By ALLEY COWGILL
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Bright blue and silver stars filled the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center (PIECC) on Saturday for ‘A Night Under The Stars’ — a prom for people with disabilities. The community bonded together to make the event possible. Timeless by Tiffany provided pictures at no cost. Jorge Obispo, a Mary Kay representative did make up touch ups; DJ Aaron Olvera donated his time. The Port Isabel Library donated a photo booth, food was donated by El Torro, and the deserts were donated by Blackbeard’s, Julie Garza and Isabel Gonzales.
Jess and Dan Bechtel attended the prom with their daughter, Cheyenne. “ She was so excited! She wanted to get ready three hours ahead of time!” Bechtel said.
The couple just moved to the Laguna Madre area in August and didn’t really know what to expect of the prom. “This is the first time we’ve ever been to anything like this and it is way more than we ever expected.” Bechtel explained.
Ivonne Fuentes, a member of the event committee, described her role. “Oh, I did a little bit of everything: decorations, figuring out the color scheme, sending letters to restaurants and local businesses,” Fuentes said.
“I was Jason Wilson’s one-to-one at the junior high. He attended a prom similar to this in Brownsville and his mom, Stephanie Wilson, told me about it we got a committee together and started planning,” Fuentes continued.
Fuentes expressed how excited she was the event drew so much attention, “We have people from McAllen, Brownsville, Harlingen and Edinburg here. We attacked social media posting everywhere we could. We put flyers in nursing homes, and Tropical Texas. We sent emails to schools — anything we could think of.”
“It was very important to us that we keep the event free of charge. That’s a question we got a lot, ‘How much is it?’ but it’s absolutely free. We collected around $4,000 in donations. Once people heard our story they were more than willing to help,” Fuentes said.
Mary Kay makeup artist Jorge Obispo shared his experience. “I’ve never participated in anything like this before, but I’m so glad that I did. These are the nicest, sweetest people. It’s been a very eye-opening experience and I would definitely do it again!”
The organizers of the event have officially become the Lower Valley Event Committee and will continue to organize events similar to this one in the future. For more information about how to get involved, contact Stephanie Wilson at (956)433-5041.
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