Every year the Each Moment Matters Luncheon honors individuals in our community who are making an extraordinary difference in the lives of others. They exemplify what it means to make each moment matter and inspire us to do the same. Below are this years’ honorees. Please read why they inspire us to make each moment matter.
Kyle Ogden – Ogden is president and chief executive officer of the Thanks-Giving Foundation, which owns and operates Thanks-Giving Square, an organization focused on community building and goodwill. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation is ‘Serving Up Gratitude,’ a program that helps feed frontline healthcare providers and first responders with meals purchased from struggling, almost idle local restaurants. With support from the donor community, the program has raised more than $200,000 to purchase 20,000 meals.
Roland Parrish – An owner of 27 McDonald’s franchises, Parrish also is a tremendous supporter of youth and other causes. He supports his alma mater, Purdue University, and Fisk University, where he is the financial chair of its Board of Trustees. Parrish has financially assisted St. Philip’s School and Community Center for 20-plus years. Over a 15-year period, more than 3,000 Dallas students have received bikes and helmets. He also annually awards scholarships to Dallas middle school debaters.
Nancy Perot – Serving the Dallas community in countless and notable ways, Perot has tirelessly dedicated her time and resources to multiple organizations, including the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, The Episcopal School of Dallas, KERA, Alamo Endowment, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Salvation Army and St. Philip’s School and Community. Nancy also founded Interabang Books, an independent bookstore focused on supporting and increasing literacy in the Dallas area.
Carol Reed (posthumously) – Devoted to making Dallas a better place for everyone, Reed was passionate about being out in front on issues she felt were important, breaking down barriers by bringing people with differing opinions together to get to know one another, to listen to one another and to find common ground. Although known as ‘The Mayor Maker’ who helped get Ron Kirk and Tom Leppert elected to office, Carol’s accomplishments also include many campaigns and referendums that ultimately changed the landscape of the Dallas community forever. A pioneer and an inspiration for women in Dallas, Reed was the first woman to lead many of the traditional civic organizations as well as being a driver in the Dallas political world. Reed passed away in December 2019.
Lisa Shardon – Leveraging her degree in geriatric care management and her customer service experience, Shardon is the founder and chief executive officer of Home Health Companions, a private duty in-home health care company serving patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Her volunteer work includes serving on the Advisory Council for the Center for Vital Longevity at The University of Texas at Dallas and as an executive board member for The Aging Mind Foundation.
Julie Genecov Shrell – After battling ovarian cancer, Shrell joined forces with three other survivors and created a spin cycling event to bring in donations for ovarian cancer research. They shattered their goal of $50,000, raising $300,000. Their efforts evolved with the creation of the Be The Difference Foundation. The foundation hosts Wheel to Survive fundraiser events across Texas and in multiple states, which has raised $2.5 million to fight ovarian cancer.
Quynh Châu Stone – Escaping from her native Vietnam at the age of 12, Stone’s journey to the United States strengthened her faith and cemented her lifelong commitment to giving. She is the founder of Source of Hope, a nonprofit organization providing services such as cosmetology education and cosmetic services. The organization also holds free organic cooking classes monthly at Cornerstone Kitchen, sharing leftover food with people in need. More than 100,000 people have been served over the last 10 years. Source of Hope also delivers more than 1,000 meals monthly to the homeless with about 60,000 meals delivered to date.
Leticia “Letty” Valdez – From her initial receptionist position from which she ascended to her current role as the manager of Life Enrichment, Valdez has served the 600-plus residents of Presbyterian Village North in countless ways over her 10-year career. While her job is a busy one, an equally important part of Letty’s role is the time she spends listening to the residents and getting to know them on a deep level. She loves engaging with PVN residents, giving them hugs on their birthdays and spending quality time with them when their families are unable to visit.
Keeya Vawar – Surviving life as a teenage runaway and a sex trafficking victim, Vawar is now a wife and mother who tells her story to others through public speaking engagements and mentorship programs. But her greatest joy comes from the After-School Program she started with Peace Lutheran Church in Hurst. The program provides an opportunity for children of immigrant and financially challenged families to learn in a safe environment.
Wayne Walker – Walker has cared about the homeless most of his life, having grown up with 67 foster children his parents cared for in their home. A software developer, he and his wife Carolyn started OurCalling, a Dallas faith-based nonprofit providing physical, mental and spiritual street outreach to the homeless. The organization also has created four apps, the most popular being “OurCalling,” which is used nationwide to connect the homeless with resources near their specific locations.
Joni Watson – As director of healthcare operations at Presbyterian Village North, Watson has a passion for advocating for those who are challenged with unfamiliar situations and transitions. One of the programs she is most proud of is the creation and implementation of the ‘Live and Thrive – Your Way’ campaign, which focuses on the way we communicate with more listening and more information gathering.
Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society Volunteers – A dedicated army of volunteer facilitators serve as liaisons/facilitators for speech, exercise and support groups for patients living in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. Assisting people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) as well as those who have the symptoms but do have a medical diagnosis, DAPS also provides support groups and educational programs for the patients’ care partners.