Saks had Sweethearts Everywhere! Hugs and Happiness … Love in the Air! by Warner Roberts
In a sea of red and pink fashions and flourishes, attendees to this 13-year edition of the Houston Sweethearts Tea made a stunningly beautiful portrait in the Designer Rotunda of Saks Fifth Avenue. The Houston Sweetheart Award event was created by co-hosts Anne Carl, Deborah Duncan, Sylvia Forsythe, Kim Moody, Alicia Smith and myself with the sole purpose of saying “we love and appreciate you” to those in our community who “are always open to serve others; those who serve the community with their time, talent, energy, creativity, resources and most importantly with their love.”
After a short opening, I reminded the revelers that the beneficiary of the day, The Mission of Yahweh, has been serving homeless women and children since 1961, restoring hope, transforming lives, and ending homelessness. A great addition to this section of the program was the attendance of the granddaughter of Sister Helen Gay, the founder of The Mission, Charly Gay, who is now employed by The Mission. Gay happily distributed red “blinky” hearts to all who made donations.
During her official welcome, Heidi Parkhurst Turney, Vice President and General Manager of Saks, shared her happiness at being back in the Houston store, having originally worked here as assistant manager before transferring to San Antonio as vice president and general manager. “I am extremely happy to be back in Houston and surrounded by such an incredible group of people.” She also shared that her happiness and the secret of the glow on her face are a result of her recent marriage to Barry Turney.
Deborah Duncan, the ever-popular host of Channel 11 KHOU Great Day Houston, noted that she felt it was a privilege to introduce the honorees, who have demonstrated a sincere concern for improving lives in our community. The 2024 Houston Sweethearts honored are:
Elsie Eckert became a founding and lifetime member of BRASS 25 years ago and has served as President for 3 terms and has served on the BRASS scholar selection committee for the last 12 years and as the scholar’s liaison for 10 years. She has co-chaired the Texas Children’s Cancer Center’s Celebration of Champions “Runway for a Cure” luncheon since its inception 13 years ago. She serves on the boards of BARC, the Alley Theatre Advisory Board and numerous other charitable organizations.
Scott Evans, my colleague and publisher of The Social Book, has served as Advisor for several non-profit organizations, serves on the steering committee for Men of Distinction, produces The Social Book Houston Treasures Award Gala, and shines a light on numerous charitable endeavors through this entity, socialbook.com.
Stacey Lindseth, gives her heart to many charitable organizations, such as Texas Children’s Ambassadors, Susie Bean Gives, Wig Out, Bo’s Place, March of Dimes, Texas Children’s Ambassadors and Heroes for Children. She serves on the board of Dec My Room and is co-chairing the Operation Smile Gala this year.
Kara and Lance McCullers, Jr. have always had a love for animals. They founded The Lance McCullers, Jr. Foundation to help Houston’s homeless animal population in every way possible. They also enjoy working directly with a number of Houston charitable organizations, such as Sunshine Kids and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Kara was unable to attend the event as she was at home tending to their new baby girl, Isla Graye McCullers, with the help of their four-year-old daughter, Ava Rae. Lance, the Astros pitcher, was thrilled with the new addition to the family and also excited to leave the following day for spring training in Florida. He is anxious to get back in the game after being sidelined with an injury in 2023 spring training, where he suffered a muscle strain in his right arm and had surgery to repair his flexor tendon and remove a bone spur. McCullers is a starting pitcher for the Houston Astros and was a 2017 All-Star and helped lead the team to its 2017 and 2022 World Series Championship titles.
Kisses, hugs, hearts aflutter, champagne, delight bites, donations for a great cause, and blinky rings created quite the successful day where approximately 100 attendees felt the love.
In the Social Scene and Celebrating Sweethearts: Saula Valente, Betty Tutor, Brigitte Kalai, Gayla Gardner, Leila Perrin, Vicki Rizzo, Angie Roberts, Phyllis Williams, Heidi Rockecharlie, Melissa Murphy, Mady Kades, Sidney Faust, Cora Sue Mach, Pam Lockard, Hon. Susan S. Soussan, Lilly Andress, Christine Johnson, Mary Ann and David McKeithan, Ann Ayre, Nini Hale, Cheryl Byington, Merele Yarborough, Lynnette Davis, Les Eckert, Frann Lichtenstein, Anna Dean, Laurette Veres, Beth Wolff, Monica Hartland, Michelle Collins, Samantha Kennedy, Debi McNair, Donae Chramosta, Jacquie Baly, Tammie Anne Johnson, Betty Tutor, Marilu Garza, Ellie Francisco, Susan Hansen, Laura Goodrum, Michelle Collins, Sandra Porter, Missa Sutton, Carolyn Faulk, Jerre Williams, Sonia Soto, Stacey Swift, Lesha Elsenbrook, Kirk Kveton, Daniel Irion, John Calton, Dana Barton, Diana Fisher, Merele Yarborough, Missa Sutton and Jennifer Roosth