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August 26, 2006 - Morgan Adams Foundation Concours d'Elegance, Flying High

What: A, one-of-a kind, exhibition of vintage and rare automobiles and aircraft.

Where: TAC Air Hangar, Centennial Airport

When: Saturday August 26

Time: 5 pm

Ticket Prices: $100.00 per person

Beneficiary: The Morgan Adams Foundation

Master of Ceremonies: Gary Shapiro, 9News

Honorary Chairperson(s): Gary Shapiro

Founders: Joan Slaughter and Steven Adams

Committee Members: Steven Adams, Kelly Bischoff, Gail Breece, Bari DeJaynes, Shannon Gaut, Tim hughes, Haren Hutchison, Tammy Krause, Jeremy Lahr, Charlotte Lawson, Dim Lenda, John Milton, Lissa moon, Tim Moor, Stephanie Seebaum, Joan Slaghter, Lisa & Phil Smith, Sheri Sutton, Jim Taylor and Debbie Walters

Speaker: Brad and Robin Haight

Libations: Merchant of Vino, Flying dog Brewery, Redstone Meadery and Southern Wine & Spirits

Catering: Air Culinaire, Italco Food, Japon, Paradise Bakery and PF Chang's China Bistro

Music: David Arthur and the Roundtable Quintet

Sponsors: Hyundai, American Airlines, 5280 Magazine, KCUV 102.3 FM, Auto Aficiaonado, TAC Air, Centennial Airport, Qwest, Adam Aircraft Industires, Airways Express, Anaconda Printing, Aviation Technology Group, Aviation Sales, Bauquets, Aviation Technology Services Commonwealth Group, Cirrus Design, EKS&H, IBG Business Services, Lamborghini Denver, ListenUp, Inc., Gerald L. Lukton Company, Paragon Motocars, Murray Frank Greenhouse List & Lippett, Northwestern Mutual, US Aero, Van Gilder Insuranse & AirSure Limited and WG Nielsen & Co

Attendance: 1100

Attire: Comfortable Shoes!!

Special Thanks: to the Advisory Board; Joe Thibodeau, Steven Adams, Charlie Johnson, Neil Kardos, John Zayac, Jim Walters, Frank Amoroso, Bill Bollendonk, Greg Conley, Tom Cox, Courtney Derosier, Terry Johnson, Neil Jones, Jeremy Lahr, Jim Perterson, Norm Petitt and Peter Taylor

Donors: Live Auction; The Colorado Rockies, The Capital Grille, The "Track" at Centennial, Integrated Properties, Oster Jewelers, The Denver Police Department and American Airlines,

Blacktie Photos by: Marcelo Mainzer

 Joan Slaughter and Steven Adams
Joan Slaughter and Steven Adams

by Marcelo Mainzer

When thoughts turn to achievements in engineering, names commonly brought to mind are Boeing, Douglas, Grumman, Lockheed, Cadillac, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz and yes Ford Motor Car. This just names a few of the makers of fine automobiles and aircraft represented at the Morgan Adams Foundation event “Concours d'Elegance.” Creating great cars and airplanes not only meets a need for transportation, but it also meets a deeper need in human beings; the need to create something enduring to be part of something bigger than each individual involved.

Non-Profit organizations also meet that need. Sometimes it takes a catastrophic event to make people realize the need for a solution. Many of the amazing vehicles present were designed with the specific purpose of being effective in war. The Morgan Adams Foundation, founded in October of 2003 by Joan Slaughter and Steven Adams, was inspired by the memory of their daughter, Morgan, and the horrible event of her life being taken in 1998 by a brain tumor when she was six years old.

TAC Air graciously hosted “Concours d'Elegance” again this year at their hanger at Centennial Airport. As five o’clock approached a light rain had fallen, a curtain of clouds began to rise. Some of the rare and antique cars had been left on the tarmac and their owners were gently wiping them to get them back into pristine condition. The relative silence was broken by the throaty growl of several sports cars being brought out to their places of display. The aircraft sat outside looking too regal to be bothered by a few raindrops. As the weather system broke up, the spectacular view of the far off Rockies made itself seen, beautifully framed by great swatches of cerulean blue sky.

Then, the computer filled command center at the entrance swung into action, registering guests and assigning bidder numbers for the live and silent auctions. The flying crafted at the show truly ran the gamut. From a small but sturdy Alexander Eaglerock biplane, a favorite of the barnstormers of the early 20’s, through several personal craft like the Cirrus SR22-GTS, Piper Meridian and up to the A700 by Adam Aircraft, just about every decade was represented. There were also propeller fighter planes like the Grumman Bearcat, several North American trainers. Walking past the planes was like moving through time, with both to the jet fighters like the MiG-17 and the Lockheed T-33A, and sitting like the Queen of the Skies, the Douglas DC-3 “Flagship Detroit.” Amazingly, this plane was the oldest DC-3 in the world still flying.

The variety of automobiles at Concours is always astounding! The little Morgan Three Wheelers look almost toy-like when compared to the big Lincoln’s, Packard’s and Cadillac’s of the 30’s and 40’s. The newer Ferraris, Porsches, Lotuses and Lamborghini sat like big cats at rest, but ready to spring. While the Jaguars, lounged with nothing to prove. Inside the hanger real, vintage racecars like the McLaren M-6A and M20 quietly dreamed of past glories. Representing the elder statesman of the car world were a Sears Model P from 1910, a Renault Towncar circa 1912, and a 1918 Cole on loan from the Forney Museum.

