Crime Stoppers Honors Houston Heroes, Raises $183K for Public Safety Initiatives

Rania Mankarious, H-E-B Honoree represented by Lisa Helfman, Eric Mayo

THE LUNCH BUNCH is finally back together! An in-person luncheon benefiting Crime Stoppers and celebrating ways in which Houstonians have made the city a better place during the Covid crisis was held in the ballroom of the Royal Sonesta.


Emcee Dana Tyson and Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious welcomed the crowd of around 220, and were joined by former Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo, who video-called in from his new post in Miami.

The lunch, which raised more than $180,000 for the organization's efforts to prevent crime and support public-safety initiatives, honored several community members for their support of Crime Stoppers and betterment of the city. The 2021 Houston Heroes included HPD Commander James Dale, who has spent much of his decades-long career fighting human trafficking; State Representative Jim Murphy, who has passed several bills that make Houston a safer place to live; longtime Crime Stoppers volunteer Hazem Ahmed; Jerri Duddlesten Moore, a huge supporter of the organization's Safe School Institute; Brigitte Kalai, a champion of causes uplifting women and children; and Tip Line supporters Lawrence and Linda Levy, who also helped Crime Stoppers launch an anti-terrorism community task force.

Additionally, H-E-B was given the "Corporate Citizen Award" in recognition of the company's support of Crime Stoppers programming and commitment to public safety, and Dave Ward himself presented the Dave Ward Media Excellence Award to KPRC News Director Dave Strickland.

In attendance were high-profile Houstonians including Harris County DA Kim Ogg, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen and HPD's new chief Troy Finner. For those who couldn't make it in person, the program was livestreamed, and donations are still being accepted online.

Alex Kalai, Bashar Kalai, Brigitte Kalai, Remy Kalai

Dave Ward

Tracy Faulkner, Tama Lundquist, Brigitte Kalai, Tena Faust, Alicia Maguire Smith

Deanna Harrington and Michelle Heinz

Emcee Dana Tyson

Mack Neff, Dalal Ahmed, Dr. Ahmed Ahmed, Safwat Ahmed

Lindsay Aronstein, Michelle Heinz, Deanna Harrington, Vicki Rizzo, Mauri Oliver, Roz Pactor

Don Kobos, Kathy Kobos, Dave Strickland, Tina Strickland

“I WISH I came here sooner to experience this amazing city,” says advanced sommelier Rachel Van Til of her move to Houston just one year before the pandemic lockdown. When Covid appeared in 2020, along with layoffs and closings, it led to a career swerve for Van Til, a working mom who was a sommelier at Pappas Steakhouse. She took over the wine program at The Clubs at Houston Oaks, a posh (initiation fees can range into the six figures) members-only club northwest of the city with 10 lodges, 17 lakes, 900 acres and six dining options. Speaking of lots of good food and vino, the club’s 2022 Wine and Food Classic is this February 12 — it’s a great chance to taste hundreds of wines from around the world and learn about them from winemakers and professionals. “It’s our largest event of the year and it’s open to the public.” In our Q&A, Rachel dishes on her favorite date night, best wines to try this year and her brush with the me-too movement!

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