Two-time Academy Award-winning actor, director, and producer Kevin Costner was the keynote speaker of the New Friends New Life (NFNL) 12th Annual WINGS Luncheon, raising $1.1 million to support victims of sex trafficking and commercial exploitation, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas on April 10.
The sold-out crowd of 1,600 was treated to a “Conversation with Kevin Costner” as he joined local movie producer Gary Cogill on stage.
|Ray Hunt, Nancy Ann Hunt, Kevin Costner, Jeanne Johnson Phillips|
The day’s activities began with a VIP Reception where top donors and special guests had a chance to meet Costner and take pictures, followed by a few brief remarks by Costner on stage, facilitated by Jeanne Johnson Phillips, event chair. Costner commented on how movies “can bring us together” and that “each of you feel like you know me from my movies.” He highlighted some of his movies to a captive audience including Ann Barbier, Nancy Best, Suzy Gekiere, Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt , Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Bobby Lyle, Christina Lynch, Sandy Nachman, Lisa Schlachter, Marianne Staubach, Sue Strauss, Gail and Gerald Turner, Lisa Trout, and a couple hundred more.
|Ashlee and Chris Kleinert|
Coinciding with Costner’s participation, NFNL launched a men’s advocacy group, consisting of an 18-member governing board, to mobilize area men to personally and collectively act against human trafficking by raising awareness through advocacy and volunteerism.
|Elaine Pearlman, Cindy Turner, Dr. Honor Franklin, Gail Fischer|
“New Friends New Life is about protecting the most vulnerable citizens of our city – our children,” said Jeanne Johnson Phillips, luncheon chair. “With an estimated 400 teens on the streets each night as targets of human traffickers, it is incumbent upon each of us who care about Dallas to send a message that Dallas is a no tolerance zone for human trafficking.”
|Keana Meyer and State Representative Morgan Meyer, Karen Borta, Florence Shapiro|
Referencing the statistics on human trafficking highlighted at the luncheon, Costner said, “These numbers are bothering people, the numbers bother me. And I can tell they bother the room…so we’re kind of in this together. I have three daughters, and I have told my children every day since the day they were born they are special. But I never fail to end that sentence with “that does not make you better than anybody.”
|Kevin Costner, Katie Pedigo|
Costner and Cogill discussed his movies, the effect the movie Giant had on him as a young boy, and his love of cowboy movies. Costner shared some personal and meaningful stories including the filming of JFK and a day that began with hanging out with Cal Ripken and the Baltimore Orioles, which turned into golf with President H.W. Bush and Andre Agassi, and ended with dinner at the White House – an experience Costner referenced as a great and very memorable day in his life.