Thursday, Nov. 15 2012 5:55PM
Mantels and martinis
Tragedy-inspired event will benefit Special Olympics, New Longview Foundation
By Toriano Porter
Six years have passed since Susie Zammar of Lee’s Summit lost her oldest son.
Kyle Zammar died at the age of 22 of a cardiac condition called myocarditis, a heart condition that has no recognizable symptoms and is often fatal to young, athletic men like Kyle.
Zammar, creator and chair of the first Mantels and Martinis benefit for Special Olympics-Lee’s Summit and New Longview Foundation, said as a Lee’s Summit High School student, Kyle was an accomplished athlete, broadcaster and leader, and most thought he had a bright future in one of those fields.
However, during the summer after Kyle’s senior year in high school he started working in a classroom for severely disabled children and after that experience found himself dedicated to becoming a special education teacher and a coach.
At the time of his death, Kyle was coaching a basketball team of 15-year-olds.
“He was a great kid,” Susie Zammar, a retired educator and active real estate agent, said of her son. “I know everybody says they have great kids, but he really was an exceptional young man. That was going to be his life’s work; a special education teacher and a coach.”
Mantels and Martinis is a tour of five New Longview homes and two businesses – JBean’s Gathering Place and Gusto Coffee Bistro – to view mantels decorated by eight local designers. Each home on the tour will offer a holiday martini and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets for the Dec. 6 event can be purchased online at www.mantelsandmartinis.com for $40 each. The homes and venues will be open from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Many of the students in the summer school classroom where Kyle worked are now young adults, Zammar said. The proceeds from Mantels to Martinis will help 100 Lee’s Summit Special Olympians who participate in eight sports to continue competing. Several athletes will serve as hosts and hostesses at each decorated home.
The fundraiser will also contribute to the endowment for the long-term upkeep and maintenance of the Longview Arches and Pergola on Longview Farm.
The occasion is a unique way for Susie Zammar to honor Kyle’s memory, she said.
“We all handle grief in a number of different ways,” Zammar said, adding Kyle died on the 14th birthday of her other son, Austin, now 20. “I decided that I would be the person that Kyle is proud of and I have to do what I could do to carry on his legacy because he would have done great work in his life. He would have done a lot of good and helped a lot of kids along the way.”
The eight designers lending their talents to Mantels and Martinis are Jo Wilson of New View Interiors; Kevin Kelly of Five Petals; Lisa Holiman of Lily Wolfgang; Kelly Acock of The Monarch Flower Company; Jill Waits and Lori Privitera of All A’Bloom; Pam Rosanbalm of Home Finishings; Susan Tominia of Cameron’s Home Furnishings; and Jana Laswell.
For more information on the event call 816-520-0409 or visit www.mantelsandmartinis.com or the Mantels and Martini page on Facebook.