In May of 2012, THE MIDNIGHT MISSION honored RICHIE SAMBORA with a GOLDEN HEART AWARD at their annual gala.
This coming September 30th, THE MIDNIGHT MISSION will once again host their GOLDEN HEART AWARDS GALA and this year, it is RICHIE who will be doing the presenting of the award. THE MIDNIGHT MISSION will be honoring DENISE SALAZAR, Richie’s long-time right hand and earthbound-angel for all her extraordinary efforts on behalf of the Mission’s mission. (It was Denise’s involvement that led Richie to get involved…) In addition, RICHIE (along with ORIANTHI) will be performing at the event.
For more information on THE MIDNIGHT MISSION and their work please visit www.midnightmission.org
For more information about THE GOLDEN HEART AWARDS please visit http://www.midnightmission.org/event-content/gala/
Last year, film/stage/TV legend DICK VAN DYKE presented the award to RICHIE (these are among his favorite photos.)
Below please enjoy the ‘thank you’ speech given by Richie upon receiving the honor.
Ladies and Gentlemen, DICK VAN DYKE.
Thank you so much for that introduction.
I want to start by thanking LARRY ADAMSON and everyone at MIDNIGHT MISSION for this profound honor.
I’d like congratulate to my fellow honorees, DEL and BETTINA.
And a special THANK YOU to my FAMILY AND FRIENDS who are here with me tonight
and to all of you who came out to join us in celebrating the work of MIDNIGHT MISSION.
Everybody knows Bon Jovi is a New Jersey band.
And that I’m a proud son of the Garden State.
But I’ve been an L.A. resident for almost twenty years now.
So, naturally, I’d heard of MIDNIGHT MISSION but I have to admit I didn’t really know the extent of their outreach work.
A few years back, my buddy NORM HARRIS (from Norm’s Rare Guitars) and my dear, dear friend, DENISE SALAZAR, began collaborating on a project. They wanted to produce a 3-show benefit concert series at the Malibu Performing Arts Center to raise money for MIDNIGHT MISSION.
They invited me to lend a hand in the most obvious, logical way: by asking, “WILL YOU PERFORM?”
This was my introduction to the incredible body of work being done by the MIDNIGHT MISSION. It resonated with me. So, for the past SIX years, I’ve been proud to help MIDNIGHT MISSION however I can and it’s been as rewarding an experience as anything else I’ve done in my life.
THANK YOU, NORM and DENISE, for bringing such a moving force into my life.
Our natural urge to help when we witness others in need is essential to our humanity.
All of us are interconnected as part of one universal family.
Buddhism teaches us “the fragrance of the deeds of good men spreads to the ends of the earth, in all directions, regardless of the wind.”
We all know the proverb: “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime…”
Jesus reminded us “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” and thru parables showed us those neighbors include strangers in need.
These are all parts of the same timeless, universal message.
We do this work because it’s the right thing to do, the righteous thing to do.
We don’t do it for credit, or publicity, or for awards (as lovely as they might be.)
And I’ll admit doing this work makes ME feel good.
But we do it because to be open-hearted means to be open-handed.
Each of us has the ability to give of ourselves…
Whether we pursue giving as a career – as doctors or nurses, teachers or social workers…
Or we donate our time and resources – as a Red Cross volunteer or foster parent…
Whether we give blood, serve meals, or help find shelter for those in need of a bed at night…
Whether we write out a check or we simply hand a dollar or a sandwich to a homeless person…
It all matters EQUALLY.
In my mind, we ALL have this GIVING BRANCH in our hands – and you can’t possibly know how far of a distance it will bridge or how you might touch the lives of others until you stretch out your arms to help those in need.
Music has been my life for as long as I can remember. It’s my sanctuary, my church and a source of spirituality. As an artist, as a writer – I’m channeling all my emotion and inspiration into words and music that I can only hope touches others. I then I get to further convey all those feelings when I take the stage, whether it’s in front of seventy people or in a stadium filled with 70,000 people…
I try to infuse all the love, faith, passion, and spirituality I feel into every performance. It becomes a transcending experience for me and the connection shared in that moment is truly powerful.
Music has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams. So it’s through music that I am able to repay the universe. All that music has done for me personally is shadowed by how I can use that success to do for others now. Music has enabled me to give of myself.
And my SELF, my identity, rests upon a sturdy foundation — building blocks forged by others in my career and my life who have helped shape me into the man standing before you tonight.
MY BELOVED FATHER, ADAM, was the kindest and proudest Father a son could ever wish to know.
We lost him five years ago and still I miss him. Every day.
DENISE RICHARDS – whose approach to life is a daily reminder to greet everyone and all of life’s
challenges with an open heart…
MY INCREDIBLE DAUGHTER, AVA – my world changed the moment she was born. Having a daughter
is like having my heart forever walking around on the outside. I love her beyond words. But I really
LIKE her too as I watch her grow into a beautiful, bright, kind-hearted young woman. She is the
sunshine in my life. Ava is my greatest accomplishment.
And, MY DEAR MOTHER, JOAN.
If anyone deserves an award, it’s my Mom.
For being such a kind and gracious lady, and such a loving, devoted, supportive mother.
(Also, the most awesome grandmother ever.)
So much of who I am today is because I am her son.
She is the very definition of a Golden Heart.
I suspect the people who rely upon the MIDNIGHT MISSION are not so very different from me or you or anyone else sitting in this ballroom tonight.
I know I’ve been extraordinarily blessed in my lifetime.
Yet, it’s no secret I’ve experienced my share of stumbles along my journey.
One of my greatest blessings has been the unwavering support and love (albeit, at times, tough love) of my colleagues, my friends, and my family.
And having the resources to get myself the help I needed.
For all this, I am GRATEFUL.
But for the homeless and hungry, the addicted and the disenfranchised of Los Angeles, these things don’t exist except in the form of the MIDNIGHT MISSION; for them, MIDNIGHT MISSION IS THAT BLESSING.
Now that I truly understand the breadth and scope of the work being done by the MIDNIGHT MISSION, and how my giving back not only enhances the lives of others but nourishes my soul… I only want to do more.
I’m honored to be a part of this incredible MIDNIGHT MISSION family who prove, day in and day out,
WE REALLY DO LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS.