The Nightingale Society

I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” – Florence Nightingale

Nightingale Society Scholarship Recipient Liliana Covaliu, originally from Romania, has a multitude of excuses not to continue advancing her nursing education, she is the mother of five, cares for her elderly parents and English is her fourth language. However, following in the footsteps of Nightingale, she is not one for excuses. Covaliu was thrilled to learn of the Nightingale Society and be one of the first scholarship recipients. Covaliu plans to apply again upon completion of her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) for another scholarship for her MSN (Master of Science in Nursing).

Liliana Covaliu and Diane Freeman

The Nightingale Society was created to help encourage continuous improvement and ease the financial burden additional training may cause for the nurses at CHI St. Luke’s Health. Diane Freeman, Chief Nursing Officer stated, “nursing requires constantly improving and specialization in training. Advanced training translates to improved diagnostics and better patient care.”

Inspired by Florence Nightingale, the Nightingale Society at CHI St. Luke’s seeks to aid nurses in their advancement in the valiant profession of nursing. Nurses provide compassion, comfort, and care; they are an essential component to the success of any hospital. The scholarship funds generated by the Nightingale Society are the result of generous contributions from donors including Brad and Kylene Beers, the Haag Family Foundation, physicians from the Caduceus Society including Dr. Peter Shedden, Dr. Vincent Aquino, and Dr. Syed Raza, Douglas “Woody” Lyons, Jr. and Michael and Vicki Richmond.

Dr. Vincent and Yvette Anquino

The first scholarships awarded by the Nightingale Society were distributed in the spring of 2019, with four nurses (Liliana Covaliu, Keira Ruben, Teresa McKenzie, Elaina Perry) each receiving $3300/year for 2 years. The funding can be used for technical training and advanced certification programs, advanced nursing degrees, employees who want to pursue nursing, clinical research and to retain top talent in nursing. Jim Parisi, President and CEO of CHI St. Luke’s Health announced the winners and remarked, “it is important for me and our organization to take time out to recognize our nurses and how much they do for our organization. Nursing holds a special place to me in my leadership role here, as I am a registered nurse as well. I may not be at the bedside with you every day, but I understand the challenges you face to meet your patients’ needs.”

For more information on the Nightingale Society, please contact Carolyn Hays at or 832.355.5855.

Scholarship Recipients with Diane Freeman

Dr. Peter Shedden, Jim Parisi, Diane Freeman, Dr. Vincent Aquino, Brad Beers


2019 Man and Woman of the Year Gala

The 2019 Man & Woman of the Year Gala was held on May 17th, at the breathtaking The Woodlands Resort. The event, put on by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, was a 10-week fundraising philanthropic competition that concluded with a gala. Although the competition goes on each year in more than 88 cities across the country, this is the second year the campaign has been hosted in Montgomery County.

Wade Taylor, Leeann Taylor, Sara Oberton, and Justin Oberton

Thanks to the generous sponsors and co-chairs, the event was truly remarkable! The top sponsors were Chicago Title, Coxon Family Foundation, Michael and Jane Jamieson, Waste Connections, Quorum Software, Jeff Paul Custom Homes. The dedicated co-chairs were Kalli Gonzalez, Fidelity National Title, and Stacey Robertson, The Wilcox Group at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Gary Greene.

There were over 500 attendees, and the 9 candidates raised a collective $868,285. This amount was over $400,000 more than last year’s total! The amazing Woman of the Year, Leslie Coxon, raised $174,318. The Man of The Year, Parker Kink, raised an astounding $170, 159.

Christina Kooker, Leslie Coxon, Mindy Reynolds, and Parker Kink

The incredible nine candidates were Sarah Paul, Leslie Coxon, Michelle Little, Adria Salas, Elizabeth Greever, Anabelle Carillo, Parker Kink, Will Warren, and Jeff Bither. Each candidate made a substantial difference in the community and their fundraising efforts made an enormous impact in the fight for a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma.

