Acclaimed journalist Dan Rather revisits his 1981 Center for Battered Women shelter story at the 2012 SafePlace Celebration / By Erica Todd
Throughout his prolific career, Rather has been able to give back to his community in the same way that newspapers and their reporters enlivened his childhood home. A lifelong fascination for reporting has manifested itself in to a passion and talent for presenting informative and vital news pieces to Americans. With a career spanning more than 60 years, Rather has covered numerous stories, gaining him national and worldwide recognition.
Oct. 29, Rather will return to one of his Austin-based stories: a 60 Minutes segment titled “A Place to Go,” which looked in to the Center for Battered Women. When he presented the piece to viewers in 1981, the shelter was in the process of reconstruction to improve the facilities.
“What can society do?” Rather asked at the time. “Have more places like this.”
Rather was able to show audiences what was believed to be the first custom designed shelter in the nation destined for use by battered women and their children. The story reveals how the shelter was a vital resource for the clients. Some effects of domestic and sexual violence are shown through interviews with a group of women.
“Every community is touched by this problem,” Rather explained in the piece. Rather’s spotlight on the Center for Battered Women is a reflection of the style of many of his other stories with a focus on social issues. Perhaps more widely known for some of his national stories, Rather has covered everything from the civil-rights movement to the space race. In fewer than four days as the events of 9/11 were unfolding, he spent 53 hours and 35 minutes on air.
Rather has also interviewed every president from Eisenhower to Obama, and numerous other world leaders. On election night in November 2000, he remained on the air non-stop for 16 hours. Since beginning as a reporter for local newspapers and television here in Texas, Rather worked as an anchor and managing editor for CBS. Other endeavors along the way include authoring and co-authoring seven books, four of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Rather now focuses on his current show, Dan Rather Reports. With his team, he works “to present hard-edged field reports, in-depth interviews, and investigative pieces with accuracy, fairness and guts.”
With such an esteemed history, Rather has received many accolades and citations. And given the stories that Rather has covered and the places he has been, it’s no wonder he’s known as “the hardest working man in broadcast journalism.”
2012 SafePlace Celebration
Oct. 19, 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Austin
This October, James Armstrong and Patti O’Meara will present the 2012 SafePlace Celebration. With Dan Rather as a special guest, the luncheon event will take a look back at the historical roots of the organization.
“Dan Rather’s 60 Minutes segment illustrates the history our Austin community has of seeing a need and doing what is necessary to respond to that need,” says SafePlace Executive Director Julia Spann.
“Celebration is about recognizing how far we’ve come, while reminding our community that there is still work to be done.”
SafePlace is an organization that promotes social change and plays a critical role for individuals and families affected by sexual and domestic violence. A pioneer and mainstay of the Austin community, the agency originally began as two separate organizations: The Austin Rape Crisis Center became the first in Texas in 1974; and the Center for Battered Women, created in 1977, was also a first in Texas. In 1998, they merged to become SafePlace.
The site has grown since the merge and now accommodates facilities such as long-term and short-term housing, a school and childcare spaces, and counseling services. Through discussions with clients and work with local businesses and members of the community, SafePlace is a space with a positive vibe that caters to specific needs. The free services also extend to individuals and families who do not live on site.
By attending the celebration event, guests can help to support SafePlace’s goals. Individual tickets start from $150. Other ways to contribute to this cause include volunteering and donations; personal-hygiene items and shelf food are particularly in need. For more information, visit safeplace.org.
ATX MAN fall Sponsored Events
The Beretta USA No Worries Classic
Sept. 29, Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Ranch
Get ready for a sporting clay shoot in the name of a good cause. Set on a ranch with a variety of exotic animals, the Beretta USA No Worries Classic benefits nonprofit organization Wonders and Worries. It’s an event that promises to be entertaining, with some friendly competition. The rules are simple: There are 25 teams of five people for a 50-bird shoot. The aim is to collect pledges from individuals and corporations to contribute a minimum of $5 per hit. The classic will take place Sept. 29 at the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch in Buda. This unique location boasts 2,000 animals from more than 100 species, mostly indigenous to countries outside of North America. The wallaby, reticulated giraffe and the patas monkey are some of the different animals that add character to the surroundings. In addition to the fantastic atmosphere, there are many rewarding aspects of the classic. The individual who makes the most money will receive the top prize: a one-of-a-kind customized Beretta USA No Worries Classic 2012 Mini Cooper S. Each member from the top fundraising team will be awarded a Beretta shotgun. Participants with a keen eye also receive prizes for making the most hits.
