2023 Houston Heroes
Courtney Zavala, Laura Ward, Honoree Bill Balleza, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious
The Dave Ward Excellence in Media Award Recipient KPRC retired Anchor Bill Balleza
2023 Houston Heroes
Photography: Quy Tran Photography
On Wednesday April 26, 2023, the Royal Sonesta Hotel hosted the Crime Stoppers of Houston’s annual Houston’s Heroes Awards Luncheon. Courtney Zavala, former KPRC 2 co-host, was the Mistress of Ceremonies.
Over 290 guests came together to support Crime Stoppers of Houston and recognize individuals and organizations who have given exemplary service to making Houston a safer place to live, work, learn, and play. Participants were encouraged to join them, by donating their time, funds, or talent.
Awards and Recipients
The Johnny Klevenhagen Award: Presented to Detective Frank Muniz, Katy ISD Police Department, for his 29 years of service as a mental health officer, lead detective, and lead trainer.
The Fenner Weller Award: Presented to Allison Steele, the originator of the Clear Alert of Missing Adults, which established a statewide emergency alert for adults.
The Leiv Platou Award: Presented to Jordan Seff, who, since 2017, has devoted herself to raising her three daughters and volunteering in a development and fundraising capacity for numerous charitable causes in Houston and surrounding areas.
The Corporate Citizen Award: Presented to The Albert & Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation for creating grants for deserving causes, including education, religion, support services for the underprivileged, and the arts.
The Safe School Award: Presented to 104.1 KRBE The Roula and Ryan Show: Roula; Ryan; and producer, Eric for giving a voice to strong working women everywhere.
The Women Who Shape Houston Award: Presented to Susan Boggio for her prodigious philanthropic efforts in assisting children, animals, and those most in need.
Partner of the Year Award: Presented to Jim and Whitney Crane, the Astros Foundation, for investing in the community of Houston and the country as a whole through major renovations to public places, making significant purchases and restorations in multiple parts of the country, and for giving back to communities in noteworthy ways.
The Dave Ward Excellence in Media Award: Presented to Bill Balleza, retired KPRC 2 anchor, for the indelible mark he has made in the television broadcasting field.
Chief executive officer, Rania Mankarious, delivered the opening remarks, and Lindsay Aronstein delivered the chairman’s message. While presenting the awards, Zavala spoke of each honoree’s contribution, generosity, and commitment to the community. The final award of the afternoon, the 2023 Dave Ward Excellence in Media Award, was presented to Bill Balleza by Laura Ward and Rania Mankarious on behalf of Dave Ward, who was not able to attend. A heartfelt audio message from Ward conveyed his reasons for choosing Balleza.
Over $230,000 was raised to fund critical public safety initiatives, victim services, statewide school safety programming, and more.
Support for the event was provided by the following: Presenting Partner, Aramco; Safety Partners, Amerapex; Brigitte Kalai; Susan Boggio; Jane Johnstone; Safety Champions Friends of Jordan Seff, Jim and Carole Walter Looke; Jim and Cherie Flores; Strake Foundation; The McIngvale Family; Safety Friends, Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation; Apache Corporation; Connectivity Source; Friends of The Houston 20; Harris County District Attorney’s Office; Justice Freedom and Liberty PAC / Ted Poe; PPI Security; Susan and Jim Baker; Tama Lundquist and Dr. Peter Farrell; Tena and Tyson Faust/Faust Distributing; Texas Inter-Faith Management/40i; Texas Inter-Faith Housing; Portfolio Resident Services; The Children’s Assessment Center Foundation; and Vicki Grams.
Among supporters were, Crime Stoppers Chairman, Lindsay Aronstein; Sheridan Williams; Laura Ward; Amy Leibman; Genny McIntyre; Jonathan Zadok; Patricia King-Ritter; Matt Mackey; Sam and Barney Gershen; Jennifer Hohman; Alicia Smith; Michelle Heinz; Linda Levy; Amy Pierce; Melanie Meeks; Trey Strake; Ricardo and Joan Nazario; and many more.
Guests: Harris County District Attorney, Kim Ogg; Harris County Sheriff, Ed Gonzalez; Judges Andrea Beall, Erika Ramirez, and Lori Chambers Gray; Houston City Council Members, Mike Knox, Dave Martin, and Amy Peck; Harris County Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen; Katy Police Chief, Noe Diaz; Katy ISD Police Chief, Henry Gaw; Aldine ISD Police Chief, Paul Cordova; Houston Police Department Lieutenant Tiffany Jefferson and Commander Jim Dale.
About Crime Stoppers of Houston
Crime Stoppers of Houston is Houston’s top nonprofit dedicated to public safety. Since 1980, it has remained committed to its mission to solve and prevent serious crime in the Greater Houston Area in partnership with citizens, media, and the criminal justice system.
If you would like to learn more about Crime Stoppers of Houston and how to get involved, please visit www.crime-stoppers.org.