By Kelly Koch Gilmore
December 28, 2008 – Dec. 17 was a busy day in our town. Corpus Christi Town Club had its Christmas party, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce had its gala and Community Enrichment Organization held its Community Christmas Party and raised money for the Caller-Times Children’s Christmas Appeal.
Although I would have loved to attend each of these, my cloning mechanism hasn’t been perfected and I could only be in one place. I attended the Gloria Hicks-Glenda Kane production at Charlie’s Place. The luncheon was attended by more than 100 guests at the Garden Inn. The former hotel at Interstate 37 and McBride Lane near the Corpus Christi Greyhound Racetrack is the new site of Charlie’s Place, a full-treatment facility for chemical dependency run by the Coastal Bend Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center.
At the Garden Inn, Amy Rhoads Granberry greeted me and introduced me to several board members, including her racquetball buddy. I received a personal tour and was told of the extensive renovations that have been done and those that are yet to come. In fact, that was the purpose of the luncheon, to raise money and awareness. Citgo donated $1.5 million toward the purchase of the former Ramada Inn. A few more dollars are required to “rehab” the building. I’m looking forward to the golf tournament at Corpus Christi Country Club this spring.
Sheryl McMillan’s table was full. Invited guests Nancy Hawn and Maria Uecker enjoyed the lunch and commented how much they learned about the needs of our community. For example, Charlie’s Place serves 19 counties.
Board member Tamara Cochran-May has practiced law on both sides of the criminal docket and believes in this project. Tamara looked great in her fuchsia jacket and pearls. She and her sister Myra Morris and Myra’s daughters are planning a girls Christmas vacation in Lake Tahoe. Evelyn Maltz attended with her son, Kenneth.
Ed Hicks embraced George Finley, who said, “I wouldn’t miss this for the world.” Gloria Hicks told me we have something in common: She was to play the role of Mother Ginger in “The Nutcracker,” too. Of course I told her everything I knew.
Fresh flowers, Christmas greens and ornaments served as centerpieces, while John Gutierrez passed out balloon flowers to a few lucky guests. Mine was turquoise. Guests were asked to take their seats and enjoy the lunch prepared by Marco’s as Executive Director Larry Churn gave a brief history of Charlie’s Place and short video played demonstrating how Charlie’s Place has touched lives. Janet Berridge looked fabulous in a black and white houndstooth jacket and white Sarah Palin watch. Janet was touched by the woman on the video who came to Charlie’s Place with one shoe and no idea what her children wore the first day of school. Now, the same woman works at Charlie’s Place and her six children live with her.
After the video, Glenda Kane made a few remarks. She isn’t one to remain quiet, and told the group she was honored and privileged to take part in this project, reminding all the attendees of their responsibility to provide services for the everyday, ordinary people who need help. She got my attention by pointing out every dollar applied to treatment saves $8 in other resources (law enforcement, criminal justice, etc.). I’m not great at math, but that is an 87 percent savings. Who wouldn’t want that?