Interfaith of The Woodlands held its annual Celebration of Excellence Gala on March 31, raising nearly $600,000 for its programs assisting South Montgomery County residents and naming its annual Hometown Heroes.

The awards celebrate individuals and organizations who have supported and made a “lasting impact” in The Woodlands area, as previously reported by Community Impact.

According to an April 4 news release, the funds raised help residents who are going through personal hardships by providing food aid, clothing vouchers, rent, mortgage and utility assistance as well as programming for seniors.

Interfaith of The Woodlands is a nonprofit social service agency providing numerous programs and services to meet the needs of The Woodlands and the surrounding area, according to the release.

The gala, which was held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, had over 750 guests in attendance, according to the release.

“As Interfaith prepares to celebrate 50 years of service to our neighbors, it is inspirational to be a witness to the steadfast dedication and love from the incredible people in our community,” said Missy Herndon, president and CEO of Interfaith of The Woodlands.

The event launched a year of celebration as the organization will be celebrating 50 years on Oct. 5.

Longtime volunteers Nicole and Will Murphy were celebrated as honorary chairs at the gala, which was themed “An Evening in Versailles.”

The Hometown Heroes designation has been awarded to 150 individuals and organizations since 1999.

The 2023 recipients honored include the following individuals and organizations:
  • Shirelle Chimenti
  • Sheriff Rand Henderson
  • Angie and Danny Signorelli
  • Theresa Wagaman
  • Ann Wolford
  • Conroe ISD, represented by Superintendent Curtis Null
  • Cypress Woodlands Junior Forum, represented by Kathy Huse
The George Mitchell Award was presented for only the fourth time in its history. This award is named after the founder and original developer of The Woodlands, George P. Mitchell.

Retired U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, who represented Texas' 8th Congressional District from 1997-2023, received the George Mitchell Award from Mary Anne Whitney, chair of the Interfaith board of directors, and Jim Carman, president of the Houston region of The Howard Hughes Corp.

At the gala, The Players Theater Company performed for the audience as guests enjoyed a reception.

“Since our organization’s inception, our beautiful community has never faltered in their commitment to helping neighbors who are experiencing a crisis," Herndon said in a statement. "We are grateful for our visionaries, George P. Mitchell and Rev. Don Gebert, who created an organization with a mission to bring people together and serve our neighbors in need."