Hurricane Harvey may have caused a delay, but couldn't put a damper on the fifth annual Boys and Girls Harbor Houston's Fantasy Football Draft Night. Although the event had been postponed due to the storm and the NFL season has already started, the sold-out crowd of 450 sports fans, clad in their favorite sports team jerseys, turned out in force in support of the nonprofit.
“It’s been a rough month or so since Harvey landed … it’s an important event and we were a little unsure about how it would all turn out, but we thank you all for being here,” said event chair Bill Lehner, who addressed guests onstage along with co-chairs, his wife Vicki Lehner, and Diane Englet.
The fun-filled night, held at the club level at NRG Stadium, featured a fantasy football competition, especially thrilling thanks to the roster of veteran athletes on-hand, offering tips.
Famous faces advising were Boys and Girls Harbor board member and Olympic gold medalist sprinter Fred Newhouse, former Houston Oilers head coach Ed Biles, former Olympian and current track and field head coach at the University of Houston Leroy Burrell, former offensive lineman for the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Oilers, and Cleveland Browns Doug Dawson, and former wide receiver for the Houston Oilers and Boston Patriots Charlie Frazier.
Also in the lineup were former cornerback for the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, and Detroit Lions Donovan Greer, Hall of Famer and former safety for the Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins Kenny Houston, former wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns and Houston Oilers Gerald McNeil, former Houston Texans offensive lineman Chester Pitts, and sports radio talk show host at 1560 AM Vince Rachal.
When the final whistle blows at the end of the season, the winner of the contest will receive two tickets to Super Bowl Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
Stealing the spotlight from the moment they hit the stage were brothers Tony Winrow and Kente Winrow, alums of the Boys and Girls Harbor Houston program. Their heartfelt words and appreciation for the nonprofit, about how it not only changed their lives for the better, but also those of their children by breaking the cycle of abuse, touched those in the audience and received a standing ovation.
KPRC Channel 2 sports director Randy McIlvoy emceed the evening’s draft activities, sponsored by H-E-B, Houston businessman Gary Peterson, SB Nation 1560 AM, and ESPN 97.5 FM.
Including money raised from a wine pull and silent and live auctions, the evening raised more than $250,000, bringing the grand total to $1,000,000 raised since its inception in 2012. Proceeds go to help Boys and Girls Harbor Houston reach their goal to provide healthy, comprehensive residential care for children who are victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or family hardship.
Seen in the crowd: Karen De Geurin, DeeDee and Clay Rawlings, Arthur Mooradian, Gretchen and John Hodge, Melinda and Keith Landsness, Suzanne Skie-Azizi and Mir Azizi, Laura and Wayne Kinningham, Rhonda Newhouse, Don Sweat and his wife Diane Sweat, Claudia Pardivala, Ken Sellars, Monica and Joe Casiano, Ashley and Chris Petersen, and Bill King.