Spirit of giving
Dave Hentschel comes full circle.
Sandra Lewis, executive director of the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, and Dave Hentschel, 2016 Heart of Henry Award recipient. The annual Heart of Henry event is a major fundraiser for the Day Center.
A phone call in the 1980s introduced Dave Hentschel to a Tulsa organization he would support for the next three decades.
“Henry Zarrow called me on a work day around noon,” Hentschel remembers. “He wanted to know if I had a truck that would handle hauling a bunch of things. I had no idea what he was talking about.”
The two men proceeded to a south Tulsa Walmart, where they overflowed seven carts with approximately 1,000 cold weather items such as hats, gloves and socks for clients at the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless.
“When we left, we still had a little space left in the truck, so Henry said, ‘Let’s go to Sam’s,’” Hentschel says.
The shopping trip became an annual tradition for Hentshel and Zarrow, who previously had done the shopping on his own.
“I would get a call on the first cold day of the year from Dave or Mr. Henry,” says Sandra Lewis, executive director of the Day Center. “They would call me and say, ‘We’re shopping. We’ll see you in 30 minutes or an hour.’”
Zarrow’s declining health eventually required that he turn over his role to Hentschel’s late wife, Clydella. But Zarrow remained the inspiration.
“It was never Dave and Clydella doing it,” Hentschel says. “We were only doing it because Henry couldn’t.”
Zarrow died in 2014, one year after the longtime philanthropist and Day Center supporter became the namesake of the center’s Heart of Henry event and award.
The annual fundraiser recognizes one individual each year who has dedicated his or her life to bettering the Tulsa community by helping others and sharing the philanthropic vision Zarrow embraced. Past Heart of Henry Award recipients are Walt Helmerich III, Chester Cadieux and David L. Boren.
Hentschel, who is on the Day Center’s advisory board, actually came up with the name for Heart of Henry, Lewis says. And despite his reluctance, Hentschel will receive the 2016 award on Feb. 6.
The fundraiser also will recognize Tulsan Katie Eller, founder of Lemon-Aid, which raised more than $350,000 for the Day Center over seven years. She will receive the first Heart of Henry Youth Philanthropy Award.
If people compare him to Zarrow, Hentschel is quick to correct them.
“The truth is, I’ve never known anyone like him,” he says. “He was my mentor, not only in terms of business and ethics, but also in terms of personal life and the compassion that he and Anne Zarrow had for people who were disadvantaged.”
To Lewis and others, it’s clear the close friends of more than 50 years had more than a few similarities.
In keeping with Zarrow’s tradition, Hentschel and his wife, Susie Collins Hentschel, continue to annually donate two SUVs full of items for Day Center clients.
“Dave really just goes about doing good things very quietly,” Lewis says.
Feb. 6 — Fourth annual Heart of Henry
6:30 p.m. Southern Hills Country Club, 2636 E. 61st St. Honors Dave Hentschel, 2016 Heart of Henry Award recipient, and Katie Eller, 2016 Heart of Henry Youth Philanthropy Award recipient. $250, tickets; $5,000-$25,000, sponsorships. Benefits Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless. Contact Sharon Catalano, 918-556-6425 or email@example.com, or visit www.tulsadaycenter.org.