I want to share a story with you. This story is regarding my involvement with my local chapter's Red Cross Ball and how Chris Daughtry fits into all of this.
So, we'll need to go back a few months...
It was before Christmas that I, and a few others, met for a brainstorming session to discuss plans for our 19th Annual Red Cross Ball, "Carolina Nights", that was planned for Saturday, March 13th 2010. In this planning session we all gathered ideas and discussed plans on how we could make this years event, and its silent and live auctions, the best yet. We also talked about how we could reach out to the younger demographic and encourage the younger folks to becoming more involved in their communities, and ideally the Red Cross. While trying to think of some ideas of how we could do just that, and considering our theme was "Carolina Nights", I immediately thought of Chris Daughtry. Why? Well, for one he's from North Carolina, living just outside of Greensboro. Two, he's insanely talented and is the lead singer of the band, Daughtry, that has sold millions and millions of albums worldwide. Three, he's young himself and attracts a legion of young (and older) fans wherever he performs. The wheels were turning...
Now, I knew I would probably not be able to get him to actually perform or even make an appearance, so I didn't even attempt that, but I did think about some other ideas on how we could have his presence there, without actually having him there. I immediately thought about having a guitar autographed by him featured in either our live or silent auction. Genius! Knowing this would be huge in benefitting our chapter and knowing how popular this particular item would be, I had to think of where to start. Who would I ask? How would I ask?
I first thought of calling his management team at 19 Entertainment. Good thought! After only being transferred twice, I reached a wonderful, very helpful lady who listened very attentively to my request and offered to submit my request to Gibson. Wow! Gibson? We exchanged information and I submitted my official request to Gibson to have them donate a guitar. This guitar would then be sent to Chris (by 19 Entertainment) for his autograph. It all sounded like music to my ears and I was through the moon excited about it. Who knew my brave, ambitious idea would actually pan out?
Sadly, I received an email from 19 Entertainment stating that they hadn't yet received approval from Gibson and with the event date nearing, they wanted to let me know that they didn't think it would work out after all. Bummer. My phone call to 19 was only about 3.5 weeks prior to the event itself and Gibson traditionally requires more than 4 weeks, at least.
At this point I didn't know what to do. I understood why It was a no-go with 19, but I still felt like I had to deliver. I felt like I had to still try to achieve this idea, the idea that I knew in my heart-of-hearts would be huge for our chapter. I did the only thing I could think of. I relied on Twitter. ;)
I love Twitter. I really do. I'm not on as much as I used to be, but I still love it. I follow some really great people, with one of those people being @MrsDaughtry. Yes, Chris Daughtry's wife. The lovely, funny, and very endearing Deanna Daughtry. I figured why not send her a message via Twitter and see if she responds. Well, I did and she did! I sent her a (long) message explaining my situation. I explained everything, from the initial idea to the call to 19 to the disappointing let down. I then asked her if there was anything, anything at all that she could do to help me turn this into reality. It was a message I honestly didn't think would even get read, much less responded to! But she did, and she really, really came through for me.
She responded to me in a private message stating that she could and would help me in obtaining an autograph from Chris, and instructed me on how we could best accomplish this. I made arrangements to receive a great, heavily discounted guitar from Sam Ash Music Center (Thanks to the Manager Tommy!) here in Raleigh. Check out the pre-autographed guitar pictured to the right!
In Deanna's message, she stated that we would have to act fast as Chris was soon going to be on the road again. Last weekend, my husband and I took a little road trip. I had made arrangements to meet Deanna's personal assistant to give her the guitar for Chris to sign. We exchanged contact information and that was that. The very next day, Monday, I had something very exciting in my hands. I had a guitar autographed by Chris Daughtry! Ok, now understand this... I was sick on Monday, had been in fact the whole weekend and even missed work due to being sick. I felt miserable. I received a call from Deanna's assistant saying that she was willing to drive all the way to my home to personally deliver the guitar. Wow. She went over and beyond, and I am forever thankful to her for this. That's another reason why this story is so special to me. She called me to tell me she was on her way. I had to throw on something decent! I was lying on the couch in PJ's for petes sake! About an hour and a half later she arrived with the guitar. I gleefully accepted the guitar back from her and thanked her immensely for driving it to me. She had children with her and I looked to them and said, "I bet you guys love your Mom's job, getting to work around Chris Daughtry and all..., huh?!" The PA looks at me and says, "They're his kids!" Oh my! I got to meet his kids! They were so nice and polite, and even helped the PA email some pictures of Chris from her iPhone to mine. I said my thank-yous once more and off they went. Wow. What an experience. I had the guitar back now, only this time the guitar was signed by none other than Chris Daughtry. I couldn't have been any more happy, thrilled, and appreciative than I was right at that moment.
I immediately went to the PC to check my email for the pictures she sent me. Simply incredible. Check them out!
This experience has come full circle for me. It started off as an idea and then quickly morphed into action. I was given hope, then let down, then had hope again. I'll never forget this story and I'll certainly never forget Mrs. Daughtry. She didn't have to respond to me. She could have taken a blind eye. But she did read my message and was most gracious to me. No, I never met Chris personally, but was told more than once that he knew exactly what this was for and was more than happy to do it. You may have noticed that Chris is in his sweatpants in the pictures above. Good for him! He was on break from the road and deserved to kick back! I think that's what makes these pictures even more special; the fact that they were taken in his home and in the comfort of his lounging clothes. He even tweeted about he'd love to wear sweats on stage! I love it.
I owe so many thanks to Chris Daughtry, his wife Deanna, and their amazing assistants! They ALL made what I thought was next to impossible, possible. I'll never forget this story.
I'm very much looking forward to the Ball taking place next weekend, and I have no doubt at all that this guitar will be a conversation piece for many, and in return do great things for our chapter.
I hope you enjoyed reading my story as much as I enjoyed telling it.