MDA Matters September-October 2006

by Quest Staff on September 1, 2006 - 3:32pm

QUEST Vol. 13, No. 5

Board names Weinberg MDA president, CEO

Gerald C. Weinberg of Tucson, Ariz., was elected to the Board of Directors and named MDA’s President & CEO during the Association’s annual meeting in Los Angeles in July. Weinberg was named to succeed Robert Ross, MDA’s longtime chief executive who died in June.

Lois West
Lois West

Weinberg, who joined the staff of the Association in 1957 when it was based in New York, served most recently as senior vice president and chief operating officer.

Lois R. West of Hilton Head, S.C., was renamed chairman of the Board. Other re-elected officers are: Robert M. Bennett of Los Angeles, chairman of the Executive Committee; Suzanne Lowden of Las Vegas, treasurer; and Timmi Masters of Beverly Hills, secretary.

In addition, the Board named Jerry Lewis to another term as national chairman. The Board also appointed two senior vice presidents on the MDA staff. Pete Morgan was named senior vice president for field organization, and Ronald J. Schenkenberger was named senior vice president for research and health care services.

Also, the Board elected 17 new vice presidents to MDA’s volunteer leadership. They are:

Ty Ballou of Pittsburgh, president and chief executive officer of Public Label Brands;
Virginia Benzak of White Plains, N.Y., wife of the late Board member Louis R. Benzak;
Tom Bergeron of Old Greenwich, Conn., host of ABC-TV’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “Dancing with the Stars”;
Jann Carl of Pasadena, Calif., correspondent and weekend anchor for television’s “Entertainment Tonight”;
Ruth Crowley of Concord, N.C., president of Motorsports Authentics;
James Halpin of New York, senior vice president for Platinum Maintenance Services;
Dawn Hatzer of Washington, executive director of the National Child Care Association;
Ron Hemelgarn of Toledo, Ohio, president of Hemelgarn Enterprises;
Lainie Kazan of New York and Los Angeles, entertainer;
Rocky McCullough of Houston, president of Goodson Auto Group;
Mark Moeller of St. Paul, Minn., president and chief executive officer of R.F. Moeller Jeweler;
Jeff Moorad of Phoenix, general partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks;
Fred Morganthal of Matthews, N.C., president of Harris Teeter;
Tom Robinson of Nashville, Ga., vice president and chief operating officer of J.H. Harvey Co.;
Mike Rowlett of Irving, Texas, president of Womack Machine Supply;
William F. Shultz of Harrisburg, Pa., Supreme Tall Cedar of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon; and
Judy Spires of Malvern, Pa., president of Acme Markets.

MDA’s new web design cleaner, easier to use

MDA Web Site

MDA’s new and improved Web site offers a bright, clean look, as well as easier access to the information that you need. The site, at, is more streamlined, and the content is better organized. But, don’t worry — all the information and resources you had access to before are still available.

The site presents MDA’s programs in three user-friendly sections — MDA is Help, MDA is Hope and MDA is Knowledge — about the Association’s services, research and public information programs.

The home page features a quick link to the ALS Division site, information about MDA at a local level, ways to help and donate, and links to the latest news from MDA.

A drop-down menu geared toward families offers “one-stop shopping” for information, including clinics, support groups, research news and publications.


Two sponsors observe anniversaries with MDA

The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon will help commemorate two anniversaries — the 25th year of the partnership of MDA and DECA, and ERA Real Estate’s 30th year as an MDA sponsor.

In honor of the DECA-MDA silver anniversary, DECA National President Curtis Haley will appear on the Telethon to present donations from the organization’s year-round fundraising efforts to MDA National Youth Chairman Billy Gilman. DECA members from select high schools also will appear on the Telethon.

DECA, an association of marketing students, includes high school and college-age students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship. DECA has raised nearly $5 million to benefit MDA since 1981.

Edward L. Davis, executive director of DECA, is an MDA national vice president.

To commemorate its MDA sponsorship anniversary, ERA will kick off its year-long Home in on a Cure campaign during the Telethon. ERA will reach the 30th anniversary in 2007.

ERA’s goal is to raise $2 million by the campaign’s end and present that amount to MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis on the 2007 Telethon. Since 1977, ERA brokers and sales associates have raised nearly $30 million to benefit “Jerry’s kids.”

Bradley Walker
Bradley Walker
Billy Gilman
Calvin Ray Johnson and Kermit the Frog
Calvin Ray Johnson with Kermit

P.J. Martin Smith, senior vice president of marketing for ERA Real Estate, is an MDA national vice president.


Gilman, other favorites to sing on Labor day telethon

MDA National Youth Chairman Billy Gilman will lend his musical talents to the long list of entertainers for the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon Sept. 3-4. Gilman, 18, who will release his sixth album, “Billy Gilman,” Sept. 5, will also host several segments of the national broadcast.

The Telethon also welcomes back two country singers — Bradley Walker of Athens, Ga., and Calvin Ray Johnson of Mount Washington, Ky.

Walker, 28, who has nemaline myopathy, will make his fourth Telethon appearance. The bluegrass and country music vocalist will release his first album, “Highway of Dreams,” on Rounder Records Sept. 12. Walker, who debuted at the Grand Ole Opry with bluegrass group phenomenon IIIrd Tyme Out in 2002, has performed with stars such as the Oak Ridge Boys, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill and George Jones.

Johnson, 26, a singer and businessman, has Duchenne MD and will sing on the Telethon for the third time. In June, he opened Calvin Ray’s Live Music in Leitchfield, Ky., a venue for country music headliners and for his Blue Moon Highway Band. In 2001, Johnson treated Telethon viewers to a duet with Kermit the Frog.


MDA revises, expands 'Breathe Easy' booklet

The MDA Publications Department has published “Breathe Easy: Respiratory Care in Neuromuscular Disorders,” an expansion of the 1998 publication about respiratory care for children with muscular dystrophy.

The updated booklet includes respiratory care information for both adults and children with neuromuscular disorders. The 40-page, illustrated booklet is available at local MDA offices and online.

The guide covers all aspects of respiratory care, including an explanation of how neuromuscular disorders affect the function of the lungs, and a summary of available treatment and therapy techniques.


MDA's Wings Over Wall Street

MDA’s sixth annual Wings Over Wall Street gala will be held Sept. 28 at the New York Marriott Marquis. Actor William Baldwin and CNBC anchor Liz Claman will host the evening’s VIP cocktail reception, auctions and car raffle.

Since its inception in 2001, the event has raised more than $5 million for MDA’s ALS research program. And, for their ef-forts to fight ALS, neurologist Merit Cudkowicz, an MDA research grantee at the MDA/ALS Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, will receive the Diamond Award; Bill and Claire Collier of Stamford, Conn., will receive the Spirit Award; and Tom Rice of West Windsor, N.J., will receive the Michael P. Beier Award.

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