Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner presided over his first Mayor's Literacy Leadership Award Breakfast this morning at the River Oaks Country Club.
The grand event, presented by the Houston Center for Literacy, attracted more than 350 Houstonians, all there to support ongoing efforts to improve literacy rates in our city.
As it turned out, Turner was a wee bit late to the party. When he finally arrived, stepped on stage and up to the microphone to make his opening remarks he apologized for and explained the delay (with a chuckle).
"Even a mayor's car can break down," he said.
Later in the program, Turner shared a bit about his childhood, including growing up with eight siblings and parents who (unfortunately) were not educated.
Turner commented, "My parents couldn't help us with our books, but they knew how important it was to work hard, always do the best you can and get a good education. They wanted all nine of us to go to college and grow up to have better lives."
He also told us about going downtown as a kid, looking up at the tall buildings and thinking, "One day I want to work in one of these buildings."
Then, with his special brand of humor, the mayor added, "I didn't know what the people were doing in those buildings, I just knew I wanted to grow up and work there too!"
Also at the event, The Houston Center for Literacy presented its first-ever Literacy Leadership Award to Gina Luna, Chairman, Houston Region and CEO Middle Market Banking for J.P. Morgan Chase.
I am most grateful to Beth Wolff, president of Beth Wolff Realtors, and her son, Ed Wolff, vice president of the company and a board member of the Houston Center for Literacy for inviting me to join them this morning. I learned a lot more than I previously knew about the Center, heard some very inspirational stories and left wanting to get involved myself.
I have no doubt the others attending the Mayor's Breakfast did too!