Dave Ward honored at Crime Stoppers of Houston’s Annual Gala
HOUSTON (November 12, 2021) – Crime Stoppers of Houston’s ‘Leading the Way to a Safer Houston’ Annual Gala, held on November 7, 2021 at the Hilton Americas Houston, raised a record-setting $1,035,000 for crime prevention programs, including a new Safe Community Research Center launching in 2022, as well as critically-needed victim services. This historic event brought together more than 500 generous supporters, courageous victims of crime, devoted community advocates, elected officials and law enforcement from across Texas for a moving evening that honored the innocent lives lost to senseless violence in our City and County.
The gathering was chaired by Amy & Neil Leibman, Genny & John McIntyre, and Sheridan & John Eddie Williams who have a longstanding commitment to the mission of Crime Stoppers and deeply care about the safety of all who call Houston home. “What happened leading up to and during our November 7, 2021 Gala is an example of a community fed up with crime and in typical Houston fashion – is literally doing something about it. Crime Stoppers has been standing up and showing up since its inception 41 years ago. There were moments when we did so quietly and moments when we were anything but; current times require the latter. And for the sake of all who call Houston home, we will only continue.” said Crime Stoppers of Houston CEO Rania Mankarious
The Sunday affair began with a lively cocktail reception, program booths, and preview of the Gala raffle item. For only $100 per ticket, guests could enter to win a brand new 2022 E-Z GO Express S4 Golf Cart.
Once in the Americas Ballroom, mistress of ceremonies Shelby Hodge, Social & Lifestyle Editor for PaperCity Magazine, led with opening remarks that included a surprise message from a very special friend in Austin – Matthew McConaughey.
Committed by their own personal encounters with crime, Gala chairs Amy, Genny and Sheridan took the stage to address the audience. Sheridan delivered a heart-felt and important message about the need for the community to come together and solve the issue before us – for the sake of ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
After dinner, Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious honored Media Icon and ABC13 Anchor Emeritus Dave Ward for his 40 years of outstanding service to Crime Stoppers and the community that included tributes from former President George W. Bush, and the late Barbara Bush (a tribute taped in 2015). The program continued with Mankarious’ powerful delivery that touched on the biggest crime problem plaguing our city, the ramifications of felony bond reform, a call for the community to come together to find solutions, and a conversation with surviving family members, Paul Castro, Theresa Seck, and Chuck Cook who joined to courageously share their stories:
- Paul Castro, the father of David Castro, the 17-year-old who was tragically shot and killed in a road rage incident after leaving an Astros game
- Theresa Seck, brother of Patrick Aikens, who was randomly targeted, assaulted, robbed and shot to death simply walking outside his galleria area apartment
- Chuck Cook, son of 80-year-old Rosalie Cook, who was murdered by a career habitual offender while leaving Walgreens, in the middle of the day, in the Meyerland area
Crime Stoppers Director of Victim Services Andy Kahan joined Rania to facilitate a Fireside Chat with the victim families that concluded with a video in memory of the 149 people allegedly killed by defendants released on multiple felony bonds, felony pr bonds, and/or bond forfeiture. Victim families in the room stood as their loved ones’ photo was shown.
The evening closed with an exciting “paddles up” with John Eddie Williams, Neil Leibman and John McIntyre. Tenenbaum Jewelers, Tony Bradfield, generously contributed to the paddles up with his “Last Paddle Standing” challenge, raising additional record setting funds for the organization.
Sunday’s celebration was supported by many individuals, community partners and generous underwriters, including Legacy Leader sponsors Hallie Vanderhider, the Hildebrand Fund, Jim & Carole Walter Looke, and Sheridan & John Eddie Williams; Safety Trailblazer sponsors Brigitte & Bashar Kalai, Cherie & Jim Flores, Holthouse Foundation for Kids, and Lisa & Michael Holthouse; Community Front-Runners sponsors KIAH CW 39 Houston, Suzette Way and Holly & John Brennan, and many others.
Additional guests included Crime Stoppers Chairman Justin Vickrey, Lindsay and Scott Aronstein, David Dewhurst, Gary Petersen, Johnny Carrabba, Jeff and Rachel Bagwell, Tena Faust, Tama Lundquist, Melanie and Mace Meeks, Dylan and Jordan Seff, Charlotte and Bobby Orr, Jill and Charlie Talisman, Ron Franklin, Patricia King-Ritter, Fred Lausen, Duncan Stewart, Don Faust, Cora Robinson, Michelle and Mike Heinz, and many others.
Leaders from the city, county and state were all involved in the nonpartisan event. Notable guests include Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Harris County Commissioners R. Jack Cagle, Adrian Garcia & Tom Ramsey, Senator Joan Huffman, Senator John Whitmire as well as Houston City Council Members Mike Knox, Greg Travis, Michael Kubosh, Amy Peck & Sally Alcorn, Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, and Harris County Judges Chuck Silverman & Lori Chambers Gray.
If you were not able to attend, you may still support the Crime Stoppers mission online here: https://app.mobilecause.com/form/sv7NRA?vid=n833b
Raffle tickets will be on sale until December 1st. Purchase here: https://app.mobilecause.com/form/x9GW9g?vid=n834b
Visit www.crime-stoppers.org for additional information on Crime Stopper’s programs, resources and events.