Houston Relocation Professionals celebrates the spirit of giving
When it comes to the spirit of giving during the holiday season, Houston Relocation Professionals believes in doing its part to support the local community.
For well over a decade, HRP has held annual events and participated in various activities that benefit their charity of choice, Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance.
Candlelighters is an organization that provides emotional, educational and practical support to families of children with cancer. It has been in the Houston area for 25 years.
Last week, HRP held its annual Holiday Social and Membership Appreciation Event at Ouisie’s Table. The event celebrated the support and involvement of its members and sponsors throughout the year.
As in years past, the event was highlighted by HRP’s presentation of its annual donation to Candlelighters. This was reflected in both a monetary donation of $17,000, and in the many toys and gift cards provided by HRP members.
Lynn Wheeler, associate director of Candlelighters, was in attendance at the event to accept the donation, which was presented by Mary Piper, HRP’s 2018 president and director of relocation and operations for Bernstein Realty.
Wheeler was given the opportunity to speak to the group, and explained how Candlelighters helps with the practical needs of families facing childhood cancer.
“We help with parking, meal passes, gas cards, pharmacy cards, and funeral expenses when necessary,” said Wheeler. “We also have a family camp. Our philosophy is that when a child is diagnosed with cancer, the entire family needs us, so we include siblings in everything that we do.
“Through HRP, we have had walk teams for our annual Fun Walk. We have also had camp counselors, and movers, and many other people who have volunteered from HRP. This has been the most beautiful relationship, and we are so grateful for you guys. I cannot thank you enough. You really are making a difference.”
In a moving tribute, Wheeler recounted a story about former President George H.W. Bush, who had been the keynote speaker at the Candlelighters Lights of Courage Luncheon in 2006. She said that the honoree at the luncheon later passed away, and that Bush wrote a letter to their family in which he talked about his daughter Robin who died of leukemia.
Wheeler went on to share a quote from Bush’s speech at that luncheon. It read: “I’m a firm believer that there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others. By this definition each of you qualifies as points of light, as examples of the good things that we can do if we care enough to get off the sidelines and do something good to help lift the lives of others.”
Wheeler concluded by thanking HRP for being points of light for Candlelighters.
Jodi Vasquez shared her story about when her son was diagnosed with cancer, and how Candlelighters helped her family during their time of need.
“Candlelighters were here for us and made this journey not so terrible, because there were so many bad things. So, what you were doing for these kids, although it may not be the face that you see, is really making a difference. It is meaningful, and I just want to thank you, because it really does make a tremendous difference,” Vasquez said.
Piper reminded the group that it is because of the generosity of HRP members that Candlelighters created its Summer Surprises Program. This program has become a way for Candlelighters to extend the holiday cheer by providing gifts to the children and their families during an annual summer celebration.
“We had several HRP members volunteer during the Summer Surprises Program this year,” Piper said. “So, in addition to the gifts, and our events, like the golf tournament, which many of you sponsored and attended, we are able to give this check to Candlelighters this evening.”
The event culminated with the announcement of Michelle Velasquez, director of client services for Preferred Corporate Housing, as the 2019 president of HRP.
“We plan events like this, not because we like to stand up here and talk to you guys, but because we want to create a space for everyone to network, to grow, to learn from each other, and to be cognizant of the things that are happening within our industry,” Velasquez said.
Again this year, Bryan Oler, senior vice president of Oler Relo, provided a truck and crew for the collection and delivery of the donated toys and gifts to Candlelighters.
For more information about HRP, please visit HoustonReloPros.org.
For more information about Candlelighters or to make a donation, please visit Candle.org.
Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit “On the Move” at blog.chron.com/onthemove.