Ron Lavendar says, "I recall quite clearly the meeting held at the pavilion of Hotel El Mirador, La Quebrada, on March 17, 1960 Don Carlos Barnard, manager of the hotel, extended an invitation to “all Acapulco foreign residents and annual visitors” to attend the event. I don’t think any of us knew in advance the purpose of the meeting, but an invitation from Don Carlos, who was bi-lingual as well, was recognized as a “moving force” in the city. It was considered an honor and about forty of us showed up to find out what he had in mind.
After thirty minutes of socializing Carlos took the podium and announced his concern
for a hundred or more needy children in Acapulco who were badly in need of food, clothing and shelter, and he felt that our lending assistance in the matter would not only be beneficial to the youngsters, but would help to create good will toward the foreign community on the part of the local citizens.
This call for assistance was universally well received on the part of the attendees and thus was amended eight years later to simply “Friends of Acapulco”.
Dr. Emmet O. (Jack) Rushing was elected first president of the group. Marie Stalon who now resides in Dallas, was married to Doctor Jack for thirty years prior to his death. Marie, Emi Fors, Mary Jane Weldler and myself are, to the best of my knowledge, the only currently surviving founders of the group.
I am certain that none of us, including Don Carlos, who attended that initial meeting had any idea of the tremendous future trajectory of Amigos de Acapulco (as the organization is known locally).
During the past sixty years, thousands of youngsters and, in turn, the children and grandchildren of those youngsters.
In addition to our aid to the orphanages we have carried out a scholarship program for deserving youngsters of hig school and collage age, allowing them to prepare themselves for more meaningful careers or professions.
Dr. Emmet O. (Jack) Rushing
For a number of years we supported a program of assistance to the State Children’s Cancer Hospital and the doctors there believed that the medicines which we were providing saved the lives of about six children per year. The state has now taken over complete funding of this hospital so we are now employing these resources in other areas.
Scores of people have been active and helpful over the years but from the early days I recall vividly Dr. Jack Rushing and his wife, Marie, Leonard and Adele Glenn, Bernie and Gert Goodman, Teddy Stauffer and Herb Faybert. Their efforts truly stand out in my memory.
Baron and Baroness Ricky and Sandra di Portanova highlighted a colorful period during the 80’s and 90’s, lending their palatial home for out annual gala ball. They always invited celebrities as house guests which added lots of glamour to the event, all of wich added a great deal of appeal to the general populace. Those galas were always a great success. Harvey and Jean Eiseman were close friends of the di Portanovas and Jean has always been an enthusiastic promoter of our events.
That is an especially fun era to look back on, and those galas held at Arabesque always reflected very pleasingly in our bank balances.
We have received generous support on three occasions from celebrity entertainers, each one wich lent an important helping hand in our support of the youngsters. 1963-Don-Carlos-Barnard
Placido Domingo (on two occasions) Juan Gabriel Lucero and Mijares
Each of these played to audiences from two thousand to six thousand vigorous and cheering fans. We remain deeply grateful for their generous participation.
Also, we have had some especially generous benefactors over the years, and it is proper and fitting that they should be recoognized here:
John Stoddard Edith Evans Dan Brunner Bank of America Lila Bath Robert (Buzz) and Judy Kleiman Charles and Debby Marlett
A number of these gifts were given in the form of a charitable remainder trust. This may sound complicated but, in simple terms, it is just a matter of making a declaration in one’s will that a certain amount of one’s estate will be delivered to a specific entity, in this case, to the Friends of Acapulco, Inc. And this is a tax free donation either in the United States or in Mexico.
We sincerely hope that many of our members and friends will take heed of this suggestion. It is really a simple procedure. And it is an infallible way for you, as an individual, to make this a better world.