Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
The clouds cleared, and nearly 1,100 guests rocked and rolled at the “Gift of Life” Party of the Year, Champagne & Ribs, honoring Judge Jeff Branick, Greg Gentry and Dr. Coffy Pieternelle at the Cowboy Harley-Davidson Dealership.
The party’s fun and festive atmosphere was underscored by the lifesaving efforts of the “Gift of Life.”
Champagne & Ribs benefits the “Gift of Life” Prostate Cancer Program and other cancer awareness initiatives. The organization’s continuum of care includes making available critical cancer prevention information and educational presentations throughout seven counties; free prostate cancer screenings, diagnostic evaluation and cancer treatment, which the “Gift of Life” underwrites for medically underserved men; and a support group that provides a forum for men and their families to share information and camaraderie.
“The success of this organization can be counted in lives,” Branick said. “There are people alive today who would not be if it weren’t for the ‘Gift of Life.’”
Honorees Pieternelle and Gentry echoed similar sentiments.
“I am incredibly honored to be involved in this program because it makes available critical resources for people in the community,” Pieternelle said. “The number of men and women whose lives have been saved is amazing.”
“I am so honored to be involved tonight,” Gentry agreed. “I work for Valero and our company is dedicated to this cause. It is so important for us to help the “Gift of Life,” provide important prostate cancer screenings and outreach to people in the region. Through the support of the mobile mammography van in Port Arthur, we are also able to help area women receive lifesaving services.
Honorary Chairs Teri & Glen Morgan and Chairs Pat & Mick Dubea and Kathy & Dr. George Thomas led the electrifying event that featured the sensational music of American Idol finalist Michael Sarver, Mid-Life Crisis Band and The Flava Band, Battle of the Bands winning musical group. KISS impersonators also added to the zest of the night when they led the crowd in singing a rousing “Happy Birthday” to the night’s honorary chair, Glen Morgan, who celebrated his sixtieth birthday.
The packed crowd savored champagne, sizzling ribs and an incredible all-you-can-eat mouthwatering menu prepared by the Golden Triangle Chapter of the Texas Chef’s Association.
A tremendous show of support was witnessed during the live auction, with Lori Umphrey purchasing the Crystal Beach Sun & Fun Getaway Rancho Caribe vacation provided by Karen and Judge Bob Wortham; Jerry Nelson buying the Bass & Birdie Weekend at Rayburn Country; and Al Dyar, high bidder on the VIP Entertainment Package to Nutty Jerry’s for the Steve Miller Band, compliments of Jerry Nelson
Since 2000, the “Gift of Life” has conducted more than 6,000 free prostate cancer screenings and helped extend the lives of more than 60 men who have been diagnosed and treated.
Thanks to the community’s support, the “Gift of Life” will continue to provide essential healthcare screenings in collaboration with Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas on June 8 (Port Arthur), June 15 (Beaumont) and June 22 (Orange).
For more information, call the “Gift of Life” at (409) 833-3663 or visit giftoflifebmt.org.