The recent Innocent Lives Foundation Gala (Ending Child Exploitation) was nothing short of spectacular. Let me share some of the standout moments so you can relive the magic. Our evening began with Roger Lundblade, our charismatic announcer and auctioneer, setting the stage for our esteemed host, LeVar Burton.
Innocent Lives Foundation Gala
Spotlight on Our Stars:
- Roger Lundblade: The ultimate auctioneer and voice of the night.
- LeVar Burton: A true legend, whose generosity knows no bounds. Spending time with him was a dream come true.
The ambiance was set by the melodious Tara Parham, whose angelic voice uplifted everyone present.
Honoring the Champions:
- Lisa Guerrero: Recognized with the ILF Light of Hope Award for her groundbreaking work with Inside Edition, shedding light on child trafficking during major sporting events.
- Randy Burton, J.D., Hon. Litt.D.: A child advocate since the 1980s, he was humorously teased as LeVar’s cousin. He too was honored with the Light of Hope Award.
- Chief Criminal Investigator Kevin Atkins: A real-life hero from South Carolina, arresting predators and rescuing children. He received our final Light of Hope Award.
The awards segued into a thrilling live auction. Memorable moments included LeVar offering a lunch date, Greg Grunberg from The Action Figures auctioning studio time, and the heartfelt contribution of a painting by Rosey D’Angelo, who shared the deep meaning behind her artwork.
Our “Fund a Case” segment was deeply moving. LeVar Burton and Lisa Guerrero each generously funded FIVE CASES, contributing $25,000 each. The room was filled with overwhelming generosity, raising a total of $124,848.50 to combat child exploitation.
The night was further electrified by The Action Figures, who delivered a stellar performance. Kudos to Jack Coleman, Brad Savage, Scott Grimes, Adrian Pasdar, Nick Marzock, Drew Powell, and Greg Grunberg for their outstanding show.
A week has passed, and the emotions from that night remain fresh. The love, energy, and commitment in the room were palpable.
On behalf of The Innocent Lives Foundation board (Douglas Ash, Erin Gray, Stephanie Paul, Dr. Kathie Mathis, Tim Maloney, and myself) and our dedicated team (Shane McCombs, John McCombs, Erin Maloney, LCSW, Ernesto Maldonado, and Cardell Oliver) – a heartfelt THANK YOU. Your support in our mission to end child exploitation is invaluable.
Until next year, and a special shoutout to Areesa Hadnagy, Kevin Couch, Elisa D’Angelo, Mary D’Angelo, Evan Blair Henkels, Paul Erich Kron, and Social-Engineer, LLC for their unwavering support.
As we reflect on the success of this year’s gala, we are filled with gratitude and hope. The collective efforts of everyone involved have not only raised significant funds but also heightened awareness about child exploitation. The stories shared, the awards given, and the funds raised are all testaments to the power of community and the difference we can make when we come together for a cause.