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Sparkling Nights

Supporting SRVS

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  |  Photos by Don Perry

SRVS hosted its signature fundraiser at the Holiday Inn - University of Memphis. The 19th annual event, “Sparkling Nights,” was a benefit for SRVS services for people with disabilities. Presenting sponsors were Sedgwick and Wanda and John Barzizza. Denise and George Brogdon served as honorary co-chairs of the event.

Dazzling lights, purple netting and other festive décor marked the way to the mezzanine where the gala’s fundraising efforts included a wine pull. Also, wine glasses, hand-painted by individuals supported by SRVS, were available for purchase.

Representatives from more than 22 wineries across the United States were on hand to conduct wine tastings. The event also included a silent auction, a live auction, and food from some of Memphis’ favorite restaurants.

Tyler Hampton, SRVS Executive Director, gave the welcoming remarks and recognized Dottie Jones, SRVS Chairman of the Board. Joe Birch, Jr., WMC-TV News Anchor, was the evening’s emcee. WMC-TV Chief Meteorologist Ron Childers conducted the live auction. There was also a legacy tribute honoring Dorothy Wilson, with her son, Spence Wilson, speaking about her engagement with SRVS. Proclamations from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell also acknowledged “her visionary leadership in helping to open SRVS’ founding program, at the time, called Sheltered Occupational Workshop.”

The 2017 guest artist was Joey Evangelisti, 27, whose painting, “Lady with a Butterfly,” was auctioned as the event’s commemorative artwork. Described as “an intricate interpretation from the cover of a National Geographic magazine, painted with markers, acrylic and crayons,” this work included a personalized poem by Cleve Stevens.

“Joey, a prolific artist, is challenged with autism,” said Diana Fedinec, PR Manager for SRVS. “He attended Memphis City Schools and was first exposed to art instruction at Richland Elementary. He continued his art instruction at Kingsbury Vocational High School and White Station High School and twice won the Gold Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards from the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.”

This year the SRVS Kids & Families Spotlight was on Elizabeth Draughon, 3, who started at SRVS Kids & Families (SKF) when she was 18  months old. She was accompanied by her mother, Chef Neely Draughon, owner of Off the Square Catering.


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