Congresswoman Maxine Waters with Kenneth Bentley
Photo by Mark LaBonge
The 7th annual “Afternoon of Jazz” festivities got underway with an elegant reception and silent auction on the deck overlooking the lush Wilshire Country Club golf course on North Rossmore Avenue. Supporters and guests mingled and enjoyed the sumptuous appetizers and sunny afternoon weather. The “Afternoon of Jazz” offered an extraordinary buffet of seafood, poultry and beef delicacies, gourmet pastas and salads, and a variety of fruits and desserts. After the meal, the crowd gave an enthusiastic welcome to the popular Mistress and Master of Ceremonies, Pat Prescott of 94.7 The Wave, and Chris Schauble of KTLA 5. Both have been longtime supporters of Team HEAL. Pat pledged her ongoing commitment to Dr. and Mrs. Shields and announced that next year’s 10th anniversary of the incorporation of Team HEAL will bring a bigger than ever celebration. Chris Schauble expressed that the Shields can always count on him, and he announced that due to the enormous successful outcomes for student athletes, KTLA 5 would be doing a profile on Team HEAL in the very near future. Pat and Chris had great chemistry as an MC team while they shared the duties introducing entertainers, honorees, speakers and VIP guests. Schauble enthusiastically conducted the live auction.The “Afternoon of Jazz” entertainment did more than wow the jazz loving crowd, as vocalist Gail Jhonson, 3 Piece Suit Band, and a surprise special guest performance by renowned trumpeter Rick Braun thrilled the audience to a standing ovation.The Team HEAL student college scholarship winners received $1500 awards from Dr. and Mrs. Shields. Mrs. Shields expressed the hope that she and Dr. Shields will one day present students with awards of $15,000 scholarships for college, JL Armstrong, National Manager of External Affairs for Toyota, rose and spontaneously announced that Toyota would match the Team HEAL $1500 gift for each of the scholarship students. The 2011 scholarship recipients are Sasha Ponce of Banning High (attending Cal State Long Beach), Karina De Anda of Carson High (attending UCLA), Emily Ramos of Crenshaw High (attending UC Riverside), Ahjaleah Price of Crenshaw High (attending UC Santa Barbara) and Laurene Hunter, Crenshaw High School, (attending California State University, Northridge). Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge presented the 5 scholarship recipients with a City Council Certificate and he recognized Dr. Clarence Shields with his customary gift of fresh baked pumpkin bread from Monastery of the Angels in Hollywood. Also in attendance were longtime Team HEAL supporters Councilman Bernard and Mrs. Bobbie Parks, actress Judy Pace, and CBS 2’s Jim Hill who gave an emotional tribute and award introduction to Gary Vitti calling him the best, most highly respected and sought after trainer of any sport in the country.Congresswoman Maxine Waters inspired the 7th Annual Afternoon of Jazz attendees with her strong support of Team HEAL, and she presented congressional plaques to the Team HEAL honorees, Kenneth Bentley and Gary Vitti. The Congresswoman talked of how she had wanted to attend the special “Afternoon of Jazz” in the past, and was delighted that her schedule finally permitted her to attend this year.As Los Angeles Lakers Head Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti made comments after receiving his Team HEAL award at the Wilshire Country Club, he took time to inform the over-300 supporters of the acronym for HEAL (in Team HEAL): Helping Enrich Athletes Lives, saying many in attendance may not have known what HEAL stood for in this beloved organization’s catchy name. Vitti also delighted the crowd when he shared the fact that his acceptance speech was typed in large print and was held in a black binder, due to a tip he got when visiting the White House and watching President Barack Obama give a speech in celebration of the Lakers and their 2010 NBA championship. He told the crowd that our President, the great orator he is, speaks with his comments typed in large font and held in a black binder. Vitti was well received as supporters listened intently to him. He introduced his wife and family members who were present, and spoke of the important work of athletic trainers, and he praised Dr. and Mrs. Clarence Shields, Team HEAL founder and executive director, respectively, for the vision, time, resources, dedicated service and love they have put into Team HEAL for the past nine years. Kenneth Bentley, Vice President of Community Affairs for Nestle USA was also honored by Team HEAL. He has generously secured Nestle USA sponsorship of the “Afternoon of Jazz” for the past three years as host of the Wilshire Country Club site. Bentley talked of Nestle USA’s commitment to youth and congratulated Dr. Clarence and Mrs. Barbara Shields on the impressive work that they have done for student athletes through Team HEAL. He stressed the importance of health and immediate medical treatment for athletes, and shared that his own family doctor had spoken so highly of Team HEAL that he was deeply moved to support the organization. He thanked his wife Jelena Bentley who volunteers regularly with Team HEAL. Bentley, an alumnus of L.A.’s Crenshaw High (one of the three Team HEAL schools) humored fellow honoree and Laker personnel Gary Vitti and the entire room when he asked for recognition as a former Laker player. He had played for a youth basketball team that also had been named “Lakers”.Team HEAL Foundation is a non-profit organization providing full time certified athletic trainers to prepare, teach, treat, and rehabilitate 2500 student athletes at Crenshaw, Banning and Carson high schools. Founded in 1994 by Dr. Clarence Shields, Team HEAL’s mission is to bring comprehensive injury prevention, medical care, athletic training, healthcare and nutrition awareness, mentoring and academic support to student athletes in under-served communities. Since 1973 Dr. Shields has been an orthopedic surgeon at the famed Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic.
He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Southern California Medical School. Dr. Shields was recently inducted into the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) “Hall of Fame” which recognizes members of the orthopedic medical community who have significantly contributed to the specialty.“Afternoon of Jazz” funds raised for Team HEAL will help the organization expand services to more schools and students, and will help provide state of the art training equipment to yield the best results for the athletes.For more information on the Team HEAL Foundation, please contact (310) 645-8347, or www.teamheal.org.