2023 American Red Cross Evening of Stars to Feature NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith

Emmitt Smith
Emmitt Smith (Photo provided by American Red Cross of Illinois)

American Red Cross to Host Evening of Stars,
Featuring NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith
Funds raised from 28th annual event will help
provide critical services throughout the region

September 8, 2023 – The American Red Cross is excited to announce Emmitt Smith – member of the National Football League Hall of Fame, three-time champion with the Dallas Cowboys and the league’s all-time career rushing leader – will be the special guest and keynote speaker at the 28th annual Evening of Stars Celebration!

The event will take place Tuesday, Nov. 14 at Brown Ballroom on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal. Doors open at 6 p.m. and participants will be treated to a glamorous evening of dinner, a stage program with Emmitt Smith, recognition of local Central Illinois heroes and an evening with friends for the Red Cross mission.

Tickets are on sale now! Visit redcross.org/eveningofstars to purchase tickets or to participate as a sponsor. General admission is $200 per ticket, which includes dinner and an exciting stage program featuring Emmitt Smith. The Red Carpet Experience is $750 for a pair of tickets to the VIP reception where guests can meet and have their photo taken with Emmitt Smith, as well as dinner and the stage program.

“I am excited to join the American Red Cross and the central Illinois community for Evening of Stars,” said Smith. “It is an honor to partner with this organization and help support its lifesaving mission. I’m looking forward to a fun evening for a great cause.”

Smith is a professional football icon and one of the greatest to ever play the game. In his 15 seasons as a running back in the National Football League, Smith amassed many records that still stand today. Smith’s impressive resume includes three championship rings, his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and, most recently in 2019, his selection to the NFL 100 All-Time Team.

As a first-round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, Smith was the cornerstone of the Dallas Cowboys offense for 13 seasons. The eight-time Pro Bowler was the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons and on October 27, 2002 he surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.

After his playing days, Smith served as a football analyst and then took his television career a step further when he won the third season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, during which he was dubbed “the king of effortless cool.”

“We cannot wait to have Emmitt Smith join us for our annual Evening of Stars celebration in Normal this fall,” said Lyn Hruska, executive director of the Central Illinois chapter of the Red Cross. “We hope you will join us for a night of motivation and encouragement from this talented and distinguished gentleman. Join us for a special evening to support the Red Cross mission!”

Funds raised in support of this annual event help the Red Cross provide critical services throughout the Illinois region, including: disaster response, blood donation, training services and support to our military members and their families.

Thank you to our generous sponsors who make this event possible.

About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RedCrossIL.


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…