This past weekend, we at Opportunity Village lost another great friend and hero. September 09, 2016 00:00

This past weekend, we at Opportunity Village lost another great friend and hero. Thalia Dondero was, for all intents and purposes, an Opportunity Village founder, When seven families came together in 1954 to create what is now OV, Thalia was there to help.

At OV’s very first fundraiser, Star Shine, Thalia called on many of  her friends to volunteer and shine shoes. The event raised desperately needed fund for what was then a struggling charity. When I arrived in town and took the job as OV’s fundraiser, we created the Meatball Festival. Thalia, now a County Commissioner, led the charge to vote yes and removed every obstacle impacting our holding the event in a mall parking lot. Thalia, through all her years, was a fixture at every Opportunity Village event, and her many wonderful deeds to help Opportunity Village were recognized when she was bestowed the Order of the Village at Camelot.

Thalia wasn’t simply a friend and cheerleader for OV, she was one of the  last members of the Greatest Generation. Her insistence on equality, education and opportunities for all lives on as we enjoy the benefits of her hard work. Now, Thalia has joined her dear friends, Kitty Rodman and Claudine Williams, in heaven. There have never been three more powerful women watching over us. Over the years, their accomplishments have changed the face of Las Vegas and certainly changed the lives of people with disabilities.

 Opportunity Village sends its love and sympathy to her son, Rob Dondero, one of our finest Foundation Board members, and the entire Dondero family. Thalia, may you keep watch over the people Opportunity Village serves and ensure that Las Vegas continues to prosper.

- Linda Smith