Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 19, Ed. 1 Friday, September 23, 2011 Page: 9 of 48
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Changing tactics to address changing needs
LSRFA Co-chairs Danny Simpson, left, and John Tripp (Photo courtesy Roger Lippert)
2011 LSRFA co-chairs John Tripp
and Danny Simpson lead the
annual fundraising event into a
M.M.ADJARIAN I Contributing Writer
This year — 2011 — marks the first year of the
second decade that Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS
has been in existence. For event co-chairs John
Tripp and Danny Simpson, it's the beginning of a
new era for both the organization and in the
struggle to eradicate a devastating disease.
Tripp and Simpson have a big job. As co-chairs,
they are tasked with keeping LSRFA organizers
and cyclists motivated to keep going throughout
the year and focused on the September weekend
when the event actually takes place.
"Everybody knows why we are here, but at the
end of the day, We're all volunteers. [John and I]
are the [organization's] cheerleaders," says Simp
son, a portfolio revenue manager for the Interna-
tional Hotels Group.
Both men came to the LSRFA in 2008. But
where Tripp, a resources professional for Deloitte
& Touche, started — and still continues on—as a
cyclist, Simpson started as the organization's
events and ceremonies planner.
The pair finally began working together as co-
chairs this year. Their goal is simple: to build upon
the foundation established by their predecessors
and grow the ride.
Achieving that goal has been a challenge—but
one they welcome.
"We're really focused on getting our brand out
there and getting recognized and making people
understand who we are," says Simpson.
Adds Tripp, "[It's vital that we can communi-
cate] with our community to say, 'This is our story
and this is why we do what we dor"
The co-chairs also plan on transforming the
LSRFA by making the actual ride more visible
than it has been in the past.
"This year, one of the things that [event man-
ager] Jerry Calumn heard unanimously from all
riders was that they wanted a route that was more
visible and could be seen by communities we
were, supporting," Tripp explains. "There are se-
rious pockets of our community that have never
heard of us and have lived in Dallas-Fort Worth
for many years."
Partnering with fundraisers such as Neiman
Marcus' Fashion's Night Out and Audi Dallas'
Casino Night is yet another operational change
that Tripp and Simpson are currently overseeing.
As deeply committed to the organization as the
two men are, neither has much time to spare. But
the sacrifice is well worth it and is, in their eyes, a
Observes Tripp, "HIV infection rates are sky-
rocketing within minority communities), the
LGBT community [and among members of] the
youngest generations, but now that people aren't
dying, the disease is not as high profile."
The medications that now exist to control
HIV/ AIDS are at the heart of this newest twist in
the epidemic. While the medications have saved
countless lives, they have also given rise to a dan-
gerous complacency that if left unchecked, make
HIV/ AIDS become even deadlier than it already
"What [really] frustrates me is that the younger
generation isn't understanding that they'll face
drastic differences in their aging process because
of HIV," Tripp savs. " Their organs are going to
have to deal with these medicines for the rest of
And with the economy in a weakened state,
supporting organizations that provide services for
those suffering from HTV / AIDS has now become
more critical than ever before.
"If you are lucky and have healthcare," says
Tripp, who is ! IIY-posjtive, "vou could probably
survive on and afford your medications every
month for anywhere from $240 to $2,000 per year.
What happens, though, if you run out of. your
healthcare or are suddenly unemployed?"
The AIDS crisis has not gone away; it's only
changed form in a world that has also changed.
Combating it will require new tactics, but Tripp
and Simpson are up to the challenge and boldly
look forward to joining with others in the fight.
"[You may be] upset that you are having to
help other people and are having to help them
pay for their medicines through social welfare
programs," says Tripp. " [But] what are you doing
to fight [the disease]?"
Loiie Star Ride Fighting AIDS will beheld Sept. 24-
25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the
Ride itself, g®, online to LoiteStarRide.org, ■
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 19, Ed. 1 Friday, September 23, 2011, newspaper, September 23, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239186/m1/9/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.