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October 23, 2007 - Western Fantasy XIV - Warming Hearts Again

What: annual over-the-top bash for VOA

Where: National Western Events Center

When: October 27, 2007

Time: 5:45 p.m. cocktails, 7:00 p.m. dinner, lively auction & concert

Ticket Prices: $300 per person and $149 for young professionals

Beneficiary: Volunteers of America Colorado programs

Master of Ceremonies: Ernie Bjorkman - News2 Colorado

Honoree(s): Humanitarian Award 2007 Winners - Dave & Gail Liniger

Gala Chairperson(s): Former First Lady Frances Owens

Corporate Chairperson(s): Bill McCallum & Dick Saunders

Founders: Sharon Magness Blake, Jean Galloway

Committee Members: Corporate Committee: Tom Allee - Frontier Airlines, Sharon Magness Blake, Rick Bruno - FirstBank, Karin Catton - Johns Manville, Steve Farber - Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber & Schreck, LLC, John Fitzpatrick - Kentwood Companies, Stacia Freimuth - Colorado Business Bank, C.David Kikumoto - Denver Management Advisors, Aaron LaPedis - Fascination St. Fine Art, Kate Paul - Delta Dental, Bryan J. Pulte, Patricia Robinson - MediaNews Group, Inc.

President(s): Dianna Kunz, President & CEO

Co-President(s): Mary Beth Heller, VP of Administrative Services

Staff: Colorado Branch: Michael James, Lindi Sinton, Nolan Knox, Diane Stobnicke, Erin Kruse, Virdell Miller, Anna Strobl, Jim White

Invocation: Dianna Kunz, President & CEO

Welcome: Dave Rye, Chairman of the Board - VOA

Libations: Beringer Chardonnay and Fetzer Merlot

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Entertainment: two-time grammy award winner LeAnn Rimes

Of note: Lee Greenwood sang his moving signature song - "God Bless the USA"

Sponsors: New Millennium Partners: Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake, Phyllis Coors, Paragon Ranch; Diamond Stars: Great West Life Assurance, Yvonne and Bill McCallum, Hyde Park Jewelers, Starz Entertainment, Wells Fargo, Delta Dental, Whiting Petroleum; Gold Nuggets: All & More Italy, Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake, Colorado Business Bank, Comcast, Coors Brewing Company, CW2, Kristina and Jay Davidson/Georgia and Walt Imhoff, The Deevy Family, Epicurean Catering, Frontier Airlines, Fujitsu Constulting, Barbara and Ed Greene, Jones International University, KPMG, Sharon McDonald, Merrill Lynch, National Hirschfeld, Newmont Mining Corporation, Post-News Community, Re/MAX International Inc., Saunders Construction, John & Anne Sie Family Foundation; Silver Spurs: Janet and Eula Adams, Agrium, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, ARC, Ball Corporation, The Barton Family, Bear Creek Asset Management, BDK LLP, Carmel Partners Inc., CommScope, Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos Football Club, Denver Management Advisors, Ehrhardt Keeffe Steiner & Hottman PC, Energy Company of America, FirstBank, Forest Oil, Galloway Group, Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Graebel Companies, Barbara Grogan, the Integer Group, Carol and Brad James, Kentwood Company, Dixie and Harold Kunz, Lockton Companies, The Grace R. & Alan D. Marcus Foundation, McCandless Truck Center, MDC/Richmond American Homes, Meadow Homes, MediaNews Group, Mile High Racing, Mutual of America, National Western Stock Show Association/Hutchison Western, Neiman Marcus, Price WaterhouseCoopers, Pulte Homes, Qwest Communications, SAP Americas, Statera, UMB Bank, University of Colorado Hospital, University of Denver, Vail Resorts, Wells Fargo Private Banking, WG Nielsen Company.

Auctioneer: Lee Greenwood with help from Bill Owens & Ernie Blake

Quote of the evening: "Tonight, you are joining with VOA to offer real hope and a helping hand to your fellow Coloradans who find themselves needing food, shelter and a caring friend to give them encouragement and hope." Frances W. Owens, event chair & former First Lady

Menu: Wedge of bibb lettuce with pears salad, western bread basket, prime western grilled tenderloin served on a bed of red pepper mashed potatoes & topped with buttermilk onion rings, highligted w/ Epicurean house-made award-winning cheesy creamed spinach, & Frances' favorite peach cobbler for dessert

