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Sky Ranch Honors “The Class of 2009”

March 7, 2009


The Sky Ranch Foundation held its 18th annual Hall of Fame dinner on Sunday, March 1, 2009 at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was held in conjunction with the 7th annual convention of American Beverage Licensees (ABL), and the very popular Nightclub & Bar Show. Joining 81 distinguished beverage industry leaders previously named, the Hall of Fame “Class of 2009” is an especially strong group noted for their generosity, leadership and endurance as champions for Sky Ranch. Their personal and business achievements have made an important contribution to the united efforts of the alcohol beverage industry since 1960 to provide quality care for the troubled teens at Sky Ranch for Boys.

The members of the Class of 2009 of the Sky Ranch Hall of Fame are:  

Larry Ruvo – Southern Wines & Spirits of Nevada. Despite leading the largest wine, spirits and beer distributorship in Las Vegas, Larry Ruvo finds time to give tremendous support to many worthy causes, most importantly, the building of the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, which will open soon in Las Vegas. Ruvo helped develop Vino Las Vegas, the largest annual wine segment event for Sky Ranch (held this year on March 3 in Las Vegas raising $10,000)

Ralph Levine – Metro NY Package Stores Association. An industry icon, Ralph has been a leader of the retail tier of the industry since the 1950s, and has been on the Sky Ranch team since day 1. Ralph served many years on the Sky Ranch Foundation board and has helped maintain strong support among his fellow retailers.

Paul Houston - Beam Global Spirits & Wine. Paul has been the manager of Jim Beam&rsquo's Cincinnati plant since 2000. The 3rd generation of his family to work in the liquor industry, Paul helps the industry and Sky Ranch also by his leadership (National Vice President) of WAABI (World Association of the Alcohol Beverage Industries, Inc), the largest single organization raising money for Sky Ranch (over $200,000 in the past 12 months!).

Dori Bryant – The Polished Palate. Based in Tarpon Springs, Florida, Dori has been organizing outstanding spirits tasting events from coast to coast for several years. She has probably done more than anyone to introduce Sky Ranch to consumers and new, smaller companies in the industry and has helped raise over $20,000 through silent auctions for Sky Ranch at her tasting events.

Sky Ranch Foundation Chairman, Mike Donohoe (retired President of Future Brands LLC), and President, Ralph Aguera (Vice President for Trade Relations at Brown-Forman) introduced the honorees to a “sell out” crowd of nearly 150 people. William Slone of the Beverage Media Group accepted the honor for Ralph Levine, who was unable to attend.

In addition to the large live audience, the honorees were saluted in print by more than a dozen beverage makers, distributors, media organizations, trade associations and others who sponsored ads in the evening’s program book. At the same event, Jason Glasser of the Beverage Media Group presented the 2009 Mentor of the Year Award to Sky Ranch Foundation Secretary, Barry Becton, Senior Director of State Government Relations for Diageo. Becton, who also serves as National President of WAABI, has travelled to Sky Ranch almost every year since becoming a mentor and worked especially hard to encourage and guide the boys who have been assigned to him over the years.

Sky Ranch for Boys is a unique 3,000-acre facility on the South Dakota/Montana border where troubled kids from all parts of America get a second chance and a fresh start. Sky Ranch has built an enviable record over the years as it focuses on teaching kids to respect themselves and others and take responsibility for their actions. Through sports, arts, working with animals and even learning to fly a small plane, Sky Ranch helps kids find their natural gifts and take pride in them. Most boys advance at least 2 years in the grade level of their academic work during a one-year stay at Sky Ranch. For more info visit www.skyranchforboys.com.

Nearly 50 years ago, members and friends of the alcohol beverage industry at all levels agreed to support the development of Sky Ranch. They formed the Sky Ranch Foundation, which has purchased the land, built the buildings, and provided annual cash support equal to 25 percent or more of the Sky Ranch budget. This wonderful tradition has earned Sky Ranch the nickname, “the adopted charity of the alcohol beverage industry.” For more details please visit www.skyranchfoundation.org, or call 540-891-7201. The fax number is 540-891-7203.

The 19th Annual Hall of Fame dinner is currently set for June 6, 2010 at a location to be announced soon in South Dakota. This will be an extremely special event celebrating Sky Ranch for Boys’ 50th anniversary! Please watch for further announcements!

(L-R) Sky Ranch Hall of Fame participants included: William Slone (accepting for Ralph Levine), Mike Donohoe, Larry Ruvo (honoree), Paul Houston (honoree), Dori Bryant (honoree), Jodi Duttenhefer (Exec. Director of Sky Ranch), Ralph Aguera.


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