Last night, my family was a recipient of an award from the Krist Samaritan Center for Counseling Education in Houston during their annual Touching Lives / Healing Hearts dinner at the River Oaks Country Club. The Krist center does phenomenal work of counseling folks who are of low income and have mental health problems.
They have 18 locations all over Houston, and they do great work in helping the local community. They honor Houstonians who have made an impact in the world around us annually at their Touching Lives / Healing Hearts dinner. It was indeed an honor to be considered for this award, and I was very humbled by the experience.
The first gentlemen who was awarded and spoke was Mr. John Montgomery of Bridgeway Capital, explained why he was receiving the award, and it turns out that Bridgeway Capital donates over 50% of all the company's profits to charitable organizations not just in Houston, but in Africa and all over the world. The level of benevolence and kindness that he exhibits, and the legacy and example he sets for the rest of us with his charity, is quite humbling.
He was followed by George DeMontrond, a well-respected automobile dealer and businessman here in the Houston area. He gave a history of his family and the philosophy they had a quite poignant view that the reason that he and his loving wife give so much to charity is simply because that is they were raised to give to charity.
Following DeMontrond was Mr. Joe Jamail, an icon of the Houston community, was receiving the award for his late wife Lee Hage Jamail who was receiving the Krist Samaritan award post-humously for all of her charitable work that she had done throughout the scope of her life. The Lee Hage Jamail scholarship has provided over 3500 students tuition to the University of Texas at Austin. Likewise, Mr. and Mrs. Jamail have donated over one-hundred million dollars to the University of Texas. Indeed, the Jamails have left their mark and legacy and blazed a trail for other Houstonians to follow.
After Mr. Jamail there was Dikembe Mutombo, a man known to many as an NBA superstar and player for the Houston Rockets. More than this, though, is the fact that Mutombo is a world wide philanthropist and he spoke as to the donations he has made especially in his homeland of the Congo. He relayed the tragic story of how his mother passed away because his mother had no access to a hospital - and because of this, he is building a $50 million dollar hospital in the Congo which should be finished in 2008. What an amazing man.
Indeed, it was an amazing group of people speaking. And then I had to speak. It was a tough act to follow.
I spoke about my daughter's mental illness, and how she lives with her mother and how, together as a family, these lovely women in my family have worked tirelessly to combat and hopefully solve Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
All in all, it was a great evening. The end result was a large sum of money was raised for the Krist Samaritan Center, and I must say it was a tough act to follow. Indeed, following one of the tallest human beings I have ever seen, Dikembe Mutombo, and of course Joe Jamail and my good friend George DeMontrond and the nice man from Bridgeway Capital, Mr. Montgomery all reminded me that together, we can work together to make a difference. Gallery Furniture is proud to be a part of the solutions and to work with others such as the Mutombos and DeMontronds of the world to make a difference in the world we all share.