Clad in flapper dresses, feather headpieces, zoot suits and of course, red shoes, more than 250 guests turned out on Friday (Oct. 4) for the third annual Red Shoe Shindig.
Benefiting the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Mercy in Fort Smith, the third annual gala paid homage to one of history’s most spirited decades, the “Roaring Twenties.”
Upon arrival, guests were greeted by a pair of “gun-toting gangsters” and given the chance to take their picture with a vintage motor car parked in front of Fort Smith’s Hardscrabble Country Club. They were then ushered into the “Red Shoe Speakeasy” where they enjoyed appetizers and the shindig signature cocktail, a pomegranate champagne. Groups also lined up for some photo booth fun and struck a pose in front of the Ronald McDonald celebrity wall.
At 7 p.m., everyone made their way to their tables where they were treated to a gourmet dinner and dessert. During the meal, Ginger Thompson, RMFR Fort Smith Program Manager and Stephanie Medford, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma executive director, took to the stage to thank sponsors and recognize event organizers. They also shared about the Ronald McDonald Family Room and its impact on the community.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room, which opened in December 2010, is a place of respite inside Mercy’s Fort Smith hospital for parents of hospitalized newborns and children. Located in the Women’s Center, the facility houses four rooms for daytime napping or overnight sleeping, bathrooms with showers, a kitchen with meals prepared daily, a television room, a library with computer, laundry facilities and more.
“Since opening, the room has served more than 1300 families,” noted Thompson. “We are, on average, running at nearly 100% capacity.”
Thompson and Medford then introduced a video highlighting the efforts of Michael and Michelle Hadley, who were honored with the organization’s Lily Award. Named in memory of Lillian Paige Pruitt, the infant daughter of Susan and Clay Pruitt who died at four months of age, the Lily Award honors a person or group whose work has touched the families who stay in the Ronald McDonald Family Room.
"Since 2009, when the idea for a Ronald McDonald Family Room at Mercy started, Michael and Michelle Hadley have stood behind the program,” said Stephanie Medford, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma. “Michael serves on the RMHC of Arkoma Board of Directors, chairs the Family Room Advisory Council and is always willing to help whenever needed. Michelle participates in the share-a-meal program by bringing a meal and other donations at least once a month and is also a leader in planning and executing the Red Shoe Shindig."
In presenting the award to the Hadleys, Clay and Susan Pruitt expressed their appreciation for Michael and Michelle and their commitment to the Ronald McDonald Family Room. The Hadleys are part of the Hadley family that owns the McDonald franchises in the Fort Smith area.
“In pulling together the video you just saw, we had the chance to visit with several people about why the Hadleys were deserving of this award,” said Clay Pruitt. “Philip Merry’s words touched me. He said, ‘Lily would have wanted it.’ I have to agree.”
A live auction got underway following the award presentation. Five high-end prize packages were up for grabs including a “Scottsdale Spa Experience,” as well as a chauffeured wine trip and stay at the Vintners Inn for four. Newton Jewelers also donated two Vahan bracelets for the auction.
Dozens of specialty wines were also available for purchase at the Premier Wine Table. Guests could take home the bottle of their choosing or open it to enjoy with their meal.
The Red Shoe Shindig serves as the RMFR’s largest annual fundraiser. All proceeds go directly to the Family Room in Fort Smith. In 2012, the event raised more than $80,000. Organizers hoped to exceed that total, setting a goal of $90,000 for this year’s event.
For more information about the Ronald McDonald Family Room, contact Ginger Thompson at 479-314-8030.