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Spirit of Life Award Dinner

Spirit of Life Award Dinner
2014 Spirit of Life Award Dinner
The Baer Family, Baer’s Furniture and
Alan Cole, Hooker Furniture
City of Hope’s National Home Furnishings Industry recognizes industry leaders each year for their outstanding professional and philanthropic contributions at the Spirit of Life Award Dinner.

The Spirit of Life Award is presented to individuals who exemplify the ideals and values that have guided City of Hope for a century, and whose professional and humanitarian accomplishments are worthy of celebration.
Recipients of this prestigious award include a broad range of leaders from the world of business, entertainment, science and philanthropy. What connects them is a shared commitment to elevating the human condition and a profound belief in the power of each individual to effect change.
The Spirit of Life, by its very name, represents the intangible qualities that make an individual’s life worthy of admiration: their generosity, their ability to inspire and their desire to make a difference in the world.

City of Hope extends its heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to its Spirit of Life honorees past and present.

Our Honorees

The Baer Family
In 1945, Melvin and Lucile Baer founded Baer's Home Outfitters in South Bend, Indiana, based on one simple concept: offer customers famous brands that they can trust, quality craftsmanship and lasting designs at tremendous discounts. It was there, under their parents' loving guidance, where Jimmie, Allan and Bobby were taught the retail furniture industry at every level. While the family-owned company continued to prosper in Indiana, the Baer's Florida vision started, when Bobby moved to Florida in 1968 and opened the Dania store. The elder Baers and the rest of the family eventually settled in South Florida and moved the business along with them. Today, Bobby is CEO and Allan is President along with the third generation in top management positions. They run a furniture dynasty that now has fifteen showcases and two warehouses. When your company bears your name, there is a special pride in everything you do for the customer and community. We are proud to continue with our founder's philosophy of making Baer's the finest premier furniture and design showcase


Alan Cole
Alan Cole has served as president and/or chief executive of two of the largest furniture companies in the industry. He was a partner in the leading mid-priced upholstery firm Berkline Corporation of Morristown, Tenn., where he served as president from 1991-1996. He served as president and chief executive of Lifestyle Furnishings International in 2000-2001, which at the time was the largest U.S. producer of home furnishings with revenues over $2 billion, with subsidiaries including Henredon, Drexel Heritage, Lexington Home Brands and Maitland-Smith. From 2004 to 2006, he was president and chief executive of Chicago-based Schnadig Corp. and was a member of the Hooker Furniture Corp Board in 2003. In 2007, he joined Hooker Furniture Corp. as Executive Vice President of Upholstery Operations, and subsequently was named President of Hooker Upholstery and currently serves as President of Hooker Furniture Corporation. Prior to joining Berkline in the 90s, Alan had been a long-time executive at Broyhill Furniture Industries.

