Resource Center honors volunteers

Leon Catlett receives top honor posthumously at annual dinner

LEGACY OF SERVICE | Carol Fisher accepts Resource Center Dallas’ 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award on Sunday, Jan. 29, on behalf of her son, Leon Catlett, who died last year. RCD Executive Director and CEO Cece Cox, left, and services manager Kee Holt presented Fisher with Catlett’s award during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Starlight Room in Dallas.

From Staff Reports
editor@dallasvoice.com

More than 1,090 people gave more than 49,100 hours of their time and talents valued at more than $1.05 million to Resource Center Dallas in 2011, allowing the center to make life better for thousands of North Texans.

The volunteers were honored at the center’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Party on Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Starlight Room in the Dallas West End.

Longtime volunteer Leon Catlett, who died last November, posthumously received the 2011 Martha Dealey Volunteer of the Year award.

“Leon’s vibrant presence volunteering for the center, from the front desk and nutrition center to events such as Toast To Life, was a comforting and consistent presence for our staff and clients,” said Cece Cox, RCD’s executive director and CEO. “We miss him terribly, but are comforted by and thankful for his legacy of service to the center.”

Resource Center Dallas also recognized the following:

• Michael Chau received the Randolph Terrell Community Service Award, given to a group or individual for exceptional service to the LGBT community and/or people living with HIV/AIDS;

• Miles Vinton was given the Suzanne Wilson Award, presented to the year’s most significant volunteer in Client Services;

• Jack Hancock received the John Thomas Award, in recognition as the Gay & Lesbian Community Center’s exceptional volunteer of the year;

• Dr. Jaime Vasquez was awarded the Bill Nelson Award honoring the Nelson-Tebedo Health Resource Center’s outstanding volunteer of the year; and,

• David Granger received the Bruce Long Award for outstanding development department volunteer.

The center also recognized 117 volunteers who contributed more than 100 hours during 2011. Miles Vinton, with 906 hours, was recognized for donating the most amount of time last year.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 3, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Resource Center Dallas Honors Volunteers

It was an evening of glitz and glam as hundreds from the LGBT community packed the Starlight Lounge to honor volunteers for Resource Center Dallas on Sunday.

More than 1,000 people contributed more than 47,000 hours — valued at about $985,000 — to RCD in 2010.

On Sunday night, RCD honored them — Retro Hollywood style.

The moment volunteers and guest stepped out of their vehicles, they were met by valet and shown to the red carpet. Upon entry, they were invited to the posh open bar as well as catered hors d’oeuvres and dinner.

“This event is excellent for the community,” said James Weber, a supporter of the event. “It encourages support, involvement and gives a sense of appreciation to a whole lot of people.”

With more than 100 volunteers to recognize, RCD utilized a dual host technique and a team of (what else?) volunteers to hand out awards.

The true star of the night was longtime volunteer Barbara Foster. For her significant contributions to RCD and various other community groups over the years, Foster received the 2010 Martha Dealey Volunteer of the Year award.

“Come see what a difference — it’ll change in your life — see what you’ll get out of [volunteering],” said Foster. “Because I’ll tell you, I get more out of [volunteering] than I give.”

She added that being recognized by others she works with at RCD felt wonderful.

Cece Cox, executive director of RCD, said the power of volunteers to help an agency succeed in serving the community is what it’s all about — having fun networking but contributing back to the community.

—  admin

Applause • Rainbow connection

Jose Reyes, chair of the DSO’s gala,makes a musical outreach to the gay community

Jose Reyes
As chair of the DSO’s gala after party, Jose Reyes sees this as the perfect opportunity to reach out to the gay community.

When the Dallas Symphony Orchestra people began planning their season kickoff gala and after-party, longtime volunteer Jose Reyes had an a-ha moment: An ultra-lush soiree of society’s finest that wasn’t being pushed to the LGBT community? It didn’t make sense.

When he chimed in that this should be a direction to consider, the DSO went him one better.

“They asked me if I wanted to chair the event,” Reyes says. “I said absolutely!”

This brought to light a bigger notion to Reyes prompting, him to root out the connection between Dallas’ premium philharmonic and the gay community. As a 20-year DSO supporter and a member of the gay community, the answer was really in front of him the whole time, and obvious to all Dallas gay … whether they realized it or not.

“The Easter concert at Lee Park targets us,” he says. “The DSO is keenly aware that the audience that day isn’t just Mr. and Mrs. Jones, it’s also Mr. and Mr. Jones and that is perfectly fine with them.”

The annual event is right there among gay events with the Pride Parade and the Halloween block party in terms of visibility. With that, Reyes witnesses the DSO’s support of the community upfront and now wants to turn that around. He knows there’s a strong connection that needs to be realized.

“It’s no secret the gay community is a huge supporter of the arts. We’re the tastemakers aren’t we?” he says. “That concert may be free to you and me, but it’s very expensive to put on so I feel it’s important we support them back.”

Reyes figures this gala will do just that, because gays love a good party. This year, they gala — a fundraiser for education and programs by the DSO — will be a huge, saucy affair (see sidebar).

“The gala concert with pianist Jeffrey Kahane and the after party experience is going to be fabulous and the only ticket in town. The Meyerson lobby will be completely transformed into a romantic 18th century European garden in the time of Beethoven.”

He thinks with a direct push to the community, it will respond. Sometimes all that’s needed, according to Reyes, is an invitation. He assures this is the one to get.

“The gays are gonna love it,” he assures. “And the DSO loves its gays.”

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas