It’s that time again - and preparations are under way for the second annual Mike O’Daniel Memorial Scholarship Fund Dance and Auction, which will take place from 7-10 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ennis.
All proceeds raised during the event will go toward the scholarship fund, which was organized shortly after O’Daniel’s death by his friends and classmates to help assist students in furthering their education.
The first scholarship recipient was 2007 Waxahachie High School graduate William Zimmerman, who received a $2,000 scholarship during the 80th annual Waxahachie Scholarship Awards May 3.
Eight applicants from the WHS class of 2007 were in the running for the scholarship.
According to a newsletter, all of the applicants indicated an interest in studying music or communications in their college careers and all were well-qualified students.
Because of the generous donations from the community, the fund has raised $28,434, giving another graduating senior an opportunity to receive another $2,000 scholarship.
Last year’s dance and auction raised $11,348.19, including donations from the Waxahachie RBI Club, KBEC, Sam Taylor and the Waxahachie Jam, the Wichita Falls Music Festival, and Dave Eder and The Final Showdown Band for donating their services.
“This year’s goal is to raise $15,000, with another scholarship awarded to another student in May,” Eder said. “We want to get this where it is self-sustained to help children with their education.”
Eder organized the event as a way of keeping O’Daniel’s memory alive.
“All of us knew Mike and this is like doing something for a brother you’ve lost,” Eder said. “This will be an annual event held to keep Mike’s memory going and also a way to help kids.”
Eder’s band will once again provide the entertainment for the dance with special guests Jesse Mears and Kathy McVicker of “Fiddlin’ Fever” which O’Daniel played in for a long time. KBEC’s Ken Roberts, O’Daniel’s long-time broadcast partner, will serve as emcee.
“Ken and Mike were very close and we couldn’t have had a better person to emcee the event,” Eder said.
David Watson will again serve as auctioneer.
Board president Gary Giles expressed his appreciation for the community’s support.
“We think our first year was a great success and we all feel that our friend, Mike, would be very proud that some deserving student was enabled to further his or her education with this scholarship,” Giles said. “We would like to thank all the different individuals that have generously donated to the fund. Our goal is to raise enough money to perpetually fund this scholarship and give a scholarship to a deserving student each year. Our efforts will continue.”
Eder agreed with Giles, saying, “The response we received was great. We sold about 600 tickets so we had a great turnout.”
All of the profits from the sale of three CDs of O’Daniel’s music that Kathy McVickers produced go to the scholarship fund. So far, the sale of the CDs has contributed $2,255 to the fund. The CDs are on sale at Scott Furniture in Waxahachie.
O’Daniel’s friends point out the late musician touched many lives in many places besides Ellis County.
“We have received letters and donations from people as far away as Maryland and Brooklyn, N.Y., that knew Mike O’Daniel and enjoyed his music and wanted to contribute to the scholarship fund set up in his memory,” Giles said.
Showing how much love still lingers for O’Daniel, his signature song, “Funny How Time Slips Away” by Willie Nelson, was played at the conclusion of last year’s benefit, Eder recalled. “We closed the event with that song and there was not a dry eye in there,” he said. “We will again close the event with that song this year.”
Tickets are $12.50 per person and will be sold at the door. Tickets may also be purchased at KBEC, 711 Ferris Ave.; the Waxahachie Daily Light office, 200 W. Marvin Ave.; Happy’s Home Furnishings on the square; and Parish Music, 102 U.S. Highway 77; or by calling Eder at 972-921-333 or 972-938-1784, Tom Almand at 972-937-2140, Jim Odom at 214-674-3599 or Giles at 214-356-1104.
E-mail Chicarra at firstname.lastname@example.org