Event Details

Baer family, Alan Cole raise  more than $1 million for City of Hope

Home furnishings industry leaders turn hope and dreams into reality at Spirit of Life fundraising gala
LOS ANGELES – The recent Spirit of Life awards dinner honoring two preeminent leaders of the furniture industry– Alan Cole, retired president of Hooker Furniture, and the Baer family of Baer’s Furniture – raised more than $1 million for cancer and diabetes research at City of Hope.  The prestigious Spirit of Life award is City of Hope’s highest accolade, presented annually to industry leaders in recognition of their outstanding personal, professional and philanthropic achievements.
As a world-renowned biomedical research and treatment center, City of Hope shortens the times from new research idea to new medical treatment in order to quickly bring cures to patients. Its breakthrough research has led to therapies now used by people worldwide.
“We are thrilled with the overwhelming support the Baer family and Alan Cole have championed for City of Hope,” said Brittany De La Torre, director of corporate philanthropy at City of Hope. “The passion exhibited by both honoree teams has been phenomenal – a truly personal drive to make a difference in the future of medicine.”
The gala, held April 6 at Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C., honored this year’s award recipients, but previous honorees as well, treating all to a VIP reception followed by the awards dinner.
“It’s a great honor for the Baer family to be recognized by our industry colleagues,” said Bobby Baer, chairman and chief executive of the family-owned business, which has 15 furniture stores throughout Florida. “We are proud to support the remarkable research at City of Hope.”
Added Alan Cole of Hooker Furniture: “City of Hope’s scientists have had a global impact with research that benefits more than 100 million people. Our family is personally grateful for the advances made in cancer treatment at City of Hope.”
In addition to the awards ceremony, the evening’s highlights included a video of the honorees touring City of Hope, where they made wishes of hope and healing for their loved ones on City of Hope’s Wishing Trees. Dinner guests were invited to complete their own wishing tags, to be displayed on City of Hope’s campus in Los Angeles later this week. The appeal asked participants to make a wish and a donation at the same time, raising an additional $30,000 for cancer research at City of Hope.
Also at the event, Linda Malkas, Ph.D., deputy director of research at City of Hope, explained the mission of   City of Hope’s translational research and its ability to directly impact patients through life-saving clinical trials. During the VIP reception, City of Hope surprised Russell Bienenstock, editor of Furniture World, with the Volunteer of the Year award.
Chuck Reilly, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing at AICO, chairs the National Home Furnishings Industry group supporting City of Hope, and Kevin O’Connor, chief executive of Samson Marketing, chairs the organization’s Spirit of Life Award Dinner campaign. 
Contributions to City of Hope are still accepted.  For more information on ways to support City of Hope, contact the NHFI Corporate Philanthropy Office at 800-272-2310 or furniture@coh.org.
About City of Hope
City of Hope is a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope’s main hospital is located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles, with clinics in Antelope Valley and South Pasadena. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S.News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics. For more information, visit www.cityofhope.org or follow City of Hope on facebook, twitter, youtube or flickr.

2014 Event Photos

Past Honorees

Michael Amini
Neil Goldberg, Steven Goldberg and Michael Goldberg
Jeff Seaman
Bob Sherman
Michael Huber
Stefanie J. Lucas
The Cartledge & Bennett Families
Joseph Cory, Sr.
David Blum
Irvin Blumkin
Jeffrey Child
William Colegrove
Jena Hall
David Heard
William Kimbrell
Eliot Tatelman
Andy Nielsen
Bill Reece
Kim Whitlock
John Disa
Kevin O’Connor
Joe Carroll
Todd Wanek
Lynn Davis
Don Marks
Charlie Eitel
Keith Koenig
The Capó Family
Art DeFehr
John Klein
Norman Waxman
William Kimbrell
Stephan M. Kincaid
Mickey Holliman
Joseph Reddington
Ron Wanek
Art Van Elslander
William H. “Bill” Child
Patrick H. Norton
Joe Baron
Chuck Cebuhar
Troy A. Peery Jr.
Irvin L. Lowenstein
Howard Applebaum
Stuart Applebaum
Douglas Cohen
Howard Cohen
Daniel Feldman
George Bradley
Rick Powell
Fred Starr
Keith D. Raine
Martin Ploy
Robert A. Magnusson
Angel M. Echevarria
Kalman Karuse
Bernelle Karuse
Larry Brooks
William D. Kaiser
Larry B. Rogers
Donald A. Belgrad
J. Lawrence Schnadig
Lawrence K. Schnadig
Melvin P. Spitz
Robert H. Spilman
David C. Dahlberg
Morris M. Loeb
Eleanor Sax Ellis
Robert M. Elliot
Jack Eiseman
Marvin M. Chalek
Joseph Sinay
Samuel Sinay
Matthew J. Guglielmo
Jerry Bertram
Leonard Barban
King Karpen
Bernard Roberts
Tony Furiani
Ralph E. Droughton
Herman Kranz
Percy Solotoy
Seniel Ostrow
Event Details
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Spirit of Life Award Dinner
Grandover Resort
1000 Club Road
Greensboro, NC 27407
The Baer Family,  Baer’s Furniture and
Alan Cole, Hooker Furniture
Check back again for details on the 2015 Award Dinner.
Brittany De La Torre
Director of Development
(213) 241 -7168
Christy Wilson
(800) 272 -2310