A host of celebrities will be on hand on Saturday, January 22, 2005, for the 4th Annual Field of Dreams Gala to support the ALS Association (ALSA). Capitol Broadcasting Company serves as the main sponsor of the event, and has since its inception in 2002. WRAL-TV Trafficologist Mark Roberts will three-peat as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
The Field of Dreams Gala will be held at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham. The gala takes place each year to recognize those who are devoted to raising awareness and funds for ALS research. The event also honors the sponsors who continuously support the ALS Association’s efforts.
Awards will be handed out at the event. Each year the local chapter hands out the Lou Gehrig Jim “Catfish” Hunter Humanitarian Award. This year, Tommy & Sally John will be recipients. Most people know Tommy John played for the New York Yankees, but few know that Sally John has served on the International Little League Baseball Board of Directors. She’s been the only woman on that board for the last 12 years.
Duke University’s R.C. “Bucky” Waters will also be honored with a Humanitarian Award for his work in co-founding the Duke Children’s Classic. Don & Diana Koenig are the final two recipients. Don Koenig lives with ALS.
CBC and the Durham Bulls take their commitment to the ALS Association seriously. Capitol Sports Vice President George Habel serves on the local chapter’s board of directors.
“Without the support of Capitol Broadcasting Company and the Durham Bulls, without that level of support behind this event and behind this chapter, we wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are now,” said Kim Shope, the “Field of Dreams” event planner. “Anything we ask for, we get, from CBC and the Durham Bulls.”
“Mark Roberts has been our Master of Ceremonies for three years,” she continued. “He’s wonderful to work with.”
Helen Hunter, widow of Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Jim “Catfish” Hunter will be on hand to help host the event. The Carolinas ALS chapter is now named for her late husband, who died from complications of ALS in 1999 at the age of 53.
Other celebrity attendees include Trot Nixon from the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, legendary UNC Tar Heel and winningest coach in basketball history Dean Smith, and former New York Yankee Bobby Richardson.
“It is our duty to educate the public and raise awareness about the dangers of this disease,” said Chapter Executive Director Jerry Dawson. “The success of our Field of Dreams Gala has really made a huge difference for the chapter.”
There are 39 chapters of the ALSA nationwide. Their mission: to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), familiarly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The chapters also work to improve the lives of those living with ALS.