As the co-owners of O’Neal-Murphy Allstate Insurance Agency, Robert O’Neal and son James have seen the strain family relationships can go through during challenging times. The father-daughter relationship is one the two men have seen become an issue in their line of work.
By bringing together generations for their fifth annual Father and Daughter Gala on Sunday, James O’Neal said he hoped the older folks would have an opportunity to speak with the younger attendees about their experiences.
“We want to celebrate the union of fathers and daughters,” he said.
“We hope they will share with each other. There is a lot of wisdom here.”
The sold-out event was also a fundraiser for local charities and included a silent auction. Items up for bid included a basketball signed by the Lucy C. Laney High School 2012 championship team, a weekend driving a Mercedes-Benz and Nike running shoes.
During the evening, a prize was presented to the oldest father and the father with the most daughters. Each father also left with a timepiece.
In the lobby, the younger girls had their faces painted in preparation for a night on the dance floor with dad.
O’Neal said he and other organizers chose Superior Court Judge Danny J. Craig as the keynote speaker for the event because of his message.
“He’s a father, and listening to his story brought tears to my eyes,” O’Neal said.
Craig’s daughter, Emily Stout, was present with her husband, John Stout, and their 4-month-old daughter, Sarah Jane.
“She might be the youngest little dancer here, but she’s got her dancing shoes on,” John Stout said.
Emily Stout said her father has three daughters, four grandsons and two granddaughters – both born in the past four months – so she was excited to spend the evening with him.
“I’m looking forward to spending this time with my dad,” she said. “This is very special for us. I’m extremely proud of him.”
During his speech, Craig spoke about developing a servant attitude. He said it is useful not only in business interactions, but in family relationships too. He said children tend to adopt the philosophies of their parents.
For Sherita Williams, it was something different to do on Father’s Day.
“It’s a good opportunity to spend time in the community,” she said. “I’m on a date with my dad. It’s a special night.”
O’Neal hoped the night would be an educational experience for both fathers and daughters.
“We hope daughters will see what they should look for in a man,” O’Neal said.