Filled with good friends and good spirits, the first annual Smiles Charity Casino Night and Silent Auction raised money to benefit the building of homes for disabled veterans. “The least we can do for these heroes is to provide them a home,” says Smiles Charity founder and president Dr. Jennifer Buchanan.
Several local politicians including McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller, McKinney City Council members Geralyn Kever and Ray Ricchi, and Collin County Judge Keith Self, attended the Smiles Charity event to show their support. “Smiles Charity and the upcoming concert are part of what makes McKinney unique,” said Loughmiller referring to Smiles Charity’s main event, the upcoming Smiles Charity Concert and Festival on May 29th.
Levi and Katie Wilson, recipients of a home sponsored by Smiles Charity, attended the Smiles Charity Casino Night. Levi was severely injured while riding in a Stryker vehicle in Iraq in 2008 and was left permanently disabled. Not only did the hundreds attending open their wallets during the silent auction, several of the night’s top chip winners gave their winning prizes to the Wilsons. “I told a woman that I liked her shoes. When she realized who I was, she gave me her shoes,” Katie said incredulously at the overwhelming generosity.
As well as raising money for several homes currently under construction, Smiles Charity aims to raise awareness of the need for affordable housing by America’s war wounded soldiers who return home with life altering disabilities. Upon returning home and recovering from his injuries, Alan Hornaday, Sergeant 1st Class US Army retired, recalls “I still have a family to support. Now what do I do?” Mr. Hornaday will be one of two recipients of homes sponsored by Smiles Charity and built by Operation Finally Home.
Operation Finally Home and its founder Dan Wallrath, one of CNN’s Heroes of the Year for 2010 build mortgage free homes for severely wounded veterans. The organization will be building several homes in the North Texas area. Smiles Charity and its founder, Dr. Jennifer Buchanan, HGTV’s Community Crusader award winner in 2010 are working together to sponsor the Wilson’s and the Hornaday’s homes.
Smiles Charity has raised awareness by successfully hosting its first annual Fashion Show in February and the Casino Night in March. Upcoming events include the Rock Roll and Smile Fun Run on May 14 8:30am. Music will be played along the 5K course. The Smiles Charity Concert and Family Festival will be held May 29, 2011(Memorial Day Weekend). Please visit www.smilescharity.org to volunteer, become a sponsor, and on April 18th to learn the headlining band for the concert.
Build a Home, Create a Smile.
The Rock, Roll, and Smile Fun Run will be a 5K run with live music all along the route. The course will be in Gunter, TX in the neighborhood where the soldiers' homes are being built. Registration material coming soon to www.smilescharity.org.
The headliner for our May 29th concert will be announced April 18th! Find out who on our website or on KLAK 97.5 when the announcement is made. Follow us on twitter @smilescharity, or on facebook at "Smiles Charity" for concert updates too.
"The least we can do for these heroes is provide them a home." Dr. Jennifer Buchanan, Smiles Charity founder and president