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September 15, 2008 - Savor the Grape Celebration

What: Savor the Grape Wine Tasting and Dinner benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs

Where: Morton's The Steakhouse DTC

When: Monday, September 15, 2008

Time: 6:00 - 9:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: VIP $250; General $150

Beneficiary: Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center

EMCEE: KCNC NEWS4's Vic Lombardi and Rocky Mountain News Sports Writer Sam Adams

Gala Chairperson(s): Champ Bailey and John Lynch

Libations: Republic National Distributing Company provided all of the wines; Anheuser Busch, Finlandia

Sponsors: Principal sponsors: Doug Morton, Marilyn Brown and Morton Publishing Company: Additional sponsors: 1st American State Bank, Lockton Companies, WellDyne RX, Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Evans Wealth Advisory Group, Dave Evans

Quote of the evening: Champ Bailey: " Hopefully we can get this same turnout next year, PLUS TWO! I mean times two. (In reference to the previous day's Bronco win after the 2-point conversion.)

Menu: Strolling Buffet of Morton's finest, including Bluepoint Oysters, Filet Mignon, Chicken Christopher, Shrimp Alexander, Poached Salmon

Attendance: 400

Attire: Cocktail

Special Thanks: Broncos Brandon Marshall, Daniel Graham, Mike Leach, Nate Jackson, Boss Bailey, Hamza Abdullah, Ebenezer Ekuban, Ryan Torain; former Broncos John Lynch and Rod Smith; Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Dahntay Jones


Event Coordinator: Paul Kirk, Judi Anne Atencio, ProLink Sports

Blacktie Photos by: Stacy Ohlsson

 From left, Doug Morton, Dudley Morton, John Lynch and Reverend Leon Kelly.
From left, Doug Morton, Dudley Morton, John Lynch and Reverend Leon Kelly.

It was a celebration, of sorts. There were many reasons to celebrate, even though the cause that brought them together was tragic.
On Monday, September 15, 2008, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and Morton’s The Steakhouse in the Denver Tech Center, gathered with the community to raise funds for the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center. (100% of revenue goes directly to the center.)
What to celebrate in the aftermath of an unsolved gang-related drive-by shooting?
To be frank, life goes on for the rest of us. But the small things really do matter when trying to overcome tragedy.
Some of the small things celebrated on Monday night:
The Broncos won on Sunday, in a last-minute “decision.” (Whose decision it was is still being debated … the referee who blew the whistle at Cutler’s fumble, or Shanahan’s daring call to go for the two-point conversion…) But a win is a win, and there was a lightness in the air.
The community has come together to prevent and alleviate gang violence by providing pro-social opportunities for youth.
The Boys & Girls Club/Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center is already making a positive influence on up to 360 teens each day, after opening on May 29, 2008. “Tangible evidence,” according to Rosalind Williamswho traveled to Denver from her home in Ft. Worth, Texas, to asttend the event. She expressed her appreciation for the tremendous support that people have given to honor and remember her son, and to help the community in his name.
Reverend Leon Kelly, Executive Director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives has continued to be involved, and makes a huge difference by giving kids the tools to get out of gang activity.
John Lynch and Dominique Foxworth, along with Champ Bailey, joined forces with Morton’s to bring awareness to the community of the incredible impact that Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver have had in improving the lives of youth by giving them an opportunity to “realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.”
It is obvious that the bond formed by players who knew Darrent is not limited to team loyalty. Dominique Foxworth, who is now with the Atlanta Falcons, still supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and was “instrumental in the development of the new Teen Center.”
Morton’s really goes over the top when it comes to throwing a party. Rib-eye on the outdoor grill, a strolling buffet including (LARGE) shrimp, Bluepoint oysters, filet mignon, chicken Christopher, poached salmon, Ceasar Salad, asparagus, and the list goes on, to all of the patron’s delight.
BIG wines, provided by Republic National Distributing Company included prestigious wineries like Robert Mondavi, Jordan, Cakebread, ZD and others. Grab a wine glass as you walk in the door, and “savor the grape.”
The silent auction was riddled with dozens of sports memorabilia, from shoes to jerseys to footballs (all signed, of course!); priceless items, some of which were had at bargain prices!
The live auction brought in nearly $17,000. As “auctioneer,” KCNC NEWS4’s Vic Lombardi helped to instigate some changes to the auction items: John Lynch added dinner to the exclusive golf package at The Sanctuary Golf Course; when the bidding was so fierce on the opportunity to have chef Eric Pruitt fix dinner for six at home, Morton’s Tom Kohler stepped up and made it possible for both parties to win the bid by providing two dinners for six. (Or is that one for 12? Lynch and Abdullah were the high bidders!)
Certainly, many patrons are still celebrating as they share their photos, autographs and silent auction items procured with of so many Denver Bronco heroes.
Boys and Girls Clubs have been proven to enable disadvantaged youth to experience a safe and positive environment where they can learn social, academic, and leadership skills. It is documented that many of today’s professional football players wouldn’t have learned about goal-setting, commitment, and responsibility without their involvement with Boys and Girls Clubs in their youth.

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