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Red Tie Night benefiting Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund set for March 3

By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund will host the 26th annual fundraising gala, Red Tie Night on Saturday, March 3 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 700 NE 63rd Street, in Oklahoma City.
The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a silent auction and cocktails, followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m., a live auction at 8:30 p.m. and dancing from 9:30 p.m. to midnight. 
Complimentary valet parking will be available. Attire is formal red/black tie.

The emcee for the evening will be Scott Hines, an award-winning consumer investigative reporter with the Oklahoma’s News Channel 4 segment, “In Your Corner.” 
 This year’s event co-chairs are Scott Davis and David Leader.

“It’s that time of year again. Red Tie Night March 3,” said Adam Edwards, trustee of the Oklahoma Aids Care Fund. “I want you to get a couple of your friends and come out and bid for charity. Bid and bid high that night and let’s raise a lot of money for charity.”

That evening a special legacy award will be give to Mr. James (Jim) Vallion.

“Mr. Vallion is a founding board member of the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund (OACF) and served on both the board of directors and the Red Tie Night committee for more than 24 years,” said Paula Love, OACF board president. “As Red Tie Night and OACF begin the next 25 years, it is important for us to honor the men and women who have been with us since day one. That’s why we are proud to present Mr. Vallion with the inaugural “Jim Vallion Philanthropy Award.”

A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Vallion teamed up with Gene Smesler and opened several successful restaurants including Val Gene’s Cafeteria in Penn Square Shopping Center. In 1980 Vallion purchased Trochta’s Flowers and Gifts.

“As co-chairs this year, David and I want to present Mr. Vallion with the Red Tie Night Philanthropy Award for his decades of volunteer and charitable service to the cause,” said Davis. “His financial contributions and time spent volunteering have had a major impact on those affected by HIV and AIDS in our state.”

Each year there is a wide variety of silent and live auction items for guests to bid on. Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani has donated an elite experience for this year’s guests. 
“We have a wonderful auction item featuring me and a private jet,” Chef Viviani said.  “We’re going to raise a lot of money for a good cause.”

The event honors OACF’s founder, Barbara Cooper, for her leadership and commitment to helping those affected by HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma. After the loss of her son to the disease, she and her late husband, Jackie Cooper, made it their life’s mission to raise awareness and funding to help Oklahomans affected by HIV/AIDS and to prevent new infections.

By making Red Tie Night one of Oklahoma City’s largest fundraising events, the Cooper family has helped to reduce the stigma surrounding the disease, brought other families dealing with loss and grief together, and raised over $14 Million dedicated specifically for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and services.

“There is very little funding available for HIV/AIDS”, said Cher Golding, Executive Director of the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund. “The need is greater than the available resources. The funding from Red Tie Night, allows the organizations that OACF supports to focus on their mission and direct services for their clients without having to worry about how they will cover program, operational and administrative expenses.

“There are 350 new infections identified in Oklahoma each year – that’s almost one per day,” Golding added. “Although being diagnosed with HIV is not the death sentence it once was, it’s still a public health crisis as new infections are on the rise. Through OACF’s education and prevention efforts along with a newly formed Advocacy program, we are working with educators, elected officials and health professionals to reduce the rate of new infections.”

The 2018 planning committee includes Jerry Brandon, Lori Burson, Cindy Colton, Dylan Cox, Adam Edwards, Justin Edwards, Stephen Fitzsimmons, Tracia Forrest, Jason Grife, Brent Hart, Rose Lane, Whitney Lawson Hollar, Seth Lewis. Paula Love, Kelli Masters, Lance McDaniel. Roxanne McDonald, Travis Morelock, Whitney Moss, Ashlee Neimann Mahmood, Frederick Redwine, Kirstin Reynolds, Micah Robinson, Kelli Stump, Matt Thomas, and Michelle Tibbs.

Sponsors include Jackie Cooper Enterprises, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation, Coltrane Real Estate and Development, the Cresap Family Foundation, IBC Bank, James R. Brown Private Foundation, Jenny & David Chansolme, Gianna & Richard Tannenbaum and Dippin’ Dots.

Special Red Tie Night room rates are available at the Waterford Renaissance Hotel with complimentary shuttle service available to and from the venue. For details, contact Lany Milner at [email protected] or 405-348-6600.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 26 years and we hope one day to report that there were no new infections, but until then, we need events like Red Tie Night and organizations like the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund,” Golding said.

Individual tickets are $500 and table sponsorships start at $5,000. To purchase a table or tickets to Red Tie Night, call 405-348-6600 or visit

The 2018 Red Tie Night co-chairs are David Leader (left) and Scott Davis. Photo provided.
The 2018 Red Tie Night co-chairs are David Leader (left) and Scott Davis. Photo provided.
Award winning Oklahoma’s News Channel 4 reporter Scott Hines will be emcee for the 2018 Red Tie Night gala event on March 3. Facebook photo
Jim Vallium and Barbara Cooper. Photo by Gordon Dinsmore
2018 Red Tie legacy award winner Jim Vallium is pictured with Barbara Cooper. Photo by Gordon Dinsmore



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