|Photo Credit: Vicky Pink|
The Honorable Mayor Sylvester Turner was honored at the 2016 Celebrating History in the Making Crime Stoppers of Houston Gala on Thursday, October 27th at the Hyatt Regency for his outstanding contributions to public safety in his years as a member of the Texas House of Representatives to his current position as Mayor of the City of Houston.
The focus of the evening was Celebrating History in the Making - the history Crime Stoppers of Houston is making with the construction of the first-ever Crime Stoppers headquarters anywhere in the world, the history the building's namesake, Guinness World Record holder Dave Ward, will be making when he celebrates 50 years at ABC - 13 Eyewitness News just a few days following the gala, along with special guests who are also making history.
The annual gala, which serves as the organization's largest fundraiser, welcomed more than 500 guests from all industries and raised more than $435,000 for Crime Stoppers' Tip Line and crime prevention programs, which for over three decades have empowered, educated, and engaged the community in important conversations about crime, public safety and the protection of society's most vulnerable citizens.
The evening began with a VIP reception with keynote speaker, Senior Investigative Reporter with the Boston Globe Spotlight Team, Michael Rezendes. His incredible investigative work led him to sharing a Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Rezendes' real-life work was the basis for the 2015 award-winning movie, "Spotlight", in which his character was played by Mark Ruffalo. "Spotlight" won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. VIP guests were able to mingle with Rezendes and then participated in the silent auction to support Crime Stoppers' mission. Guests were also invited to place their bids during the live auction. Items included a Taft McWhorter 60" x 40" Texas Flag "Live" painting, a trip to the pleasures and treasures of Tuscany, and all that glitters with 18kt gold Italian earrings with sapphire and diamonds from Wayne Smith Jewels.
Festivities kicked off in the Imperial Ballroom with a special opening performance by The Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir of Put a Little Love in Your Heart, followed by a warm welcome and moment of silence with emcee Jan Carson, Houston Lifestyle and Homes Editor and Columnist. Jan shared that for the first time tonight, Houstonians could be a part of this history by purchasing a brick paver that would forever sit on this Public Safety and Crime Prevention Block in Midtown.
Crime Stoppers Executive Director Rania Mankarious then took the stage to continue the celebration and share that the organization's new home in Midtown is expected to open in January 2017.
"Our new facility is the result of 35 years of study and is constructed to meet the needs of our growing community." said Mankarious "It will firmly and proudly stand as our city's HUB for everything related to crime prevention and public safety. It will be a place where current, cutting edge education can be given out and community partners can gather to focus on solutions. Not competition, not working in siloes, but expanding the proven power of our programming that makes Houston a safer place to live. We are so thankful to everyone who has helped get us here."
Remarks followed from Gala coordinator and visionary Laura Ward, and friends of Crime Stoppers Tilman Fertitta and Jan Carson who both spoke about Dave Ward's contributions to this 36 year old organization and in his incredible news career.
Before the night concluded, a very special friend of Ward - NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly - delivered a heartfelt message onstage in his honor. A surprise tribute video was played to introduce both Astronaut Kelly and the Dave Ward who followed by taking the stage to reveal that his final date on the anchor desk would be December 9, 2016.
Thursday's celebration was supported by many individuals, community partners and generous underwriters, including Houston First, The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, Becker Family Foundation, Valerie and Bob Brindley/Integrity Partners, CenterPoint Energy, Paula Goldstein, Harris County Sheriff's Office Foundation, Michelle Heinz, P&R Productions, Strake Foundation, Jill and Charles Talisman, Laura and Dave Ward, plus many others.
Guests included Tilman Fertitta, Scott Kelly, Amiko Kauderer, Tim Connelly, Trish and Rock Morille, Jan Duncan, Carol and Dr. Tom Sawyer, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Elva and Truett Akin, Shayna Andrews, Neil and Maria Bush and Vicki Rizzo.
Notable elected officials included Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle, Senator John Whitmire, State Representative Gene Wu, City Council Member Brenda Stardig and Houston Police Acting Chief Martha Montalvo.
Others celebrating with Crime Stoppers included Tama Lunquist and Gary Becker, Tena and Tyson Faust, Joella and Steve Mach, Ellen and Paige Cokinos, Laurie and Tracy Krohn, Roula Christie and Tasos Kostas, Michele Strake, Jennifer Reyna, Franco Valobra, Roseann Rogers and Aashish Shah, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Paul-David Van Atta, Sherri Zucker, Joann and Bill Crassas, Elizabeth and Tom Netting, Daryl Price, Dale Lockett, Farida Abjani, Stephanie Von Stein, and Melissa Rascon.
If you would like to learn about Crime Stoppers of Houston and our prevention programs, visit www.crime-stoppers.org or call 713-521-4600.
Dave Ward to have a building named after him - Crime Stoppers of Houston Gala
|Michael Rezendes, Rania Mankarious, Dave Ward, Laura Ward (Photo Credit: Roswitha Vogler)|
|Melanie Lawson, Houston Police Acting Chief Martha Montalvo (Photo Credit: Vicky Pink)|
|Roseann Rodgers, Gina Gaston, Dave Ward, Rania Mankarious, Jan Carson, Melanie Lawson, Don Nelson, Amanda Wilkinson (Photo Credit: Vicky Pink)|
|Margaret O'Brien, Don Nelson, Judy Nichols (Photo Credit: Vicky Pink)|
|Emcee Jan Carson (Photo Credit: Vicky Pink)|
|Tilman Fertitta and Mayor Sylvester Turner (Photo Credit: Vicky Pink)|
|NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly (Photo Credit: Roswitha Vogler)|
(This post has been taken from a release sent to me by Crime Stoppers of Houston)