Entering Killeen’s VFW Post 9191 on a weekday afternoon, the atmosphere seemed unusually animated, and perhaps a bit more sophisticated than normal.
Take the lady in charge, for instance: Lora Land. As tall as a runway model and dressed in a classic, simple brown sheath dress, her grace and appearance somehow doesn’t fit the stereotype of a senior vice commander. And those incongruous impressions continued as Land led the way into the site of this year’s fundraiser for scholarships, A Night of Elegance.
The large room was filled with the energetic efforts of women of all ages — hanging lights, preparing table decorations, unrolling yard goods and conferring with each other. What had been a generic all-purpose ballroom/meeting facility was being transformed into a stunning, urbane venue.
A Night of Elegance is a scholarship fundraiser produced by Nubia Court 190 Daughters of Isis, a fraternal benevolent organization that lists “service to the community” as a primary goal. Besides mentoring youth, working with the Feed My Sheep homeless outreach program and scholarships, the Daughters have a long history of partnering with Post 9191.
“They’ve been assisting us for at least a decade,” Land said. “I’ve seen it, hands-on, the money they’ve raised and kept in this community in the form of high school senior scholarships.”
Chaka Clark and Ruby Jamerson, both officers in the organization, said Saturday’s gala will also help Post 9191. “This will bring folks that want to support our community and kids, and some will want to become members (of the VFW), too,” Jamerson said.
“For $20, guests will be served a four-course dinner, be entertained by the Dr. Gleam band on the stage, plus we’ll have songstress Brown Sugar and a DJ for after dinner dancing,” Clark said. “It’s open to the public — you don’t have to be a member of the VFW to attend.”
Magnolia Bates, chef of Mac’s Eatery, the post’s in-house restaurant, was busily ironing an endless bolt of fabric as 10-year-old Ja’Lyn Bogan, a fifth-grader at Timber Ridge Elementary, assisted. Sharon Winslow, Rachel Nelson and Mia Caffie were covering all of the walls from ceiling to floor with black draping material, to be followed by strings of tiny white lights. Floral table accents and white tulle embellishments, together with fully draped tables and chairs added to the panache.
“We’ll have a photographer for couple and group pictures, so dress to impress,” Jamerson said. “And it’s not a buffet — guests will be served at their table.” As befitting the event’s title, she smiled and made one thing clear: “No Styrofoam plates.”