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Heart-Stopping Video, an Impassioned Mattress Mack and an Astros Hall of Famer Bring Houston’s Crime Issues Into Focus On a Record $1.35 Million Night

Political Power Players, Jim and Whitney Crane and Sheridan and John Eddie Williams Add Clout to the Cause

BY // 11.18.22
photography CatchlightGroup.com

With a heart-stopping video of an actual police shoot-out with criminals, poignant testimonials from family members of murder victims and a scrolling list of recent local murder victims — Crime Stoppers’ “Leading the Way to a Safer Houston” evening was not your typical fundraiser.

While the gathering of more than 500 supporters on the covered field at Minute Maid Park was a sober one, it was not without great success. In the dedicated hands of Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, the event raised a record $1,355,000 for the nonprofit‘s crime prevention programs and victim support services.

Last Paddle Standing with John Eddie Williams joined by Jeff Bagwell and HPD Chief Troy Finner
Jeff Bagwell, Last Paddle Standing auctioneer John Eddie Williams, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner at the Crime Stoppers fundraiser.

“During a time when we all agree crime is the number one issue in Houston, we look forward to working with all community members and all community leaders on solutions,” Sheridan told the gathering. “Public safety must be the place where partnerships begin and politics ends. For the sake of all who call Houston home, we are committed to doing our part and are thankful for the growing community behind us.”

Honored were MLB Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and  Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, who took the microphone for an impassioned statement on the need for stronger crime prevention in Houston. He closed by committing $300,000 in matching funds to the evening. That generous gift was doubled by Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and his wife, Whitney, who served somewhat as hosts of the evening that took place on the home field of the 2022 World Champions.

Highlight for many of the guests was the opportunity to be photographed with the Astros’ World Series trophy.

Jim Crane, Whitney Crane, Tissy Harding, Rusty Hardin
Jim & Whitney Crane, Tissy & Rusty Hardin at the Crime Stoppers dinner on the field at Minute Maid Park.

The glamorous Julia Morales, AT&T SportsNet and Astros sideline reporter, emceed the program that included powerful presentations from Sheridan Williams, Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner and Crime Stoppers board chair Justin Vickrey.

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Crime Stoppers director of victim services Andy Kahan and Mankarious led the after-dinner discussion with four individuals who lost family members to violent crime. That was followed by a video in memory of lives cut short allegedly by defendants released on multiple felony bonds, felony PR bonds and/or bond forfeiture.

Guests taking photos with World Series Trophy
Photos with the Astros’ 2022 World Series trophy was highlight of the evening for many Crime Stoppers supporters.

The evening closed out with John Eddie Williams leading the “Last Paddle Standing” fundraiser with Zadok Jewelers providing two gift cards for the final bidders. He was joined on stage by the Cranes, Bagwell, Finner and Paula Harris, executive director of the Houston Astros Foundation.

PC Seen:  Gwen and Ed Emmett, Rachel Bagwell, Brigitte Kalai, Helene and Dror Zadok, Alicia Smith, Hallie Vanderhider, Margaret Alkek Williams, David Wuthrich, Laura Ward, Tissy and Rusty Hardin, Cathy Brock, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Dancie and Jim Ware, and Anne and Dr. Jim Muntz.

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