"If you had a great charity event and Shelby didn't cover it, would it really be a success?" That was the question that former President George H.W. Bush posed in a letter that was read in tribute to Shelby Hodge at the 11th annual Legacy Community Health Services luncheon at the Wortham Theater Center Grand Foyer.
The answer, from the several hundred guests who turned out to honor the CultureMap editor-at-large and longtime observer of Houston's social circuit, was that an event is just not the same without Shelby on the scene.
A host of notables, including Mayor Annise Parker, luncheon chairs Karen Mayell and Lora Clemmons, along with honorary chair Sheridan Williams, praised Hodge for the "graceful way" she covers events and activities while highlighting non-profit organizations that contribute so much to Houston.
"Shelby has the way of making every event one that you wish you had attended because it seems so interesting," Parker said.
"She has a way of elevating the organization that you may not have noticed without her coverage and she has the way of making every event one that you wish you had attended because it seems so interesting," Parker said.
The mayor proclaimed Tuesday "Shelby Hodge Day" in Houston and praised her for working "tirelessly through the years to raise awareness of Houston's cultural arts organizations, medical institutions, charitable organizations and educational causes that make our city a better place to live by simply telling their story."
After receiving a prolonged standing ovation, Hodge, who attended the luncheon with husband Shafik Rifaat, thanked the crowd for supporting Legacy and for the honor.
Channel 2's Frank Billingsley emceed the luncheon, which included appeals for support of the health organization from Martha Turner, Claire Cormier Thielke and Cyndy Garza-Roberts. The luncheon brought in a record-breaking $300,000 and drew praise for its compact program, that, with lunch, lasted less than an hour.
"Los Angeles has the In-and-Out burger, Houston has the in-and-out luncheon," Billingsley quipped.
Also high on the list of luncheon wows were the gorgeous red-hued floral arrangements from Darryl & Co. and the cold chicken salad entree from Jackson and Co., which was gobbled up by the normally picky socialites.
On hand to pay tribute were a host of friends and supporters, including Mike Mayell, John and Diane Connally, Diane Lokey Farb, Janet Gurwitch, Melinda Berkman, Phoebe Tudor, Dancie Ware, Gracie Cavnar, Rosemarie Johnson, Susan Krohn, Ceron, Monsour Taghdisi, Lucinda Loya, Legacy executive director Katy Caldwell, chief development officer Chree Boydstun and former board president Jim Reeder.
A host of elected officials, including city council members Stephen Costello, Jack Christie, Ellen Cohen, Mike Lassiter and Wanda Adams, State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, State Reps. Jessica Farrar and Boris Miles, also were on hand, along with CultureMap CEO Alyce Alston and Legacy supporters Jamie Lopez, Frazier Wilson, Trip Carter, Mike Holloman, Richard Warner and Tony Bravo.
Watch the video tribute to Shelby Hodge: