Friday, November 18, 2011

Goat Hill Museum

A secret treasure in Montgomery that deserves recognition is the Goat Hill Gift Shop located in the bottom of the Captiol on the Union Street side. This shop houses work produced by Alabama artists, books about Alabama, and many other fascinating objects. The First Lady enjoys spending time browsing the shelves because each trip brings a new discovery. Right now, the Goat Hill Gift Shop is decorated for Christmas and can help anyone find that unique gift for the person who has everything. It is a hidden jewel that anyone in Montgomery should stop by to see.

John Blue Hill House Dedication

Wednesday, First Lady Dianne Bentley gathered with members of Friends of the Mansion, the Governor's Mansion Authority, and other friends in the community to recognize and honor the Smith Lanier family for their contribution to the state of Alabama. Scott Moreland, President of Friends of the Governor's Mansion spoke first and shared the history of the home and its impact on the community. Mrs. Bentley also contributed by thanking the Lanier family on behalf of the state of Alabama. A formal introduction of the family was given by Ms. Rennie Vainstein which can be read in the following lines:
It has now been some years since I first met Betty & Smith Lanier.  We worked together in a very different capacity from their public life.  I grew to know them as some of the warmest, genuinely thoughtful and gracious people I had ever met.    They exemplify dedication to the practice of generosity in every aspect of their lives from personal to professional, civic, social and spiritual.   They make every effort leave the people they meet and the places they’ve been better off.
Smith is Chairman Emeritus of J. Smith Lanier & Co.  He returned from active duty in the Korean War to purchase his family’s insurance business in West Point.  With Betty at his side, he has led J. Smith Lanier & Co. to be the 6th largest privately owned insurance brokerage firms in the country.  Just this year it was named the “No. 1 Best Place to Work in Insurance.”
Smith has been a founding director of 5 publicly traded companies and in 1998, he was named National Small Business Person of the Year.   Smith is now retired with his nephew, Gaines Lanier at the helm of the family business.
Over the years, the Laniers have been strong advocates for far too many wonderful causes to list, from healthcare and business leadership to civic interests such as this magnificent home we are standing in. They have generously supported education in Alabama at all levels from the founding Springwood School in Lanett, AL to serving Auburn University with extensive time, their talents and gifts.  They are both life members of Auburn Alumni Association and the new Auburn Christian Fellowship building is named for Betty.  In 2000, the University honored Smith with an International Quality of Life Award at the United Nations.
Smith & Betty have 3 married daughters and 8 grandchildren aged 10 to 22 years.
The Lanier family’s generosity of spirit is a blessing to all of us, especially to the Friends of the Governor’s Mansion as well as the people of Alabama. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Smith Lanier and his wife Betty.
The Laniers added their gracious and humble words to the ceremony and spoke of how blessed they feel to be a part of a project like this. They dedicated the home to their grandchildren.

At the conclusion, guests were invited to join a reception in honor of the occassion in the John Blue Hill House.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turkey Pardoning 2011

To continue with tradition, Governor Robert Bentley pardoned Clyde the turkey for the 2011 Thanksgiving season. The ceremony was hosted at the Alabama Governor's Mansion in the foyer. Johnny Adams, President of the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association spoke, as well as Mr. Bill Bates, Governor Bentley, and First Lady Dianne Bentley.
Following the pardon, Mrs. Bentley discussed her Blankets with a Blessing project and was presented more blankets by the Poultry and Egg Association. Then Riverchase United Methodist Day School kindergarten students presented their own quilt made of squares that each student drew. They also sang several songs to Clyde who happily walked around the foyer to greet all of the guests.
The Bentley's both stated their thoughts on the importance of the Thanksgiving season and the need for everyone to find at least one thing to be thankful for. They hope to continue this tradition as the administration continues.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blankets with a Blessing

First Lady Dianne Bentley Continues “Blankets with a Blessing” Tradition

MONTGOMERY—First Lady Dianne Bentley will continue the initiative “Blankets with a Blessing” that provides new quilts and blankets to homeless and displaced families during the holiday season. “Blankets with a Blessing” has provided thousands of blankets since the initiative began in 2004.  Beginning November 3 through November 15, new quilts and blankets will be collected from businesses and citizens across the state and distributed during the winter months to homeless families and those temporarily displaced by the April tornadoes.

An avid quilter herself, Mrs. Bentley will donate a handmade blanket to the cause.

“As we approach the cold winter months, it is important that we remember those who have lost their homes, or have no permanent place to call home. In the days after the tornado outbreak in April, we saw Alabamians unite to help neighbors in need," said First Lady Dianne Bentley. "As we approach the holiday season let us continue to help each other with warm blankets during the cold months.”

Donated new blankets or quilts can be mailed or dropped off at the Alabama’s Governor Mansion Gift Shop in care of Heather Hannah, 30 Finley Avenue, Montgomery, AL 35104. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

First Annual Tacky Tea

Yesterday, First Lady Dianne Bentley went to the First Annual Tacky Tea sponsored by Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services. This tea helped raise money for Goodwill and the causes it supports. The celebrity emcee was Twinkle Cavanaugh, Public Service Commissioner, who joined the effort by wearing a hat purchased from Goodwill. Participants had been asked to wear their tackiest outfit and whoever was the most tacky was awarded a prize. Three ladies placed for tackiest but first place won a gift certificate for a makeover at a local salon.
During the event, ladies enjoyed tea and refreshments, but the highlight was the Vintage Show "A Day and Night on the Titanic." This show featured fashions from that era and gave history about life on the ship. The GIVS volunteers added comedy to the routine which made the day memorable for all participants. At the conclusion, door prizes were given away, thanks to local businesses making donations.
The First Lady was honored to be in attendance and hopes to attend in the future. She is always happy to support efforts which improve the lives of Alabamians.