Attendance: 1,000 +

Attire: blacktie or elegant western attire

Florist: Bouquets

Event Coordinator: Michael James

Decor/Rental Company: Bouquets - Gunther Vogt & BJ Dyer

Board of Directors: VOA Colorado Branch Board of Directors: Chairman: Dave Rye; President & CEO: Dianna Kunz; Secretary: Myrna Mourning; Immediate Past Chairman: Bryan J. Pulte; Vice Chairman: Kalleen Malone; Treasurer: Robert F. Bardwell Jr.; Patrick Beirne; Dean Boosalis; Steve Brett; Rick Bruno; Mark Carleton; Karin Catton; Mark Cordova; Peggy Driscoll; Dianne Eddolls; Sam Freeman; Stacia Freimuth; Barbara Grogan; Joe Hodas; Carol James; C. David Kikumoto; Jim Maetzold; Sharon Magness Blake; Larry Martinez; Marjory Mauldin; Ed McBrien; Vivian Mount; Kathryn Paul; Glenn Rippey; Patricia Robinson; Larry Romrell; Dan Scherer; Don Shek; Mike Sweeney; Terri Tochihara Dirks; Herminia Vigil.
Volunteers of America Colorado Board: Chairman: Freya Brier; Vice Chairman: Don Harlan; Secretary: Ron Simpson; Treasurer: Don Shek; Directors: Blaine Chase, Dianna Kunz, Harry Gorham, John Herbolich.

Steering Committee: David Alexander, Tom Allee, Carolynn Bond, Cindi Burge, Kristina Davidson, Christel Dikeman, Kelly Ford, Adrienne Ruston Fitzgibbons, Sharon Whiton Gelt, Barbara Greene, Lynn Hamstra, Kathy Hatch, Carol James, Gail Johnson, Sandee LaPedis, Aaron LePedis, Barb McTurk, Bonnie Mandarich, Beverly Martinez, Yvonne McCallum, Kendra McDaniel, Shery McDonald Galbreath, Diana Murdy, Jennifer Olinger, Monica Owens, Debra Pain, Brandis Becky Pelletier, Michael Pollak, Dean Prina MD, Steve Rosdal, Lyn Schaffer, Susan Stiff, Nancy Lamb, Tracy Ulmer, Faye Washington

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress and Nancy Koontz

 President and CEO of VOA, Dianna Kunz, left, event chair Frances Owens, and event founders Sharon Magness Blake and Jean Galloway
President and CEO of VOA, Dianna Kunz, left, event chair Frances Owens, and event founders Sharon Magness Blake and Jean Galloway


Founders of Volunteers of America, Ballington and Maud Booth

More than 100 years ago, Maud and Ballington Booth saw a need to provide services to those less fortunate, and founded Volunteers of America. The Booths would have been proud of what they saw at the National Western Events Center Saturday night.

The 14th annual Western Fantasy "hit the ball out of the park" (as did Matt Holliday in World Series Game 3 that was televised on jumbotrons around the complex.) The mood was festive and the fringe, boots and cowboy hats were bountiful. Western Fantasty founders Sharon Magness Blake and Jean Galloway were once again gracious hostesses, greeting and mingling with the 1,000+ guests as they entered the National Western Events Center.

Guests were able to pan for that special gold nugget that gave them their choice of a prize from the gorgeous baubles on display from Hyde Park before settling down at tables to enjoy the scrumptious fare provided by Epicurean Catering.

A radiant former First Lady Frances Owens, chair of this year's event, welcomed everyone and thanked them for their support, followed on stage by VOA President and CEO Dianna Kunz and country star Lee Greenwood, a longtime supporter of Western Fantasy and VOA and who just happened to be celebrating his 65th birthday. "You don't look a day over 64, buddy," quipped emcee Ernie Bjorkman. When Greenwood launched into his signature song, "God Bless the USA," and Sharon Magness Blake toured the stadium on her beautiful horse Thunder, mascot of Western Fantasy, the tradition was as poignant as ever.

RE/MAX International co-founders Dave and Gail Liniger were presented with the 2007 Humanitarian Award for their dedication to community leadership and involvement in a multitude of causes ranging from Breast Cancer Survivor Recognition to Children's Miracle Network to Tour for the Troops to help veterans.

Some wonderful auction packages were then presented by the self-dubbed "Three Stooges," the unlikely trio of former Governor Bill Owens, Ernie Blake and Lee Greenwood. The three freewheeled their way through bidding contests and brought home some top-notch contributions for Volunteers of America. And all to help those who are less fortunate--from early childhood education for children of low income families, to sheltering women and children fleeing from domestic violence, to delivering meals to elderly people, VOA is there giving a helping hand.

The evening's festivities were topped off in style, as two-time Grammy winner LeAnn Rimes blew everyone away with her stunningly powerful vocals. Singing since the age of two, Rimes demonstrated why she began winning talent contests at very early ages and has progressed to become one of the most legendary country talents of our time.

Western Fantasy is VOA's premier fundraising event. It was founded 15 years ago by Sharon Magness Blake and Jean Galloway to benefit The Volunteers of America Colorado Branch. Since its inception in 1994, Western Fantasy has raised over $15 million to support VOA’s human service programs addressing homelessness, hunger, transitional and affordable housing, Head Start programs, and homebound elderly in Colorado.

For more information about Volunteers of America, log on to

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