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Sunday Mornings with Rania: The Women Behind the Movement

On Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, I had the incredible pleasure of announcing and cutting the ribbon on the very first Crime Stoppers of Houston headquarters anywhere in the world, The Dave Ward Building, Crime Stoppers of Houston. The new home will be in Midtown, on bustling Main Street. To say I am proud and was moved is an understatement.

As I stood at the podium and looked out to an incredible sea of media cameras, elected officials on the city, county, state and federal level as well as our friends HPD Chief Art AcevedoSheriff Ed GonzalezDistrict Attorney Kim OggCommissioner Jack CagleConstable Alan Rosen and so many others, I was overwhelmed. We have a great community. We have an incredible community and there are many in the spotlight who should be, who deserve to be and we are so proud. But I also thought of the many women behind the movement. The women who are behind the community events, behind the fundraising, behind the work. Today, I had to do a tribute piece to those women. And there are many.]

ribbon cutting 7 Houston Crime Stoppers

The ribbon cutting on the very first Crime Stoppers of Houston anywhere in the world took place on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.

We all love and adore Dave Ward. That goes without saying. But I want to highlight his incredible wife, Laura. Many have said that with Laura in your corner, nothing else is needed. And that’s true. A dedicated mother and grandmother, Laura has served Houston’s other children through her work at Variety Club and now Houston’s Children’s Charity. In her “spare” time, she raises much-needed funds for our men and women in blue through her board position on the Houston Police Foundation. And as if I could add one more “and” – Laura has also become Crime Stoppers’ largest and most active volunteer, offering guidance, support, direction and above all else, her time and talents. If Laura loves you and values what you are doing, you will know it and you’ll be lucky. And those she fiercely values, value her right back. Crime Stoppers is truly thankful to her for her partnership and dedication.

The volunteer community in Houston is one that would leave any other city jealous. The following women come to mind: Debbie Pakzaban (who is chairing Crime Stoppers’ spring prom event taking place at Tootsies thanks to Shelley Taylor Ludwick), Tena Lundquist FaustTama Lundquist (both superhuman advocates for our animal community); Council Member Brenda StardigDonae ChramostaJerri Duddlesten MooreCyndy Garza RobertsJennifer ReynaRoula ChristieMichelle HeinzConstance Whiteand Sheila Aron (passionate about children and school safety); Ruchi Mukerjee and Stephanie Von Stein (committed to end domestic violence); Joy Partain and Tracey Faulkner (determined to end human trafficking); and then there are those who say just tell me what needs to be done and let’s do it for our community: Carol SawyerVicki RizzoLeisa Holland NelsonAlma KombargiOfficer Ann Marie CarrizalesThe Buzz’s own Joni HoffmanGreat Day Houston’s Debra DuncanGail Stalarow, Sneha MerchantSippi KhuranaCrystal Parker, Nina Verma Magon and so many more.

Give me a moment to make a really important distinction though. Crime Stoppers, the critical work we do every day, quietly takes us into the deepest and darkest corners of this city to help those in greatest need. That is the work we do, every single day. But the criminals we deal with do not deserve the time or attention to be highlighted and the victim families require respect and discretion. When we highlight the volunteers it is because we are thankful for the power they give us to drive our efforts and mission forward.

People ask me all the time – how do you do what you do? My answer is simple. One, I was born with a deep love and passion for others, for children and for a safe community. Two, I know the key to success is to be surrounded by others who care too. Between our growing volunteer community and a staff that simply stands above the rest: Nichole ChristophMimi ZarenchanskyTania CruzCabell WoodAllison LewisMichelle SacksPaige HolleckSonia SotoDanesa SamuelsStuart Hudson and the one and only, Jeff McShan – I have found my recipe for success. Together, we are making a difference for all and becoming a model for the nation. We build, we rise and we move forward because we stand so tightly together. And I am so thankful for it.

Posted by Rania Mankarious on 29 Jan 2017

About the author

Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston