Former president George H. W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush were honored for their years of service to our city, state, and country at the Salvation Army Houston luncheon at River Oaks Country Club.
The fourth of their six children, Neil Bush, who also serves as a Salvation Army advisory board member, accepted the acknowledgment on the couple's behalf saying, “Service is the best way to bring a divided nation together.”
Salvation Army advisory board members and luncheon co-chairs Vicki West and Kenneth Holbrook gave Neil Bush two bright red Salvation Army jackets embroidered with his parents' names to give to them. He assured the crowd they would likely be wearing them soon.
Master of ceremonies David Brady, public address announcer for the Houston Texans, kept things moving as keynote speaker Tommy Bowden, the former head coach of Clemson University, took the stage to applaud the Salvation Army for its work in keeping families in need intact and giving them a hand up. Bowden was a last-minute replacement speaker for his father, longtime Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden, who was undergoing heart surgery to have a pacemaker installed in Tallahassee at the same time as the luncheon was taking place.
Before the luncheon began, the Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir performed in the foyer, while Mary Maxey rang a bell in front of a red donation kettle as thousands will do outside of stores this holiday season. The Red Kettle Campaign kicks off Friday (November 25). Last year, more than $1 million was raised in the Houston area.
More than 420 guests attended the luncheon, which raised $463,000 to benefit the Salvation Army Houston’s programs, including battling against poverty, addiction, and homelessness, as well as providing recovery services from natural disasters.
In attendance were Alice and Risher Randall, Elise Joseph, Merritt Marinelli, Evelyn Howell, Major Melody Davis, Lucy Lewis, Kristy Liedtke, Ginger Blanton, Pat Breen, Rose Cullen, Carol and Ralph Sharpe, Joe and Cathy Cleary, Lilly and Thurmon Andress, Tommy Bowden and Linda McReynolds, Mary Lynn and Steve Marks, and Mary Maxey.