The Bible says a prophet hath no honor in his hometown, but that’s not true for Summer Santa Co-Founder Brad Bradley. The Texas municipal judge was honored by Southlake Style magazine when he received its annual Community Impact Award at a funny roast on January 27, 2011.
Bradley is honored because of his legacy of wonderful ideas. He has been the founder, creator, originator of nearly 30 non-profit groups that have improved the quality of life in North Texas and especially in his hometown of Southlake. Bradley helped create the town’s chamber of commerce and its education foundation, to name a few.
His idea in 1997 to create a children’s charity called Summer Santa was highlighted during the evening by several speakers. And the final speaker was his Summer Santa co-founder, Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Dave Lieber.
Here are excerpts of Lieber’s remarks about Judge Bradley:
My name is Dave Lieber, and I’m The Watchdog columnist for the Star-Telegram, and I’m going to watchdog his butt tonight…
They talked tonight about the 28 non-profits that Brad has started, and that’s really why I’m here.
Cause everybody in this room believes in the power of the idea. I look around this room and everybody here is an idea person. Joe King is here from Kids Matter International. Mike Farhat, a bright businessman. Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes, who’s one of the best public officials I’ve met. There’s Roxann Taylor and Dan Holmes. I mean, you’re all idea people.
When Brad and Gary [who was Southlake mayor 20 years ago] got involved, Southlake was an idea. And now it’s grown into one of the greatest places in the United States of America. And I’m so glad we’re here tonight because the reason Southlake grew into a giving and caring community is because Brad Bradley set the tone for this town.
And I know this because one day in January of 1997 I got a phone call from Judge Bradley who said, “Meet me for breakfast.” And you know I didn’t know if I was in trouble.
So we go to Bailey’s in Hurst and he says, “I’ve got to tell you a story. My son Ryan, he went to volunteer at a charity for Christmas and they turned him away. They said they had too many volunteers. Then I see in your newspaper there’s an article and it says, ‘After the holidays, charities need volunteers.’ So they don’t have enough volunteers from January through November, just in December. And that reminds me of the kids who don’t have any presents from January through November. They just get presents in December. Everybody goes nuts with the Angel Tree. So what if we created a group that collected toys for kids in the summer and called it Summer Santa?”
And that was the idea. Just like that. And so I said, “Wow, I really like that. Summer Santa. Can I work with you on that?”
… He comes up with the idea. He’s around while we launch it. And still, 15 years later, whenever we need help from him, we call him for the big things. But we’ve got women, mostly from Southlake — Roxann was one of our founding board members — and we’ve got the Southlake Women’s Club and the National Charity League of Southlake and a whole bunch of other clubs in Southlake that I’ll get in trouble for not mentioning, and they all help us out.
So from that simple idea came this: services to 33,000 children, $640,000 in camp scholarships for 3,000 kids, $120,000 for 1,200 children for back-to-school clothing, 400 pre-camp and back-to-school free medical checkups, distributed 32,000 toys for kids in crisis through our partner charities.[LONG APPLAUSE]
He had the idea. Southlake women made it happen. The reason why Summer Santa is here 15 years later is because of Southlake women. Yes, they’ve been helped by women in Grapevine, Keller and Colleyville and elsewhere, but Southlake women are the heart of the organization.
So multiply that times 28, and this guy’s tentacles, they reach everywhere, in every part of the city. And if you like Southlake, if you love Southlake, then you respect what Brad did. He and Gary – with the help of a lot of other idea people – created something special.
And I have never met anybody in my life who has a mind like he has. And I love him. Yeah, I’ll roast him and toast him, but all I can do is boast him, because he’s a genius. God bless you, Brad Bradley. Thank you.
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Summer Santa, which is one of North Texas’ largest children’s charities, was named “Best Way to Keep the Spirit Year Round” winner by the magazine for 2010, too. Thanks, Southlake Style and Mike and Nicole Tesoriero!
To read the profile on Brad Bradley in Southlake Style magazine, click here, and turn to page 12.