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AROUND TOWN: Gayle Beshears: giver of hope
His heart’s as big as his cowboy hat and his Texas drawl, but Gayle Beshears has never been able to figure out why he gets awards and honors for doing what he loves to do.
He opens his 14,000-square-foot home in Broadmoor Resort hundreds of times for nonprofits to use for fundraising parties and soirees. He donates thousands of dollars to area groups.
On Jan. 12, 300 friends joined him at the Broadmoor International Center as he accepted the 2013 Award of Hope on the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society.
“I still wonder what I did to deserve this award,” he said.
Then the audience learned from emcee Craig Eliot that in 2006 Gayle was one of a group invited by the Memorial Hospital Foundation to a short get-together to learn about and raise funds for this area’s first digital mammography at a non-military hospital. It was only available at the three military hospitals but was in planning stages at local hospitals.
In less than 45 minutes the small group raised $60,000, half the cost to change out a regular mammography machine to make it digital. And then they heard the drawl, “I’ll match that.” It was Gayle Beshears. Altogether enough was raised for six digital mammography machines.
Later that year he helped make the Mary Lou Beshears Breast Care Center at Memorial a reality. The woman he had called “my sweetheart” for 51 years died in 2006. She had breast cancer.
Talking about Gayle’s gift to women with breast cancer brought celebrity auctioneer Kevin Patterson to tears. He was thankful, he said, that his wife, Dr. Kathy Leppard, had access to the digital mammography and learned she had breast cancer. Four years later, she is cancer free.
“My mom (Kay Deen Patterson) isn’t here tonight because she didn’t have that mammography.”
Beshears shared that many in his family, including himself, had dealt with cancer. He'd like to have a word with his brother when he travels down to Texas, he joked, because during years of chemo his brother lost none of his hair. With a big smile, Gayle patted his bald pate and the audience burst into laughter.
By evening’s end — after a delayed start for Denver Broncos fans who had piled into The Summit to watch the two disastrous game overtimes — more than $200,000 had been raised, $61,000 of that during a “raise the paddle.” The Hope Gala is a fund of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation.
There were hugs for co-chairs and ladies in red Vicki Dimond and Mari Sinton-Martinez, honorary chair Mike Edmonds, presenters Bob and Leslie Penkhus, and thank-yous for live-auction donors including custom jeweler Ruben Manuel, Pinery on the Hill, Broadmoor Cottages, KOAA, The Sanctuary, Epic Jet, Dancing Bear Resort & Club, artist Ron Apgar, Barry Dunlap and Mike Barber.
League of Women Voters Nominees
The League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region have nominated nine women for the Making Democracy Work Award for their hands-on work in the community.
The honorees and the top award winner will be celebrated at a reception Feb. 13:
Carmen Abeyta, Deborah Adams, Jane Ard-Smith, Aimee Cox, Mary Gowing, Rochelle Mason, Linda Mojer, Linda Weise Wells, Denise Whinnen.
The public reception is at Stewart House, 1228 Wood Ave. Checks for $25 should be sent to LWVPPR, PO Box 7888, 80933.
Local nonprofit leaves Dress for Success
The local Women’s Resource Agency (WRA), has voted to drop its affiliation with Dress for Success and establish its own independent program, Suit Up for Success.
WRA will continue offer free interview and employment attire through the agency under its new program name. WRA’s programming for job-readiness skills, resume and interview preparation, job search skills, and professional and personal development remains unchanged, and the agency will continue to serve more than 1,000 women per year.
WRA became the local affiliate for Dress for Success in 2004.