At the very least, “The Blind Side” was the most moving feel-good Hollywood film of the season, and three years after its release this real-life story of National Football League star Michael Oher continues to tug at the hearts of all who are seeing it for the first time, and those who continue to enjoy its message through rental means or cable programming.
For the few who are unfamiliar with this Academy Award-nominated production, it relives the early life of young — though large; he is an offensive lineman — Michael Oher whose impoverished lifestyle and broken family in inner-city Memphis forced him literally to raise himself through adolescence. At least, until his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, a wealthy Memphis couple whose children attended the mythical Wingate Christian School. In real life, this was Briarcrest Christian.
The movie tells of Oher’s acceptance into this predominately white private high school and his new life as an adopted member of the Tuohy family. It closes with the athlete’s decision to attend the University of Mississippi (his adoptive parents’ alma mater) where his talents lead him to being named All-American. He later is drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, a powerful team for which he still stars as a starting tackle.
Oher’s story, and a return to the beauty of this rags-to-riches plot, is coming to Cleveland by way of Collins Tuohy, his real-life adoptive sister who participated as a Briarcrest Christian cheerleader during their school years, and who later befriended this gentle, dark giant while becoming his confidante and accepting classmate.
Tuohy will deliver the keynote address at Saturday’s third annual Bradley Sunrise Rotary Gala, a downtown extravaganza that quickly has become a hot ticket among community activists who believe in their hometown and who love nothing more than showing it with unbridled zeal.
In its first two years, the gala has brought to Cleveland such prominent names as Vince and Barbara Dooley, and then last year their son, University of Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley.
Saturday’s gala is the third such outstanding gift bestowed upon our community by the membership of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary.
A private meet-and-greet reception will kick off the evening at the Museum Center at Five Points at 5:30 p.m. A silent auction will take center stage from 5:45 to 6:55 p.m., and then the program gets under way at 7 p.m. featuring a five-star dinner professionally prepared by Alshabibi Catering, the eagerly anticipated Tuohy presentation and a live auction. Items up for grabs at the auction include vacation getaways, hunting trips, entertainment events, a collection of outdoor adventures, rare coins, guns and a myriad of additional diverse goodies.
As exciting as the Rotary Sunrise Gala is to those who attend, as well as to those who are hoping to attend for the first time, is the landing spot of the proceeds. Almost the entire amount will support several community causes and Sunrise Rotary initiatives. Yet, that’s not all — not by a long shot.
For still another year, the popular gala is bringing area residents to MainStreet, and specifically to the Museum Center at Five Points, whose elegant facilities and heritage-rich environment have become a featured attraction to Historic Downtown Cleveland.
Corporate sponsorships of the gala include a reserved table for eight and an invitation to the Tuohy reception. A professional photographer will be shooting images with the guest speaker.
It’s not too late. Those wishing to attend, whether as an individual, a couple or a small group, should call 284-8876 or visit the event’s website at www.sunrisegala.com.