Event Date: October 19, 2021
Location: River Oaks Country Club
No. of Attendees: 300
Money Raised: $350,000+
Beneficiary: Houston Hospice
Honorary Chair: Linda McReynolds
Chairpersons: Cathy Brock and Franelle Rogers
Honoree: Rose S. Cullen
Décor and Florals: The Events Company
Event Coordination: Francisco + Co.
Photography: Daniel Ortiz and Jacob Powers
“Roses for Houston’s Rose!”-Houston Hospice Celebrates 23 Years of This Annual Award Dinner
Three-hundred guests jubilantly gathered at River Oaks Country Club to celebrate and honor Houston’s most notable “Rose” at Houston Hospice’s Laura Lee Blanton Community Spirit Award Dinner. Even famed event designer Richard Flowers and The Events Company showcased many varieties of this flower to venerate the evening’s honoree.
The formidable combined force of Honoree Rose Cullen, Chairpersons Cathy Brock and Franelle Rogers, Honorary Chair Linda McReynolds, and the generous attendees helped the organization bank over $350,000 to continue their on-going efforts to remain Houston’s oldest, largest and independent hospice—one which continues to serve Texans from all socio-economic groups irrespective of a person’s ethnicity, beliefs or ability to pay.
Emcee Melanie Lawson joyfully welcomed the crowd and Houston Hospice’s President & CEO Rana McClelland eloquently stated the charity’s mission for the thirteen counties it serves.
For many years, Laura Lee Blanton, the namesake for this annual gala dinner, gave her love, time and commitment (both financial and personal) to not only support the reverent work of this charity but to also make Houston a better place in which to live. Elizabeth Wareing, Laura Lee’s daughter, proudly presented this esteemed award to Rose Cullen, who truly exemplifies the same qualities as her mother. A moving part of the introduction included a surprise video from entertainer Steve Tyrell, who sent Rose his New York congratulations for the award bestowed to her. He followed up by acknowledging her accomplishments in song as he sang a few bars of “The Way You Look Tonight.” Her surprise was heartfelt as she was genuinely moved by everyone’s good wishes for her lifetime of great works!
Guest speaker J.R. Martinez, son of an immigrant mother from El Salvador, is known to many as an Army veteran who survived a horrific explosion and burns over his entire body, but who went forward to becoming a well-sought motivational speaker, actor and winner of season 13 of Dancing with the Stars! Local Houston veteran Bob Livermore introduced this remarkable man, who after a lengthy ovation, entertained the crowd with moving stories about courage, family and the importance of actually listening to what people are really saying to you. The message he delivered most certainly hit home to all those attending the dinner, as his speech’s conclusion brought everyone to their feet once again with another lengthy ovation!
Auctioneer Johnny “Bravo” Holloway masterfully handled the two live auction items, which included a dinner with Steve Tyrell (which honoree Rose Cullen won) and a stay at a cottage in Carmel, California, which along with the additional sold-out raffle, supplemented the proceeds raised.
Socially present (not already mentioned): Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Leisa Holland-Nelson Bowman and Bob Bowman, Donna Chapman, Sue White, Molly and Jim Crownover, Jeanie and Wally Wilson, Trini Mendenhall and Philip Royalty, Cora and Judson Robinson, Robert Sakowitz, Beth Robertson, Lillie Robertson, Barbara Robertson, Carroll Ray, Kathy McCord, Sarah McCord, Lilly and Thurman Andress, Cathy and Marty Goossen, Christine and Paul Mansfield, Richard Flowers, Lynn Wyatt, Hallie Vanderhider, Emily Crosswell, Cathy and Giorgio Borlenghi, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, Gary Brock, Kelli and Eddy Blanton, Peter Wareing, Emily Crosswell, Regina Rogers, Beth Wolff, Roz and Alan Pactor, Jo and Jim Furr, Chris Kase, Linda Ewing, Carol Sawyer, Barbara Van Postman, Leila Perrin, Lu and Tom Caltagirone, Sara and Jim Parr and Cheryl Byington.