Humble Area Assistance Ministries (HAAM) has selected its 2019 Pillars of the Community: Devon and Chad Alexander, Louis Flory, and the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce.

They will be honored Friday, Feb. 22, at the newly refreshed Clubs of Kingwood clubhouse, completely rebuilt after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Kingwood icon.

“We are so honored at the Clubs of Kingwood to host what is HAAM’s only fundraiser of the year,” said Kelly Paull, Pillars chair, “and to be able to honor a group of Lake Houston-area people who faithfully volunteer and support HAAM and have made a significant difference in our community.”

Devon and Chad Alexander

Devon and Chad Alexander first became involved with HAAM in 2013 when Nancy Shortsleeve, president of the HAAM board of directors, asked Devon to join the board.

“I fell in love with HAAM’s mission of help and hope,” said Devon. “They accomplish so much for the families in our community who need it the most. I knew I had found an organization where I could commit my time that truly brings value to Lake Houston.”

Even before she joined the HAAM Board, Devon was aware of HAAM’s many caring activities.

“I first became familiar with HAAM when my daughter, Brennan, and I immersed ourselves in the Kingwood Chapter of National Charity League,” she said. “You can’t help but fall in love with an organization when you and your daughter bond over sorting through donations.”

Once she said yes to Shortsleeve, Devon put every bit of her management expertise to work on the HAAM Board. She eventually became chair-elect, chair and then past-chair and, for the past three years, has co-chaired HAAM’s only major fundraiser, the Pillars of the Community event.

Devon and Chad have deep Lake Houston roots. They’ve lived in Kingwood for 26 years, raising two Humble ISD graduates. Scott is earning his doctorate at Baylor in Waco, and Rhett, a geologist for Halliburton, is married to Page, also a geologist working for Kingwood’s own Valence Operating. Brennan is a freelance filmmaker and theatrical stagehand. A new addition to the family is 18-month-old granddaughter Jordan Grace.

Chad enjoys his golf game now that he’s retired after 43 years in the oil and gas field, where he was employed over the years in human resources, marketing, gas supply and business development.

Devon began her professional career in Lake Houston in newspaper sales, was a senior living administrator, and guided the Village Learning Center in its formative years. She spent multiple years in a variety of positions at Lone Star College but, most recently, found her calling as director of community engagement for three Hospital Corporation of America campuses, including Kingwood Medical Center.

Immersing herself in HAAM activities is a natural for Devon, who has an impressive resume as a volunteer – homeroom mom for her kids and on the boards of civic organizations such as the Deerwood PTA, Sand Creek Sea Lions, Kingwood Football League, Kingwood Girls Softball League, Riverwood PTA, Riverwood All-Sports Booster Club, car raffle chair and business fundraiser for Kingwood High Project Graduation, Lone Star College Gala Committee, Go Red for Women Committee, In the Pink Banquet co-chair, Humble ISD Foundation Board, Greater East Montgomery County Chamber Board, and the Kingwood Chapter of the National Charity League.

And, when he wasn’t supporting Devon behind the scenes, Chad was coaching their children in football, baseball and softball leagues.

Devon has been recognized by the Lake Houston community for her remarkable volunteer work. She is a FamilyTime Woman of Achievement for Business, Greater East Montgomery Chamber Volunteer of the Year, Lake Houston Chamber Volunteer of the Year, a Barbara Newman American Heart Association award winner, and an In the Pink of Health honoree, but there will always be a special place in her heart for HAAM.

“Chad and I can see how our efforts with HAAM directly benefit our friends and neighbors, especially in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” Devon said. “The mission of HAAM is our personal mission.”

 

Louis Flory

Louis Flory

Louis Flory is a Lake Houston entrepreneur. In fact, he was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, and that entrepreneurial spirit is what inspired him to get involved with HAAM.

“I love to share my personal mantra that, where you come from does not mean that’s where you must end up,” he said. “I want my own story to inspire others to see that they can achieve anything they want in life. That’s why I became involved with HAAM and support our community.”

Flory is an Humble native who first became involved with HAAM six years ago.

“HAAM is a wonderful organization,” he said. “They do a fine job filtering who and how they help, and they ensure that those they do help are shown a pathway to becoming self sufficient.”

Flory lives in Kings River Estates in Kingwood. He has a daughter, Cameron, 14, and a son, Louis IV, 12. He is president and CEO of Effex Management Solutions, a large-volume, contingent labor force-management company specializing in recruiting, training and managing large-volume labor forces for his clients.

For the last five years in a row, Inc. Magazine and Staff Industry Analysts – an international staffing and workforce advisor – have both honored Effex as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. FOX Business Channel showcased Effex as a company that thrived during the last recession, and Bloomberg Television Network will feature Flory and Effex in a new television program called “The American Dream.”

“As my company has grown, it has allowed me to give back to help support our community,” Flory said. “My hope is that my shared success and my own dream will inspire others to reach for their ultimate goals as well. I hope to support those who are doing all they can but just need a little help.”

