A crowd of more than 650 attended the 12th annual “Wild About Harry” fundraiser on Thursday evening at the Muehlebach Tower Kansas City Marriott Downtown. Guided and inspired by the leadership of honorary co-chairs W. H. “Bert” Bates and Edward T. Matheny, as well as event chairs Nancy and Herb Kohn, the benefit for the Truman Library Institute netted $336,000 for the non-profit partner of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library.

A crowd of more than 650 attended the 12th annual “Wild About Harry” fundraiser on Thursday evening at the Muehlebach Tower Kansas City Marriott Downtown. Guided and inspired by the leadership of honorary co-chairs W. H. “Bert” Bates and Edward T. Matheny, as well as event chairs Nancy and Herb Kohn, the benefit for the Truman Library Institute netted $336,000 for the non-profit partner of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library.

The cocktail reception held outside the hotel ballroom was lively as guests enjoyed the photographic display memorializing America’s 33rd president. Known for attracting a diverse group of supporters from across the region, the social hour provided a fleeting opportunity for guests to mingle and interact with fellow Truman Library advocates. Among the crowd were civic and political leaders, including Mayor Don Reimal, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, Kansas City Mayor-Elect Sly James, former U.S. Representative Dennis Moore and the evening’s Harry S. Truman Legacy of Leadership Award honoree, former Governor of Missouri and former U.S. Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond.

Event Chair Herb Kohn opened the evening’s program with welcoming remarks and words of gratitude to the Truman Library Institute staff and board of directors along with the “Wild About Harry” steering committee, who he acknowledged as the Institute’s “unsung heroes.” Kohn introduced honorary chairman of the Truman Library Institute and eldest grandson of Harry and Bess Truman, Clifton Truman Daniel. Daniel spoke eloquently about the vision Truman had for his library and the exceptional programming and exhibits that have earned the institution a reputation as the nation’s best presidential library.

Daniel recognized “Wild About Harry” as not only a celebration of the life and legacy of President Truman but as an investment in the future, generating enthusiasm and funding to continue to support and develop programs that educate the public about government and the presidency. Noting that “Wild About Harry” just “gets better and better every year,” Daniel expressed his sincere appreciation for the interest and assistance given to the Truman Library by those in attendance.

“The Truman Library is not a shrine but a place to understand the past,” said Daniel. He said if we understand history, we have the ability to influence the future.

Following dinner, Kohn returned to the stage to introduce the evening’s keynote speaker, Phil Donahue. Donahue displayed his good sportsmanship, quipping that his appearance at the event was the result of a Google search for “replacement speaker for Supreme Court Justice.” The legendary talk show host thanked Truman Library Institute Board member John McMeel of Andrews McMeel Universal for reaching out to him to step in when Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer unexpectedly cancelled. Donahue proved an acceptable replacement, entertaining the crowd with his humor and candor.