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December 18, 2014

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Photos: $1 million gift makes Opportunity Village’s annual forest truly magical

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Christopher DeVargas

Linda Smith, associate executive director of Opportunity Village, stands with Gov. Brian Sandoval during Opportunity Village’s 2013 Camelot Gala on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.

2013 Opportunity Village Camelot Gala

Las Vegas headliner Veronic performs during Opportunity Village's 2013 Camelot Gala Thusrday, Nov. 7, 2013. Launch slideshow »
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Bally’s headliner Veronic DiCaire performs during Opportunity Village’s 2013 Camelot Gala on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.

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Gov. Brian Sandoval is greeted by students of Opportunity Village’s Job Discovery Program during their 2013 Camelot Gala on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.

It was as if Camelot had come to life, as execs at our beloved charity Opportunity Village threw an elegant black-tie Diamond and Gold dinner to salute Nevada’s Barrick Gold for its contributions and efforts to our community’s individuals with disabilities.

It also was the perfect time for guests to get a first look at this year’s magnificent Magical Forest complete with its bejeweled motorized Cinderella carriage. During the five-star, four-course dinner served by chefs from Caesars Entertainment, there were performances by Bally’s headliner singer and impersonator Veronic DiCaire and The Dueling Pianos from New York-New York.

But the biggest highlight came when Barrick made a surprise $1 million donation. When Senior Executive VP Kelvin Dushnisky announced the gift, the crowd jumped to its feet with applause. More donations followed during the auctions: Bill Walters, longtime friend and supporter, and John Grant, owner of Sahara Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, helped to auction off a once-in-a-lifetime Kentucky Derby package and a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

One lucky guest went home with a sparkling diamond pendant and his and her watches donated by Cliff and Darlene Miller of M.J. Christensen Diamonds. Kelvin presented the gift to a packed room of supporters, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, former Speaker Barbara Buckley and Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly.

“Since our founding in 1983, Barrick has focused on the creation of educational and employment opportunities in the communities where we operate,” he said. “It is a commitment our founder and Chairman Peter Munk holds close. That commitment to education and employment extends to helping those in life who were dealt a little extra challenge, like the thousands of OVIPs who are succeeding here at Opportunity Village.”

The gift to Opportunity Village will fund the construction of a housing facility for adults with intellectual disabilities in Las Vegas. For the first time, many individuals with developmental challenges are outliving their parents.

Opportunity Village is building a world-class residential village for people with intellectual disabilities at its Engelstad Campus in Las Vegas. The Barrick House will be part of that village, providing safe, quality housing for as many as six adults.

“Barrick Gold has proven to be an amazing and generous friend of Opportunity Village,” said Linda Smith, COO and assistant executive director of Opportunity Village. “Their commitment to Nevada has truly set the gold standard when it comes to helping our OVIPs live better lives.”

Barrick is Nevada’s largest mining company and leads the world in gold production.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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