By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Jamison Mosley | Hair & Makeup by Suzy Balkman with Bristle + Balm
Sammie Ann Dunkum believes that “little things make a big difference” and shares this mantra with fellow members of the 20th Century Club. Her inclusive nature encourages everyone to do a small part with a collective purpose that transforms lives. As president of the club, Sammie will welcome friends and patrons to the Hope Ball later this month for a meaningful evening that is pretty in pink.
This Arkansas native admits to living the sweet life – she’s married to her high school sweetheart, has two successful sons and is “Honey” to an adorable grandson. Family and work keep her busy, but Sammie Ann laughs easily and realizes faith helps her maintain perspective. “Right now, I know I’m called to serve others and the 20th Century Club is where I fulfill that calling.”
The 20th Century Club provides “hope away from home” for families. With a legacy that’s more than 25 years strong, the lodge provides no-cost accommodations for cancer patients receiving treatment at area medical centers. Sammie Ann was introduced to the organization through friends and immediately impressed with the mission fulfillment work and fiduciary responsibility. “The Lodge is debt free, thanks to the wisdom and hard work of members throughout its history,” she elaborates. Her pragmatic approach to business as a compliance officer in the financial industry is also reflected in her community service. “We are in a strong position so that all of the fundraising goes to operation and maintenance of the Lodge. No money is wasted on interest or paying down debt. It’s important to the club to be good stewards of the funds entrusted to us.”
Each year, the Hope Ball generates critical support for the operating costs of the lodge and the organization’s sustainability. Congruent with the generous attitude of its 426 members, the evening promises fellowship + fun with careful consideration to the compassion that the 20th Century Club provides. “It’s about serving and celebrating the people who come to us for help.” Sammie Ann notes Justin Sciortino and the Luke Gerard family will be recognized with the Hope Award. “This makes it especially unique this year. They raised money for the Lodge because Luke was a patient who stayed with us.” It’s a different kind of story that Sammie Ann believes is incredibly powerful. “Same thing goes for Donna Terrell’s Yoga Warriors Fighting Colon Cancer. Donna experienced a facility like ours when her daughter was fighting colon cancer.” As presenting sponsor of the Hope Ball, Donna Terrell’s Yoga Warriors Fighting Colon Cancer represents another very personal commitment to the 20th Century Club.
A highlight of the gala is the formal presentation of the Angels of Hope. The program fosters civic leadership and a spirit of volunteerism among high school juniors. Traditional activities at the lodge include sharing meals, playing games and visiting with cancer patients. “We are so excited to honor our 30 Angels of Hope,” Sammie Ann explains. “Several have completed more than 100 volunteer hours. This is truly service above self.” The camaraderie and fellowship shared between 20th Century Club members, Angels of Hope and the families at the lodge reflect the heart of the organization’s vision. “All the small actions, words we choose, smiles we give and things we do… it all matters and it adds up to significant impact. It’s each of us in the club; we contribute our own service and talent. Multiply by all the years and we have made real change in the lives of the many who pass through our Lodge.”