When asked what the appropriate attire is for the “Concours d'Elegance” the response is “comfortable shoes,” becausethere is always much to see and a lot of space needed to house it all. Besides the unique transportation exhibits, supporters of the Morgan Adams Foundation have the opportunity of bidding on over two hundred items in the silent auctions! In fact, there are so many items that tables are set up in both the hangers of the event just to have room for everything. Among the silent auction items, generously donated this year were art items including prints of nature as well as aircraft and cars. Under the “Need for Speed” category were tickets to several museums, dining certificates, and other entertainment items. Gift items also included flip phones, coffee baskets, and baggage and movie memorabilia. There were “Home Finds, Fashion & Accessories, Wine & Dine and Getaways,” as well. In other words, there really was something for everyone to bid on to help support the work of Morgan Adams Foundation.

Out on the tarmac the excitement kicked up a notch with an exhibition of stunt flying by three North American trainers, followed by the aerial acrobatics of a P-51 “Mustang.” All of the action was described by “Voice of the Sky” announcer Bob Stovall. Back in the hangers, auctioneer Kevin Murray gave bidders updates and information on some of the many items. MAF events are known for more then exquisite machines and exceptional art, they are also known for fantastic food. This year the food was provided by: Air Culinaire, Italco Food, Japon, Paradise Bakery and PF Chang's China Bistro, while the libations were donated by: Merchant of Vino, Flying dog Brewery, Redstone Meadery and Southern Wine & Spirits.

Although the evening is filled with wonder and fun, the purpose of the event is ever present. High up on the hanger walls hung photos of the children that have been served by The Morgan Adams Neuro-Oncology Research Fund at The Children's Hospital in Denver and other notable partner research organizations across the country. They have served kids like Kyle, Tanner and Kyra, Chris, Dani, Zachary, Abigail, Danielle, Bugsy and Morgan. They have improved the lives of kids like Christian, who was at the event with his family. The evening was filled with gratitude as well, and this gratitude was voiced by the emcee and honorary event chair, Gary Shapiro from 9NEWS. Brad and Robin Haight especially voiced their gratitude. They are the parents of Will Haight, a four year old who is finishing his twenty-six month treatment for brain cancer at Children’s Hospital.

Brad Haight stood and said “I can honestly tell you, each and every one of you that’s done anything for this Foundation and the great Doctors in the Oncology Department at Children’s, that you all helped to saved my kid’s life,” after loud applause he continued to say that “I am without question the happiest guy here.” Brad told the story of his son’s illness, one that is familiar to many parents of children with cancer. It is a story of hope and disappointment. His story was also familiar to families who found Dr. Nicholas Foreman and the Neuro-Oncology program at Children’s Hospital. Brad said, “I watched Nick and his team shepard my child through five life threatening situations,” and “in each instance Will came out just fine.”

Brad described the extensive treatments that Will has undergone and when he said “I am happy to report to you that there is no cancer in my child’s head today” to which the audience burst into cheers and applause. When Robin Haight approached the microphone she quietly said “What I want everyone to remember is that we are just one family, and Will is just one example of a kid who is alive today, because of the research funding that the Morgan Adams Foundation has funded.” Robin reminded every one that “One in three hundred children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of nineteen, and saving one child out of three hundred may not sound like much, but when the possibility is that it’s your child, it really means a lot.” Robin reminded them that the research of the Neuro-Oncology program at Children’s is shared with doctors all over the world, all dedicated to saving children.

Robin finished with “I know it sounds pretty daunting when you hear a number like four hundred million dollars” needed for research, “And you think, anything I can do doesn’t mean much. But every dollar counts, and you have this amazing opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children.” Robin reported that in the last ten years at Children’s the brain tumor survivor rate has risen from “what I consider a heartbreaking” ten percent to over sixty percent!” Robin echoed the sentiments of others who have live through this kind of experience when she said, “no matter what the outcome, we knew that it was important to find some good in our struggles and to help other families who are facing the same situation.” Robin quoted Joan Slaughter, saying “Your have to join the fight. Our family has joined the fight, and we hope that yours will too.”

When the auction began, with Gary Shapiro describing the items and auctioneer Kevin Murray running the activities, the attendees did join the fight. Guests joined in by bidding on wonderful items like a Todd Helton baseball jersey, dinner for eight at The Capital Grill, An Argentina Wine Country Vacation, a flight in The Flagship Detroit, a Dunhill timepiece, and a night-surveillance helicopter ride with the Denver Police Department to name a few. They were also given the opportunity of just raising their paddles to give, and one after another paddle did raise, gifts of a thousand, five hundred, two hundred fifty and one hundred dollars were given. Perhaps Robin Haight’s words struck home when she said “Every dollar counts.”

The evening ended with gratitude, as Joan Slaughter and Steven Adams rose, they thanked Robert Olislagers of Centennial, as well as Dan Bryant and Steve Bloom of TAC Air. They thanked Hyundai and all the sponsors. They thanked the Murray family whose grandson Tanner is going through cancer treatment. They thanked the over eighty volunteers and the Board of Directors. They thanked all the people who brought cars and airplanes. Joan took a moment to thank the Derosier Family in honor of “Concours d'Elegance” co-chair Brett M Derosier who was killed in a tragic plane accident on August 13, 2005.

Joan then pointed out the photographs of the children, she said “We have some children who have not been successful in their battle and we have some that have survived and some that are still fighting” she said. “I wanted to thank them (the families), each and every one of them, for allowing us to share their children’s journeys with you”, she said, “it’s a great honor for us to be able to embrace their children, and thank you all for what you have done to help them tonight.”

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