The 10th annual True Blue Gala, held at the home of Houston entrepreneur, restaurateur, and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and his wife Paige, blasted off with the support of several Rockets players in attendance. Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Luc Mbah A Moute, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, and Ryan Anderson posed for photos with guests throughout the evening, although Harden declined to talk to reporters. "I'm not doing press tonight," he said.
The Fertittas, who chaired the evening with Houston chief of police Art Acevedo, welcomed more than 800 guests, most dressed in blue jeans and blue attire, to the sprawling backyard of their River Oaks home.
Fertitta, who recently bought the Rockets for a record $2.2 billion, was spotted on the front row at several World Series games in Houston. About the Astros win and what it means to this city, he told CultureMap, "It’s great. The city of Houston loves championships and we hope to be as fortunate as the Astros. We put a great team together and we hope to bring another ring to this city. We are hoping that rings are contagious!"
After socializing and sipping cocktails, including peach flavored margaritas, and several fine wines and top-shelf beverages, the crowd was welcomed by master of ceremonies Dave Ward before Houston Police Department Air Support kicked off the evening’s live entertainment: The search for the the "kidnapped" Acevedo. Simulating a dangerous hostage situation, SWAT arrived on the scene at Fertitta’s backyard via helicopter to complete the daring rescue mission.
Attendees got hands-on, too, participating in SWAT training elements and drills via several interactive demonstrations, from a taser weapon simulation to a shoot house enactment.
Despite all the non-stop action, partygoers made time to enjoy food by Mastro’s Steakhouse, part of Fertitta’s restaurant empire, opening next month. Dishes included beef tartare, stone crab claws, and eats from a sushi station serving fresh sashimi, plus sushi rolls and yellow tail tuna, peppercorn tuna, and salmon sushi.
Adding a sweet note to the meal was a dessert buffet featuring treats like warm butter cake, chocolate chip cookies, tiramisu, and chocolate budino.
Just like it started, the night closed with a blast as a spectacular fireworks finale lit up the sky while songs “Ol’ Blue Eyes Sings The Blues,” “Zombie Apocalypse,” “Simply the Best," and “A License to Kill” played, each a tribute to previous year's themes at the True Blue Gala.
The sold-out crowd helped raise over $870,000, a record amount, for the Houston Police Foundation. The nonprofit supports projects of the Houston Police Department, such as equipment and training, and promotes awareness, enhances safety, and improves performance within the Houston Police Department by encouraging citizen involvement in making Houston a safer city.
Seen in the crowd were Mayor Sylvester Turner, Moriah and Rod Crosby, Marcy Taub Wessel and Tom Wessel, Katrina Chamlee, Butch Boyd, Sara Leighton, Cortney Cole-Hall, Laura Ward, State Senator John Whitmire, U.S. Representative Randy Weber, Constable Alan Rosen, Kristina and Paul Somerville, Laura and Don Sanders, JoLynn and Gregg Falgout, Pam and Bill Nelson, Gary Becker, Maria and Neil Bush, executive director of the Astros Foundation Twila Carter, University of Houston chancellor Renu Khator and her husband, Suresh Khator, and Alice and Keith Mosing.
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