“The purpose of the roast is twofold,” said Tony Suber, president for New Frontier. “One [is] to celebrate and make fun of someone in the community at their expense if they’ll allow us to, particularly to raise money for our scholarship fund. [Walter A. Johnson Sr.] was one of our founding members of the New Frontier back in the ’50s and to my knowledge he was an educator in the school system. ... The roast was named after him after he had passed to create the legacy for what he truly believed in and that was in education. So the proceeds that we raise from the roast go to support the scholarship that we give away every June at our awards ceremony for high school graduates going off to college.
“... [When we] sent out the invitation for [Deanna Berry] to accept, she accepted quickly. So we were delighted. I hope that she is delighted and she will remain delighted until the event is over. ... [We select someone] we believe ought to be honored [and] ought to be given the opportunity to be made fun of but to celebrate their legacy, and she certainly has one.”
The roast, which will place Berry in the hot seat, will be held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center, 5450 State Route 20, Cartersville. Starting at 7 p.m., the benefit will feature various individuals who will provide entertaining stories about Berry, some of whom include Bryan Canty, Lester Tate, Eric Lee, Claudia Laughridge, David Paul, her brother, Todd Evans, and high school friend Nikkie McRae.
“I’m just wondering if I’m going to have any friends left after it’s all said and done,” Berry said. “... They absolutely [have a lot of colorful stories to share]. I tried to pick them based off of how they knew me. Some of them, I’ve known from since I’ve lived in Bartow County and worked with nonprofit organizations. Others, I’ve known since high school.
“Then actually the funny story is Eric Lee — he’s a minister here in Cartersville but I also went to high school with him in Marietta. So that should be really interesting because he has two sides of the coin.”
In addition to being the co-founder of Cartersville UNCUT, Berry also is the creative director for Berry-McWhorter Strategies, Etowah Valley Humane Society’s board chairman, Advocates for Children’s Duck Derby committee member and a member of American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia’s board of directors. She also is vying for Bartow County School Board’s District 3 seat in the May 20 election.
“Bartow County is really blessed to have so many outstanding local organizations that actually help local causes, and [the New Frontier is] another one of those organizations,” Berry said. “I was honored when they asked.”
Tickets to the roast, which also will include dinner, will cost $35. Although the New Frontier requests tickets be purchased in advance, they will be available at the door as well. For more information or to secure tickets, contact Suber at 404-825-9529 or Trey Benham at 678-386-4098.