Ernie Cockrell, Dr. Charles Fraser, Ned Holmes and Paul Loyd — could there be a more potent and interesting collection of luncheon honorees? Not likely. At least not until the Men of Distinction annual luncheon at River Oaks Country Club where each year a handful of power elite and preeminent figures are applauded for their contributions to H-Town.
The four influentials mentioned above took their bows in the spotlight last week before a packed ballroom of heavy-hitters from all city ranks. Consider first of all the luncheon chair — Paul Murphy Jr., Cadence Bancorp CEO and Cadence Bank chairman. He led the event to record proceeds of more than $350,000.
Those funds will go directly to research programs led by Sundararajah Thevananther, PhD., at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Liver Center and by Dr. Richard Kellermayer of Texas Children's Hospital. Since the luncheon's inception eight years ago, the event has raised more than $2.5 million for entities in the Texas Medical Center.
That effort has been led by a steering committee that includes Harry Mach, Tony Gracely, David Wuthrich, Steve Mach, John Eads, Jess Tutor, Pat Burk, Ed McMahon, Michael Mithoff and Scott Evans, all of whom attended the fast-paced fundraiser.
KTRK Channel 13 morning news anchor Tom Koch filled the role of emcee as he has since the start of the Men of Distinction, which was organized as an outgrowth of sorts from the popular Women of Distinction awards.
The impressive turnout included Craig Biggio, Dr. John Mendelsohn, Ric Campo, John Daugherty, Butch Mach, David Soloman, Marty Goossen, Doug Schnitzer, Tad Brown, Don Jordan, Marc Shapiro, Welcome Wilson, Richard Mithoff and so many more.
The room was not entirely filled with suits for the softer side of the luncheon crowd included Kay Holmes, Helen Cooley Fraser, Janet Cockrell, Penny Loyd, Jan Duncan, Cora Sue Mach, Trish Morelli, Lisa Eads, Stephanie Cockrell, Estela Cockrell, Alice Mosing, Shawna Loyd, Shirley Dannenbaum and Joanne Wilson.