Gainesville Daily Register

July 22, 2013

Cowboys for CASA totals top last year's numbers

Gainesville Daily Register


Register Staff Writer

More than $60,000 was raised at the annual Cowboys for CASA at the Gainesville Civic Center Friday. More than 340 people duded up in cowboy gear to raise money for the efforts of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) nonprofit organization.

This year’s total exceeds last year’s proceeds by about $10,000.

The event got off to a good start when Patrick Hermes, representing Knights of Columbus, presented a check for $500 to Casa Board member Brent Reed.

Auctioneer Corgie Fisher from Whitesboro got the crowd to their feet with a game known as heads or tails . Last person standing and winner of the game was Jennifer Threadgill who won over $200 by playing but generously donated her winnings back to CASA.

Cowboys for Casa is the primary fundraiser for the local nonprofit organization and the funds are used in Cooke County. Last year 112 children were assisted in Cooke County but this year’s total has already surpassed last years numbers as over 138 children have required advocate assistance.  

The need has grown so that it has exceeded the capacity and unless more individuals volunteer, children will be turned away to face their future alone without an advocate to speak on their behalf.

“I hope that we never have to choose which child gets help and which one does not,” CASA executive director Vicki Robertson said. “The people of Cooke County are amazing.”

Other than volunteers, CASA staff members say the organization needs financial support for these kids who need someone to help them and give them a second chance.

CASA’s main mission is to recruit, train and supervise ordinary people who act as volunteer advocates for Cooke County’s most vulnerable children, those who have been neglected or abused and brought into the child welfare system.  Advocates work to make sure each judge has full information from someone whose only reason for being there is to protect the best interest of the child.

The CASA board of North Texas consists of Charlie Uselton-president, Carla Waters-vice president, Jim Carter-treasurer, Tammi Crowsey, Dee Dorman, Steve Fleming, Terry Gilbert, Cecil Harper, Ron Poole and Brent Reed.

Casa volunteers are known as the heart of the program and are: Vicki Barnes, Shelley Barthold, Terry Barthold, Pauline Bashaw, Kristie Becker, Skipper Bezner, Ben Blythe, Peggy Carpenter, Chris Cypert, Alisha Dietz, Jordan Eberhart, Glenda Elam, Frankie Emerson, Jerry Hankins, Winna Hankins, Bill Hawke, Colleen Hellman, Carol Hermes, Patrick Hermes, Ann Hughes, Chris Hundt, Jeanie Kelly, Darla Lile, Linda Lira, Richard Lira, Shirley Meece, Marilyn Miller, Philip Miller, Galene Morris, Franki Salidivar, Brenda Sparkman, Stephanie Stoffels, Cindy Swank, Sharon Tawwater, Jayne Taylor, Tom Thompson, Cindy Walker, Tammy Walker, Susan Wescoat, Debi Zielinski and Albert Zimmerer.

Local CASA staff consists of case manager Sara Butler, administrative assistant Chris Janke , senior case manager Crystal Rippy and executive director Vicki Robertson.

Auctioneer Corgi Fisher said that whenever he talked to executive director Vicki Robertson he could tell how much CASA meant to her.

Fisher said, “You can hear concern and compassion in her voice and know that this cause is near and dear to her heart.”

During the evening, Callisburg sixth grader Lexi Walker entertained the crowd with a Carrie Underwood song with initial entertainment by recording artist Jolie Holliday.