Fall 2010 Newsletter

Letter From the Executive Director, Jessica Gates

As we are approaching the end of our fourth year of Elizabeth Toon Charities (ETC), it brings me so much excitement to see how far we have come. I just recently celebrated my one year anniversary as Executive Director of ETC and I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone by. For me, the most amazing part of the year has been the number of people who have reached out to me because they have heard Elizabeth’s story and have been touched by her life. Whether they knew her or not there seems to be a connection for everyone. Each person who hears about our work wants to know more. There have been several touching moments from this past year for me to share:

• Speaking with visitors of the Old Rock Church who have called to tell me they are overwhelmed with its beauty and so grateful to us for helping restore it.
• Receiving an e-mail from one of Elizabeth’s college classmates who has heard about what we are doing and wants to know how they can help in any way.
• And most importantly, providing financial support for our wonderful beneficiary charities and seeing the smiles of gratitude on the children’s faces.
All of these moments have made me so proud to be involved with ETC.

Elizabeth touched so many lives in her short 22 years and I am so grateful to be a part of helping her continue to give back. I have realized in this past year that our message goes beyond helping children in need. Our organization exists today to show people that in the midst of tragedy and sadness you can create something good. Although we might not understand it, we can accept God’s plan and use it to help others in need. Elizabeth would be proud of everyone’s part in helping make ETC a success! So thank you to all of our donors, committee members and volunteers of ETC for making an impact on children’s lives.

Since 2007 we have raised more than $1.3 million and have provided donations to 11 Children’s Charities. The grant applications are pouring in and we need your donations to continue helping children across Texas. Please visit our website www.elizabethtooncharities.org to make donations online or to view pictures from the 4th Annual Memorial Concert and Shooutout events and to stay up to date with what we have planned for the upcoming year.

Jessica Gates
Executive Director

4th Annual Elizabeth Toon Memorial Concert & Shootout

Elizabeth Toon Charities would like to thank our many friends, families and corporate supporters from the bottom of our hearts. The 4th Annual Concert and Shootout marked another great year and the success of our event would not have been possible without your support.

Bruce Robison, Jack Ingram, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Wade Bowen
Photograph by: Lee Baker with TSRH

Our Concert and Shootout raised over $310,000! The funds raised from this year’s shootout were donated to Camp John Marc, Scottish Rite Hospital, Clayton Dabney Foundation, Rise School of Dallas, Ronald McDonald House and Snowball Express. We are so thankful to each of these charities for all of the incredible work they provide for children and their families in need. They each represent our mission and goal to touch children’s lives.

Front Row: TSRH patient Blaine Balliett (sitting);  Wade Bowen; Ray Wylie Hubbard; Jack Ingram and Bruce Robison 

Photograph by: Lee Baker with TSRH

This year marked our largest attendance so far with over 800 people at the concert at the House of Blues and over 55 teams participating in the shootout. Our amazing concert was kicked off by Brice Beaird who opened the show with a tribute to the Old Rock Church and the debut of his music video presented by 41 Entertainment. It was a touching opening to the evening and a great remembrance of Elizabeth. The evening continued with an exciting Live Auction that raised $68,000. Our four wonderful artists Jack Ingram, Wade Bowen, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bruce Robison stole the stage by entertaining us with their story-telling and talented music. It was a special evening enjoyed by all.

The following day we held our shootout which included beautiful weather, excellent BBQ from Dickey’s and some not too bad shooting. We had great competitors this year with the winners taking home shotguns from Berretta Gallery for each member of the team. First place went to Sanders Thompson with the Transwestern team, Second place to Lou Schaufele and the Bosque Boys and Third place to Bill Vanderstraaten and the Chief Partners LP Team. Congratulations to all of our fine shooters.

From left to right: Mark Reeder, Lynn Dowdle, Frank Bullock, Ryan Johnson, and Jason Puig
Photograph by: Thomas Hyde with TSRH

This year we added a new fundraising element for the Shootout teams to raise money from their friends, family and coworkers. All the teams raised an incredible amount of donations. A special thanks to the top fundraising teams, Earl and the Fire Marshall’s for raising $7,185 and Ben Hickey for raising $5,715.

Volunteers of ETC with Blaine Balliet of TSRH
Photograph by: Thomas Hyde

Our annual event is very special to all who knew and loved Elizabeth, and through your generous donations we are able to help carry out our mission to serve children and their families in need through the inspiration of Elizabeth’s legacy of faith, hope and love.

125th Anniversary and Rededication of the Old Rock Church

The Old Rock Church 2010
Photograph by: Bob Strickland    

June 12th Anniversary Celebration

This summer also marked the completion of the Old Rock Church Renovation and Rededication. Elizabeth Toon Charities has worked with the community of Cranfills Gap to restore the Old Rock Church over the last year. The project included the restoration of the historic church to its original 1886 Norwegian style. We’d like to give a special thank you to Michael Swaldi for volunteering his time and talent to help spearhead the project and work with the church congregation. 

The Old Rock Church celebrated its 125th anniversary and restoration this past June with more than 400 people in attendance. Guy and Geneva Finstad, members of the church and leaders of the project, planned a wonderful all day event with a church service, organ concert, recognition ceremony and homemade brisket BBQ lunch. Our own Larry Toon emceed the event. It was a blessed day for all who attended.

The church is open to visitors seven days a week from dawn until dusk. We hope you all have a chance to visit this beautiful historic landmark. For more pictures of the church restoration please visit www.elizabethtooncharities.org. A special thank you to Bob Strickland for taking the wonderful pictures of the church.
Behind the Scenes at the Old Rock Church with Michael Swaldi

We approached the full restoration from the perspective of ensuring we were historically sensitive and as accurate as possible in bringing the Old Rock Church back to its original condition. We completely replaced the roof with a wood roof as was originally built. The foundations were stabilized to ensure the continued impressive condition of the building for another 125 years.

Inside of the newly renovated church
Photograph by: Bob Strickland

We stripped off several decades of exterior paint and plaster that had all been added over the years, but was not part of the original design. We repaired all of the old original masonry and mortar work on the exterior to match the original finished walls that gave the sanctuary its nickname. The steeple was completely reworked with new metal roofing, a Cross, detailed woodwork, shutters and exterior wood cladding. The windows were all repaired, made operable and re-glazed. We rebuilt the old original shutters to match existing originals that were found stored in the attic. The front and rear doors were rebuilt to match historical photos and stained a deep natural wood color to keep with the spirit of bringing back all of the old, unfinished, natural materials. The interior walls and ceiling were restored to their original intended colors and interior stone walls were re-plastered around the windows.

The Old Rock Church completed restoration
Photograph by: Bob Strickland

The floors were all taken apart, board by board and each board was individually sanded and repaired and the floor reassembled. The pulpit was restored to its original position within the wooden altarpiece, and the old original foot pedal organ was rebuilt and is now operable again.

In short, we have rebuilt and restored the original building as closely as we could to the way it looked shortly after its original completion. The restoration process was like seeing the renewal and rebirth of all that reminds one of springtime, happening in the form of a simple, elegant and sacred building. It was an impactful and beautiful thing to experience.

News: DonorBridge Supports Elizabeth Toon Charities

Thank you to all of our donors who stepped up and contributed to the Get Up and Give! North Texas Giving Day on September 8th through DonorBridge. Every dollar given during that day received a portion of $700,000+ in matching funds – making your dollars go further. Your donations will go a long way in helping us support children in need. We are anxious to hear from the Communities Foundation of Texas on how much Elizabeth Toon Charities raised. We will keep you posted on our success!