Norm Hitzges to Be Honored with Distinguished Service Award at Austin Street Center’s 35th Anniversary Humble Beginnings Luncheon, Host Committee Announced

This is the first Distinguished Service Award to be awarded for service to those experiencing homelessness in Dallas.
Dallas – March 19, 2019 – Austin Street Center, an organization providing safe shelter and basic needs to help the most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness, announces its inaugural Norm Hitzges Distinguished Service Award.  Hitzges will receive this first award on May 2 at Austin Street Center’s 35th anniversary Humble Beginnings Luncheon.

The Norm Hitzges Distinguished Service Award is named in Hitzges’ honor for his excellence and dedication to help individuals experiencing homelessness.

Hitzges has been a longtime supporter and friend to Austin Street Center, hosting his annual events ‘Night with Norm’ and the ‘Norm-a-Thon’, raising millions of dollars for Austin Street Center.

Future awards will honor individuals who exemplify servant leadership through their time and talents serving Austin Street Center and who work to further its mission to help the men and women of Dallas experiencing homelessness.

“It was no question that we honor our longstanding supporter and friend Norm Hitzges with our inaugural Distinguished Service Award,” said Daniel Roby, executive director, Austin Street Center. “Norm brought a new voice to sports broadcasting around the same time Austin Street Center opened its doors and because of Norm’s support and vision, we have been able to help thousands of individuals.”

Hitzges hosted the first full time sports talk show in morning drive time in the country in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market more than 30 years ago. He has been on air continuously since that time. Hitzges is known for his enthusiasm and knowledge of sports trivia and his penchant for handicapping all sports. Hitzges has been honored by the Texas Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Dallas All of Sports Association and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.

Austin Street Center’s 35th anniversary Humble Beginnings Luncheon will take place on May 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Omni Dallas Hotel and feature keynote speaker, Bob Goff, the two time New York Times best-selling author.

Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt will serve as 35th Anniversary honorary chairs, with Gina Landry and Keana Meyer serving as luncheon co-chairs.

Luncheon host committee members are Kenneth Z. Altshuler, Robin and Norm Bagwell, Nell O. Beck, Nancy K. and Randy Best, Megan and John Burkhart, Beth Ewing, Kathy Fielder, Joe Flores, Susan Glassmoyer, Catherine and Dennis Grindinger, Mary Beth Johnston, Jina Kaiser, Rebekah Hamilton Kay, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Susan and Jeff Lindsey, Lottye and Bobby Lyle, Pennie Marshall, Jay McAuley, Frank Mihalopoulous, Carolyn and David Miller, Jenny Montgomery, Claire Moore, Meredith and Mark Plunkett, Julie Rado, Julie Rogers, David Rosenberg, Ashley Rutledge, Pat and Pete Schenkel, Shelly Slater, Gail and R. Gerald Turner, and Kathy Vassallo.

Austin Street Center is one of Dallas’ largest emergency shelters for people who experience homelessness, serving more than 400 people every day. Austin Street Center serves men over the age of 45 and adult women and has grown from providing life-sustaining services such as food and shelter, to ending people’s homelessness through permanent housing coordination, mental health support, relational mediation and employment services.

For more information on event sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, please visit www.austinstreet.org/humblebeginnings.

About Austin Street Center

Founded in 1983, Austin Street Center is a non-profit organization based in Dallas providing safe shelter and basic needs to help individuals find a permanent place to call home. Located in Dallas, Austin Street Center serves men, ages 45 and older, and women, ages 18 and older, with the individual support they need to transition out of homelessness, including shelter, food, clothing, health and mental health services, spiritual support, employment and education programs. Austin Street Center provides unconditional support for each person regardless of faith, sexuality, or circumstance, and develops innovative solutions for housing – working outside the traditional approach to homelessness. For more information, visit https://www.austinstreet.org.

When Dinner isn’t just Dinner

Austin Street is uniquely blessed in that the overwhelming majority of the meals we serve —more than 325,000 annually—are prepared, delivered, and served by volunteers. We simply could not fulfill our mission to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable homeless without the dedicated and generous volunteers who make sure that our clients are well fed.

More than 38 groups serve dinner annually—many for more than 30 years. These churches, temples, schools, corporations, and friends are essential partners in the fight to end homelessness.

Kymberlaine Banks, a 15-year veteran dinner service volunteer with Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church, said “Serving at Austin Street Center is something I can make time for. I love looking people in the eye and giving them hugs. That kind of connection is so priceless.”

Kellene said she serves for herself.“They give me so much more than I give them. It nurtures my soul.”

Betty Langfitt shared, “Serving at Austin Street gives me a chance to see the world through different eyes, while offering grace to people whose lives have seen so much difficulty. It puts things into perspective.”

Our volunteers understand that a meal is so much more than just food. The human contact and desire to express concern for each individual is what makes the experience so valuable.

At Austin Street, our mission is to serve the most vulnerable homeless men and women in Dallas. But we also exist to provide a place for the community to join us to serve their neighbors and change their lives in the process.

If you are interested in partnering with us, please contact Lacy Montgomery, our Partnerships and Community Engagement Manager, at lacy.montgomery@austinstreet.org.

 

Homelessness Has Many Faces

There are as many reasons for homelessness as there are people who experience it. No two people are the same. The men and women who come to Austin Street are often in the most difficult season they have ever experienced. Because of this, the Austin Street team is committed to working with each individual by addressing their unique needs.

Jane* stayed at Austin Street for several difficult months—she had a serious drinking problem and was hard to work with, experiencing frequent bouts of anger. Several months passed without a word until one day, the phone rang. Jane called with amazing news: She had just moved in to her own apartment, and was 5 months sober! She called to say thank you for pushing her in the direction she needed to go… the direction that led to her life being completely transformed.

Chuck* has multiple, complicated health issues, including a mental health diagnosis. He had been estranged from his family for years. Through creative problem solving, Chuck’s case manager located one of his brothers, and facilitated a reunion. Chuck is now living with family, in the environment he needs to restore his health.

Patrick* was eager to help however he could—a hard worker, he wanted to volunteer his skills in the shelter while he prepared for employment through Austin Street’s E2 (Education and Employment) program. With the resume, clothing, and preparation he needed, Patrick landed an interview and was offered a job in a hotel with G6 Hospitality, one of Austin Street’s employment partners. Within a month he was able to move into an apartment of his own.

This is just a sample of the many stories heard daily from the men and women we serve. Men and women who end their homeless experience with the support they receive during their time in the shelter.

Ready to learn more about how you can help? Join us at Austin Street 101 on September 8!