By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA) will be holding a 60th anniversary bash and charity fund-raising dinner during next month's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Orlando, Fla.
The event, to be held Friday, April 11 at the Wyndam Resort, will celebrate the 60th birthday of the independent dealer trade association by promoting organ and tissue donation awareness and funding. The dinner will be the centerpiece of NARDA's year-long Gift of Life campaign, which encourages retailers, manufacturers and buying groups to have their employees and customers "donate life" by signing up as organ and tissue donors.
Honored at the dinner will be J. Con Maloney, CEO of Cowboy Maloney's Electric City; Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); and Tommy Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor, has been instrumental in promoting organ and tissue donation through the Workplace Partnership for Life program.
Longtime NARDA dealer Con Maloney was the group's president during its 50th anniversary year in 1993. A four-term Mississippi state senator, he used his experience in government to champion retailers' interests in Washington during his term as NARDA president — a period that also saw the hiring of current president/CEO Elly Valas as director of education.
Shapiro is celebrating 20 years as head of CEA.
Participating retailers will be provided with campaign kits that will include Donate Life sign-up cards, a news release for local distribution by dealers, ad specialties, and a contact with the local organ and tissue donor network for help arranging promotions. Local efforts will be supported by a major national campaign during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week April 20-27.
According to NARDA, more than 80,000 Americans in need of transplants are awaiting lifesaving organs and not all will receive them in time. NARDA board chairman Robert Cremer, president of Aronson Furniture, Electronics and Appliances, was closely touched by the need for organ donation when a liver transplant saved his eight-month-old granddaughter, who is 12 years old today.
"My granddaughter would not be here if it weren't for organ donation," Cremer said.
Cremer also serves as chairman of NARDA's Gift of Life Committee.
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