Jackson Center hosts Donohue and Russell

The Robert Jackson Center in Jamestown, N.Y., held a benefit Sunday evening with guest speaker Phil Donahue, his wife, Marlo Thomas, and surprise guest Mark Russell. The fundraiser for the Jackson Center youth education programs included dinner and a cocktail reception at the Chautauqua Suites in Mayville, N.Y.

Mark Russell spoke and sang a humorous song for Donahue before Greg Peterson, founder of the center, introduced the guest of honor and held a prepared question and answer session which lasted more than two hours. The Donahues were joined by five Notre Dame friends and their spouses at dinner.

Donahue’s talk covered a broad range of topics including his early life, radio broadcasting career, TV talk show, and how his met his wife. He spoke at length about his documentary film, “Body of War” and the young soldier who appeared in it. Thomas and Russell were also invited to share stories for attendees as were his college friends. The informal event allowed mingling both before and after dinner. Copies of Donahue’s autobiography were raffled, and all three guests chatted, posed for photographs and signed autographs for the Jackson Center supporters.