Fund the Fight served as the last chance for everyone in attendance to give to their candidate and make an impact on the mission of LLS. Records were broken this year because over $95,000 was raised in only 5 minutes! The emcee, Cristina Kooker, kept the audience engaged and the mesmerizing décor glittered with touches of gold. This event not only looked amazing, but it helped do amazing things for our community and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Nickole Kerner Bobley and Julie Huffman

Man of the Year—Parker Kink

Will Warren during Fund the Fight

Chris Reynolds, Nickole Kerner Bobley, Tammie Gandarillas, Joe Gandarillas, and Lori Alford

Adria Salas and Julie Martineau

Laura and Matt Powers


MainStreet America Annual Gala

The 7th annual MainStreet America Gala, chaired by Shirley and Ralph Alexander, was held at the spectacular MainStreet America. The 230 guests enjoyed a 3-course seated dinner, both a live and silent auction, inspiring speakers, and out of this world décor. The theme was inspired by Houston’s moon landing 50 years ago to serve as a reminder that even the loftiest goals are not impossible.

Renowned scientist and Director of the NRI, Dr. Huda Zoghbi, gave an update on The Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute and Mike Feigin spoke about the strides made in the past seven years while recognizing much work remains ahead.

Mike Feigin

Barbara and Mike Feigin, Design Tech Homes Founders, created the gala event seven years ago in order to honor Mike’s father. Dr. Ralph Feigin was one of the most renowned and distinguished figures in pediatric medicine and an avid advocate for children’s health. Dr. Feigin served as Physician-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine for over 31 years.

The Feigin’s nephew, Jacob Sukin, was diagnosed with an incurable and extremely rare disease. Mike and Barbara knew that they had to do absolutely everything that they could in order to help raise awareness and promote research. More than $2,000,000 has been donated to the NRI for research since the event started.

Debbie Sukin, Mike Feigin, and Susan Feigin Harris

This year, guests were blown away by a full moon afloat in a field of dazzling stars. Gorgeous white orchids floated on each table, which were sprinkled with moon dust and star glitter. Many emotional moments were felt during each speakers’ passionate message. Guests left feeling inspired by the progress that has been made in the past 7 years, yet driven for a mission complete by finding cures for childhood neurological and neuropsychiatry diseases.

For more information about the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, please visit:

NRI Researchers- Mingshan Xue and Tuan Chao

Texas Children’s Hospital is a not-for-profit health care organization that is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community. Texas Children’s is ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas and is among the top in the nation. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, the Feigin Center for pediatric research, Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a community hospital in West Houston, and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children and has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country. Their global health program is channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to

Mike Feigin, Missy Herndon, Elvira Graham, and Lonny Soza

Abigail and Christopher Vengas

Brooke and Daniel Schmitt

Debbie and Steve Sukin

Erin and Jeff Shilt

Keridon and Christopher McMahon

Leila and Jason Higham

Ralph and Shirley Alexander with Huda and William Zoghbi

Shirley and Ralph Alexander

Shirley and Ralph Alexander




Tim and Diane Freeman

Ralph and Shirley Alexander with Barbara and Mike Feigin

Tony and Cynthia Petrello

Shirley and Ralph Alexander with Jan Duncan and Debbie and Steve Sukin


Women of Distinction

The 29th Annual Women of Distinction Luncheon and Awards was held on May 3rd at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. The luncheon organized by the Montgomery County Women’s Council of Organizations, celebrates the outstanding volunteer and leadership contributions of women in Montgomery County.  Member organizations select and honor an individual volunteer who has made a significant impact to the organization through their outstanding volunteer efforts.

The sold-out luncheon featured Ms. Gigi Woodruff, Senior Leadership Development Manager at YMCA and Owner of Gigi Woodruff and Associates as the keynote speaker. Ms. Woodruff inspired the crowd as she spoke of overcoming low self-esteem as a child and becoming a force for good. She encouraged and challenged both the guests and honorees to embrace the differences we encounter, to thank our mentors and become mentors for the next generation.

