Legendary Party Chairman Karen Spiegel, from left, with chair-elect Cecilia Wright, Shepherd Center co-founder Alana Shepherd and favors committee co-chair Debbie Neese with Bentley. They'll all be at the gala on Nov. 2.
Atlanta interior designer Mark Sunderland was on the way to his volunteer shift at Shepherd Center on a recent Thursday when he swerved to avoid a squirrel, unfortunately dinging another car. Then, while waiting for an insurance adjuster to show up a tree limb fell and further damaged his vehicle.
“Wham! This huge, 20-foot limb came down,” he said. “It really rattles your cage.”
He (and the squirrel) were both fine, though, and after dealing with the paperwork, he continued on to Shepherd. He’s volunteered there for about seven years in honor of a friend who spent months there years ago following an accident.
“Thursdays are my favorite day of the week,” Sunderland said. “I find that what I do for Shepherd is very cathartic. You witness what I call the big picture. The big picture isn’t your car being dented. You can have a long work day and you can spend three hours there and you are totally energized. Your heart grows.”
His upbeat vibe and concern for both people and animals will be perfectly represented by the Shepherd Center’s 25th annual “Legendary Party” fundraiser, where the honored guests will be Frosty and Bentley, service dogs who work in Shepherd’s new animal-assisted therapy programs. The two Labrador retrievers who have been trained to obey more than 40 commands to assist patients, will in black tie for the event.
Actually, make that black-and-orange tie. They’ll be sporting the signature color of presenting sponsor Home Depot as well.
“We’re excited to meet Frosty and Bentley at their Shepherd Center Legendary Party debut, and have them experience Ritz-Carlton service,” said Kurt Schwan, the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton's director of catering.
The gala, themed “The Future is Now,” is planned for Nov. 2 at the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton. The evening begins with cocktails at 7 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing at 8 p.m.
It is being chaired by Karen Spiegel with Sally and McKee Nunnally serving as honorary chairmen. Sally Nunnally has been active on the board of directors for more than 20 years and McKee Nunnally chairs the Shepherd Center Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
As always the event will recognized founders James Shepherd, Alana and Harold Shepherd and the facility’s medical director, Dr. Don Leslie. Proceeds will benefit Shepherd’s assistive technology program. For reservations and sponsor information, see www.thelegendaryparty.com or call Florina Newcomb at 404-350-7302.