Story and Photos by Pat Krause
The Guide Dogs of the Desert held a special Valentines Day concert with the famous Lorna Luft at the Annenberg Center on the Eisenhower Medical Center
Campus. There was an elegant cocktail reception in the main lobby with delicious appetizers and refreshments. Over 160 guests enjoyed a dinner of salads, entree, and desserts. Stacy and Jim Jacobs were the event co-chairs. Dorothy Milauskas was the event title sponsor. Dorothy and her deceased husband have been significant supporters of Guide Dogs of the Desert for years.
Lorna Luft is a Television, Stage and Film Actress along with being a fantastic singer. Lorna is the daughter of Judy Garland and the half-sister of Liza Minnelli; singing runs in the family. Patrick Evans served as both emcee and auctioneer of the live auction items. Evans raised the bar when it came to getting monies raised for the five elements. The most significant amount of an issue was The Day With Day With the Guide Dogs Trainers, which went for $4,200. That item also included working with a guide dog while blindfolded to understand what a guide dog is
One of the most heartwarming stories was about a woman who lost her sight at age 6. She got her first guide dog at age 58 and said she felt like she
was six years old again, able to run, walk and do the things she did as a child. There are stories like this at each Guide Dog graduation. Volunteers brought Guide Dogs to the dinner. I sat at a table with a blind woman and her dog and a veteran with Post Dramatic Stress Syndrome who said his dog knows his flashbacks are coming before he does so he can control them better. They said these Guide Dogs had changed their lives completely.
Over 300 guests enjoyed the concert by Lorna Luft as a separate event. Lorna is also an Author, Emmy nominated producer, recording artist along with being a Humanitarian and Guide Dogs puppy raiser. Lorna performed her, Through the Eyes of Love concert. She sang songs by some of her most favorite songwriters and songs that never won an Oscar that is still treasured today and known by almost everyone. Lorna and her husband arranged a particular song for the night, The Face, as a video that showed the faces of Dogs on the screen.