New Danville Tea on the Lawn

The 2019 New Danville Tea on the Lawn held at the beautiful Madera Estates was held on April 26th. Richie’s Specialty Pharmacy was the Presenting Sponsor and Hoggatt was the Guest Speaker Sponsor for the elegant spring event supporting New Danville’s Day Program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Each year women flock to the event in their chic outfits and colorful hats and this year was no exception. The theme was “L’Art de Vivre” which means “the art of living”. Megan Jamaluddin, chair of the event expounded upon the selection, “The theme embodies the mission of New Danville to provide programs and services for their clients to help them to live vibrant lives where they can see the world as a place full of colors, textures and opportunities!”

(L-R) Tiffany Alexander, CeCe Ray, Allison Lime, Lisa Hill

Rev. Kimberly Constant of TWUMC graciously emceed the fashionable affair and helped showcase the wonderful work of New Danville. Guests were entertained by author, humorist and singer LaDonna Gatlin whose performance included an outstanding rendition of “This is Me,” from The Greatest Showman with the New Danville Silver Star Singers. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Guests dined on scrumptious delicacies from Churrasco’s while enjoying shopping in the Market Place prior to the program.

New Danville services adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in an environment promoting dignity, respect and individual choice.

To learn more about New Danville, please visit:

The New Danville Silver Star Singers and Client Council accompanied by John Massey and Donna
( L-R) Honorary Chairs Bev Earl and Melissa Young with Event Chair Meagan Jamaluddin

Art Dash

The Woodlands Arts Council (TWAC) kicked off The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival with the much anticipated Art Dash again this year. The “Let the Art Choose You!” entitled event is one of the highlights each year in The Woodlands Art Community. The unique, exhilarating event was held at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and allows guests to preview the art featured in the arts festival while raising money for a multitude of outreach programs of The Woodlands Arts Council.

Deb Spiess and Nick Wolda thank the enthusiastic Art Dash guests

Festival artists donate works of art and friends of TWAC, arts patrons, artists, and board members gather to celebrate the kick-off event of The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival. The evening began with a preview period accompanied by the captivating sounds of The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra led by Artistic Director Darryl Bayer. The excitement continues to build throughout the evening culminating in a race through the art exhibit when a guest’s number is chosen to select their piece of art within 60 seconds.

Proceeds from the event fund the nearly $20,000 in scholarships awarded each year to high school juniors and seniors, The David Gottlieb Teacher annual scholarship awarded to one visual and performing arts public school teacher, school field trips, programs for individuals with special needs and more.

For more information on The Woodlands Arts Council please visit:

Denise Hayes

Lydia Harrell

Leo & Christina Brito

Art Dash Crowd

2019 Habitat for Humanity- Building Hope Gala

The 8th Annual, Habitat for Humanity MCTX Building Hope Gala was held May 4th at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. Celebrating Habitat’s 30th anniversary, it was presented by LGI Homes for the third consecutive year. The aptly themed Making Dreams Come True gala will make the dreams of homeownership a reality for many area families as the evening raised a staggering $700,000 for Habitat for Humanity.

The Making Dreams Come True theme was evident in the exquisite décor thanks to the vision of Michelle Leary and Ann Young, décor co-chairs. As guests entered the dining room through a tunnel of twinkling lights and a magnificent greened archway, they were captivated by the starlit sky, midnight blue and pewter table cloths adorned with silver and glass candelabra, and breath-taking florals bursting with white roses, hydrangea and lush greenery. The program was masterfully hosted for the third consecutive year by Houston’s favorite KHOU 11 news anchor, Len Cannon.

(L-R) 2019 Building Hope Gala Honoree and Habitat Advisory Board member, Larry Abston poses with Candi and Gerald Glenn, Habitat for Humanity Board member (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography).

All told, the 2019 Building Hope Gala raised an impressive $700,000 that will make a significant impact on building homes in the Cedar Creek neighborhood. The “Build a Home” call to action, silent auction and bid boards as well as live auction items including a Games of Thrones Northern Ireland trip, the ever-popular Pate Ranch Hunting weekend, an electric guitar signed by the Rolling Stones, and a stunning diamond tennis bracelet valued at nearly $20,000, donated by Mark Pharo Extraordinary Jewels all contributed to the noteworthy fundraising total.

