The Down Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada held its 25th annual Festival of Trees &Lights gala at Paris Las Vegas. The three-day event, from Nov. 22-24, began with a reception, dinner, awards ceremony and live auction in the Rivoli Ballroom.
The organization is recognized as the leading expert and voice in Nevada for people affected by Down syndrome. Thousands live with this diagnosis in Southern Nevada and look to the organization for support and advice.
The gala was aglow with decorated Christmas trees, and beneath the trees were gifts such as bikes, dolls, vacations, airline tickets, gift certificates and popular wines.
It was a silent auction for each tree and the gifts that went with it. Wreaths and baskets were also up for bid.
Admiring the beautiful, cleverly decorated trees were Shirley Goldstrom, Kelly and Brian Iriye, Fran Fine, Ed Skonicki, Carolyn Leontos, Wesley Roberston, Sue and Barry Becker, Nancy and Bob Joslin, Melinda and Bob Brown, Brenda and Michael Hengel, Susan Fine and Max Spilka, Patricia and Richard Wright, Michael and Renee Yackira, Michelle Eckmann, Sue and Paul Lowden, Darlene and Cliff Miller, Gloria and Mark Fine, Lynn Wiesner and John O’Reilly.
The 335 guests were led to dinner in the Champagne Ballroom by pipe major Andrew Fusco and drum major Ken Misch leading the Desert Skye Pipes and Drummers. Beth Fisher of KTNV-TV, Channel 13 emceed the dinner as all enjoyed the music of Bill McClure, the Las Vegas High School choir, and DSOSN’s adult group known as the Cool 21’s performing “Jingle Bell Rock” under the direction of conductor Emily Rawlins.
During dinner, auctioneer Richard Rehm auctioned off three extraordinary Christmas trees. First was an all-silver tree with sleigh and reindeer by Ginda Jones of Ralph Jones Display that sold for $5,000. The next tree was titled “Mother Nature” designed by Gloria Quintano and Krista Eicher, which displayed 30 items pertaining to good health and went for $4,500. Last was the “Candy Lee Tree” by Wesley Robertson with its packages of goodies and vacations in Big Bear and Cancun that went for $7,000.
The 2013 Festival of Trees gala honored individuals for their support and dedication through the years in helping DSOSN. First was Volunteer of the Year, Kevin Rutter, a DSOSN client. The Community Impact Award was given to Jeffrey and Lieuchi Fine. The Fines have three children, Asher, age 6, and Hollin, age 2. Their son, Levin, age 4, was born with Down syndrome and ever since his birth, the Fines have become passionate about helping affected families.
Michael Yackira, president and CEO of NV Energy, introduced the Windom family, recipients of the Inspirational Award. Accepting the award were parents Sandy and Rex Windom, daughter Jennifer Windom and her daughters, Lindsey and Natalie Schmidt, and Lisa Windom McAnallen and husband Brian McAnallen. The Windom family has been very involved with DSOSN for more than 20 years.
More guests enjoying the evening were North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee and state Sen. Mark Manendo; Rian Glassford, Jonathan Fine, Maria Campbell, Cathy Mink, Margaret Coblentz, Iris Parraguirre, Sue Covey, Theresa and Skyler Minden, Sheri and Art Goldstrom, Barb and Jim Silvestri, and Chuck and Michele Johnston. Event chair was Deann Cline.
The trees were on display for two more days, giving the public the opportunity to bid for their favorite tree to be delivered to their homes on Nov. 25.