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So The World May Hear Gala

Story and photos by Pat Krause

Bill and Tani Austin, part time residents of Coachella Valley and Founders of the Starkey Hearing Foundation held their 12th annual So The World May Hear Gala in St. Paul, MN at the St. Paul RiverCentre on August 4th. Tani Austin’s parents are local residents and Hearing Center owners, Pat and Joe Manhart.

This star studded event brings celebrities from film, TV, sports and even Astronauts. This gala is an awards ceremony as well as a way to raise money for the Starkey Hearing foundation and their missions around the world. 1500 guests were present for the entertainment and awards ceremony, silent and live auctions. A record amount of 7.6 Million Dollars were raised at this gala thru donations, gala ticket sales, sponsorships and auctions.

Awards presenters included President Bill Clinton, actors Forest Whitaker, Chevy Chase and Chris and Kyle Massey. Entertainment was provided by 12-year old phenomena, Jackie Evancho with her amazing voice, Eagle’s guitarist Glen Frye, Billy Ray Cyrus, American Idol Michael Johns, K’Naan and Comedian Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Raiders. Steve Martin is a serious and fantastic Banjo Player. Norm Crosby treated the guests to his many jokes.

Walking the Red Carpet were Actors Kevin Sorbo, Lou Ferrigno, Marlee Matlin, Gary Busey, comedians Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, Little Verne Troyer and many others. Sports legends Sammy Sosa, Rollie Fingers, Ed, Too Tall, Jones plus a lot of other big names in sports. There were even Astronauts Buss Aldrin and Scott Carpenter and Poker champions strolling the Red Carpet for TV interviewers, photographers and newspapers

Comedians Billy Crystal and Robin Williams took over duties as auctioneers during the live auction. They got together to make this a fun auction and to raise a record amount of money for the Foundations Missions. Mission sponsorships were also auctioned off by them.

Awards were presented to Actress Maria Bello, Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe of Uganda, Glenn and Mindy Stears and Jack Johnson. These people were chosen for all the work they do for those in need around the world. The evewnt was sponsored by the Rayovac Corp.

The Starkey Hearing Foundation is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. The Foundation has promised to donated 1 Million hearing aids to those in need in this decade. The Foundation hopes that thru helping people hear will bring peace and understanding worldwide.

Videos were shown of the missions the foundation has made this year alone that have helped children and adults with new hearing aids. The looks on their faces when they hear for the first time is very heartwarming. New missions are planned for Ethiopia, Egypt, Philippines, Kenya, Mexico and others. The foundation has a Hear Now Program that helps low income families in America.