Highlights of the evening included Vicki Johnson, Habitat’s Executive Director, presenting a special award to Mike Maher, Head of School at The John Cooper School, to recognize the milestone 20th Habitat home built. Larry Abston was also recognized and thanked for his many years of service to Habitat as a board leader, leading 100 Anadarko volunteers on home builds annually, and personally connecting with the Habitat families. Gala co-chairs Melissa Jacobson and Karen Lach presented Eric Lipar, CEO of LGI with an award in appreciation for their presenting sponsor donation for the past three years.

(L-R) Melissa Jacobson and Karen Lach, Building Hope Gala Co-chairs present Eric Lipar, CEO of LGI Homes, with a memento to thank LGI for serving as Presenting Sponsor for the past three years (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

Finally, the entire crowd was moved by the remarkable story of homeowners Veronica and Edmund Jones, who met in a Special Education class in high school. They shared their story of hardship growing up, finding each other, raising three children, and being turned down several times due to not meeting eligibility requirements before being accepted into the Habitat for Humanity program. Theirs was a story of perseverance, focus, and hard work which will reach a pinnacle this summer as they move into their own Habitat home.

(L-R) Mark Pharo, Pharo Luxury Jewels and Charlotte Ammerman. Pharo Luxury Jewels served as the VIP Party Raffle Sponsor, as well as the Live Auction sponsor. (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

Habitat for Humanity is changing lives. Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity MCTX has built more than 120 homes and 17-20 homes will be built in 2019 alone. In a survey conducted in 44 states, 90% of Habitat homeowners replied that they would not be able to own a home if it were not for Habitat. A Habitat home is a stabilizing force for a family. Better, affordable living conditions lead to better health and the financial flexibility to forward-looking choices.

(L-R) Rick & Carol Kovacich and Barbara & Stephen Crain, President of the Habitat MCTX Board of Directors, pause at the entryway of the 2019 Habitat Building Hope Gala. (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

For more information on the important work of Habitat for Humanity Montgomery County, Texas, please visit 

Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, TX is a Christian nonprofit organization that provides affordable, sustainable homes to hard-working families and individuals. Because of their work, hundreds of Montgomery County’s most vulnerable children have a secure place to thrive, and the number of people helped is growing every year.

The Woodlands Christian Academy Celebrates 25th Anniversary – The Silver Ball

The Woodlands Christian Academy celebrated 25 years of providing exemplary Christian education and service to the community at the elegant Silver Ball, their annual auction and gala at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. The Silver Ball, sponsored by Woodforest National Bank and chaired by Alison and Vernon Veldekens, is one of the largest fundraising events of the year for The Woodlands Christian Academy (TWCA).

The proceeds from the gala will go toward the final phase of the school’s newest academic building which is slated to open in the fall of 2019. The state-of-the-art, 63,000 square-foot building will include 15 classrooms, an art studio, science and robotics labs, and an atrium-style, 363-seat lecture/performance hall.

The glamorous evening was filled with incredible live and silent auction items led by Sponsorship Chairs Christin Allphin and Brandi Watterson, including a guided tour through South Africa, Ritz-Carlton private residence package in Grand Cayman, A Day in the Life of Tilman Fertitta, and a Summer Bash at the Ambler Ranch among others. The auction in conjunction with the sponsorships and donations helped raise an astonishing $2,085,000 for The Woodlands Christian Academy. DJ Men-Yo, former personal DJ for First Lady Michelle Obama, provided entertainment and kept the crowd dancing until late into the evening.
The Woodlands Christian Academy is a PreK – 12th grade college preparatory school that integrates learning with biblical faith and challenges students to reach their highest potential – spiritually, academically, physically and socially. For more information visit

Montgomery County Food Bank – Food For Life Gala

Montgomery County Food Bank’s third annual Food For Life Gala – themed “Havana Nights” – welcomed 500 guests at The Woodlands Waterway Resort & Conference Center on April 13. Presented by Anadarko, the event raised $400,000 for the Food Bank’s mission of providing more than 700,000 nutritious meals each month to the food insecure in Montgomery County.


