Rams General Manager Billy Devaney and Sandberg Phoenix Attorney To Be Honored

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Guests enjoying the Dining in the Dark experience. Photo by Billy Jackson.


St. Louis, MO (May 3, 2011) — The Foundation Fighting Blindness (, a national nonprofit that drives sight-saving research, honored St. Louis Rams General Manager William “Billy” Devaney; Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard Shareholder Stephen Strum; and his wife Angela, a community outreach leader, with Visionary Awards at the St. Louis Dining in the Dark event. The Strums’ 11-year-old son is affected with retinitis pigmentosa and the family is involved with the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ St. Louis Chapter. The event took place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11 at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac.

Other expected attendees included Mayor Francis G. Slay, St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak, and Supreme Court of Missouri Judge Richard B. Teitelman.

Dining in the Dark is a distinctive sensory awareness experience in which guests participate in an unforgettable dining adventure, in complete darkness. For about 30 minutes, attendees wear special light-blocking blindfolds and enjoy their entrée using only their senses of smell, taste, sound and touch, to get a glimpse into the lives of the blind.

“Dining in the Dark truly heightens awareness about the challenges visually impaired individuals experience every day,” said Foundation Fighting Blindness CEO Bill Schmidt. “We’re thrilled to recognize the contributions of these community leaders as we come together to support promising research toward brighter futures for people living in darkness.”

The event was co-chaired by Bob and Jill Morris, whose young grandson is affected with RP, an inherited retinal disease that causes blindness. The honorary dinner co-chairs are philanthropists Dennis and Judy Jones. Proceeds benefit the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ mission to drive research that will lead to preventions, treatments and cures for RP, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of vision-robbing retinal degenerative diseases that affect more than 10 million Americans.

Visionary Award Honorees Stephen and Angela Strum have dedicated their careers and volunteerism to the betterment of their community and the fight against blindness. As a shareholder of Sandberg Phoenix, Mr. Strum focuses his practice primarily on the defense of nursing homes and has received several awards, including being named to the Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers. Led by her desire to provide opportunities for kids to help one another, Mrs. Strum orchestrates several community outreach programs for elementary school students, including literacy intervention through Reach Out and Read.

Since starting his career with the Rams in 2008, Rams General Manager Billy Devaney has hired the team’s current head coach Steve Spagnuolo and drafted quarterback Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 Draft. A veteran of 24 NFL seasons who has helped build three Super Bowl teams, Devaney is being honored with the Visionary Award for his commitment to and betterment of the city of St. Louis.

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