Interfaith honors hometown heroes and celebrates 45 years of caring
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- The Woodlands Celebration of Excellence Gala, themed “45 Years of Caring,” welcomed 750 guests at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center Saturday, October 6.
The 19th annual event, co-chaired by Shirelle Chimenti and Elvira Graham, was dedicated to honoring the 2018 Hometown Heroes and celebrating Interfaith of The Woodlands’ 45th Anniversary. This year’s event raised $750,000 for crisis assistance in South Montgomery County.
Upon arrival, guests entered a beautifully lit ballroom filled with photos depicting Interfaith’s legacy of caring since it began in 1973. 11-year old harpist Elizabeth Howard entertained the guests with beautiful music while they enjoyed the silent auction and cocktail reception.
Rob Johnson, President of Interfaith’s Board of Directors, welcomed guests alongside Missy Herndon, President and CEO of Interfaith of The Woodlands and celebrated Honorary Co-Chairs, Ann and Jerry Snyder.
During the evening’s program, Rev. Don Gebert, Founding Executive Director of Interfaith of The Woodlands, received The Mitchell Award in honor of his more than 40 years of service to The Woodlands Community. Alex Sutton, Co-President of The Woodlands Township, bestowed the honor on Gebert on behalf of The Mitchell Family. Gebert remarked “We belong to each other! The bottom line of life is not strife, but LOVE! That VISION caused residents of every faith under the sun to rise up & reach out in service through Interfaith.”
Since 1999, Interfaith has recognized local heroes in the community by presenting them with the title of Hometown Hero. Touching videos played on the screens, reflecting their contributions in making a difference in the community. Congressman Kevin Brady presented each hero with a medallion and a Congressional Commendation. This year’s recipients were Dr. Joel Reed, Robert Heineman, Patti Rivela, Steve Leakey, Mrs. Brynn Ballard Huntsman and Mr. Peter Riley Huntsman, Entergy Texas Inc. and Junior League of The Woodlands.
The event offered fantastic live and silent auctions, featuring numerous excursions and unique items. Mark Pharo Extraordinary Jewels provided a 24 carat gold necklace featuring 16 multi-colored gemstones that one lucky winner claimed.
Interfaith typically serves 1,100 clients in crisis monthly, with those numbers expected to increase as the Holiday Season approaches. Gala guests were among the first to view a video testimony from a client who fell on hard times and utilized the many programs and services at Interfaith to help her and her family get back on their feet. The impact of this storytelling was felt throughout the room as attendees were asked to lend their support. As each guest made a donation, they were handed a candle that was raised in homage to the thousands of clients Interfaith has assisted since opening its doors in 1973.
“We live in a community filled with incredible people,” says Herndon. “For 45 years Interfaith has walked alongside our neighbors in crisis. Sometimes it is a family dealing with a devastating medical diagnosis, a single parent coping with an unexpected job loss, or hundreds of our neighbors struggling after a natural disaster. No matter the magnitude, we step in to help families rebuild. Being able to offer hope in the midst of devastation is only possible through the generous donations we are blessed to receive. We are forever grateful to our donors.”
Interfaith of The Woodlands is a nonprofit social service agency providing programs and services to meet the needs of The Woodlands and the surrounding area. Interfaith provides basic needs assistance and special programs to families experiencing a financial crisis, and supportive service through care and wellness programs to senior adults 62 and over, in addition to many community programs dedicated to improving the lives of individuals in need. For more information on Interfaith’s programs and services or to become a volunteer, please visit woodlandsinterfaith.org or call 281-367-1230.