With his lengthy career as CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast coming to close in 2012, Peter J. Durkin found himself in the spotlight at the non-profit's annual gala, held Saturday at the Hilton Americas-Houston. The "Proud of Our Past, Planning Our Future" evening honored the leader for his 26 years of service to the organization.
Special guest emcee was Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and daughter of the late former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. She flew in from New York to participate in the salute to Durkin.
The tributes included presentation by Mayor Annise Parker of a proclamation declaring Saturday as Peter J. Durkin Day in Houston and a presentation by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of a Congressional recognition for Durkin, whom she described as a "true American hero."
In a nod to Durkin's retirement in April, guests were encouraged to wear "Hill Country chic" or black-tie attire. They dined on short ribs, barbecued quail and pecan pie before taking to the dance floor where The Drywater Band kept the beat going.
Helping raise more than $500,000 for health care programs were Kathy Hubbard, State Rep. Carol Alvarado, Alison and Chris Bell, Ellen Cohen, Christina Bryan and Trey Peacock, Susie and Sanford Criner, Jessica Rossman and Gordon Bethune, Lanie Gordon and David Mincberg, Melanie Gray, Terry Hershey, Isabel and Wallace Wilson, Nancy and George Peterkin Jr.