Hot Time, Good Cause: Red, White, and Rock for Red Cross

Red Cross Board Member, Billy Rivet, holding his own with the ladies at Red, White and Rock

No one planning Red, White, and Rock, the Knoxville Area Red Cross fundraiser, could have predicted the heat.  In fact, not even the weatherman could see it coming!  With over 100-degree weather and an outdoor setting at Knoxville’s Cherokee Plaza, Red, White and Rock had the potential for a stay-in-the-cool, nobody-dancin’ event. 

But not so.  It was a rockin’ good time — even with record-setting, hotter-than-blue-blazes temps!

The Silent Auction. Since my husband Bert is on the Red Cross Board, we’ve attended several of these benefits, and whoever is in charge of acquiring top-notch silent auction items ALWAYS does a great job.  We couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us this time. So we grabbed a bottle of cold water and, first thing, headed for the auction tables. 

Sebastian Pons guards a very valuable commodity — cold bottled water!

No disappointment here!  Laid out on tables with bid sheets in front of each item, auction choices ranged from vacations to jewelry and lots of stuff in between. The ladies in charge directed us to what they thought were the prime takeaways of the evening.

Bethany Obanion, Jenna Estep, and Melissa Tyler directed us to the must-have Silent Auction items!

Rabbi Alon Ferency and his wife Karen take a look at the items for sale.

Here are a few of our favorite for-sale items:

Studio Pottery Pitcher & Bowl by Paul Borian

Autographed ball by Cuonzo Martin, UT Men’s Basketball Coach

Tommie Rush Vase from Bennett Galleries

Vacation package from Wilderness Resort in the Smokies

And my favorite: Cornhole Boards with Red Cross logo

The Food. In the same room with the biddable stuff were tables set with hors d’oeuvres, fruit, and other temptations.  Cyndee Hensley, Knoxville Chapter American Red Cross administrative assistant, was awhirl talking to guests and filling her plate with good stuff.

Cyndee Hensley sampling from the buffet table inside

Randy Bellew who works for Knology volunteered his time to man the crepes table.  As it turns out, he’s a man with talent:  good at pouring batter, waiting ’til the right minute to lift the crepes, and adding peach or chocolate filling. Yum!  Of course, I had to try one of each!

Volunteer Randy Bellew creating fresh peach and chocolate crepes

Frank Snyder, Joyce Duncan, and Stuart Sullins rest near the inside buffet tables where it’s air conditioned!

Outside, the heartier fare was equally good.  Michael Janke, volunteer chef for the evening, wowed us with flank steak he had marinated for two days. He grilled it right before our very eyes (in the heat, no less) and placed thin slices atop artisan bread.  Platters cleared out quickly!

Michael Janke grilling marinated flank steak

The Music. Keeping everyone movin’ and groovin’ were the Chillbillies, one of the hottest (pun intended) bands in Knoxville for big, crowd-pleasing events.  Their mix of oldies, sing-alongs, and just fun tunes made everyone move front and center, under the tent, for good times together. And yes, that’s Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin (aka Vocalist) singing with the Chillbillies!

Judge Tim Irwin and the Chillbillies

Joyce Duncan, Amber Willis, Lisa Janke, Angela Shankle, and Laurie Hallenberg take a break from dancing to pose for pictures

The Guests. Part of the reason for attending any benefit is not just the good feeling you get for supporting a worthy cause — it’s also the fun of meeting people and finding out who shares a common interest.  We loved talking with the guests– even in the heat!

The Buckinghams – John, daughter Lisa, and Kathy, Knoxville Area Red Cross Board Chair

Alex Martin, Erin Hill, Joe Daniels-Mulholland, and Kim Weaver enjoying good times!

Proud of the turnout — Lori Marsh, Development Director, and Boyd Romines, Executive Director

Robin Broyles and Board Member Tammy White cooling off for a minute!

West High teachers Sarah Searles and Karen Stanish assisting with the collection.

Art James, wife Linda, and mother Ann say they’ve bid on A LOT!

Bert enjoys talking with Tennessee Senator Becky Duncan Massey

The Cause. So, all in all, Red, White and Rock was a hit: a quality silent auction, a little dancin’ with the Chillbillies, and a chance to give to a great cause.  Thanks, Red Cross, for all you do to improve the lives of others — and for giving us a reason to celebrate, donate, and act a little crazy ourselves!

That’s us living the dream of being surfer dudes!

Later, I spoke with Lori Marsh about the event. It was a fun night to put in a some sweat equity, for sure, she told me.

And then she added, We raised over $31,000 for the American Red Cross!

Sometimes a little heat brings out the best in all of us!

If you’re interested in more information about the Knoxville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, click here.

And if you really want to do something special, be a volunteer!  You can learn a lot while doing a lot!

Knoxville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross

6921 Middlebrook Pike

Knoxville, TN 37909


3 thoughts on “Hot Time, Good Cause: Red, White, and Rock for Red Cross

  1. lsurrett2

    I not only agree with Sharon, I’ll even say that your blog is written better–way more interesting! By the way, thanks for liking my blog and commenting. That made my day 🙂 .

  2. Sharon Frankenberg

    Rusha, I never need to read the News Sentinel again. You have much better coverage of the news. Great job!

    1. Rusha Sams

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I can’t be everywhere, and I’m slower than the Sentinel! Still, we love going to events like this that raise money while having fun! Good to hear from you!

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