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Tony Buzbee and Tilman Fertitta Win Awards, But Houston Children’s Charity Champion Laura Ward Gets the Honor That Leaves Her Speechless

25 Years of Absolute Dedication to the Kids Who Need It Most

BY // 11.11.21

Houston Children’s Charity co-founder, CEO and fundraiser extraordinaire Laura Ward likes to say that no one can ever surprise her and that she is never speechless. That might have been true previously. But during HCC’s 25th anniversary luncheon at the Post Oak Hotel, the dynamo was surprised to the point of tears and truly rendered speechless.

The HCC board, in appreciation of Ward’s 25 years of absolute dedication to the nonprofit that has served 3.5 million children in need, ponied up enough support to have the Child Life Room at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center Outpatient Clinic renamed as the Laura S. Ward, Houston Children’s Charity Child Life Room.

After Ward’s presentation of nine awards to longtime supporters of HCC, Gary Becker, HCC founding board member and current board vice chairman, stepped up to present Ward with a leadership award. What she didn’t see were the video screens with images of the renamed child life room. But she did hear the applause and turned to view the screen. Her mouth dropped, her eyes went wide and in her gratitude for the moment, she could think of nothing to say.

Applause, applause for the woman who deigns to take credit to the work that HCC has done in this quarter century. Over the years, HCC has delivered 116 wheel chair-accessible vans at a cost of $40,000 each to families in need, provided beds and linens for thousands of children who otherwise had none, and provided clothing, school supplies, transportation, health services and joyful holidays for the city’s under-served.

Through those 25 years, the nonprofit has provided support to more than 300 agencies and  helmed 14 unique direct programs while leaving no legitimate request for assistance unanswered.

The luncheon attended by board members, volunteers, supporters and fans 400 strong was completely underwritten by HCC loyal patrons BMW of West Houston and Momentum BMW Southwest, represented respectively by Maria Moncada Alaoui and Tommy Kuranoff.

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Paige Fertitta, Tony & Frances Buzbee at the Houston Children’s Charity 25th anniversary luncheon (Photo by Michelle Watson, catchlightgroup.com)

It was a big day for HCC with Mayor Sylvester Turner delivering the city proclamation in honor of the nonprofit, declaring it Houston Children’s Charity “Quarter Century of Caring Day.” The mayor acknowledged that he was one of those children that had no bed of his own to sleep in while growing up, a poignant reminder of the need.

Ward presented various awards including to Landry’s Inc. owner Tilman Fertitta, 94.5 The Buzz’s Rod Ryan, KPRC Channel 2 news director Dave Strickland, the Guill Foundation, Texas Mattress MakersYouval Meicler, philanthropists Susan and Fayez Sarofim, Alaoui and Kuranoff, trial lawyer Tony Buzbee, uber volunteer Carol Sawyer, philanthropist Hallie Vanderhider, and Jana and Richard Fant, who through the Fant Foundation have provided 41 vans in addition to supporting the gala, the Easter Party and providing partner agency support.

PC Seen: District Attorney Kim Ogg, Rachel and Jeff Bagwell, Paige Fertitta, Twila Carter, Grant Guthrie, Michael Hoctor, Dan D’Armond, DeeDee and Wallis Marsh, Trini Mendenhall, Morris Smith, Donna Vallone, Russell Ybarra, Amy and Rob Pierce, Rachelle Rowe, and Kristina Somerville.

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