Singer Vince Martinez has turned Be An Angel into a blessing for Legacy Counseling
Not much good usually comes out of a story that starts, “Seventeen years ago, I got a ticket for DWI.”
But in this case, the person who got the ticket was singer Vince Martinez. And the agency he did his community service work for Legacy Counseling Center.
Martinez describes himself as a hairstylist, cook and a singer who’s been on stage since he was 16.
“I was the Julio Iglesias of the Ozarks,” he said — the gay Julio Iglesias of the Ozarks who wasn’t out at the time.
When he got his DWI, Martinez was working at an Uptown salon and had heard of Legacy and the work it did through his co-workers. So he decided that would be the place to do his community service.
Executive Director Melissa Grove had him do some office work — monotonous tasks like filing and shredding old files. He wasn’t very good at that.
“We quickly learned Vince wouldn’t be very useful doing those sort of things,” Grove said, choosing her words carefully. “His talents lie elsewhere.”
He told her he could sing, not normally a skill needed around a counseling office. “But we’re a grassroots organization so we found a place for him,” Grove said.
She put him in charge of the agency’s annual Be An Angel fundraiser. The event hadn’t really made money in the past, but Grove, was giving it one more try.
Martinez ran with it.
For the first time in its history, Be An Angel made money that year; and Martinez has been running it ever since. He also became a Legacy board member and warns other people doing community service that assisting Grove was infectious.
Cast members from The Real Housewives of Dallas found out Martinez was right when they showed up to volunteer with Legacy’s Grace Project weekend. They’re still putting time in at the agency — so much time that Grove has practically become the seventh real housewife. She’s appeared in three episodes and been talked about in others.
Martinez said the Real Housewives will be at this year’s Be An Angel as well.
Martinez has, over the years, developed a habit of attracting an interesting array of people to help out with Be An Angel.
He met Buddy Holly’s widow 30 years ago and has a selection of memorabilia she gave him, including rare posters and Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day” gold record. In his early Be An Angel days, she donated items for the auction and came on stage helping to push bids up much higher than Martinez could have done.
Another of his friends is Gennifer Flowers, who had a 12-year relationship with President Bill Clinton. Martinez’s brother is president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union.
“My mother has pictures of him with the Clintons,” he said. “And I sang with Gennifer Flowers.”
Martinez has also attracted talent to the Legacy board. In fact, “He’s brought in half the board,” Grove noted.
This year’s Living Legacy Award is going to former board chair Steve Weir, one of the volunteers Martinez has brought to the agency.
For this year’s Be An Angel, set for June 18 at Wendy Krispin’s 7 for Parties in the Design District, not only will Martinez be entertaining, he will also be responsible for much of the silent auction.
Among the items is a set of three Le Creuset pans — each filled with a specialty from one of three local chefs: Janice Provost of Parigi, Monica Greene and Joanne Bondy. A fajita dinner for 50 has become a Be An Angel auction favorite. Trips include time in a Florida condo for 10 with a panoramic view of the white sand Miramar Beach.
Martinez even threw himself into the auction. For a starting bid of $500, enjoy cocktails and hors d’ouevres while touring his private art collection and enjoying a Vince Martinez mini-concert for 12 at his Turtle Creek high rise.
Thinking about Martinez’s contribution to Legacy Counseling Center, which includes Founders Cottage and Grace Project, the largest HIV-positive women’s conference in the U.S., Grove said, “His community service became an important part of our survival.”
Be An Angel dinner with silent and live auction June 18, 7-11 p.m. on June 18 at 7 for Parties, 150 Turtle Creek Blvd. Suite 107. Tickets at $125 and tables at $1,500 at LegacyCares.org or 214-520-6308 ext. 302.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2016.