Jefferson County Judges, Bob Wortham and Larry Thorne, have donned Mohawks and leather jackets to prepare for the Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program’s third annual Champagne and Ribs, which will be held April 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cowboy Harley-Davidson Dealership and sports the Mr. T theme, “We pity the fool who misses the Party of the Year!”
Honorees Wortham, a dedicated “Gift of Life” supporter, and Thorne, a prostate cancer survivor and local advocate for prostate cancer awareness and the importance of early detection of cancer, will join philanthropists Linda and Joe Penland, who will be serving as honorary chairs for the third year, and event co-chairs and “Gift of Life” Board Members, Paula “Torchy” Salter and Karen Fontenot, for a night of endless champagne, sizzling ribs, and an enticing assortment of mouthwatering treats.
Joining in on the evening’s excitement is the “man who made wearing gold earrings look tough,” and the “main man,” Mr. T (celebrity impersonator). Traveling from Boston to take part in the event, Mr. T along with the GOL A-Team will participate in a “Jibber Jabber” press conference on April 1 at 6:15 pm with Mr. T kicking off the party at 7:00 p.m. at the Cowboy Harley-Davidson Dealership.
“We wanted this year’s Party of the Year to increase prostate cancer awareness in our community in a fun and clever way, so we chose a “Mr. T" theme with April Fool’s Day as the date," Salter, said. "We hope this will be the most successful Champagne and Ribs yet, and we are thrilled to recognize Judges Larry Thorne and Bob Wortham as our honorees."
Fontenot notes, “I hope everyone will come out to the event in jeans and be ready for BBQ, fun and dancing. We are so lucky to have Bob and Larry involved because they are both incredible assets to our community. Early detection truly is the key to survival, and we want to spread that message throughout Southeast Texas”
As guests will mingle near Beaumont’s top-of-the-line motorcycles, the Mid-Life Crisis band will get everyone in the 80’s “A-team” style groove with classic Motown hits.
Tickets are $50 per person, and the following sponsorship categories are available: $10,000 (Champagne Sparkler), that seats 20 people; $5,000 (Champagne Toaster), that seats ten; $2,500 (Champagne Popper), that seats eight; $1,000 (Top Griller), that seats four; and $500 (Rib Sizzler), that seats two.
The first Champagne and Ribs Party was held by the “Gift of Life” in conjunction with the Grand Opening of Cowboy Honda in 2005. Our attendance of nearly 500 guests in 2005 and almost 600 in 2007 generated funding for the program’s Southeast Texas Prostate Cancer Awareness efforts.
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This year’s sponsors include: Champagne Sparkler – Charline Dauphin (in loving memory of Sidney “Chief” Dauphin and Julie & Ben Rogers), Linda & Joe Penland, and Wayne Reaud; Champagne Toasters – Denise & Mark Smith; Champagne Poppers – Shelley & Bryan Blevins, Giglio Distributing, Sallye Keith, Mehaffy Weber, Becky Quinn & Family (in honor of Judge Larry Thorne and Judge Bob Wortham), Texas Wildcatters / Sharon Terrell, TOTAL Port Arthur Refinery, Maureen & Dean Winchell, and Karen & Judge Bob Wortham; Top Grillers – K.T. Akbari, Babe Didrikson Zaharias Foundation, Dinah & David Bernsen, Joe Broussard, II (in honor of Regina Rogers), Dr. Craig Charleston & Dr. Gwendolyn Lavalais, Community Bank of Texas, N.A., Brent Coon & Associates, Courville Catering, Flanagan Shipping, Karen & Ray Fontenot, Gentile Construction / Steve and Brian Gentile, Joseph Kong, MD, FACR, Danny Chow, MD, & Ernest Hymel, MD, PhD, Cancer Center of Southeast Texas and Julie & Ben Rogers Cancer Institute, Radiation Oncologists (in honor of Dinah & David Bernsen), Aileen & Dr. Mark Larson / Plastic Surgery Associates, Munro’s Cooking Team, Orgain, Bell & Tucker, LLP, Barbara & Bob Quinn, Joette & Gary Reger, Jeannie & Dr. Leldon Sweet, Jennifer & Greg Thompson, Sheila & Walter Umphrey, Valero Port Arthur Refinery, Patsy & R.O. Williams, Jr. (in loving memory of R.O. Williams, Sr.), Rib Sizzlers – Ben Beckert, MD, Broussard’s Mortuary, Carlo Busceme, III, CHRISTUS Hospital – St. Elizabeth, Joanna & Judge Ron Clark, Karen & Michael Fuljenz, Robin & Dr. Herman Gerhardt (in honor of Carol Johnson & Susan Berndt), Marilyn & Dr. Edward Gripon, Dr. & Mrs. Lee Haak, Jean & John Henderson, IV, Gisela Houseman, Father Michael Jamail, Your Friends at Lamar University, Larsons Cosmetic & Breast Surgery Center, LTD, Mary & David Ledyard (in loving memory of Tom Mulvaney), Paula & John Lovoi, Lynda Kay & James Makin, Susan J. Oliver & Lynn M. Bencowitz (in honor of Margaret Weitzel), Hubert Oxford, III, Tracie & James Payne, Schaumburg & Polk, Inc., Dan Severinson, Michele & Mitchell Smith, Neri & Dr. Rudy Sotolongo (in honor of Judge Bob Wortham), Howard Sperling, MD, Swedes Beach Properties / Anne Willis, and TEXAS STATE BANK.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, but when diagnosed in its early stages, the survival rate dramatically improves. Risk factors include age, ethnicity (men who are African American have a higher incidence rate than those who are Caucasian), diet and family history. Beginning at age 50, men should get a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) annually. African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer should begin screening at age 45.
The “Gift of Life” Program’s Prostate Cancer Screening Program has conducted over 4,600 free tests since 2000, annually screening more than 500 medically underserved men. Additionally, the organization conducts educational outreach presentations that discuss critical prostate cancer issues and provide valuable tips for preventative care. Champagne and Ribs assists the “Gift of Life” in continuing the deliverance of these lifesaving screenings in Southeast Texas.
For more information on how to purchase a ticket, call the “Gift of Life” at (409) 833-3663.