The Interfaith Celebration of Excellence Gala was the culmination of a year-long celebration honoring volunteerism and those in our community who exemplify leadership in their philanthropic and professional pursuits, our Hometown Heroes.

The Celebration of Excellence Gala, which benefits Interfaith of The Woodlands, was presented by Woodforest National Bank and chaired by Shirelle Chimenti and Eliva Graham with honorary co-chairs, Dr. Ann and Mr. Jerry Snyder. Interfaith, the largest non-profit social service agency in Montgomery County, provides assistance to neighbors in need through the food pantry, Hand-Me-Up shop, Community Clinic, crisis assistance, job placement, senior services and Child Development Center.

The Hometown Heroes personify the mission of Interfaith, building a more loving and caring community through service. The 2018 honorees were Robert Heineman, Mrs. Brynn Ballard Huntsman and Mr. Peter Riley Huntsman, Steve Leakey, Dr. Joel Reed, Patti Rivela, Junior League of The Woodlands represented by President Jennifer Colerick and Entergy Texas represented by CEO Sallie Rainer.

For only the third time ever, the prestigious Mitchell Award was given, this time to Rev. Don Gebert, for lifetime achievement in service to the community. Missy Herndon, President & CEO of Interfaith, recognized Rev. Gebert, the founder of Interfaith, who has dedicated over 40 years to creating a more loving, caring community in The Woodlands. Guests were visibly moved by Rev. Gebert’s acceptance speech, which included a standing ovation, to put aside differences, and to work toward a mission of love for one another.

Ian Ramirez, accompanied by 13 year-old Hayden Miller on the piano, sang a beautiful rendition of “You Raise Me Up” as attendees watched a slideshow of some of the many individuals receiving assistance through Interfaith’s programs and guests lit the room with candles joining in a commitment to help our neighbors in need.

Following the dinner and program, guests enjoyed themselves and danced to the music of DJ Manny Patel at the lavish Journey to Morocco themed after-party.

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