During the evening’s program, guest speaker Dr. Curtis Null, Superintendent for Conroe Independent School District, spoke to the fact that 41 percent of students in Conroe ISD receive free and/or reduced lunch and how the food bank’s Backpack Buddy program is a great partnership with the schools to provide healthy diverse foods in students’ backpacks during the week and on the weekends.


“I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of the Food Bank’s staff and volunteers for creating such an amazing event that helps fund and honor the mission of Montgomery County Food Bank,” said Kelly Holmes, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Woodforest National Bank, and Chairman of the Board of Montgomery County Food Bank.


Allison Hulett, President and CEO of the Montgomery County Food Bank, echoed, “I am thrilled with the success of the Food for Life Gala, and believe it is a reflection of our generous community that does not want to see any family, child, or senior wondering if they will eat today. The spirit of Montgomery County was overwhelming; we are so lucky to have such willing support.”


Nelda Luce Blair emceed the moving event that continued its tradition of honoring leaders in the community that have contributed their time and efforts to support the food bank by presenting them awards. This year’s award recipients were ExxonMobil, Kroger, Quality Home Products of Texas, Carol Stromatt, and Society of Samaritans.  Co-chairing the gala were Shelley Madison and Rachelle Adamson.


Montgomery County Food Bank is 501(c)(3) chartered by the state of Texas and is a member of the Texas Food Bank Network and Feeding America. Its headquarters is located at 1 Food For Life Way in Conroe, near Hwy. 242 and I-45, just north of The Woodlands.


For more information, to book a tour or volunteer at the facility, or to make a monetary donation or food contribution, visit or call 936.271.8800.


John Christiansen, VP of Corporate Communications with presenting sponsor Anadarko, and wife Rebecca Christiansen.


Guest speaker Dr. Curtis Null, Superintendent of CISD, spoke to the fact that 41 percent of students in Conroe ISD receive free and/or reduced lunch and how the food bank’s Backpack Buddy program is a great partnership with the schools to provide healthy diverse foods in students’ backpacks during the week and on the weekends.


Partner Agency of the Year Award – Society of Samaritans:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with recipients from Society of Samaritans – Shirley Jensen (President Emeritus), Chandra Adams (Executive Director), and Mike Lovelady (President).


Gala Co-Chair Shelley Madison; Allison Hulett, MCFB President & CEO; and Gala Co-Chair Rachelle Adamson.


Volunteer Service Award – ExxonMobil:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with Truman Bell, ExxonMobil HQ Community Relations Manager.


Betty Hardy Award – Carol Stromatt:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with Carol Stromatt.


Community Partner Award – Quality Home Products of Texas:  David Krath of Quality Home Products of Texas with Allison Hulett, President and CEO of MCFB.


Innovative Leader Award – Kroger:  Sparkle Anderson, Kroger’s Corporate Affairs Manager, with Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB.





Wings, Wheels & Heels – Angel Reach

Angel Reach’s Wings, Wheels and Heels Gala on March 30th was a record-breaking evening raising over $900,000 to benefit Kinship families, youth who have aged out of the foster care system, and those at risk of homelessness. The more than 400 guests in attendance dined, danced and were touched by the moving testimonies of two youths shared during the evening.

The fabulous event was chaired by George Lindahl and Stephanie Milstead, and the major sponsors included George and Kristi Lindahl, Charles and Lori Maurice, GeoSouthern Energy Partners, Rushing River Foundation and Mike and Carol Watford.

Highlights of the evening included an amazing silent auction filled with fantastic items. The energetic live auction was led by legendary Auctioneer Ralph Mcingvale and included vacation homes, sports and spa packages, best day of your life package donated by Lonny Soza and Post Oak Motor Cars, and a stunning 4-diamond angel necklace valued at $25,000 which was donated by Kristi and George Lindahl. The events also included a lively “Heads or Tails” game, with the winner receiving use of a Maserati for the weekend!

The mission of Angel Reach is to break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness to improve the lives of community youth and individuals in foster care. To learn more visit:

The mission of Angel Reach is to break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness to improve the lives of community youth and individuals in foster care. To learn more visit:





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