By Mitch Holt, Staff Writer
The Chisholm Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross is hosting its largest fund-raiser of the year, a dinner and silent auction, in Abilene’s Civic Center on Friday evening, featuring Stedman Graham, best-selling author of motivational literature and CEO of S. Graham and Associates.
“The money raised by the event will stay in our twelve county area to serve those that have been affected by disasters like tornados, floods and house fires,” said Aaron Vannoy, regional director of the Chisholm Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The proceeds from the evening will also aid the large military community in the area by helping families with deployed family members communicate with their loved ones overseas, Vannoy said.
Donors of the local Red Cross, community figures and business owners will be the main attendees, but anyone could purchase tickets to the dinner and silence auction until Thursday at 5 p.m.
“Red Cross has been one of the most important leaders in our world today, and my message will reveal to people how important a good foundation is,” Graham said.
Graham was chosen because of his local connection to the Abilene community and his long history of helping non-profit organizations and disadvantaged youth, said Vannoy. Graham, graduate of Hardin-Simmons University and longtime boyfriend of Oprah Winfrey, arrived in Abilene on Thursday evening and is holding a questions and answer session on Friday afternoon for the press in the area.
Graham said he will enjoy being back in the city that gave him a solid foundation at a crucial point in his life and he plans to stop by the Hardin Simmons University campus while he’s in the area.
Although he has no direct affiliation with the American Red Cross, Graham is a person who believes in preparedness, which is one of the main focuses of the Red Cross movement and mission statement, Vannoy said.
Graham is also an acclaimed speaker and lecturer, writing many best-selling books about self-improvement including Move Without the Ball, his most recent book encouraging youth to stay in school and focus on their futures.
Vannoy said he thinks Graham is an exceptional speaker choice for this year’s largest area Red Cross fund-raiser.
“I’ve dedicated my life to education,” said Graham. “I have a number of programs that I’ve developed over the years, so by speaking at the Red Cross event in Abilene, I will be trying to reinforce what I’ve always believed in.”