Dave Ward offers open remarks at Crime Stoppers of Houston Gala

Dave Ward and Rachelle Rowe
Dave Ward and Rachelle Rowe (Photo Credit: Catchlight Group)

HOUSTON (October 9, 2019) – One of Houston’s premier fall charity events, the Crime Stoppers of Houston ‘Leading the Way to a Safer Houston’ Gala took place on October 2, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Downtown. The event brought together more than 370 generous supporters, courageous victims of crime, devoted community advocates, elected officials and law enforcement from across the Greater Houston Area for an incredible evening that raised more than $433,000 to fund critical crime solving and prevention programs.

This year’s Gala was chaired by ‘Leading Women for Public Safety’ Donae Chramosta, Maha Khan and Jerri Duddlesten Moore who have a longstanding commitment to the mission of Crime Stoppers and deeply care about the safety of all who call Houston home. The event was also supported by honorary chairs Brigitte Kalai and Sippi Khurana. As Houston’s only non-profit solely dedicated to public safety, Crime Stoppers relies on community support to provide innovative programs that proactively address serious felony crime, combat human trafficking, address dangers and threats affecting schools, tackle animal cruelty and terrorism, provide services to victims of crime and their families, and so much more.

The Wednesday affair began with a lively cocktail reception full of exciting silent auction bidding, live music by Houstonian Big Band, and a preview of the Gala raffle items. For only $100 per ticket, guests could enter to win either a brand new 2019 Jeep Renegade donated by Alan Helfman, President of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, or an authentic 35 cm Hermes Birkin bag donated by Donae Chramosta of The Vintage Contessa and Times Past.

Once in the Imperial Ballroom, Houston Media Icon Dave Ward led the room with opening remarks that included a moment of silence in memory of fallen Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal and reflections for a safer community. Dave then turned it over to the night’s mistress of ceremonies KPRC 2 News Anchor Dominique Sachse who eloquently encouraged guests to continue to give throughout the night to support the important mission of Crime Stoppers.

During a time when she would normally talk about crime ‘statistics’, Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious took the stage to very specifically talk about the state of criminal behavior in Harris County, its escalation and the alarming rate in which violent felony offenders are being released back into our communities without serving proper time. Leaders from the city, county and state were all involved in the nonpartisan event which included a message from Ivanka Trump in support of Crime Stoppers of Houston’s unique approach in combating human trafficking, arresting traffickers and educating the community, especially teens and young adults.

“Crime Stoppers of Houston has been at the forefront of keeping communities safe. It’s an issue that affects the quality of life of everyone equally and one that we must come together to address in a nonpartisan, non-politician way. We are thankful for our relationships that run deep in the city, county and state and the model we are becoming for the nation when it comes to community driven public safety.” said Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious

As the night continued, Gala chairs Donae, Maha and Jerri delivered inspiring remarks and were joined by Crime Stoppers’ newest Youth Ambassador, Bella Chramosta, who courageously spoke of how crime and school threats have affected her life. The four of them then spearheaded the “paddles up” portion of the night that saw generous gifts from many in the room.

The evening closed with a highly anticipated keynote address from FBI Profiler John Douglas, also known as the real “Mindhunter,” who discussed his incredible work studying and corresponding with the nation’s most gruesome murders and crime cases. From life inside the prison, to the psychology of the correspondence, to the needs of the victims, he covered it all.

Wednesday’s celebration was supported by many individuals, community partners and generous underwriters, including Dave Ward, Alan Helfman, President of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Sippi and Ajay Khurana, Donae and Rob Chramosta of The Vintage Contessa & Times Past, Hallie Vanderhider, Michelle and Mike Heinz, Ben and Margaret Morris, PBK, Susan and Dan Boggio, Petersen Family Foundation, Seffs/Marshalls/Savarese Fight Fit, Allegiance Bank, Amber and Cary Gray, Amy and Rob Pierce, Bryan Beene, Compass Real Estate, Buffalo Bayou Resources, Inc., CenterPoint Energy, Elva and Truett Akin, Scott & Lindsay Aronstein/Connectivity Source, Frost Bank, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, H-E-B, Esmat and Hazem Ahmed / Independent Bank, Jerri and Jim Moore, John Crapitto / Melissa Davis, Kip and Jennifer Hohman, Maha and Omar Khan / Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, Mission Constructors, Inc., Perkins Family, PPI Security, Texas Inter-Faith Housing/Portfolio Resident Services, and Urban Air Adventure Parks (Sugar Land, Pearland, The Woodlands, Katy).

Among guests were Bill Baldwin, Constance White ,Darcel and Fenner Weller, Duyen Huynh, Honelie Harper, Iaif and Merrie Afseth, Javaid Anwar, Jennifer Reyna, Jill Talisman, Kim Bonnen, Laura Davenport, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Logan Leal, Mauri Oliver, Mona and Wasay Khan, Natalie Ariz, Nina Magnon, Rachelle Rowe, Sofia Adrogué, Sonya and Jeff Vaden, Tama Lundquist, Tena Faust, Tracy Faulkner, Vikki Rizzo, and Whitney and Marc Lawson.

Notable guests include the Honorable First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott, State Senator Larry Taylor, State Representatives Gene Wu and Jim Murphy, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Harris County District Clerk Marilyn Burgess, Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, as well as Council Members Jack Christie, Mike Knox, Mike Laster and Brenda Stardig, Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo, Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, Harris County Fire Marshall Laurie Christensen, and Judges Maria Jackson, Ronnisha Bowman and Chuck Silverman.

On Monday, October 7, 2019, using www.randompicker.com, Crime Stoppers drew winners for the Gala raffle which included Dave Wood and Jan Bartholomew as winner of the brand new 2019 Jeep Renegade and Andrea Hellyer winner of the authentic Hermes Birkin bag. Congratulations to the winners!

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.

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