RANCHO SANTA FE — The theme of the 53rd Annual Women of Dedication Luncheon hosted by the Salvation Army was Wonder Women — an apropos designation to the 12 women who devote their time, talent and compassion to help others. One of those women was Del Mar resident Deborah Cross, who is also board president of the Rancho Santa Fe based nonprofit The Country Friends.
The May 30 event was held at the San Diego Marriott Marquis attracting hundreds of guests.
Joining Cross were other honorees including Suzi Day, Laurnie Durisoe, Angela Harris, Dayna Hoff, Kimberly Hunt, Regina Kurtz, Radine Sally Watt Oxley, Rana Sampson, Claudia Thompson, Vickie Turner and Kathryn Vaughn.
“It was such an incredible day for me to be honored as a Wonder Woman,” Cross said. “It was a very humbling experience to be included in such an amazing group of women. Everyone was so kind and complimentary of our abilities and contributions to San Diego charities. The Salvation Army outdid themselves with the event this year with over 700 people in attendance. All of our friends and family so enjoyed every moment of the experience.”
Cross’ three children flew out for the event from Nevada, Florida and New Hampshire. Also, Cross’ husband Les, had his brother and sister-in-law journeyed from Australia.
About 50 people were there supporting Cross, in addition to a large group of members from The Country Friends.
Following the luncheon, each honorary was honored with an original personalized parody written by Bryan Verhoye to a well-known song. Vocals were by MacKenzie Carmill and The San Diego Master Chorale.
“The entire day was so exciting, but without a doubt being called up on stage and listening to a special song written just for me was so moving,” she said. “I was so glad to have Les walk down the runway with me — I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.”
Honorary Chairs for the 2018 event were Susan and Bill Hoehn.
Emceeing the event and serving as auctioneer was Clint Bell.
During the luncheon, guests were reminded how the event was one of the leading fundraisers for the Salvation Army. Live auctions included a San Diego Padres special package, a New York experience, Cabo San Lucas getaway and a Big Bear adventure.
Bell also championed a paddle raise for specific contributions to fund Salvation Army programs to help the homeless and those susceptible to human trafficking. There was a price point for everyone ranging from $100 to help provide to new shoes to children going back to school, to $25,000, which would give a dozen homeless women and men one year of housing.
Contributions for the day went to support an array of programs such as the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation center; Coordinated Assistance to Residential Stability; Christmas Programs Assistance; Door of Hope; Family Services based in Center City, El Cajon, Kroc Center, Oceanside and San Diego Citadel; Homeless Outreach; Pine Summit Camp and Conference Center; Senior Nutrition Sites; and Shelter Transition Employment Program Services.
“The Salvation Army is an incredible organization,” Cross said. “I learned so much about the organization and the good works they do here in San Diego and around the world. After this experience, I will definitely stay involved and would encourage others to learn more about them — they are a lot more than red kettles at Christmastime.”