Standing ovations and heartfelt emotions were the order of the night when Houston Hospice held the 16th annual Laura Lee Blanton Community Spirit Award Dinner at River Oaks Country Club.
The first round of appreciative applause came for hospice nurse Krista Caldwell, who shared the fact that her husband, former NFL player Bryan Caldwell, entered hospice care after treatment for his Hodgkins Lymphoma was unsuccessful.
The second tug at the heartstrings and resounding applause came for the night's honorees Linda and Jerry Fields, the award presented by Dr. Denise Trauth, president of Texas State University. Their daughter, Greggory Burk, stood in for her mother who is recovering from surgery. When Jerry Fields spoke about the importance of giving back to the community and tearfully about his wife's battle with melanoma of the eye, the ballroom was his.
Holly and Art Smith chaired the evening that raised more than $300,000.
Among guests were the children and family of the late and much-beloved Laura Lee Blanton — Kelli and Eddy Blanton with their young son Harrison and Elizabeth Blanton Wareing and Peter Wareing.
More than 260 guests attended including Houston Hospice president and CEO Jim Faucett, Sarita and Bob Hixon, Sally and Bob Thomas, Nancy and Bryan Ruez, Pat Burk, Judy and Bill Luedmann, Jes and John Hagle and Bette and Ralph Thomas.
In this video, Bryan Caldwell explains his decision to seek hospice care: