Girls Night Out gets new sponsor, new venue
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For 10 years, Mike Hackl has been the main man in helping women orchestrate Girls Night Out, attracting hundreds to the annual August fundraiser.
He takes care of the beverages, training the bartenders and finding donors to give legal beverages to the event that helps victims of domestic violence.
This year, he went further. He persuaded his employer, Crestwood Midstream Partners LP, to donate to Girls Night Out.
On Tuesday, the company's vice president traveled from Texas to present a check for $25,000 to Girls Night Out. It's the first of three $25,000 checks that will be given to the nonprofit, volunteer group whose sole purpose is to raise money for the YWCA's Resolve Family Abuse Program.
And that wasn't the only reason the volunteer organizers were flying high on Tuesday.
They announced that this year's Girls Night Out, on Aug. 1, will be held at Yeager Airport's private hangar.
"Come Fly with Me" is the theme of the night, which will emphasize a 1940s atmosphere and dress.
"We have outgrown Sunrise," said GNO Chairwoman Suzette Raines. With 900 women attending -- and 1,200 to 1,500 expected this year -- there wasn't enough interior space or restrooms in the Sunrise mansion, now home to the Farmer Cline & Campbell law firm.
The sheer numbers of people that attend Girls Night Out impressed Miranda Jones, vice president of environmental, safety and regulatory for Crestwood. "I am from Dallas, and that's a big event for us," she said Tuesday.
Crestwood operations include natural gas gathering, processing, treating and compression services in shale basins in West Virginia and five other states. Employees of the young, fast- growing company were told Crestwood believes in giving back to the communities where it has operations, Jones said.
"Mike [Hackl] said "I have the perfect organization," Jones recalled. "He was like a faucet; he was so excited, so passionate about what this organization does for the women of West Virginia."
Hackl is Crestwood's pipeline manager for the Marcellus Shale region.
Jones was given an overview of the Resolve Family Abuse Program on Tuesday and later attended the "reveal" party at Sunrise, where the Crestwood donation and details of the August Girls Night Out were announced.
Last year's event netted $160,000 for the YWCA program, and GNO is now a line item in the nonprofit group's budget. Money raised through the party accounts for 15 percent of the budget, said Debby Weinstein, YWCA executive director.
She said the Resolve program has a "host of needs," from replacing heating and cooling units to replacing a 10-year-old van used to transfer domestic violence victims. In 2012, Resolve served 3,554 people in Kanawha, Clay and Boone counties.
One of those individuals told Jones about her ordeal with domestic violence during her Tuesday tour of the Resolve facilities.
A survivor of domestic violence usually speaks at the Girls Night Out party as a way to raise awareness of the problem. One-third of homicides in West Virginia are related to domestic violence, according to the YWCA.
"When a survivor speaks, 900 women get quiet and they understand what it's like," Weinstein told Jones.
The Crestwood VP said she plans to attend Girls Night Out in August.
The private hangar at Yeager is larger than the Civic Center ballroom, Raines said. Portable generators will be in place to provide air conditioning and "luxurious" portable restrooms will be on site.
The hangar doors will be open to the outside. There will be an area for VIPs, who will be allowed to park on a closed runway. Other ticket holders will park at nearby Northgate and will be shuttled to and from the party.
Raines said tickets are $125 per person; and $175 for a VIP ticket.
"For what you get, it's well worth the price," she said.
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