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Palm Beach  Society News  Pages 1 
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Black Tie International:
The 18th Annual "Lady in Red" Gala

Donald Trump, Lois Pope & J.R. Martinez

Donald Trump, Lois Pope & J.R. Martinez
  Photo by: Lucien Capehart Photography


The 18th Annual “Lady in Red” Gala


PALM BEACH, FL- Even the elements were excited as the wind blew and the waves tossed while guests gathered on Friday, December 2, 2011, for the 18th Annual "Lady in Red" Gala at The Mar-a-Lago Club, Palm Beach.  Attendees were greeted with much fanfare by uniformed trumpeters heralding guests upon their arrival for the eagerly anticipated start of the Palm Beach social season. 


Cocktails were served poolside as a lovely dancer entertained inside a bubble gliding across the pool as Copeland Davis tickled the ivories for everyone's listening pleasure.  The enthusiastic guests were soon led into the elegant ballroom where they were met by sparkling gold and red decor created by Sutka designs.  Here the entertainment continued as Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. thrilled the crowd with all of their most loved hits. 


Next, emcee and auctioneer extraordinaire Dick Robinson took the stage to introduce the lady of the evening, Lois Pope.  Mrs. Pope thanked everyone for their continued support of The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial and especially Dick Robinson, who she called LIFE’s “guardian angel”.  She went on to share the exciting news that fundraising had been completed for the memorial.  "This would not have been possible without the efforts of everyone who has done so much over the years."  Next up was Junior Chairman Paul David Pope, who gave a heartfelt and moving tribute to his mother.


It is no surprise that the dance floor served as a centerpiece for the evening as J.R. Martinez, American actor, motivational speaker, veteran of the United States Army, and recent winner of Dancing with the Stars was special guest.  LIFE presented him with the Unsung Hero Award for overcoming devastating injuries to make a full life for himself and in so doing bring the plight of America's three million living disabled veterans into our country's consciousness.  The award was a beautiful crystal designed by Tiffany & Co. Martinez delighted everyone in attendance with his humility, wit and charm.  On behalf of LIFE he presented Donald Trump with LIFE’s Presidential Hero Award, a stunning crystal bowl, also designed by Tiffany & Co.  The award was given in honor of Mr. Trump’s years of service and philanthropy to LIFE and his part in seeing the dream of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial become a reality.


Then it was on to the thrilling live auction. Paul David Pope was the lucky bidder, of the one-of-a-kind Mini Cooper convertible donated by Braman Motorcars, which was designed and painted by the acclaimed and world-renowned artist, Romero Britto for the LIFE Gala. The live auction also included a dazzling pair of Tiffany & Co. 25th Anniversary Paloma Picasso diamond earrings donated by Tiffany & Co., won by Franz Rosinus and a beautiful 18K gold and semiprecious stone necklace and earrings set from India donated by Terry Ebert Mendozza won by Alexis Mersentes .  Ari Rifkin was the lucky winner of a fur donated by Donna Somper “Furrier to The Hollywood Stars" and modeled by Toni Holt-Kramer.  The auction of a dance with Martinez was won by Walter Schwenk who graciously selected  Mrs. Pope to dance with the Dancing with the Stars champion.  The dance was a moment that will go down in Palm Beach gala history, as the two floated across the dance floor in a waltz that earned a perfect 10 from Dick Robinson and the audience. 


Finally Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and Kennedy Center Honoree Smokey Robinson took the stage in performance worthy of the Hollywood Bowl.  From “Cruisin’” to “Tracks of My Tears” Robinson proved with every note that he truly deserves his spot among music’s royal family. 


There is no doubt that everyone who had the distinct pleasure to attend this once in a lifetime event went home with a song in their heart and a smile on their face, not to mention an exquisite crystal decanter donated by Tiffany & Co. and lovely bottle of Lady in Red Wine.


Lois Pope, Toni Holt-Kramer, and Terry Ebert Mendozza served as Chairwomen of the 18th Annual "Lady in Red" Gala.  Paul David Pope was Junior Chairman, and Sally & Dick Robinson were Co-Chairs. International Honorary Chairs were Elizabeth & Jeff Bateman.  Honorary Chairs were Rhoda & David Chase, Nathalie Fernandez, Patrick Park and Ari Rifkin.


Event sponsors included Tiffany & Co., Braman Motorcars,
Romero Britto, and Wells Fargo Advisors.


All proceeds from the evening will benefit the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.


 The 18th Annual "Lady in Red" Gala will be the last LIFE Gala to raise funds for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.  The official groundbreaking of the Memorial is scheduled for October, 2013, in our nation's capital.

Joyce Brooks

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