The fourth annual Houston Humanitarian Awards last month proved what we already knew: Houston is full of good people. The event, which took place at the Royal Sonesta Houston on July 24, has nearly tripled in size since its inception in 2014: What was once a small, grassroots celebration to honor Houstonians making an impact in their communities this year drew more than 225 guests.
FOX 26 broadcaster Isiah Carey and entrepreneur and philanthropist Theresa Roemer served as master of ceremony for the evening, which also saw remarks from Mayor Sylvester Turner, a presentation by former WWE wrestler Vickie Guerrero Benson, and performances by Jeff Franzel, Jane Vandiver, Seth Keiffer, and Kiland Lee.
The celebration was created by Treveia Dennis to complement Houston Random Act of Kindness Day, the non-profit she runs with her husband, David Dennis.
This year's event recognized the following local heroes:
James Prince: The founder and CEO of Rap-a-Lot Records built a respected and successful independent label from an incentive to keep kids off the streets in the Fifth Ward. Prince, founder of The Care-A-Lot Foundation and the Prince recreation Center, has since donated millions to various organizations and charities.
Dawn and Roger Kenneavy: The couple co-founded Dan's House of Hope Inc. to honor their son, who died in 2009 from osteosarcoma at age 20. Since 2010, the Kenneavys have helped young patients with temporary medical housing, social programs, and community building.
Karen Johnson: Mother of Houston Texan Andre Johnson, she is the founder and president of PACE Moms Organization (Mothers and Professional Athletes, Celebrities, and Entertainers) and part of annual community fundraisers.
Jarvis Johnson: The state rep was instrumental in rallying support after Harvey, and, with actor and comedian Michael Blackson, took 10 families shopping to help rebuild their lives.
Catherine Garcia: Founder of Anchored in Giving, Garcia has helped single parent families with back-to-school and Christmas needs for the past six years.
Fernando Ruata: A pastor for more than 34 years and the current senior pastor at multicultural Encourager Church, Ruata inspires positive community change through the message of love and hope.
Mythiquer Pickett: Known for his slogan "contagious positivity," Pickett helps children in need through Samaritan's Feet.
Brandi Smith: The KHOU on-air personality took swift action during Harvey when a truck driver was stranded in the floodwaters.
Frazier Thompson III: Better known as Trae tha Truth, the local hip hop artist personally rescued Harvey victims and went on to found The Relief Gang to help rebuild.
Xena Aouita: Aoutia uses music to spread positivity and provides services and activities to enhance quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Special honorees included McDonald's franchisee Dave Moss, winner of the Carroll Oliver Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award; Anabelle Carillo, community liaison of BMW of The Woodlands and winner of the Michael Dean Meyers Spirit of Life Award; and Royal Sonesta general manager Pete Ells.