Million Dollar Success

A $1.4 million debut: Hot TV star & Tracy McGrady help a first-time Houston fundraiser for vets pull in big bucks

A $1.4 million debut: Hot TV star powers 1st-time fundraiser for vets

Anthony Anderson, left, and Dale Busic take a selfie at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Black-ish star Anthony Anderson, left, grabs a selfie with Dale Busic. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Stephen Cannon, from left, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Ken Enders at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Stephen Cannon, from left, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Ken Enders. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Christina and 1st Lt. Paul Scace at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Christina and 1st Lt. Paul Scace. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Rodney Woods, from left, Brenda Olson and Tracy McGrady at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Rodney Woods, from left, Brenda Olson and Tracy McGrady. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Stephen Cannon, from left, Kelly McHugh and Ken Enders at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Stephen Cannon, from left, Kelly McHugh and Ken Enders. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Kelly McHugh, from left, Kristen McHugh and Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Linda Odierno at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Kelly McHugh, from left, Kristen McHugh and Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Linda Odierno. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Michelle Greer, from left, Marcus Luttrell and Mary Williams at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Michelle Greer, from left, Marcus Luttrell and Mary Williams. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Susan and Earl Hesterberg at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Earl and Susan Hesterberg. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Capt. Kevin Braswell and Kate Bone at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Capt. Kevin Braswell and Kate Bone. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Stephanie Zimmer and Ken Schnitzer at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Stephanie Zimmer and Ken Schnitzer. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Steve and Rebecca Bash at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Steve and Rebecca Bash. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Bill Walter and Sherry Smith at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Bill Walter and Sherry Smith. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Bernice King, left, and Michelle Greer at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Bernice King, left, and Michelle Greer. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Lou Pascoe, left, and Julia Pascoe at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Lou Pascoe, left, and Julia Pascoe. Photo by © Dave Rossman
MaryEllen Picciuto and Corey Picciuto at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
MaryEllen Picciuto and Corey Picciuto. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Ted Hoyt, left, and Gary Littrell at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Ted Hoyt, left, and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Gary Littrell. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Anthony Anderson, left, and Dale Busic take a selfie at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Stephen Cannon, from left, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Ken Enders at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Christina and 1st Lt. Paul Scace at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Rodney Woods, from left, Brenda Olson and Tracy McGrady at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Stephen Cannon, from left, Kelly McHugh and Ken Enders at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Kelly McHugh, from left, Kristen McHugh and Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Linda Odierno at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Michelle Greer, from left, Marcus Luttrell and Mary Williams at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Susan and Earl Hesterberg at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Capt. Kevin Braswell and Kate Bone at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Stephanie Zimmer and Ken Schnitzer at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Steve and Rebecca Bash at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Bill Walter and Sherry Smith at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Bernice King, left, and Michelle Greer at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Lou Pascoe, left, and Julia Pascoe at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
MaryEllen Picciuto and Corey Picciuto at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015
Ted Hoyt, left, and Gary Littrell at the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund Inaugural Houston Gala April 2015

Founded by graduates of West Point in honor of  Col. John “Johnny Mac” McHugh, killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010, the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund made its first foray into Houston and hit a virtual gold mine, earning $1.4 million, funds earmarked for education programs and assistance to veterans.

A sell-out crowd of more than 450 gathered at Hotel ZaZa, where Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land was the event's presenting sponsor.

While Black-ish star Anthony Anderson served as master of ceremonies, it was Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who delivered the compelling message of the importance of providing meaningful assistance to soldiers and their families. McHugh's daughter, Kelly McHugh, gave a moving presentation on her father who served as an Army aviator for 24 years.

Additional important military figures in the house were Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Gary L. Littrell, retired Army Command Sergeant Major; Folds of Honor founder Maj. Dan RooneyMarcus Luttrell, retired Navy Seal and subject of Lone Survivor and retired Col. Miguel Howe, director of Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.

Among corporate leaders helping raise the significant sum were Mercedes-Benz USA president and CEO Stephen Cannon, president and CEO of EMCOR Group Inc. Anthony Guzzi, president and CEO of 7-Eleven Joseph DePinto, owner and president of Mercedes-Benz Sugar Land Ken Enders and chairman of the Dallas-based Park Place Dealerships Ken Schnitzer.

Rounding out the impressive turnout were MaryEllen Picciuto, president of the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund; retired Houston Rocket Tracy McGrady; University of St. Thomas president Bob Ivany; former Major League pitcher Kevin Coffman and Cynthia and David Kim, founders of the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.

ADVERTISEMENT