For More Information: Bob McCullough, APR, (210) 637-3418 or



SAN ANTONIO – Lara Logan, CBS News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent, key contributor to the TV network’s “60 Minutes” news magazine and advocate for the special-needs community, will be featured speaker at the 2017 Free to Soar Gala benefitting unique, non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland theme park and The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland school for students with special needs.

A silent auction at 6 p.m. will kick off the Saturday, Sept. 30, festivities that will continue with dinner and Logan’s remarks in the Morgan’s Wonderland Event Center.  “Resort chic” casual will be the attire for the tropically-themed event.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that distinguished, internationally-known journalist Lara Logan will share her thoughts with our guests,” said Gordon Hartman, founder of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, which since 2005 has pursued numerous initiatives to help the special-needs community.

Hartman said the gala already is completely sold out, however individuals wanting to support the mission of inclusion for Morgan’s Wonderland and The Academy can attend the newly added Luau by the Lake – Gala Simulcast Party from 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. in the Lago Vista Room overlooking new Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park.  The luau will include a closed-circuit-TV simulcast of gala activities, a buffet dinner, beer and wine.  Only 200 tickets priced at $100 per ticket will be available.  Details about the gala or luau are available from Becky Thomas at or (210) 493-2811.

After the gala and luau, guests will congregate at the Morgan’s Wonderland Starlight Amphitheater for a live concert from 10 to 11:30 p.m. by popular local artist Ruben V, who performs a smooth blend of blues, Latin, soul and rock music.  Guests also can enjoy Morgan’s Wonderland rides including the colorful carousel, Whirling Wonder Ferris wheel and Wonderland Express train.


One of the evening’s highlights will be the naming of five honorees to the Morgan’s Wonderland Wall of Fame located in a high-traffic area in the heart of the 25-acre, ultra-accessible theme park.  “Each year, we shine the spotlight on heroes who’ve gone above and beyond to befriend the special-needs community,” Hartman said.  “These extraordinary men and women from all over the nation clearly exhibit qualities such as caring, determination, sacrifice and, above all, inclusion.”

The inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland, The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island came from Gordon and Maggie Hartman’s daughter, Morgan.  Her soaring spirit despite personal challenges sparked within them a deep desire to create a place where those with and without special needs can come together in an atmosphere of fun and inclusion.  Gala guests will get to help Morgan celebrate her 24th birthday.

Proceeds from the gala and luau will benefit Morgan’s Wonderland, which admits anyone with a special need free of charge, and The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland, a school for students with special needs ages 12 to 24 next to the theme park.

Born in Durban, South Africa, Logan joined CBS News in 2002, advanced to chief foreign affairs correspondent in 2008 and became a full-time “60 Minutes” correspondent in 2012.  Much of her reporting has centered on the war-torn Middle East where in February 2011 she was almost killed in Tahrir Square in Egypt during the revolution there.  Her report from the Afghanistan battlefield, “A Relentless Enemy,” earned her electronic journalism’s highest award, a DuPont-Columbia University Silver Baton.

Completely wheelchair-accessible Morgan’s Wonderland features more than 25 attractions including rides, playgrounds and gardens.  It was designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.   The latest information on days and hours of operation, admissions and special events is available at

Morgan’s Wonderland, The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island, the world’s first ultra-accessible splash park, are part of a larger, 106-acre family fun destination called Wonderland, Texas.  Another Wonderland, Texas neighbor is CRIT USA (Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of TeletonUSA), a non-profit rehabilitation center for children who were born with or who have suffered neurological, muscular or skeletal disorders and injuries.  Morgan’s Wonderland serves as a recreational and therapeutic outlet for CRIT USA patients and families.

Wonderland, Texas is located in Northeast San Antonio a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive.  For more information, call (210) 495-5888.

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