Sue Rebstock, chair of the 2017 Black & White Gala, has donated some of her earlier Black & White Gala gowns, but still has several black, white or black-and-white formals. This year she will be shopping for something silver to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the event. Sue is an original member of the Gala committee, and before that, she and husband Charlie funded the Rebstock Nursery at Walls Regional Hospital in 1986.
A hangar at the Cleburne Airport was an unlikely place for a formal fundraising event, but in 1993, about 250 people gathered for the first Black & White Gala.
Money raised that year supported the countywide childhood immunization program, Shots For Tots, in coordination with the Texas Department of Health.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event that continues to raise funds for health-related causes in Johnson County.
Kay Walls was involved with the Cleburne ISD board of trustees and became aware that Johnson County had one of the lowest childhood immunizations rates in Texas. She gathered a few volunteers, and they organized a party with a purpose, which they called the Walls Regional Hospital Black & White Gala.
Cleburne On the Rise, a hot air balloon festival, was in full swing at the airport that hot August weekend. Gary Morris entertained in the metal building somewhat cooled with rented air conditioners.
The food was prepared by Walls Regional Hospital chef Robin Porter and staff, and unique chocolate desserts that resembled hot air balloons were flown in from California. The event was an instant success.
Sue Rebstock, one of five original members still serving on the committee, is chairing the 2017 Gala. She is working with Vice Chair Chris Cain and the volunteer committee known as the Friends of Texas Health Cleburne to plan the dinner, dance and auction. Attire this year will include silver, not just black and white.
“I am thankful and amazed by the continued community support for 25 years. Without this generosity, the programs and projects supporting Texas Health Cleburne and the people of Johnson County could not happen,” she said. “We are thrilled to introduce an additional project this year, Love Your Heart.
“Cardiovascular screenings for the underserved in Johnson County will utilize the Philips CX50 Portable Ultrasound that was purchased using 2016 Gala funds.”
Nationally, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women. The American Heart Association reports that the disease is also the No. 1 diagnosis in Johnson County, affecting 231 out of 100,000 people.
In addition to the Gala will continue to support the HOPE Medical and Dental Clinic and purchase an upgraded cardiac package for Texas Health Cleburne’s CT scanner.
The upgrade will allow improved non-invasive cardiac imaging and faster read times. The programs Shots for Tots, Mammograms Are a Must! and Know Your PSA will also continue to be funded.
The attendance at the Gala has grown, and the event has been moved to different locations, but the purpose of supporting healthcare programs in Johnson County remains the same.
Since 1993 funding has paid for more than 96,000 immunizations for children, over 600 no-cost PSA screenings, and almost 4,000 mammograms and diagnostic support for women in Johnson County.
Proceeds from past years have also been allocated to Texas Health Cleburne for the surgery department expansion, Ann Marti Schmidt Women & Infants’ Services Unit, the emergency department renovation and expansion, and the purchase of many pieces of equipment.
The Gala will be held Aug. 5 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. For more information about this event, to book a room or to purchase tickets, contact Sarah Richardson at 682-236-5202 or visit www.texashealth.org/BWGala.