How Did Celebration Go?

It is time for a breather! Serve Denton has been preparing for our annual gala, Celebration, for quite some time.  With the great success of the event behind us, now we can truly celebrate. The success of the event is due the work and dedication of our awesome board, staff, volunteers, and our Super Volunteer – Priscilla Sanders, co-founding board member. It is also largely due to our supporters who came to the event and helped raise funding so more people in Denton County can become self-sufficient. This was our fifth year to host Celebration, and each year it keeps getting better and better.

Jeff Skiles Lands in Denton

Our keynote speaker was Jeff Skiles, co-pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson,” portrayed in the movie “Sully.” Drawing on his experience and training as a commercial airline pilot responsible for the safety of hundreds of travelers, he shared his views on the value of teamwork and collaboration to achieve miraculous results.

He did a phenomenal job at capturing the audience’s attention, helping them relive the miracle he lived through. He showed pictures and video from the event and even presented the actual audio clip from the crash. If you want to learn more about his story, check out the movie, “Sully.” It does an excellent job capturing the whole event from beginning to end. Here is a clip of the plane crash from the movie to give you a feel!

Honoring Those Who Make a Difference

"Making a Difference" Awardees
"Making a Difference" Awardees

We had the opportunity to honor four people with our “Making a Difference” award, which is meant to celebrate community members who make a difference everyday, but rarely get the recognition they deserve. This is the second year Serve Denton has presented this award.

The “Making a Difference” award recipients included Matthew and Makinzie Heard, Eric DuChemin and Dave Kuban. Matthew and Makinzie Heard were nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Denton County, one of our nonprofit tenants, for their six-year commitment to being mentors with the organization. Eric DuChemin was nominated by Hearts for Homes for serving as the project coordinator and helping low-income homeowners in Denton County. Dave Kuban was nominated by Woman 2 Woman Pregnancy Resource Center for his integrity and service to the organization as the accounts manager.

Honoring Denton Bible Church

Honoring Denton Bible Church at Celebration
Honoring Denton Bible Church at Celebration

About five years ago, Denton Bible Church (DBC) asked Pat Smith, former Serve Denton Executive Director and DBC Director of Local Outreach, about ways the church could serve the community. Pat told them about the idea of Serve Denton, and they were hooked. For the past four years, Serve Denton has been officing in DBC’s old sanctuary building for $1 a year in rent.

This allowed Serve Denton to get its start and begin impacting local nonprofits. We currently have nine nonprofit agencies that office in the Serve Denton Assistance and Events Center, which allows those in need to only visit one location to receive the help they need instead of traveling all around town to find the right nonprofit.

The two organizations are autonomous, but DBC has gone above and beyond to truly #ServeDenton. And their generosity has continued to overflow. First, they gave us a location to call our home and second, they loaned us Pat Smith to be our director for two and a half years.

Because of their openhandedness, we wanted to take the time at Celebration to honor them for their generosity. Serve Denton is in the process of looking for a new building to move into, which means we are in our last months at our current office. The timing is what makes the award so special. We are thankful and appreciative for the collaboration that has allowed Serve Denton to not just exist, but thrive.

Honoring Our Very Own Pat Smith

Pat Smith Award Celebration
Pat Smith Award Celebration

And for our final award. There isn’t a more appropriate phrase to describe Pat Smith than servant leader. He doesn’t go a day without serving his staff, board, family and community. There’s a pretty good chance he has served you in some way or another without you even knowing it. Because of this, we wanted to finish off our award ceremony by honoring Pat Smith as he steps down as the Serve Denton director. We gifted him a framed quote that said:

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve other at whatever cost.” –Arthur Ashe

This is exactly what he lives out. While we are sad to see Pat go, we are overjoyed to know our new Executive Director Karen K. Martin has the same heart. We believe she will do an outstanding job running and representing our organization.

Spectacular Silent Auction

Celebration Silent Auction
Celebration Silent Auction

The sold-out event also included a silent auction with over 125 items and dinner catered by Verde Catering, UNT’s catering service. The silent auction included items such as “Name Your Own Ice Cream” at Beth Marie’s Ice Cream, dinner for eight with Mayor Chris Watts, and trips to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Nashville, TN; and Branson, MO.

Those Who Made It Possible

Celebration was made possible by our extraordinary underwriters, Business Air; Denton Enterprise Airport; Greenpoint Aerospace; and Safran as well as generous event sponsors including iteachU.S.; David & Dena Meek; DATCU Credit Union; It’s a Burger; Northstar Bank; Lily of the Desert; Dr. Bettye Myers; UNT; 100 N. Loop 288, LLC; 5 Star Rental; CoServ; Denton Community Food Center; Denton Municipal Electric; Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton; and TWU Institute for Women's Health.

Serve Denton supports nonprofits that open doors for people to become self-sufficient. To learn more or get involved, email us at or click the button below.

*Pictures by Renit Photography & Design