2015 Treasures of Texas (Hotel ZaZa)
2015 Treasures of Texas – Veterans
Mental Health America of Greater Houston (MHA Houston) recently hosted its annual Treasures of Texas at the Hotel ZaZa Houston. The event, co-chaired by Denis DeBakey, Lavonne Cox and Dan Shank and honorary chairs The Honorable Michael McSpadden, Harris County Judge Ed and Gwen Emmett, recognized The Honorable Marc Carter, presiding judge over both the 228th District Court Harris County and the Harris County Veterans Treatment Court with the 2015 Ima Hogg Award.
The Harris County Veterans Treatment Court is the first of its kind in the state of Texas. In 2009, Texas’ 82nd Legislature made it possible for counties to form specialty courts for veterans in need of mental health treatment by diverting veterans with felony and misdemeanor offenses directly into treatment. This program reduces jail time, costs and criminal recidivism while providing mental health and social services necessary for a successful community reintegration. The court is restoring the lives of veterans, their families and their futures through treatment, mentorship, and personal accountability.
The event also showcased keynote speaker and true American hero, Master Sergeant Joseph R. Kapacziewski who, after an enemy grenade attack in Northern Iraq, lost his leg and became the first U.S. Army Ranger in history to return to the combat with a prosthetic limb. MSG Kapacziewski has served more than 13 years in the Army and has since deployed to Afghanistan 6 times.
Rounding out the event, the Houston Grand Opera performed a special selection, “HOME,” from its Veterans Songbook project, a collaboration with veteran service organizations, Houston‐area veterans and musical artists who create songs from stories that represent the veteran experience of conflict and courage, strength and sacrifice.
Major supporters of the 2015 Treasures of Texas included John P. McGovern Foundation, Joan and Stanford Alexander, Burguières Family Foundation, Limor and Stuart Smith, and Connie and Eric Estopinal. Michael Jhin is MHA Houston’s board chair and Susan Fordice is the organization’s president and CEO.
The Treasures of Texas benefits Mental Health America of Greater Houston, the area’s longest serving mental health education and advocacy organization focused on shaping the mental health of people and communities in the areas of veterans, children and education, integrated health care, chronic illnesses, women, and aging. Critical private funds raised at this event enables the organization to educate, train, advocate for and serve individuals, organizations, primary care, behavioral health professionals and families who live, work or attend school in the Greater Houston area. www.mhahouston.org