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Dan Rather Speaks of Texas Roots, Local Leaders Recognized at Red Cross Wrapped in Red Luncheon

Red Cross Flag
Houston is a can-do-city

(Houston, TX), March 24, 2017 – Many of Houston’s business and philanthropic leaders showed their humanitarian spirit by attending yesterday’s American Red Cross of Greater Houston Wrapped in Red Luncheon featuring broadcast journalism icon Dan Rather. The event, co-chaired by Susan McEldoon, KHOU-TV President & General Manager and Chair of the Greater Houston American Red Cross Board of Directors, and Denise Castillo-Rhodes, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Administration for the Texas Medical Center, raised critical funds to help the Red Cross continue delivering important services to the community.

“We greatly appreciate seeing our sponsors, partners, honorees and friends here today,” said McEldoon. “The Red Cross is a unique organization because disasters happen around the clock—the needs are there every day. This includes home fire response and smoke alarm installations, support for military families and veterans, transportation of the elderly and chronically ill to critical medical appointments and so much more. The generosity of those in this room will help the Red Cross continue to help others.”

Rather intrigued a captive audience with personal stories and reflections on his Texas roots. “Houston is a can-do city,” he said of the place where he “got lucky” and launched his legendary career. “People here have a strong sense of community; a willingness of the heart. All of you here today have a willingness of the heart to help others through the American Red Cross.” He concluded his keynote address by reading the poem “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.

Mrs. Elizabeth Ghrist was recognized as Community Honoree for her many years of civic volunteerism and dedication to serving others through the Red Cross. The Texas Medical Center (TMC), represented by Holcombe Crosswell, Chairman of the TMC Board of Directors, was named Corporate Honoree for its ongoing support of the Red Cross. Winell Herron, HEB Group Vice President of Public Affairs and Diversity, was recognized for her civic leadership and role as Honorary Event Chair. Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards also proclaimed March as Red Cross Month in honor of all who help the Red Cross advance its humanitarian mission. Len Cannon, KHOU-TV, served as emcee.

Among the many special guests in the audience were: Angela Blanchard, Neighborhood Centers, Inc.; Judy Foston, Foston International, Inc.; Valerie Gibbs, Allegiance Bank of Texas; Joseph and Merrill Hafner; Marianne and Dr. Bob Ivany, University of Saint Thomas; Karen Love, PKF Texas; Frazier Wilson, Shell Oil; Sally Ramirez, KHOU-TV; Larry Stoke, Texas Medical Center; and Barbara Vilutis, Amegy Bank.


Wrapped In Red Sponsors

Presenting: Texas Medical Center 
Disaster Relief: HEB 
Emergency Response: BHP Billiton, Marathon Oil, Sysco 
Red Cross Supporters: Amegy Bank of Texas, BBVA Compass, Citgo, Ernst & Young, KHOU-TV, Spark Energy, Sunoco LP, Toyota, TXU Energy, Wells Fargo 
Red Cross Advocates: Susan Burnett, Merrill & Joe Hafner, Vaughan Nelson, Martha Voss, Karen Love, Allegiance Bank, Houston Methodist Hospital, TransCanada Corporation 
Red Cross Youth Club: Dr. Julia Andrieni, Sandra Carson, CenterPoint Energy 
Media Table Underwriter: Marquerite Williams



About the American Red Cross: 
The American Red Cross, a United Way agency, shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.