Seven panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt formed the centerpiece of the World AIDS Day commemoration on Saturday in Dallas’ Main Street Garden.
Members of the Knitting Circle, a group of HIV-positive women from Legacy Counseling Center’s Grace Project, wore red scarves they knitted for the first time. The project is designed to increase knowledge and decrease loneliness for those in communities where HIV remains a taboo subject.
Among the quilts displayed was one with a panel for Tom Davis, founder of the Round-Up Saloon; David Barton, founder of Hunky’s; and Alan Ross, the Pride parade organizer. On another quilt was a panel for Steve Burrus, a Dallas man who co-founded DIFFA.
Another is the most requested panel in the entire 50,000-panel quilt. It reads: “My name is Duane Kearns Puryear. I was born on December 20, 1964. I was diagnosed with AIDS on September 7, 1987 at 4:45 pm. I was 22 years old. Sometimes it makes me very sad. I made this panel myself. If you are reading it, I am dead.”
Puryear made that panel at a quilt-making workshop at Resource Center Dallas, where it hung until he took it to Washington, D.C. in 1989 for a quilt display on the National Mall. On his flight home, he left it in the overhead bin and the original was never seen again. When he died in 1990, his mother made this replica from a picture and it is her replica that is part of the quilt.
Among the speakers were Otis Harris who was featured on Saturday in an MTV special, I’m Positive, and Zach Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Orasure’s new in-home OraQuick HIV test is now available in stores.
The test can detect HIV beginning three months after contact. Using it earlier than three months after a “risk event” may not produce an accurate result. Other rapid tests that can detect the virus within a few days of contact are still only available through a doctor or HIV testing facility such as the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic or the Dallas County Health Department.
Ron Ticho, Orasure’s senior vice president for corporate communications, said this is the same test doctors and other testing facilities have used for 10 years. With more than 25 million tests done, OraQuick is more than 99 percent accurate, he said.
Since receiving approval to offer a home test kit in July, OraSure has trained phone counselors to answer questions and developed and revised its instructional material that comes with the test kit.
“We took some time to develop a test kit the consumer could use,” Ticho said.
He said the kits went through two tests — observed and unobserved. In the observed test, the company watched people open the package and test themselves as they followed the instructions. In the unobserved test, people took the kit home.
“This year’s Red Party line-up is absolutely phenomenal with pop-sensation Alexis Jordan singing her #1 dance hits, ‘Happiness’ and ‘Good Girl,'” Red Party co-founder and president Jared Pearce said.
He called former Dallas resident Craig’s reputation “world renowned.”
Jordan rose to fame through her appearance on the first season of America’s Got Talent and then was picked up by Stargate and rapper Jay-Z and signed to their joint label, StarRoc. Jordan’s debut single, “Happiness,” reached No. 1 in the Netherlands and Norway, became a top-three hit in the U.K. and rose to the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot Dance chart in the U.S. Her sophomore single, “Good Girl,” became her second song to become a Billboard Dance Club chart topper.
Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund board, from left, D’wayne Teague, Tony Rox, David Hearn, Greg Wallace and John Cooper Lara
John Cooper Lara, chair of the Razzle Dazzle Dallas board, presented checks to beneficiaries of the June events at Sue Ellen’s on Monday evening.
The Metro Ball, which took place at S4 on June 8 and featured Taylor Dayne, raised $31,500 for the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund. GDMAF provides financial assistance for critical needs through local organizations when other sources are exhausted.
Funds from the Saturday night street party were split among nine beneficiaries. Those organizations were Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, Turtle Creek Chorale, Cedar Springs Beautification Fund, Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage, GLBT Leap, Uptown Players and Legal Hospice of Texas. That party raised $25,000.
Razzle Dazzle Dallas board, from left, Jimmy Bartlett, Johnny Humphrey, Chris Bengston, Thom Dance, John Cooper Lara, Kris Martin, Ron Adams and Howard Okon
Legacy Counseling Center Executive Director Melissa Grove says the agency will offer walk-in counseling for the holidays.
