Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Emmitt Smith to headline Salvation Army luncheon

NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Salvation Army Doing the Most Good Luncheon.
NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Salvation Army Doing the Most Good Luncheon. Courtesy photo

A luncheon headlined by an NFL great, a boot-scootin’ Stockyards shindig, a 5K race on the banks of the mighty Trinity and high tea in a historic mansion. Worlds collide in this week’s Social Eyes, community lovers, so buckle up and get ready to save a few dates:

A memorable luncheon

The Doing the Most Good Luncheon raises funds to support the Salvation Army in Fort Worth

What happens when a legendary American athlete teams up with a legendary global charity? Guests at next month’s Salvation Army luncheon will have the chance to find out, since the keynote speaker is no one less than former Dallas Cowboys player Emmitt Smith — and he’s got a touching connection to The Salvation Army.

Smith’s biography is well known to football fans: three-time Super Bowl champ, multiyear MVP and record-holding rusher; later, Dancing With the Stars winner and successful entrepreneur. His odyssey of football greatness didn’t begin during his days playing for the University of Florida, or even when he was the star of his Florida high school’s state championship team.

Smith’s march toward the Pro Football Hall of Fame began way back in the 1970s, when he was the 8-year-old quarterback for the Salvation Army Mini-Mites in Pensacola, Fla. The tiny athlete scored on a 70-yard run on the very first play of his very first game — and the rest, as they say, is history.

Like many children in the area, Smith went to the Salvation Army every day after school. The organization provided a safe place for kids to gather, make friends and participate in activities they likely couldn’t otherwise afford.

“There always was a lesson that you could learn at The Salvation Army,” Smith recalled in a Salvation Army news release. “One thing about The Salvation Army, when they received kids, they received them as their own. The community center was there not necessarily just for recreational activities but for learning skills and all those things as well.”

Smith serves as chairman of the advisory council for the Youth Education Town at the Salvation Army in Arlington, a learning center for disadvantaged children that is part of the legacy from Super Bowl XLV that was played at what is now AT&T Stadium in 2011.

He will be introduced at the luncheon by TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, the honorary chairman for this year’s luncheon. Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the Salvation Army in Fort Worth, which provides meals, shelter, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, after-school care and other services for homeless adults, disadvantaged children and other community members who need assistance.

The details: noon April 12, Omni Fort Worth Hotel (1300 Houston St). Tickets: $150. Table sponsorships begin at $2,500. Event chairs: Diane Ayres and Amy Yudiski. Email

Take a run at a safer community

The Victory Over Violence walk/run benefits programs sponsored by the Women’s Center

More than 3,700 runners, walkers and volunteers are expected to participate in the 20th annual Victory Over Violence walk/run next month, benefiting the Women’s Center. If you’d like to help swell the ranks to 4,000-plus or otherwise show your support, all you have to do is go to the Women’s Center website and register or make a donation. How easy is that?

Besides some (hopefully) fabulous spring weather, Victory Over Violence will include a 1K fun run and a 5K race, as well as a kids fun zone and an appearance by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. Proceeds from the event fund efforts to support victims of violent crime and sexual violence, as well as programs and services that lift women and children out of cycles of poverty and abuse. Date and time: 8 a.m. April 9 at Trinity Park Duck Pond in Fort Worth (2401 University Drive). Fees: $10 and up, depending on age, whether you pay at the event or pre-register and whether you’re participating as part of a team. Event chair: Anne Weiskittel. Learn more:

Let’s party till the cows come home

A Dapper Dinner: Cowtown Style offers a healthy heaping of Western-themed fun

The Fort Worth Stockyards are always extra delightful in the fall and spring, and since it’s the location of the upcoming SafeHaven of Tarrant County fundraiser, you’ll want to make plans to join the group next month for A Dapper Dinner. Besides good eats, dancing and an auction are on the party agenda —and if that’s not sufficient enticement, there’s also an open bar and some lawn games in store for you. “It’s going to be as much fun as you can have with your boots on,” declared Kathryn Jacob, SafeHaven president and CEO.

Jacob also said that A Dapper Dinner will pay tribute to Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley. Among his many other contributions to the community, Whitley was one of the original supporters of One Safe Place, an anti-crime, anti-domestic-violence collaboration sponsored by a number of community organizations including SafeHaven.

Proceeds from the event benefit programs, services and shelter spaces that assist victims of domestic violence. Details: April 8; VIP reception: 6 p.m., dinner: 7 p.m. at River Ranch Stockyards (500 NE 23rd St.). Tickets: $125. Attire: boots and jeans. Learn more: or 817-502-7132.

Fake British accents optional

Downton Abbey Withdrawal Party offers one last posh hurrah for fans of the storied TV series

Do your Sunday nights suddenly seem decidedly unstylish? Do you find yourself yearning for a bit of costume drama, drawing room accents and a satisfying one-liner from the Dowager Countess? If yes, that must mean you’re mourning the recent conclusion of Downtown Abbey — and that also means you’ll want to pick up a ticket for Historic Fort Worth Inc.’s Downton Abbey Withdrawal Party, which promises high tea, a costume contest, a photo booth and the chance to “rehash the last episode in style.”

Party guests will also have the chance to enjoy music from the Bucket List Jazz Band, helmed by 94-year-old Jim Milan, and meet Mary Anne Aldhadeff, CEO of Downton’s local home, KERA/Channel 13. (And for heaven’s sake, be nice — remember, she didn’t cancel Our Favorite Series). Date: 2 p.m. April 3 at Thistle Hill Mansion (1509 Pennsylvania Ave), which is also the event’s beneficiary. Tickets: $35 per person for Historic Fort Worth members, $50 for everyone else. Event chairs: Francie Richardson Allen and Virginia Richardson. Learn more:

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