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The Key Magazine Spring 2012 : Page 29

A.J. and Sunny Hare Scribante , Texas A Sunny Outlook Goes a Long Way —By Jenny Struthers Hoover , Bowling Green Civic leader and philanthropist Lynda “Sunny” Hare Scribante , Texas , always looks at the sunny side of life—hence her nickname. Sunny, alongside her husband, A.J., puts her positive attitude to work as an advocate for wounded soldiers, struggling students, disadvantaged women and children, and sick or injured animals, to name a few of her causes. • Spring 2012 • The Key • 29

Lynda "Sunny" Hare Scribante

Jenny Struthers Hoover

A Sunny Outlook Goes a Long Way

Civic leader and philanthropist Lynda “Sunny” Hare Scribante, Texas, always looks at the sunny side of life—hence her nickname. Sunny, alongside her husband, A.J., puts her positive attitude to work as an advocate for wounded soldiers, struggling students, disadvantaged women and children, and sick or injured animals, to name a few of her causes.

To whom much is given, much is required

There is no such thing as a “typical” day for Sunny, who splits her time between homes in Colorado and Florida. During our first conversation, Sunny was tending to a sick goat while preparing for George W. Bush to come for dinner. Sunny works closely with the former president and Laura Bush with the George W. Bush Center in Dallas. She also opens up her barn to 4-H animals when children in their community can no longer afford to keep their furry friends.

Sunny’s affection for animals and her sense of civic duty began on her family’s ranch in Weatherford, Texas, where her father was known for encouraging Ronald Reagan to run for president and was actively involved in his campaigns.

Animals have always been a part of Sunny’s “extended family” and she jokingly compares herself to the fictional Dr. Doolittle who could talk to animals. “I feel like I have a special relationship— a gift—with animals,” explains Sunny, who even now rides one of their beloved therapy horses every chance she gets.

One of the programs Sunny is most passionate about is the Wounded Warriors rehabilitation program through the Air Force Academy, which allows soldiers returning from war with head injuries to work with therapy horses. “This is turning out to be a blessing for both the horses and the wounded warriors,” Sunny explains. She and A.J. loan their horses to the Air Force Academy for use in these programs and training exercises.

“Many who suffer from head trauma experience a loss of equilibrium,” says Sunny, adding that when they are on a horse, they often regain their sense of equilibrium with a smile on their face and are able to recover more quickly. “It is so wonderful … for their wives and children to witness this transformation.”

Sunny and A.J.’s fondness for animals also led them to support the Kansas State Veterinary School by helping to fund a state-of-the-art equine center. A graduate of Kansas State, A.J. is a longtime supporter of the university, but after the veterinarians there saved their race horse, American Duke, from having to be destroyed after an injury, the couple made the equine center a focus of their support.

It seems fitting that Sunny met fellow philanthropist A. J. Scribante while they were serving on the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, a Pentagon outreach program made up of appointed civilians who visit military installations across the United States. Sunny and A.J. were married in 1990 and have been working together on causes close to their hearts ever since.

Sunny also served on the United States Air Force Academy Board of Visitors in the 1980s. She was appointed to two four-year terms on the board, which oversees the education, training and conduct of the cadets.

A. J., a business expert and author of the 2006 book, Shelf Life: How an Unlikely Entrepreneur Turned $500 into $65 Million in the Grocery Industry, established the A.J. and Lynda Scribante Charitable Foundation, which supports educational and charitable programs. Friends of the Fallen, which helps military families who have lost a loved one, is one of the many programs they help fund. Sunny is also supportive of Humane Societies and the National Park Service.

The couple also established the A.J. and Lynda Hare Scribante Permanently Restricted Scholarship Fund through the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation to annually provide a scholarship to a qualified undergraduate member of Beta Xi, Texas; Epsilon Alpha, TCU; or Gamma Alpha, Kansas State—their alma maters.

“We constantly ask how we can empower people to develop their capacity to do good and to realize their gifts,” says Sunny. “Education and development have always been at the heart of our giving.”

Sunny pledged Kappa at Texas Christian University and a year later transferred to the University of Texas, where she majored in political science. “Kappa has been a wonderful part of my life, and I give because I want other young ladies to have the chance I had,” says Sunny.

Coming from a small town, Sunny enjoyed interacting with her many Kappa sisters at the University of Texas—having had no siblings. She says living in the Kappa house taught her about teamwork, problem solving and getting along with people of different backgrounds.

“My parents taught me honesty and integrity, and I found those qualities within Kappa—honest, ethical, responsible young women who took their duties seriously,” says Sunny. “Many of my role models have been Kappas who gave me the courage to be myself and to be a leader.”

Of Sunny’s many leadership opportunities, one experience stands out as a time when the confidence And poise she learned as a Kappa truly made a difference. Surrounded by scientific and medical experts on President Reagan’s Commission on Medical and Biomedical Ethics, Sunny was the only woman and layperson in this group, which wrote the “Living Will” legislation adopted by all 50 states. Sunny felt overwhelmed at first by the scientific and legal jargon and had to summon confidence to ask questions like “What does this mean?” and “Does this make sense to the average American?

“I realized that if, as a member of the commission, I had little knowledge of what the final product was saying then, for certain, the average, nonscientific person would have a hard time comprehending it,” explains Sunny. “I think my greatest contribution was asking the hard questions so the layperson could comprehend it without a lawyer having to explain it.”

Sunny’s civic involvement also includes serving on the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation and The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which oversees scholarships aimed at fostering excellence in science and math. She is also a founding member of Women of Our Hemisphere Achieving Together, created by the late Holly Coors to improve education and quality of life for women and children in Central and South America. (Marilyn Gross Coors, Cornell, the daughter- in-law of Holly Coors, is a 2006 Alumnae Achievement Award recipient.)

Sunny and A.J.’s blended family includes six grown, college-educated children—two sons and four daughters and their families. Sunny has enjoyed broadening her “Kappa family” by previously serving as an adviser to Delta Zeta Chapter, Colorado College, and even invited some of the members to her home to do their laundry from time to time.

What sets Sunny apart are not her financial resources or the long list of boards and committees she serves on—but it is her compassion for others, which is derived from her belief that “To whom much is given, much is required.” And “much” is exactly what Sunny gives of herself on a daily basis.

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