Society / Featured Parties

$5 Million Gift For Life Flight Makes Houston’s Aspen Takeover Even Sweeter — Memorial Hermann Hospital Reaches Higher

The Legendary Dr. Red Duke Would Be Proud

BY // 07.29.22
photography Daniel Ortiz

Typically, the Memorial Hermann Hospital System July excursion into Aspen, with many of its biggest donors, is an exercise in celebrating supporters and sharing the latest medical technologies. This week, however, the two-day adventure proved to be even more beneficial for the system and its highly regarded Life Flight program. O’Quinn Foundation leaders Rob Wilson and Mike Lowenberg took the opportunity to announce a $5 million gift for Life Flight.

The contribution launches a major campaign to purchase new helicopters for Life Flight, the nation’s busiest air ambulance program which supports Memorial Hermann Health System‘s Level I trauma center which sees the highest volume of such cases in the country.

The announcement was made during a cocktail reception at Aspen’s Catch Steak where the team also thanked the John S Dunn Foundation’s Charles Lusk, plus Jim Smith and Laurie Krohn for the foundation and family contributions helping build the current fleet of life-saving helicopters.

This year’s Aspen retreat focused on Life Flight and its founder, the colorful Dr. Red Duke. So it was no surprise that guests at both Catch Steak and at the al fresco brunch at Hotel Jerome the following day were welcomed by an eye-popping red floral helicopter and served specialty cocktails dubbed Aviator and Red Duke as tributes to the cause.

Jerry and Lisa Simon (Steffe Gatton) (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Jerry & Lisa Simon with the dazzling red floral Life Flight helicopter. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Memorial Herman President and CEO Dr. David Callender led the brief program that included humorous anecdotes of Dr. Red Duke, told by Memorial Hermann clinicians Dr. Michelle McNutt and Tom Flanagan, who worked alongside Duke for many years.

The two-day event was chaired by a dynamic trio — Melissa Juneau, Leticia Trauber and Hallie Vanderhider, who was detained in Houston on business.

PC Seen: Memorial Hermann Foundation board chairman Steve Trauber, Elizabeth and Will Galtney, who will host the 2023 cocktail soirée; Memorial Hermann Foundation board chair Steve Trauber and his wife Leticia, Janet Clark, Lisa and Jerry Simon, Tony Bradfield, Charif Souki, Katie and Scott Arnoldy, Monica Bickers, Valerie and Tracy Dieterich, Patti and Mike Morgan, and Kathy and John Orton, Nina and Edd Hendee and Memorial Hermann Foundation executive vice president and CEO Anne Neeson.

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