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Derby-themed fundraiser to benefit Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center

By Clint Thomas, Metro Reporter
Bob Thompson, left, of The Bob Thompson Unit, and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., 2010 winner of “America’s Got Talent,” met at the Edgewood Country Club recently to go over plans for their appearance at the 12th annual Night at the Races Derby Fundraiser Saturday, May 6, at the West Side country club.

On the same evening as the 143rd Run for the Roses takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, the 12th annual Night at the Races Derby Fundraiser will be held from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at Edgewood Country Club.

Sponsored by Sharon L. Chapman/Chapman Technical Group, the Kentucky Derby-themed evening gala will benefit homeless veterans and the Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center, an independent, nonprofit agency serving the Kanawha Valley. The RSLC provides emergency, transitional and independent housing, along with a wide variety of support services, for veterans and individuals experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness.

“RSLC is so much more than the stereotypical, temporary homeless shelter that you read about or see in movies,” RSLC Director of Marketing Lauren King said. “Our residents have a bed -- it is entirely theirs. They have a locker for their belongings. They’re working toward becoming stable, self-sufficient, productive members of society through a variety of educational programs and trainings offered at our centers.

“One of our busiest facilities is our Veterans Service Center, available around the clock for our veterans, whether they are homeless or not,” King said. “Our services range from a warm cup of coffee, a hot shower, somewhere to do laundry, to one-on-one case management and support groups on budgeting and family relationships.

“We also offer a computer lab for veterans to work on their resumes or search and apply for jobs,” she said.

“Proceeds raised at this event help fill the gaps that grant funding does not cover,” King said, “and go directly toward providing expansive educational programs and services to our local veterans.”

Guests are encouraged to dress in Kentucky Derby-type attire, such as colorful ties; ornate, Old South gowns and extravagant, colorful, wide-brimmed hats.

Activities will include a live viewing of the Kentucky Derby telecast, Monte Carlo-style games, a silent auction, prize drawings and hat and tie contests. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served.

Live entertainment will be provided by Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., the Logan native who ascended to stardom after winning the “America’s Got Talent” television competition in 2010, and by The Bob Thompson Unit.

Tickets for the Night at the Races Derby Fundraiser cost $60 per person or $120 per couple. They can be ordered online at or by calling 304-550-7768.

Edgewood Country Club is located at 1600 Edgewood Drive on Charleston’s West Side.


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