Annual picnic instituted last year to pay tribute to agency’s founders, educate residents about its history
AIDS Services of Dallas was slated to honor former City Council member Veletta Forsythe Lill and former Lone Star AIDS Ride event manager Janie Bush at the agency’s Founder’s Day picnic today.
Paul D. Parks, director of development and public relations for the agency, said Lill and Bush have made valuable contributions on behalf of the city’s HIV-positive population.
“Veletta has been a long advocate in this city for people with AIDS,” Parks said. “Janie has worked tirelessly for Lone Star AIDS Ride.”
They were to be presented with the Daryl Moore Memorial Award. It recognizes people who have given outstanding service to the agency.
Lill served as a City Council member representing residents of Oak Lawn and East Dallas for eight years. She left the council this year after serving her fourth term because she had reached the limit of terms she was allowed to serve under the City Charter.
Bush retired as event manager of Lone Star AIDS Ride this month. She created the fundraiser and coordinated the fundraiser that generated about $1.2 million for three AIDS service agencies during her tenure.
A resident of one of the agency’s four residential facilities was to be presented with the Michael R. Merdian Memorial Award in recognition of special services performed during the past year.
The picnic lunch was to be held today at 11:30 a.m. in the courtyard of the agency’s Revlon Apartments complex in North Oak Cliff. The agency’s kitchen staff prepared food for the picnic.
Parks said the annual picnic was started last year to pay tribute to the founders of AIDS Services of Dallas and to educate residents about the agency’s 19-year history.
“We thought it would be a great spring event to get started,” Parks said. “We don’t have anyone still living with us who knows that history.”
The agency operates four residential facilities for HIV-positive people. The Ewing Center, also known as the PWA House, includes beds for people needing sub-acute care. Revlon Apartments houses both families and individuals. Spencer Gardens apartment complex is for families. Hillcrest House, a 64-unit, multi-floor apartment building houses formerly homeless people.
All of the facilities provide 24-hour home health care.
Parks said there is a critical need for residential housing for HIV-positive people who need health care. There currently are 185 people on the waiting list, he said.
“It has consistently been that number and higher as long as I’ve been here,” he said.
The agency’s services include housing, home health care, social work, medical case management, meals and support from 1,200 volunteers. It has served about 1,500 men, women and children during its 19-year history.
For more information about AIDS Services of Dallas visit www.aidsdallas.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 28, 2006.