Pujols Family Foundation : News and Events : O' Night Divine 2011
7th Annual O' Night Divine Captures the Magic of Giving
Contributors: Leneia Weston and Cillah Hall
The Pujols Family Foundation held its 7th Annual O’ Night Divine Christmas Celebration on December 3 at the Chase Park Plaza’s Khorassan Ballroom. About 670 friends, partners, sponsors, sports celebrities and media personalities mingled with adults and children with Down syndrome for a very special evening to celebrate and support the work of the Foundation. In 2011, the PFF held more than 60 events.
Sports celebrities in attendance included Mike Matheny, Lou Brock, Aeneas Williams, Al Hrabosky, Kerry Robinson, Jason Simontacchi, John Mabry and Brian Jordan. Stan Musial put in an appearance with his grandson, Brian Schwarze, along with sports greats Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon. Boxer Ryan "The Irish Outlaw" Coyne and MMA Fighter Justin "the American Kidd" Lawrence were also in attendance.
Sweetie Pie’s Soul Food Restaurant owner Robbie Montgomery, her son Tim Norman and his wife Jenae missed the season finale of their hit docu-drama "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" on Oprah’s OWN network to come out and support the Foundation. Paula Deen's sons Jamie and Bobby Deen also made an appearance.
The unspoken theme of “hope, faith and love” resonated throughout the evening. Guests heard humbling stories about the Down syndrome community and the people that the PFF serves in The Dominican Republic, Albert’s native country. Through tear-filled eyes, Angie Bright vocalized the spirit. “What does the Foundation mean to me?” she asked. “I almost don’t have words to express everything this means. It’s incredible, and I’m honored to be here and to be a part of this.”
A video presentation of last Summer’s medical mission to Albert’s native country, the Dominican Republic, showed families living in poverty and how medical care and basic items that so many of us take for granted can change people’s lives. The stories captured hope, faith, and love shared by PFF volunteers and the lives they touched.
Long-time friend of the Pujols Family Foundation, John Vogelson, expressed his fond memories of attending the Foundation’s events each year. “We’re just thankful that Albert and Deidre do so much for the Down syndrome community. They have wonderful events that these kids wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.” As he spoke, the ballroom doors opened, and the big surprise for the evening began. Mr. & Mrs. Pujols missed the Autumn Prom which fell on the same day as Game 5 of the World Series, so the kids brought the prom to them! Smash Band got down with another great night of music, and the kids kicked off a dance party! Ethan Schroeder was on the dance floor partying with all his friends and was, “kicking it!” The delighted Albert and Deidre boogied down on the dance floor!
“We’re very proud of Dee Dee, and everything she and Albert have done,” said both Jackie Aguilar and Jill Morris, the aunt and sister of Deidre.
The Foundation’s Executive Director Todd Perry announced Jeanette Bax-Kurtz of the Mueller Prost PC as "Partner of the Year”. Perry spoke candidly about what it means to make it happen and the value of teamwork. “Everyone lifts up their end and suddenly it’s airborne.”
The Pujols Family Foundation is looking forward to another year of wonderful programs.