It was a lovefest in the River Oaks Country Club ballroom when the Mission of Yahweh gala, "Heaven in Irresistible Italy," celebrated four leading ladies, one of whom earned a special serenade from Steve Tyrell.
The songman's aunt, Rose Carrabba, was one of three women receiving the Leaders & Legends Award. Tyrell, albeit via video, might have surprised the gathering of 400 with his tribute and singing "The Way You Look Tonight," but it was Johnny Carrabba who stole the show. His heartfelt words on his love and admiration for his mother brought the audience to its feet and filled everyone's eyes with tears.
Also receiving the Leaders & Legends Award were KHOU Channel 11 morning show host Deborah Duncan and Alicia Smith, founder of Innovative Legal Solutions. Joanne King Herring was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to her by George Strake. The Community Service Award was given to the Italian women's organization Donne di Domani, noted for 30 years making marinara sauce and selling it at The Nutcracker Market with proceeds always going to charity.
In a nod to the Italian theme, guests were gifted with jars of the sauce and the Richard Brown Orchestra performed Italian tunes throughout the gala.
Gala chairs Kim and Dan Moody, Millette and Haag Sherman and Michelle and Alan Smith led the event that brought in $500,000 for the shelter for homeless women and children. The efforts of auction chair Donae Chramosta added to the profits.
Applauding the rollicking "angels" that are a tradition with this event were Lu and Tom Caltigirone, Monica Blaisdell, Laurie and Reed Morian, Charlie Hartland, Angie and Cliff Roberts, Warner Roberts, Tracy and Randy Hale, Rob Chramosta, Randi Carrabba, Larry and Linda Martin and Mary and John Eads.