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81-Year-Old Motown Legend Helps a Houston Hospital Raise $3 Million in One Rocking Night

Smokey Robinson Comes Through for Memorial Hermann

BY // 04.26.21

He might be 81 years old but Smokey Robinson still has it as he proved Saturday night when fans of the Motown legend tuned in to his performance which was the live/virtual entertainment for the Memorial Hermann Foundation “Circle of Life Gala.” As the evening was a tribute to Memorial Hermann’s frontline, a handful of the dedicated employees were invited to sit in on rehearsal for the performance that was staged outdoors in River Oaks.

The awesome talent entertained with favorites such as My Girl, Just to See You, Second That Emotion and Ooo Baby Baby. Singing along permitted.

The hybrid event was a happy success with proceeds of $3 million exceeding the goal that was scaled back from previous years due to COVID-19.  Though that $3 million was only slightly less than that of 2018 gala proceeds ($3.3 million) and 2017 gala proceeds ($3.1 million). Much of the credit for that astonishing take goes to chairs Leticia and Steve Trauber as well as to honorees Beverly and Jim Postl and Phillips 66 and the frontline workers, who inspired the gala theme of “Stars Among Us.”

“Leticia and Steve Trauber were absolutely extraordinary gala chairs. They care so deeply about Memorial Hermann and this year wanted to especially highlight the work of the frontline,” Anne Neeson, executive vice president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Foundation, tells PaperCity. “Leticia had a special Hero pin designed for all Memorial Hermann employees.

“She and Steve left no stone unturned to exceed the goal. They are such a caring and charismatic couple who were especially perfect for this important year.”

Leticia & Steve Trauber chair the Memorial Hermann Foundation ‘Circle of Life Gala,’ leading the fundraiser to $3 million in proceeds. (Photo by Wilson Parrish)

In a video tribute to the frontline workers, Neeson joined Memorial Hermann president and CEO Dr. David Callender in praising their dedication.

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“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year ago, our employees have faced each and every challenge with courage and compassion, as well as an unwavering dedication to serve our community,” Callender says. “In pandemic times and beyond, our dedicated team of physicians, nurses, therapists and support staff make it possible to provide advanced and innovative care across a multitude of specialties.

“None of this would be possible without the support of everyone joining us tonight, so thank you for helping us make a difference in so many lives.”

Insuring that everyone felt part of the night, participants received deliveries of food and wine from Tony’s and Rock Star Kits filled with virtual event essentials, including a custom champagne cocktail, Johnny Was masks, Memorial Hermann hats, cocktail napkins and light-up glasses, all in a branded ice bucket.

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