Houston Snapshots

Once You Get “Red Hot,” It’s Hard To Cool Down-Houston Professional Firefighters Association Celebrates Another Record-Breaking Gala

Event Date:  November 6, 2021
Location:  Royal Sonesta
Event:  Gala
No. of Attendees:  400
Money Raised:  $540,000+
Beneficiary:  Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association (HPFFA)
Honorary Chairs:  Joanna and Brad Marks
  Elizabeth and Alan Stein
Honorees:  Houston Firefighters Pipes & Drums and the Honor Guard
Photography:  Daniel Ortiz and CatchLight Group

Once You Get “Red Hot,” It’s Hard To Cool Down-Houston Professional Firefighters Association Celebrates Another Record-Breaking Gala

Event Founders and Chairs Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Honorary Chairs Joanna & Brad Marks, sponsors and over 400 guests glowed “Red Hot” at the 4th annual HPFFA “Red Hot” Gala, whose mission is to provide much-needed equipment, training and support for firefighters facing extraordinary hardships.

The evening began with a march of several firefighters down the runway towards the podium, where a simulated on-stage rescue of a “damsel in distress” ended with a woman carried out of the backdrop of buildings in a fireman’s arms. President of the HPFFA and Emcee, Patrick M. “Marty” Lancton explained the simulation and thanked the Charitable Foundation. He then introduced the Chairs and Honorary Chairs, who, after a long ovation, were presented with awards for their tireless commitment.

Elizabeth Stein gratefully thanked this year’s returning Presenting Sponsors Bobbie Nau and Hallie Vanderhider, Five-Alarm Supporters Susan & Fayez Sarofim and Four-Alarm Supporter, Janice McNair. They were awarded plaques that will be mounted on Houston fire stations in their honor.

This year’s Honorees were the Houston Firefighters Pipes & Drums and the Honor Guard, who performed and received awards for their dedication and devotion.  Honor Guard Commander Oscar Pedraza and Pipe Major Hunter Schappaugh accepted on behalf of the individual groups.

The long-awaited 2022 Houston Firefighter Calendar models were the main reason the gala was called “Red Hot.”  The bare-chested firemen began the trek down the runway and made their presence known. Flexing their triceps, biceps, lats and six-packs with heavy gear in hand made it easy to show off the goods! The Firefighter Calendar is one of the major supporters of the Burned Children’s Fund.

Record bidding occurred during the Live Auction when a pair of Sapphire & Diamond Earrings from IW Marks urged Joanna Marks to walk the runway and model the jewels. Other items showcased from UNITED, Active Shooter Training, an incredible home in Costa Rica, Ben Berg’s “Meet Our Meat” and a custom Ernst Benz watch from IW Marks.

Underwritten by Renee & Alan Helfman, a gala after-party was complete with Big-Board items, entertainment, dancing, and photo ops with the Calendar Firefighters.

By evening’s end, the organization’s treasury was increased by $540,000 but Elizabeth & Alan Stein said, “It isn’t over till it’s over!” Daily calls and additional donations continue to arrive until the attainable goal of $600,000 is reached. Should this mark be reached, the four-year gala total would be $2 million.

I’m sure, with the heat generated from this event, all the guests arriving at their homes needed cold showers to cool down! Congratulations to all involved on a great night!

Socially present (not previously mentioned):  Ellie & Michael Francisco, Van & David Greenberg, Carol & Bill Lawler, Denise Monteleone & Jim Martin, Glenn Reyez, Council Member Amy Peck, Linda & David Johnson, Jo Ann Petersen, Gaye Lynn & Stuart Zarrow, Councilman Mike Knox, Bill Miller, Joe Jaworski, Jackie & Monty Eubank, Cheryl Boblitt & Bill King, Dee & James Darby, Gary Petersen, John Poindexter, John Pearson, Lyndon Unger & Jacob Stein, Jenna Lindley & Louis Tronzo, Julie & Alan Kent, Chris Hendel, Patti & Don Murphy, Jordan Seff, Robert Clay, Senator John Whitmire, Yanira & David Huntington, Janet & Tom Behanick, Alex Brennan-Martin, Tori & Ed DeCora, Constable Jerry Garcia, Karen & Tim Kelly & Lux, District Chief Jacob Sanders, Lesha & Tom Elsenbrook, State Representative Mary Ann Perez.

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