In The News

Their Legacies Live On

Trusts established by Hidden Door’s owners, Jim Roberts and Tony Bobrow, distribute $250K in donations to 3 organizations.

Harvey Meissner, president and general manager of The Hidden Door Inc., this week helped carry on the legacy of two LGBT community stalwarts by presenting donations totaling a quarter-million dollars to three community organizations.

AIN, Resource Center and Legacy Counseling Center each received checks for $83,333, Meissner said, (to read the complete article, click here.)


Gretchen G. Kelly

Gretchen Kelly can best be described as one who will do anything to better the lives of others. Her life has essentially been devoted to helping those in need. From the civil rights movement to the horrifying reality of AIDS, Gretchen has been there for the best and the worst of it all.

Gretchen was born in an all-white New England town, being introduced very early to a society of racism and prejudice. Only in the summer would blacks come into town to find work and earn a living. The people in the community looked down upon these people of color and those who employed them. This was the moment that influenced her to become involved in the civil rights movement.

While attending an all girls Episcopal school Gretchen found herself straying into the countercultures of America, being classified as a Hippy (of which she was quite proud) and found others who held similar beliefs as hers. “There were over a hundred of us. We were just doing a peaceful protest for the civil rights movement. One particular policeman kept threatening me and without warning, he came at me with his baton only to strike the person who jumped on me, saving me from the blow.” The media was becoming a large factor in the events of the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam and had an influence on Gretchen, bringing out strong emotions and inspired her to do even more.

Ten years after having her only son, she positioned herself in the Comprehensive AIDS Program of Pam Beach County Florida. Almost by chance she found herself in the AIDS community and she realized she had found her calling. Her roles were many – fundraiser, caregiver, educator. She soon encountered ethnocentrism, seeing that the poor living with HIV/AIDS were not given the same care as those with money. She found discrimination from medical professionals, who were afraid to touch people with this disease.

Once again, she relocated to Columbus, Ohio and became the vice chair of the board for the AIDS service connection. In 1995 she created “AIDS Update”, a public access television show, educating people on HIV/AIDS, recognized locally and nationally, receiving three awards.

After moving to Plano, Texas, she became the Director of Community Services at AIDS Services of North Texas. Gretchen eventually moved on the be the Director of Operations at Centro De Mi Salud, helping to bring equality to all ethnic races. “Where the majority thinks that everyone should speak English, it is important to realize that English is not the only language. [One] must be aware of what other cultures are present in order to have a full understand of what America is.”

Bishop Alex D. Byrd

Bishop Alex D. Byrd, Senior Founder and Pastor Emeritus of Living Faith Covenant Church, is a vessel of God anointed to bring healing, restoration and empowerment to the body of Christ.  Since beginning his preaching ministry at the age of 8 years old, he has remained a student of the scriptures and of the Holy Ghost.  His message and practice of Relational Christianity has been forged through continual prayer, fasting and consecration.  The driving force behind his ministry has been his love for God and the people of God.

In 1999, Bishop Byrd began the process of developing a church that married the spirituality of the Pentecostal Movement with strong social justice motivation. That process culminate on August 6, 2000 in the opening of Living Faith Church of the Full Covenant, now called Living Faith Covenant Church. His unwavering message of “Jesus & Justice” has been the foundation of the work of this church, heavily involved in community.

Bishop Byrd provides leadership and guidance to other pastors as the Regional Bishop for the South in The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM), under the most capable leadership of Bishop Yvette A. Flunder. Displaying a commitment to higher learning, he has obtained a Masters of Theological Studies from Brite Divinity School.

Anthony “Tony” Bobrow

Dedicated and generous are two of the many words that describe Tony Bobrow. He owned and operated the Hidden Door in Dallas, a popular neighborhood bar and gathering place for individuals and multiple community organizations. Through his business and personal concerns, Tony has been supporting and contributing to the LGBT and HIV communities for more than thirty years. AIN is one of many organizations that benefited from Tony’s generosity.

Our Crystal Hope Award for Tony is given posthumously following his unexpected death in February this year. Harvey Meissner, the current President and General Manager of the business, as well as a long-time friend and co-worker with Tony, will accept the award on his behalf and on behalf of the Hidden Door. The business continues, as does the legacy that Tony created and left for the community.

Tony was a very private person; a truly shy person at heart who was a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys and a big lover of art. His business acumen really made the Hidden Door the successful business it is today, and Tony was a good steward of the business resources that came his way after the death of the original owner Jim Roberts.

A true philanthropist who did not seek public recognition, following Jim’s example Tony likewise wanted his estate to continue giving back to the community for which he cared so deeply. Tony directed the establishment of the Anthony Bobrow Trust. In early May, Tony’s Trust made its first distribution of over a quarter of a million dollars – AIN was one of three recipients receiving over eighty seven thousand dollars. Tony’s Trust will continue to financially help organizations like AIN for years to come.