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The B-I-G secret is out!

The new Crime Stoppers of Houston Headquarters Building will be named after our dear friend and Houston media icon Dave Ward, ABC-13.

We are excited to announce that the 2015 Gala, which serves as our largest fundraiser, welcomed more than 560 guests and raised over $510,000 for the Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line and crime prevention programs, which empower, educate, and engage the community in important conversations about crime, publicsafety and the protection of society’s most vulnerable citizens.

Chairs Joella and Steve Mach, along with auction chairs Courtney Zubowski Haasand Dr. Eric Haas, led the grand effort and celebration which announced plans for the future. The evening began with a VIP reception with keynote speaker, best-selling author and Emmy award winning journalist, Ted Koppel. VIP guests were able to mingle with Koppel and then continued in to the silent auction and big board, all in support of the Crime Stoppers’ mission. The cocktail reception opened up with a warm welcome from Rania Mankarious, Crime Stoppers Executive Director and invocation by Monsignor Frank Rossi, followed by emcee Melanie Lawson of ABC-13 taking the stage to kick off the night’s festivities and surprise performances – all of which Ward knew nothing about! The entire evening was weaved together perfectly with the direction and guidance of the visionary, Laura Ward.

The focus of the evening was to honor Ward for playing an instrumental role in creating the “media” reach of Crime Stoppers of Houston back in the early 1980s. It was his creativity and ingenuity that contributed to the famous (and internationally recognized) Crime Stoppers’ reenactments. Thanks to his vision, Crime Stoppers of Houston has created a model that now leads the nation. Koppel was honored to be in Houston to celebrate Ward’s contributions to Crime Stoppers and his incredible achievement of being the only news anchor to stay almost 50 years on one anchor chair, in one station, in one city, in one state. Surprise video tributes from two very special friends of Ward, former First Lady Barbara Bush and NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly all the way from outer space, were played during the night.

The celebration continued with messages from several ‘Friends of Dave’, Governor Mark White, 43rd Governor of the Great State of Texas, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Founder, President and CEO of The Richland Companies and John Eddie Williams, founding partner of Williams Kherkher.

One of the biggest highlights of the night was a surprise visit from a very special friend of Ward who insisted on flying to Houston for this special occasion – Grammy and Emmy Award-winning artist and producer Steve Tyrell who sang “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” live on stage for his friend.

Before the night was over, the surprises continued as a well-kept secret was finally revealed. Because of Ward’s dedication to his city, career and Crime Stoppers, Mankarious announced that the first-ever Crime Stoppers of Houston headquarters will forever be named The Dave Ward Building Crime Stoppers of Houston. Ward was astonished by the big unveil and was lost for words as he stood in front of the podium. He compared the extraordinary moment to his wedding day and birth of his children.

The evening left Ward speechless, but the celebration continued the next day, Friday, October 30, 2015 at the 3000 Block on Main Street for the Crime Stoppers of Houston Headquarters Groundbreaking Ceremony. Koppel along with the Board of Directors, elected officials, men and women in blue and others joined in for photos to commence the city’s first Public Safety and Crime Prevention Block. Welcoming remarks were made by Crime Stoppers Executive Director Rania Mankarious, Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Kathryn Stasney Childers and Fenner Weller,Franco Valobra of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Foundation, Dave Ward, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Houston Police Department ChiefCharles McClelland and Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman. State RepresentativeGene Wu presented a resolution honoring the work of Crime Stoppers and recognition of Dave Ward at the 2015 Gala. Closing remarks were made by Crime Stoppers Vice Chairman of the Board Hazem Ahmed.

The new home of Crime Stoppers of Houston will be a state-of-the-art facility serving as a hub for crime prevention, housing centralized operations, staff, volunteers, law enforcement, safe school, safe community and media teams in a single 28,000-square-foot building. Outside the facility, a 12,800-square-foot Harris County Sheriff’s Officers Memorial Garden will pay tribute to heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Thursday’s celebration (Gala) was supported by many individuals, community partners and generous underwriters, including The Mach Family, Ellen and Paige Cokinos/The Higginbotham Community Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. C. Richard Stasney/Mr. and Mrs. Staton Childers.

We want to take a moment to once again remind you that your support continues to be the driving force behind the impact we make each year.  Without you, there would be no Crime Stoppers of Houston. Thank you to everyone who supported this significant celebration in our organization’s history! Visit this LINK FOR A FULL PHOTO GALLERY.

Posted by Crime Stoppers of Houston on 6 Nov 2015