Olive Crest Desert Communities Hosts Casino Night

Judy Cothrun is named recipient of 2019 Brinton Child Advocacy Award.

Staff Report Current Digital, Social Scene

Dr. James Brinton, founder and board chair of Olive Crest Desert Communities, Judie Cothrun, recipient of the 2019 Brinton Child Advocacy Award, Lorraine Brinton, founder and Olive Crest board member, and Tracy Fitzsimmons, executive director of Olive Crest, Inland and Desert Communities.

Close to 200 guests turned out to lend support at the Olive Crest Desert Communities “Viva Las Vegas” Casino Night at Indian Wells Country Club. Co-chaired by Kristen Shalhoub and Amie Arbid, the evening featured a fun Vegas theme, complete with casino games, silent and live auctions, entertainment, and dinner. Nearly $200,000 was raised to support Olive Crest’s programs and services to assist at-risk children.

“We could not be more pleased with the outpouring of support for the amazing work Olive Crest does within our community,” said co-chairs Arbid and Shalhoub.  “Each year, Olive Crest takes these children out of danger in a crisis, places them in safe and loving homes, stabilizes these children’s lives, gives them tools for success, and ultimately places them in a ‘forever family,’ a permanent home. These are successful outcomes for these kids.”

Patrick Evans, KESQ’s chief meteorologist and host of “Eye on the Desert,” once again served as emcee, while Michelle Westford-Cannon served as Live Auction auctioneer.

The 2019 Brinton Child Advocacy Award went to Judie Cothrun. The award is named in honor of Dr. James and Lorraine Brinton, founders of the Desert Communities Region of Olive Crest.   

Cothrun’s loving heart has always led her to work with children. She initially volunteered and worked in Napa with kids who were on probation and who could not attend public school. This led her to obtain her teaching credential, working with high school students. Upon moving to the desert and retiring from teaching in 1990, Cothrun learned about Olive Crest through friends.  As she explains it, she was blessed with an unexpected inheritance from her mom, so she decided to give back specifically to children in need or at-risk.

Several event highlights included a generous $50,000 challenge gift that was matched within minutes; another guest pledging a donation of

$25,000 to help Olive Crest kids; another guest asking Rapport International Furniture to increase their donated Shopping Spree to $10,000, so he could purchase this live auction item; and a lucky bidder winning and then donating back El Paseo Jewelers’ donation of an diamond bracelet, only to be auctioned off to two competitive bidders, thanks to owner Raju Mehta’s donation of a second diamond bracelet.

Event Presenting Sponsor once again was Rapport International Furniture. Caesar’s sponsors included El Paseo Jewelers and Shalhoub Family McDonalds — both have been long-time Olive Crest supporters.  Additional sponsors included Robann’s Jewelers, Desert Dental Spa, Renova Energy, Amie Arbid and Associates, Anthony Vineyards, and CRU Winery. Exclusive Media Sponsors included Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Palm Springs Life, KESQ News Channel 3, and CV 104.3 Radio.

Seen in the overflow crowd were Tracy Fitzsimmons, Angela Allen, Walter Mueller, Amie Arbid, Vincent Battaglia, Jan Lupia, Doug and Georgia Lee Lang, Peggy and Michael Berk, George & Nancy DeVries, Roger and Judy Kerchman, Dick Shalhoub and Tracy Smith, Rick and Kristen Shalhoub, Stacey Shalhoub, Kate Spades and Skip Paige, Roger and Jan Johnson, Warren and Cathy Smith, Harold and Marianne Wilkinson, Harold Wilkinson IV, Pat and Eileen Witte, and Julie Holmes.

For information on Olive Crest Desert Communities, call 760- 848-4124 or visit olivecrest.org.