Hollywood technician Byron McCulloch missed the Dragonfly Gala last year.

He had been wanting to go, so he could honor the spirit of his late wife, the actress Glenne Headly, who had been a longtime supporter of the nonprofit Dorothy Ramon Learning Center’s signature event.

Headley died in 2017.

Saturday evening McCulloch was at the Morongo Community Center to attend this year’s gala, having come out from Los Angeles to be joined by friends from Joshua Tree who sat with him at his table.

“Glenne was a supporter of Native American programs and minority activities,” McCulloch explained. “As I was trying to find a way to honor her, I learned that you could become a lifetime member” and sponsor the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center by contributing at the Dragonfly level.

McCulloch described the event as “a wonderful experience. I got to bid on items. It’s neat to be here: the dragonfly is key to me.”

According to McCulloch, he and his son had been working on a website that pays tribute to Headley.

The next morning as they walked outside and saw a red dragonfly perched atop the antennae of their son Sterling’s vehicle.

“It wouldn’t go away,” he said.

It was a sign, according to McCulloch, that he needed to support the Dragonfly Gala.

Proceeds from the event support the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center’s efforts to preserve and promote Southern California Native American cultures, languages, history and arts.

The center sponsors the annual Native Voices Poetry Festival, hosts workshops and speakers, and is a venue for concerts.

The gala had displays by local vendors, and dozens of Native-produced artisan products being auctioned off.

A highlight of every Dragonfly Gala is the presentation of the Dragonfly Award, given this year to educator and ethnobotanist Kat High of Topanga, Calif., who was featured in KCET-TV’s series “Tending the Wild.”

High is a Native California of Hupa descent.

She served as chairwoman of the American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California, and was director of the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center, and sponsors workshops through her nonprofit Kidiwische Connections.

She served in the California Indian Storytelling Association along with Dorothy Ramon Learning Center President Ernest Siva.

High donated a couple of digital copies of episodes of her show to the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center’s archives during her remarks as she accepted her award.

Beverly Rashidd, a Banning resident and Cultural Alliance member who has been an avid supporter of rhte Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, told the Record Gazette “The Alliance and Dorothy Ramon have collaborated in the past before the Alliance lost its city funding. With our limited resources, the Alliance has been less active as an advocate for the arts in the area, and we were grateful when Dorothy Ramon Learning Center’s leaders June and Ernest Siva were important members of the committee that brought the Redlands Symphony Ensemble to the Banning Woman’s Club.”

Nick Parra of Banning, a member of the Facebook group Positively Banning, was inspired to attend his first Dragonfly Gala.

“Along with networking and connecting with organizations for a possible future community garden in Banning, I felt I was part of a larger collaborative discussion about a message of balance and health” as being at the event.

And, he has an affinity for dragonflies: “They represent so many things magical. They zig zag through our region and remarkably connect us in different ways,” he said.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net .

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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