As a result of the success of Effex, Flory has been able to support other Lake Houston organizations, including Mission Northeast and Augie’s Quest, support PGA Junior golf scholarships, and sponsor several local youth sports programs.

Ultimately, though, Flory’s heart belongs to HAAM because, like him, HAAM supports those who “…just need a little help.”

“Although meeting the immediate needs of those facing a crisis is important,” Flory said, “I am impressed with HAAM’s additional goal to end the cycle of poverty. My purpose is not just about donating. It’s actually about inspiring others and, like HAAM, helping to make an impact on their long-term future. My mission and goals align perfectly with HAAM.”

Jenna Armstrong

Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

A year and a half ago, after Hurricane Harvey devastated Lake Houston, Corinn Price, director of community involvement at Insperity, brought the Lake Houston Chamber and HAAM together with Insperity to launch and facilitate the Lake Houston Area Relief Fund. For her efforts, she was named a 2018 Pillar of the Community.

By bringing each organization’s strengths to the table, Lake Houston’s two most formidable organizations were able to raise and distribute $1.6 million to Lake Houston-area residents and businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“This is most likely the most monumental and rewarding initiative in the Lake Houston Chamber’s history,” said Jenna Armstrong, the chamber’s CEO and president. “We cannot underscore our appreciation for the opportunity to have been part of such a momentous program alongside HAAM and Insperity.”

HAAM has been a dynamic member of the chamber since HAAM’s founding in 1990. They’ve shared the same board members and the same vision, working closely together and with other Lake Houston nonprofits. HAAM has played a key role in the business of the chamber as well.

“When we launched our Leadership Lake Houston program in 2011, HAAM’s executive director, Millie Garrison, was a member of that first class,” said Armstrong. “A social service day is an important part of the program in which we are able to promote HAAM, share their needs with our future leaders, identify volunteers for HAAM, and groom future HAAM board members.”

Armstrong credits a devoted group of chamber members who have strengthened the chamber’s relationship with HAAM, including the Rev. Jerry Martin, Shortsleeve, Price, Devon Alexander, Dr. Guy Sconzo and Terry Vaughn. Additionally, Jessica Beemer, Erica Johnston and Casey Christman have encouraged chamber groups to volunteer and support HAAM.

“We also are very fortunate to have a strong network of nonprofits in Lake Houston who support each other,” said Armstrong. “A nonprofit roundtable, led by Carole Brady of Family Promise of Lake Houston, was created a couple of years ago to meet quarterly to learn best practices, understand how we are all connected, discuss emerging community issues, and collaborate on how to address them without duplicating services.”

Last year, the chamber and HAAM received Insperity’s first Community Impact Award for their joint efforts in organizing the Lake Houston Relief Fund, and twice, in 2015 and 2018, the chamber was recognized by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives as one of America’s top three chambers in their size category.

“Businesses need to be aware of the social service needs of our area,” said Armstrong, “and they must play a role in improving the community and helping those in need. It’s our obligation to connect our businesses with HAAM and educate area leaders about a segment of our population that needs assistance.”

Armstrong is particularly proud of the chamber’s strong relationship with HAAM and the much-needed services they provide.

“The leadership at HAAM has transformed and grown that organization into an impressive, integral stakeholder in our community,” said Armstrong. “I am grateful for HAAM’s vision and willingness to allow us to partner with them on community initiatives.”

Pillars of the Community is HAAM’s major – and only – fundraiser of the year.

“Just once a year, we ask Lake Houston to participate in helping us continue HAAM’s mission of help and hope,” said Paull, “and what we accomplish with your donations is amazing.”

Pillars of the Community, presented by Insperity, was founded in 2011 by Garrison and volunteer and past Pillar Connie Chandler to honor Lake Houston-area couples, individuals and organizations who faithfully volunteer and support HAAM and have made a significant difference in the community.

Past recipients of the Pillars of the Community award are: Rick Alspaugh and Dorothy Alspaugh, Byron and Ginger Bertrand, Darryal and Connie Chandler, Philippe and Mieke Cras, Jack and Lynn Fields, Pat and Ray Guard, Frank and Marlene Kopta, Ginny and Bill Power, Corinn and Joe Price, Tony and Leslie Raffa, Guy and Diane Sconzo, Larry and Cynthia Shiflet, Geralyn and Danny Sullivan, James and Judy Thigpen, Judy and Guy Williams, Kingwood Country Club, Insperity, and Kingwood Women’s Club.

Paull and Alexander are co-chairs of the Pillars of the Community banquet. Garrison is HAAM’s executive director, Charles Cunningham is board chair, and Vaughn is past board chair.

A variety of Pillars sponsorships are available. Premier tables with 10 seats are available for $10,000 and $5,000. Ten-seat tables are available for $2,500 and $1,500. Other sponsorships are available, including wine sponsor and floral sponsor. Single seats are available for $150. Persons not able to attend may donate. For more information or to make reservations or a donation, visit haamministries.org/donate.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.