Chuck Norris’ Kickstart Kids Raises More Than $1M for Character Education
Third time was the charm as Kickstart Kids celebrated its first in-person gala in three years (after a cancellation in 2020 and a virtual event in 2021), raising more than $1 million to augment current programs and build capacity to reach more students. Chuck and Gena Norris and Keith and Alice Mosing co-chaired the Kickstart Kids 29th Annual Boots and Black Belts Gala on Saturday, April 9 at the Hilton Americas - Houston, with gorgeous décor by Kirksey Gregg Productions. Thanks to the generosity of nearly 40 sponsors, led by title sponsor American Telecast Products and Total Gym, and a spirited room of donors inspired by the organization’s mission and energized by a powerful martial arts performance by students and instructors, the paddles came alive during the fund-a-need appeal and thrilling live auction.
Mike and Laura King holding a Chuck Norris auction item, Photo Credit: Steven David
The magical evening commenced with an invocation by Pastor Garry Blackmon, and a moment of silence and tribute to Kickstart Kids board member and friend, the Honorable Michael T. McSpadden. After dinner, long-time event emcee Linda Lorelle welcomed Chuck and Gena Norris to the stage to recognize board members and to present prestigious honors to Kickstart Kids’ Instructors of the Year - Darlene Cordova Salcedo from North Texas, Jon Gartmann from Central Texas, and Patricia Rivera and Rommel Paul from Southeast Texas. After sincere thanks to all of the sponsors who generously contributed to the evening’s success, the highly anticipated karate demonstration kicked off, motivating guests to support the thousands of students depending on Kickstart Kids to learn the character, resiliency and community to navigate the daily challenges of adolescence.
Chuck Norris with Kickstart Kids students after their karate demonstration, Photo Credit: Steven David
In recognition of extraordinary commitment to children, families and their communities, Dr. Charles Dupre, Deputy Executive Director, Member Engagement and Support for the Texas Association of School Administrators and former Superintendent of Ft. Bend ISD was then awarded the 2022 Founder’s Vision Award, and the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, LLP was presented with this year’s Chuck and Gena Norris Character Award, which was accepted by Mike Forshey, Lew Clark and Deborah Lodge.
Founder's Vision Award recipient Dr. Charles Dupre and wife Seeju Dupre pictured with Chuck and Gena Norris, Photo Credit: Steven David
Chuck and Gena Norris Character Award Recipient Squire Patton Boggs, represented by (left to right) Mike Forshey, Deborah Lodge, Lew Clark pictured with Chuck and Gena Norris, Photo Credit: Steven David
Following the awards, guests were eager to start the live bidding on Chuck Norris tribute firearms, a catered lunch and tour of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Studies, a trophy whitetail deer hunt, a Bayou Place Ballroom party, and a Taft McWhorter painting.
Kevin Taylor, Glenn Beck, April Taylor, Chuck Norris, Photo Credit: Steven David
The evening concluded with an intimate performance by country music star Pat Green, who had guests young and old dancing and kicking back to his soulful tunes.
Partygoers enjoy Pat Green performance, Photo Credit: Steven David
Seen in the crowd: Andi and Peter Holt, Governor Kristi Noem, Gail and Greg Garland, Tania and Glenn Beck, Lindy and Marshall Teague, Elizabeth and John Gibson, Tim Tuttle, Katelyn Maida, Erica Rico, Adrian Perez, the Darrell Scott/Rachel’s Challenge Family, the Sherry and Bill Berry Family, Ernesto Bautista, Jimmy Anderson, Brenda Love and Ed Jones, the Marcene Taylor family, Juli and Kevin Mitchell, Michelle and Bill Hickl, Joy and Tom Campanaro, the Stewart Morris Family, and Laura True and Mike King.
93Q Morning Crew: Tim Tuttle, Katelyn Maida, Erica Rico, Adrian Perez “Producer Hoss”, Photo Credit: Steven David