Hits 93.3 and Brian Glenn of KEXB 620 AM radio also lent their names to the cause.

Missy Payne took to the stage to talk about how she competed on Survivor: San Juan del Sur in Season 29. She came in third place and although she lost the title of “Sole Survivor”, she walked away with a million-dollar idea to create Cheer 4 Your Life which raises funds to help high school youth discover their passion and pursue their dreams. Missy proudly introduced teens who are beneficiaries of the organization throughout the night who lent their talents to the evening’s entertainment. Kyndall Ash and Lacy Brent performed an original dance number choreographed by sister Layla Brent (alumni of C4YL).  Jamilla Johnson sang an original that she wrote and recorded last summer thanks to Cheer 4 Your Life’s support.  Sarah Seye, Mikaela Weiss and Brianna Woods performed a routine with cheerleading stunts and gymnastics.  Tanner Perkins (downhill ski racer) and William Guichon (soccer goalkeeper) spoke about their growth due to the support of Cheer 4 Your Life.

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Hosted by musician Daniel Dodd-Ellis and WFAA’s Alanna Sarabia, co-host of Good Morning Texas, the Equanimity Awards Benefit Gala took place on July 28 inside the Royal Affairs Ballroom in Lewisville, TX. The evening raised funds for JB Dondolo, Inc, a 501c3 non-profit which provides the simple, basic necessities to impoverished communities worldwide. Lumbie Mlambo, founder of J.B. Dondolo took to the stage to relay that proceeds from the evening will specifically be used to bring clean water to the Igusi Clinic in Umguza, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe and repair the kitchen and bathrooms. This effort will impact a community of 20,000 people. Guests were so moved by her story that people were approaching the stage and handing Mlambo cash and checks as she was speaking. This burst of spontaneous support generated almost $2000 in addition to the evening’s silent and live auction. Mlambo also invited everyone in the room to join her on a trip to Zimbabwe next year and participate in the renovation. 71 people signed up on the spot and the charity is already organizing the first group of twelve individuals to go in 2019. Entertainment was provided by country singer IMAJ, musician/songwriter TOLU, mind mentalist/magician John Born and comedian Alfred Kainga. Awards were presented throughout the evening to honor citizens who are using their platforms to make a positive change in the world.

2018 Honorees Included:

·       Activist, philanthropist and Real Housewives of Dallas star, LeeAnne Locken, was honored with the Community Impact Award for utilizing her social platforms and using her voice to bring attention and change to the causes she is passionate about, which include the LGBTQ community and animal care and rescue.

·       Career coach, Rogers Vigne, received the Breakthrough Award for using his platform to enhance the human condition through his experiences, personal successes and failures.

·       Author, mentor, and educator, Monica Johnson, was presented with the Excellence Award. Monica is Founder, and CEO of Monica Johnson Enterprises LLC, which includes the brands That Girl is S.M.A.R.T., and OneWordMovement Charities, a nonprofit organization for mentoring young girls and Publishing House.

·       Debra Nixon-Bowles received with the Visionary Voice Award for her work with a “Women Called Moses”, a nonprofit organization which helps battered women and their children.

·       Cassandra Bradford Wilson received the Women Empowerment Award for using her platform to change how small business owners think, how the world views the entrepreneur, and how we ourselves define success.


·       Noah McArthur received with the People's Choice Award for using his undying faith, ever-growing desire to be the best in all of his endeavors, and his quest to seek knowledge to be the driving force in relentless pursuit of excellence for not only himself, but his client and community.

·       Actress, dancer, singer, model, choreographer, motivational speaker, and advocate, Colby Christina, was honored with the Outstanding Teen Leader Award for using her platform to encourage, market and promote excellence for Teens and Tweens in the Arts.

·       Kelechi Eke received the Pan-African Thrive Award. Kelechi helps talents to thrive in the market place by creating opportunities in the entertainment industry where talents showcase their work.