And specifically, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
One name most will recognize based on her Hollywood fame and her longstanding career as an actress, model, author and philanthropist whose causes have included the American Cancer Foundation, Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation, Arthritis Foundation and currently hosting her own tennis tournament to benefit the Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
She is Jennifer O’Neill, whose roster of accomplishments also include training and showing champion jumping horses, as well as being the author of “Surviving Myself,” her tell-all autobiography.
Our community’s second special guest is Colette Murray. Hers is not as much a household name as her fellow speaker, yet she is just as involved in the lives of young people and brings a distinct local connection to town because of her job. She is the golf coach at the nearby University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where her teams have excelled since giving UTC’s golf program a rebirth in January 2006.
Why are a former Cover Girl model and a college golf coach visiting our town?
They will deliver the keynote speeches at tonight’s “Empowering Women” festivities, a Boys & Girls Clubs fundraiser scheduled at the Cleveland Country Club beginning at 7 p.m.
The special evening not only will include the inspirational messages, but also some entertainment in the likes of an auction that will include an array of products such as several vacation condos for one-week stays, a Sunset Cruise on a yacht, a dinner party catered by Ahmed Alshabibi, a five-star dinner party for eight by Pat and Gary Fuller (complete with limo courtesy of Ralph Buckner Jr.), boutique shopping with wine and appetizers, and an “Aviation Discovery” flight.
Event sponsors include a group that believes in shared causes such as children and the Boys & Girls Clubs, and most importantly in serving as role models for our young people, whose future success relies on adult guidance and warm intervention. These sponsors are Cooke’s Food Store, Don Ledford Automotive, Ed Jacobs and Associates Insurance, Panera Bread, Brenda Lawson and Associates, Bank of Cleveland and Ralph Buckner Funeral Home.
Our special guests’ successes speak for themselves.
O’Neill, who currently is in post-production for her new TV series, “Where Hearts Meet,” was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her family’s move to New York City spawned an interest in modeling which led to her entering an international modeling school at age 15. She later became widely known in the film industry with her acting debut coming opposite Hollywood legend John Wayne in “Rio Lobo.”
And who could ever forget “Summer of ’42?”
A native of Dunfries, Scotland, Murray brought the UTC golf team out of a 20-year dormancy and in only her second year the Lady Mocs ascended to the NCAA Central Regional, where they finished eighth while earning a trip to the NCAA Division I Finals. At the finals, they finished 21st while defeating larger-school opponents like UC Irvine, Texas and Ohio State.
She has been honored as Southern Conference Coach of the Year.
As both O’Neill and Murray will readily attest, it isn’t about the name, the successes or any subsequent fame.
It’s about the heart and the directions it leads.
Their hearts have brought them to Cleveland in support of the Boys & Girls Clubs.
We are happy they are here.
We hope they enjoy their stay in our Bradley County hometown, whose passion for helping others is more than our conviction.
It is our life.