With Channel 2's charismatic meteorologist Frank Billingsley and energetic Shell attorney Travis Torrence sharing duties as chairs of AIDS Foundation Houston's 2013 World AIDS Day Luncheon, the annual fundraiser soared to new heights. More than a little pizzazz was added to the scene at the Westin Galleria by honorary chair Jessica Rossman.
The "Getting to Zero" theme of the luncheon was hammered home again and again as Mayor Annise Parker discussed the city's role in combating the spread of HIV and AIDS and the individual's responsibility in prevention. Guest speaker Phill Wilson, founder and CEO of Black AIDS Institute, addressed the need to erase the stigma of AIDS, particularly in the African-American community. Living with AIDS for more than three decades, Wilson reiterated the Mayor's call for personal responsibility in fighting the disease.
Even luncheon honoree Dr. Philip Keiser, recipient of the Shelby Hodge Vision Award, beat the drum for individual precautions necessary to stop the spread of AIDS. Kieser is a professor at UTMB Health in Galveston and his primary focus is the care and treatment of HIV and its related infections.
The support team of 400 included Andrew Cordes and Brian Teichman, George Lancaster, Carolyn Farb, Miya Shay, Dr. Roland Garcia, Gordon Bethune, Jeff Shell, Katherine Orellana Ross, Nick Espinosa, City Council members Ellen Cohen, Steven Costello and Andrew C. Burks, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Kim Padgett and Edward Sanchez.