Jesus died for us, and Easter Sunday he rose again for our salvation. When you hold an event that’s important to you personally and schedule it on the holy weekend when families are together, it had better be for a great cause that benefits others.
That’s what the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund (CFMF) is all about, helping other people you don’t even know. It’s so true: Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. Pardon my bias, but the Eighth Annual Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund Benefit & Community Celebration was a two-day event, and both days were a smashing success.
First of all, Carol’s two little grandchildren, four-year-old Devin and three-year-old Jaylen, attended for the second time. And again we raised many thousands of dollars for breast cancer, HIV prevention, and urban education. Twenty-five organizations were awarded thousands in financial grants.
I know that many in Minneapolis/St. Paul and others across the country are saying that Fitzgerald must believe that he knows it all. So don’t take my word for it about the dynamic event — ask somebody who was there. Like His Honor Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, Hall of Fame NFL legend and founder of the Page Education Foundation, and his wife Diana; or U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison and staff.
The talented Sy Huff, co-star of KMOJ’s popular “Morning Show,” orchestrated the evening as master of ceremonies. Present were Starkey Foundation CEO (“So the World May Hear”) Bill and Tani Austin; Gophers Men’s Basketball Coach Tubby Smith; and San Diego Chargers star Tommie Harris, father of two small children and a man who lost his wife tragically just three months ago.
My late wife Carol’s sisters Valarie, Dr. Stephanie Johnson Brown, and Paula, her brother Robert Jr., and Mr. Byron and Mrs. Kimberly Johnson Henry were also in the house.
Vikings Mickey Shuler, super sports agent Eugune Parker, NFLPA Vice President Dexter Santos, Outreach, Inc. Founder and President Sandra McDonald, Community Action of Minneapolis President Bill Davis, Black Music America’s local host and Minnesota Black Music Awards’ own Pete Rhodes, Penumbra Theatre’s Stew Widdess, Lewis Sports Foundation Dr. Leo Lewis, Chi Ellis, and many, many other friends and guests attended and experienced what it’s like spending and sharing an eventful evening with the Fitzgeralds.
Over the last three years, my friend 2007 American Idol recording star Jordin Sparks has given of her talents and time and helped grow the CFMF as headliner of entertainment for the benefit gala. As you may know, she was blessed to secure a starring acting role this year in the last film of the late superstar Whitney Houston, Sparkle. Minnesota’s own three-time Grammy-winning and 2012 NAACP Image Award-winning Sounds of Blackness and Emmy Award-winning actor-singer-orator T. Mychael Rambo carried the evening. They had the Metropolitan rocking; they were sensational.
But nothing hit home quite like the emotional, honest, heart-warming memories and personal tributes paid by the Fitzgerald men — Marcus, Larry, Jr. and yours truly Larry, Sr. — to the powerful memory of their mom and my late wife Carol. I can’t say it enough: Thank you all so very much for your time and contributions.
The Fitzgerald family and the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund Board of Directors thank those who came from all over the country to be with us, as well as those who could not make it and wanted to. We thank you for helping us again to help others.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2), and you can follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.