With help from a homegrown country crooner, the Lakewood Service League hopes to break records at its annual fund-raising ball this month.

“We’re just gonna knock ourselves out to raise as much as we can this year,” ball chairwoman Deborah Hawkins says.

The Diamonds and Denim Ball will be Saturday, Feb. 12, at Eddie Dean’s Ranch Downtown. Hawkins says organizers want to throw a casual but classy party focused on fun.

For the first time, the group has booked a major entertainer — country singer Deryl Dodd, who grew up in southeast Dallas and graduated from Skyline High School. Dodd’s brother is a close friend of a league member.

“It’s going to be fun,” Dodd says. “They’ve always had a formal theme. This is going to be more laid back. Since I know a lot of them, it will be like a party. … It’s great to be able to play for a friend of mine.”

Dodd, who moved to Nashville in 1991 to pursue a music career, returned to Texas about two years ago. “Let Me Be,” the first single off his fifth album, “Stronger Proof,” is No. 2 on the Texas Music Chart and No. 59 on Billboard Magazine’s country chart.

Dodd’s performance will be the evening’s highlight, Hawkins says, but guests can also expect food, live and silent auctions, a dance contest and a “pick your cow chip” game offering various prizes.

“You might get a dinner gift certificate or a trip for two on Southwest Airlines,” she says.

The league holds three major fund-raising events each year, but the ball is its biggest moneymaker. The nonprofit group distributed more than $68,500 last year to neighborhood charities.

A group of young mothers founded the league in 1982 to initiate improvements at Lakewood Park, Hawkins says. Over time their mission expanded to encompass volunteer work and charitable donations.

“We not only have a fund set aside for the park’s maintenance and improvement, we also have these other charities,” Hawkins says. “I am overwhelmed and amazed each year about what gets accomplished. I really, truly believe in it.”

The league supports 17 charities. Major beneficiaries of the ball are Disciples of Trinity, English Language Ministries, the Visiting Nurse Association’s Meals on Wheels program, the Wilkinson Center and YMCA at White Rock.

Tickets cost $100 per person and include food, an open bar and parking. Reserved tables for 10 are available for $1,000. Call 214-827-1995.


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