And Wonders and Worries benefits most from the classic. The organization provides free, professional support to families with children ages 2 through 18 whose parents are dealing with a serious or life-threatening illness. Founded in 2001, Wonders and Worries has since aided more than 4,000 individuals and 1,000 families dealing with a variety of illnesses. It was these magnificent services that prompted Mike Reynolds to found the No Worries Classic. This is a cause with which he has personal experience; at the age of 28, he learned with his two siblings that his mother had multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer.
“I remember the stark reality and anguish of three young adults. I can’t imagine the terror of it for a mere child,” Reynolds says.
The event is now in its fifth year, raising funds and awareness for Wonders and Worries. As more teams join up to shoot and relatives, friends and colleagues contribute via their pledges, the No Worries Classic continues to grow support for the nonprofit group.
“Last year, we all had a great time, and raised just over $300,000 for a cause that is near and dear to my heart,” Reynolds says.
This year, the No Worries Classic is sure to be just as remarkable. For more information, visit www.dojiggy.com.
Kids Classic Golf Tournament and Auction Party
Sept. 23, party at Cheryl and Mark Norman’s home
Sept. 24, tournament at Hills Country Club of Lakeway
In this golf tournament, now in its 18th year, teams tee off near the shores of Lake Travis to aid Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. The auction party the night before launches the event in casual style with music, food and fun. Visit the event page of childrensaustin.org for more information.
Nobelity Project Screening and Launch of 1000 Books for Hope
Sept. 29 at Stateside Theatre
Join the screening of Nobelity Project’s award-winning film, Building Hope, and the launch of 1000 Books for Hope book drive, which will provide 1,000 books for libraries in Kenyan schools supported by the Nobelity Project. Visit nobelity.org for more information.
Dash for Dad
Oct. 27, 7:30 a.m. at Camp Mabry Military Base
This race offers a choice of a 5K run or 1-mile fun walk and features live music and activities. The dash, part of a series of men’s health events, supports ZERO—The Project to End Prostate Cancer. Visit the Austin race section of greatprostatecancerchallenge.com for more information.
Swinging Fore Seniors
Oct. 15 at Berry Creek Country Club, Georgetown
This popular golf event raising funds for Family Eldercare now includes double-shotgun format. Golfers can choose from morning or afternoon start times while enjoying the delicious food, raffle and prizes. Visit the events section of familyeldercare.org for more information.
Four Points Chamber of Commerce Charity Golf Classic
Oct. 22, 8.30 a.m., registration/9.30 a.m., shotgun start at River Place Country Club
The opportunity to win $1,000 at the helicopter golf-ball drop is one of the features of this tournament. Proceeds from the drop and registration to play (on a team of four or individually) benefit the Hill Country Education Foundation and LISD/Concordia Self 30 Program. Visit the events section of fourpointschamber.com for more information.
Texas Mamma Jamma Ride
Oct. 27 at Reunion Ranch, Georgetown
The beautiful Reunion Ranch is the backdrop for this breast-cancer ride, benefiting 10 organizations throughout Central Texas. Cyclists can choose from route lengths between 13 and 100 miles, and take advantage of the free training schedule. Visit mammajammaride.org for more information.
Andy Roddick Foundation Charity Gala and Concert
Oct. 27 at W Austin Hotel and ACL Live at Moody Theater
This multi-faceted gala begins with cocktails, dinner and auctions in the early evening, followed by the John Legend concert. The Andy Roddick Foundation event wraps up with a VIP after party. Visit the foundation’s event page at andyroddick.com for more information.
More than a Game Draw Party and Celebrity Golf Tournament
Nov. 11, party at Greg and Tess Peters’ home
Nov. 12, tournament at Barton Creek Resort
At this two-day event benefiting the First Tee of Greater Austin, there’ll be great food, music and golf. The party kicks off the event on Sunday evening, and the 11th-annual golf tournament, which features celebrities, takes place the following day. Visit the events section of firstteeaustin.org for more information.