Henderson, Nevada, May 18, 2013 - Supporters of The American Humane Association were welcomed into the palatial Henderson home of Bruce and Barbara Woollen for the May 18 Great Gatsby Gala celebrating the work of the organization. The glamorous Saturday evening event was part of the elegant “Lights of Compassion” weekend in Las Vegas which raised funds to continue the work of the group.
It was an evening of glamour at the Great Gatsby Gala with superb entertainment, beautiful surroundings, delicious culinary offerings, and recognition of many of those who have supported the goals of the Association.
Guests came from as far away as Florida to salute the honorees and support the programs of the organization. The Las Vegas Valley served as a magnificent visual backdrop for the festivities enjoyed in and outside the 20,000 square foot Anthem Country Club estate.
Every guest was a VIP and was asked to pose for photos on the Red Carpet leading to the front door. The entertainment began even before people entered the magnificent home.
Guests mixed and mingled while enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as they admired the beautiful surroundings.
The evening was a wonderful opportunity to chat with guests that included philanthropists, entertainers, and television and movie stars all there to do their part to raise funds for the American Humane Association which supportslocal animal rescue efforts, and wounded warriors who need the healing care of a therapy dog.
Those honored during the evening were U.S. Congressman Joe Heck, Wayne Newton, Mrs. Howard Hughes (actress Terry Moore), and Christine Robinson, Executive Director of Las Vegas’ The Animal Foundation, and philanthropist Patrick Park.
Congressman Joe Heck was honored for his service to the community. Dr. Heck has more than 25 years in public service as a physician, Army Reservist, and community volunteer.
Wayne Newton is one of only two people to receive Las Vegas' Medal of Honor. It's clear to all who know him that his heartfelt patriotism is at the very core of who Wayne Newton is. He has entertained troops in every major confrontation our country has been in since Vietnam and he was there twice.
From 2001 through 2004, Newton took 16 USO tours overseas. He was the first performer to entertain our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has always believed that, “Entertaining for our men and women of our armed forces overseas has been one of the highlights of my life.” Newton is an animal lover who has housed love birds, swans, Arabian horses, and a penguin.
Mrs. Howard Hughes, aka actress Terry Moore, is committed to ensuring the welfare and well-being of animals and children and puts her energy behind missions that further these ideals.
Christine Robinson is the Executive Director of the Animal Foundation, a private non-profit multi-service agency dedicated to making a difference in the lives of animals in the Las Vegas Valley.
Dinner Chairs Bruce and Barbara Lee Woollen graciously opened their spacious home for this outstanding event because they are proud to add The American Humane Association to their long list of philanthropic work. “Each year, American Humane Association works to protect more than 400 million children and animals and helps our nation's military families cope with the impact of service. We can not think of a more worthy cause to support.”
Entertainment was provided by one of Las Vegas' shining stars, musician/singer Frankie Moreno, pianist Lola Astanova, and classical guitarist Eric Castro. Caiatlin Comesky sang and provided guests with some comedy. Carol Conners who entertained at the Friday Tea for the organization, found herself at the piano singing and playing before the evening ended.
Lola Astanova is a winner of the prestigious Vladimir Horowitz Distinguished Artist Award and has played at Carnegie Hall. She performed with legendary American pianist Byron Janis at his Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony in New York.
Two special highlights of the evening were the auctions of a ride in an Air Force Jet which fetched a winning bid of $2,000 and the auction of a small breed dog which was purchased by Amesh Patel. Mr. Patel purchased the dog because he said, “My other dog needs company.”
Las Vegas legends Siegfried and Roy also lent their star power on behalf of the charitable events. They attended the Friday afternoon tea at the Bellagio which included a silent auction and a fashion show with women, men, children, and animals.
Proceeds from both events will establish a disaster preparedness program for the rescue of animals in Nevada and American Humane Association’s program benefitting our military veterans through the healing power of animal-assisted therapy.
Members of the Host Committee included Jaki Baskow, Bob Benzo, Lisa Bobak, Lynette Chappell, Mayor Andy A. Hafen, Eileen Hayes, congressman Joe Heck and Lisa Heck, Dorothy Huffey, Sally Kimball, Christian w. Kolberg, Jeanne marie Korn, Ken and Dianne Merkey, Cheryl Purdue, David Rangel, Laurence Ring, Esq. And Caren Caty, PhD, and Jim and Beverly Rogers.
Photos by Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis