2013 Hope Gala features ‘The King of the Wire’ and ‘Top Shot’ champion

Nik Wallenda

The Hope Women’s Resource Clinic, a Beaumont nonprofit organization that has been a solace and support sys­tem for pregnant women and their families for more than 20 years, will be holding its annu­al gala Tuesday, Sept. 10, to raise funds to help the non­profit continue to provide “unconditional love and hope” to thousands of Southeast Tex­as women.

Tickets for the gala are $80 a person, and sponsorships are available ranging from $800 to $15,000.

The gala will be held at the Holiday Inn Plaza, at 3950 I-10 S. in Beaumont, and includes a meet-the-speakers reception and silent auction starting at 6 p.m., with the din­ner and program set to begin at 7. Dress in appropriate busi­ness attire and register online at www.hope-clinic.com or by calling (409) 898-4005.

Dinner will include porcini crusted beef tenderloin, French-style green beans and piped mashed potatoes with a lemon tart for desert.

Proceeds from the event will help the clinic purchase cribs, strollers, car seats, dia­pers, formula, baby clothes, ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, parenting classes and many other services. This year’s gala is special in that the goal is set at $300,000 — which is $100,000 higher than last year — with a portion of the pro­ceeds going to help pay for the Hope Center to relocate to a bigger and better facility, which the nonprofit is in the process of purchasing, on Lau­rel Street.

“We would like to raise enough money to pay the building off,” said Mary Mil­ligan, executive director of Hope Women’s Resource Clinic, which raised over $100,000 at last year’s gala. “The building is also going to need renovations to make it useable to us.”

This year, Hope Women’s Resource Clinic will honor Bob and Kelli Phillips at the gala for their service to the state of Texas and to the com­munity of Southeast Texas.

The gala has always fea­tured top-notch speakers, and this year is no exception, Mil­ligan said.

The keynote speaker for this year is acrobat and high-wire artist Nik Wallenda, famous for his high-wire walk, without a tether or safety net, across the Little Colorado Riv­er Gorge outside Grand Can­yon National Park on June 23, 2013, and his walk across Niagara Falls on a 2-inch steel wire in 2012.

Wallenda, self-described as “The King of the Wire,” was the first person in history to cross the 200-foot Niagara Falls gorge on a high wire. The feat was broadcast on televi­sion to an audience of 13.3 million Americans and gar­nered the highest rating for a non-sports broadcast of any network in six years, Wallen­da’s website says.

“After battling wind swells and dangerously thick mist, Wallenda completed his walk in just 25 minutes, during which viewers could hear his repetition of prayers,” his website states. “In one truly electrifying moment as he approached the Canadian side on the wire, he paused then bowed to the crowd on bended knee raising a victory fist to acknowledge over 120,000 cheering fans who had waited for him in the rain. Wallenda then sprinted to safe ground and, after embracing his wife and family, he was approached by Canadian customs agents who asked him for his pass­port. ‘What is the purpose of your trip sir?’ the agent asked. ‘To inspire people around the world to follow their dreams and never give up,’ Wallenda said, turning over the passport he carried with him in a water­proof bag.”

“He does something that is unique and interesting,” Milli­gan said. “He is an inspiration, and he challenges us to be the best we can be in whatever we are doing.”

Wallenda holds at least sev­en Guinness World Records including a bicycle ride across a suspended hire-wire 135 feet above the ground, which set the record for both highest and lon­gest bike ride on a high wire.

In 2011, in what was prob­ably one of his most emotional performances, Wallenda com­pleted a 100-foot-long high-wire crossing between the two towers of the 10-story Conda­do Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 121-foot-high feat was a recreation of the act that killed his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda in 1978. At one point during the performance, Wallenda knelt down on the wire and blew a kiss in honor of his great-grandfather’s memory.

Wallenda recently released a book in June 2013 titled, “Balance: A Story of Faith, Family, and Life on the Line.” In his autobiography, Wallen­da describes the hardships his death-defying profession has caused for his family and how their faith in God helped pull them closer together and allowed them to overcome the stress of a dangerous career.

“He believes that God has called him to this,” Milligan said. “His book will tell you the reasons he believes that. It’s his testimony.”

The book will be available for purchase at the gala, where Wallenda will be signing books and posing for photos with attendees during the reception, Milligan said.

Also scheduled to make an appearance at this year’s gala is Dustin Ellermann, the sea­son 3 champion of History Channel’s “Top Shot.” Eller­mann of Zavalla is a minister, accountant, lumberjack, hunt­er, husband, father of two and foster father of three, accord­ing to his “Top Shot” profile on History Channel’s website. Ellermann is a self-taught marksman skilled with a pis­tol, rifle, compound bow, and is even proficient at throwing tomahawks and knives.

“He can take three toma­hawks in one hand, throw them at the bulls eye and they all will land in the bulls eye,” Milligan said.

In an interview with The Examiner, Ellermann said he is excited to show his support for the Hope Clinic event.

“My wife and I are both fos­ter and adoptive parents, and I also run a summer Christian kids camp, so I love kids and agree with Hope’s mission to help mothers. I’m going to be sharing a little of my ‘Top Shot’ experience at the gala and how God gave me his favor and help through the entire challenge,” Ellermann said.

Milligan said that she is hoping Ellermann will sign some of the guns for the silent auction as well.

Other items available in the silent auction will include a family vacation package to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grape­vine, a quail and pheasant hunting trip, a duck and goose hunting trip, and a Sam Ray­burn fishing trip.

Milligan said the gala would be a vital part of paying for the new Hope Women’s Resource Clinic.

“The new location is about twice the size. We are in a 3,000-square-foot building, and we’re going to 6,000,” Milligan said.

It will also help fund a bless­ings boutique, where mothers can earn points through educa­tional activities to receive items for their children.

“The blessings boutique will be inside the facility where we will provide clothes, strollers and car seats — any­thing a mother would need for her child in the first year,” Milligan explained. Every­thing we do is free.”

The Hope Women’s Resource Clinic is at 1155 Interstate 10 N. in Beaumont.

According to 2012 statistics submitted by the nonprofit, 3,114 clients visited the clinic, 362 received ultrasounds, 416 received abstinence counsel­ing and 32 changed their minds about abortion. The clinic offers several services includ­ing free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, confidential counseling, post-abortion sup­port groups and several educa­tional classes and resources.

“Without the community’s assistance, we wouldn’t be able to operate,” Milligan said. “They make us able to pay bills and save babies. We couldn’t do it without the help that we have.”