“The holidays can be stressful for a lot of gay people,” Grove said. “They might not get the acceptance at home that they have in Oak Lawn.”
She said that dealing with a chronic illness can compound the stress.
“We would like to be responsive,” she said.
Legacy offers counseling services to people who are HIV positive. Through the holidays, the Center is accepting new clients without an appointment Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“It’s best to call first so we know you’re on your way,” Grove said. But walk-ins are accepted without even a phone call. She said a number of people have already taken advantage of the offer and most have been taken with little wait time.
Grove said that 90 percent of Legacy’s clients pay nothing. She said that in addition to all insurance, the agency takes Medicare, Medicaid and Northstar, the behavioral health arm of Medicaid. In addition, the agency receives grants and Ryan White to cover the cost of counseling for people who are HIV positive and are not covered by other plans and earn less than $32,000 a year.
Fundraising events also allow Legacy to serve anyone who needs its care.
“No one is ever turned away,” Grove said.
The annual Christmas Stocking Auction at the Round-Up Saloon on Sunday netted the counseling center $20,000.
“That’s the highest total in eight years,” Grove said. “I just can’t thank the Oak Lawn merchants enough. They never seem to get giving fatigue.”
On Jan. 3, Leslie Jordan returns to the Weisfeld Center in Dallas for Leslie Jordan’s Church Revival with Sister Helen Holy (Paul Williams) also to benefit Legacy. Grove said the $100 tickets include a traditional covered dish dinner — King Ranch chicken, tuna casserole with corn flakes — in the old church basement. Jordan will be mingling with guests through the dinner.
Jordan is best known for his role as Karen Walker’s nemesis Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace. Currently he is appearing on Desperate Housewives and plays a newspaper editor in the film The Help.
These reality TV folks are always a surprise. Just in time for Pride, Drew Ginsburg will celeb-DJ the Pride Poule Party on Sept. 17. at the Joule. A portion of the proceeds go to “Drew’s charity, The Legacy Counseling Center.” Hey, that’s what the release says. But make up your mind quick. Deadline for RSVPs is Wednesday.
Now we wonder what Ginsburg will play. Will he mix tribal and house beats? Mix some trash disco? Will he sample some old R&B into today’s hits?
The kickoff party for the Third Annual Red Party benefiting Legacy Counseling Center is tonight at ilume. The Red Party is set for Sept. 15 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Tickets go on sale Saturday and will be available on the Red Party website. For sponsorship opportunities or more info, email Red Party Foundation co-founder Jared Pearce atJared@RedPartyDallas.org. A full press release is below.
Colorful and vibrant, Richard was born and reared in upstate New York in a small town on the Mohawk River called Crescent. Retired since 2003, this tireless educator spent 30 years teaching 4th and 6th grades, and continues as a substitute teacher for the Dallas I.S.D (Sam Houston Elementary and Maple Lawn Elementary). He graduated with a bachelor’s in elementary education from the Central University of Iowa and a has masters in education from North Texas State University at Denton.
A man of taste: This silver-haired taste maker owns an exquisite collection of antiques, tastefully chosen to accent his beautiful home. He also lends his skill and expertise as a salesman to two estate sales and as a sales rep for Metrotex at the four large annual shows at the Dallas Trade Center.
Daddy dearest: This proud patriarch of two sons, one daughter and five grandsons sees family as the root of his life. His close-knit clan lives in the area so he is able to spend a lot of time with his children and grandchildren.
His hobbies include volunteer work for DIFFA, Legacy Counseling Center and Fresh, as well as traveling, reading, working out at Gold’s Gym Uptown, dancing and shopping. He collects vintage clothing and jewelry (more than 100 suits at least — he attends the Cathedral of Hope every Sunday in one of them with an antique brooch), and Converse and Vans shoes.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.