Please don’t forget that the Early Voting Period for the Democratic and Republican Runoff Elections is Only Five Days; Election Day Voting Will Take Place on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Early voting for the Tuesday, May 22, 2018, Democratic Party Primary Runoffs, and Republican Party Primary Runoffs will take place from Monday, May 14, 2018, through Friday, May 18, 2018. A few of the people featured in this edition of Houston Business Connections Newspaper are: Attorney William “Bill” McLeod, Attorney Carroll G. Robinson, Attorney Germaine Tanner, Attorney Beau Miller, Attorney Ronnisha Bowman, Attorney Scot “Dolli” Dollinger, Attorney Erica Hughes, Attorney Dedra Davis, Attorney Sandra J. Peake, Attorney Sedrick T. Walker II, Attorney Shannon Baldwin, and Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Candidate for Harris County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 7, Place 2 Sharon Burney. Mayor Allen Owen, the Mayor of Missouri City, Texas will be seeking the vote of every registered voter in “The Show Me City,” on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Texas Democratic Party Gubernatorial Runoff Candidate Andrew White and 2018 Texas Democratic Party Gubernatorial Runoff Candidate Lupe Valdez are also pictured on the cover of this edition of Houston Business Connections Newspaper. However, neither candidate is seeking your vote in the Tuesday, May 22, 2018, Democratic Party Primary Runoff Election for Governor of Texas at this time. Houston Business Connections Newspaper is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. Call (832)212-8735 for more information. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017 Pillars of the Community Awards, Founded By Wretha Rawls Thomas, President, HESP Union

GREAT PEOPLE TO KNOW SERIES: Nicole West (2017 Pillar of the Community Awards Recipient), Joseph Washington (2017 Pillars of the Community Awards Recipient), Sandra Massie-Hines (2017 Pillars of the Community Awards Recipient), Isiah Carey (Master of Ceremonies - Fox 26 News), Mrs. Shad Bogany (Receiving 2017 Pillars of the Community Awards for her husband Shad Bogany), Ora Boxie (2017 Pillars of the Community Awards Recipient), Holly Gibson (2017 Pillar of the Community Awards Recipient), Dr. Albert Lemons (2017 Pillars of the Community Awards Recipient), Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz (HCC District IV Trustee and Guest Speaker for the 2017 Pillars of the Community Awards) and Wretha Rawls-Thomas (Founder/President of the Pilliars of the Community Awards).

2017 Pillars of the Community Recognized at Beechnut Academy By Wretha Rawls Thomas, Founder, HESP Union

For over 27 years community, leaders, business professionals and educators have been recognized as distinguished “Pillars of the Community” by Wretha Rawls-Thomas, founder/president of the HESP Union which represents custodians, kitchen workers and bus drivers employed by (HISD) the Houston Independent School District.

This year’s event was held at Beechnut Academy located 7055 Beechnut St, in Houston, Texas. A few of the distinguished recipients of the “2017 Pillars of the Community Award” were: Dr. Albert Lemons, Shad Bogany, Sadra Massey Hines, Holly Gibson, Ora Boxie, Nicole West and Joseph Washington.


Isiah Carey, a well-known television reporter for (KRIV-TV) Fox 26 served as the master of ceremonies for the 10th year in a row. “I would like to thank Isiah for his commitment and dedication to making this ceremony a huge success year -after-year,” said Wretha Rawls-Thomas.  Isiah Carey (second from left) is pictured above with Denetris Jones, Wretha Rawls-Thomas and Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz.


Dr. Caroyln Evans-Shabazz, the (HCC) Houston Community College Trustee for District IV served as the guest speaker at the “2017 Pillars of the Community” awards ceremony. “Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz did a fantastic job at this year’s event. I would like to thank her for taking time out of her very busy schedule to come out and celebrate these distinguished individuals,” continued Rawls-Thomas.


The key sponsors for the “2017 Pillars of the Community” awards ceremony were: Central Care Health Network, Kennedy Benefits and Beechnut Academy. “What we do to honor our recipients each year would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. I am so grateful for everyone who plays a role in making what we do possible,” says Rawls-Thomas. 



Holly Celeste Tatum-Gibson is the Dean of Instruction (Associate Principal) at Mirabeau B. Lamar High School 

Ms. Gibson was born in Marshall, Texas, on July 2, 1967 to Oscar and June Tatum. Holly graduated as an honor roll student from Marshall High School and received an athletic scholarship in basketball from (TSU) Texas Southern University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at Texas Southern University in 1991; and received her Master of Education from Texas A & M University in Commerce, Texas in 2000. Ms. Gibson has over 25 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher and administrator. She is very passionate about education as she comes from a family where 3 of her 7 siblings are educators and her mother being a previous educator for a number of years.

In 1991, Ms. Gibson started her career in the Houston Independent School District at Jane Long Middle School as a Math teacher. She also taught at Middle College High School as a Math teacher/Department Chair while simultaneously serving as an adjunct Math instructor for El Centro Community College, Metropolitan High School, and the Learning Alternative Center for Expelled Youth in the Dallas Independent School District.

In 2002, Ms. Gibson accepted the position of Dean of Instruction (first administrative assignment) at Pearl C. Anderson Middle School in the Dallas ISD. 

Upon her completion of the Bridge Academy (Principal’s Academy) in 2007, Ms. Gibson accepted a position at Lamar High School in the fall of 2008, as the Dean of Students. As the chief disciplinarian, she was a major contributor to Lamar’s Bridge Program, a program that would allow first time drug offenders an alternative rather than referring to the district’s alternative educational program. Ms. Gibson also focused on Lamar’s Success Center. This center placed emphasis on providing services for students’ academic, emotional, mental, psycho-social, socio-economic and psychological needs. As a result of having the LSC on campus, Lamar’s out of school suspensions decreased significantly by more than 75%. 

Currently as the Dean of Instruction at Lamar High School, Ms. Gibson oversees Lamar’s master schedule, course schedule planning, faculty evaluation, professional development, fiscal monitoring, and other related administrative activities with and for the assigned program areas (including – International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Special Education and Magnet), in addition to being the High School collaborative coordinator. Her current direct reports include: Assistant Principals, Academic Advisors, Counselors, Instructional coordinators, Department Chairs, and Clerical Staff.

Holly Gibson believes in servant leadership. She supports teachers, students, and parents by listening, giving feedback as needed and being straightforward, but tactful. She enjoys working with others and is truly the “Hidden Figure” at Mirabeau B. Lamar High School.



Reverend Ora Boxie graduated from Lamar University in 1980 and 1988 as LVN and RN respectively.

Reverend Boxie began working in the emergency room in a local hospital 1986. She has an extensive background in critical care from the emergency to open heart intensive care, therefore, is very capable of managing cardiac arrest (code) situations. Certifications include BLS (basic life support, ACLS (advance cardiac life support), and PALS (pediatric advance life support). She specializes in IV insertions including Midlines, PICC lines as well as peripheral IVs. 

In 1987 she answered the call to ministry while a member of New Bethel MBC in Beaumont, Texas – and was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church as an Itinerant Elder in 1995. 

In 2004 Rev. Boxie graduated from the Houston Graduate School of Theology with a Master’s degree and is a Certified Christian Counselor. And also serves as one of the Associate Pastors at Evangelist Chapel AME Church where Rev. Vincent Hightower is the Senior Pastor. 

She has also volunteered with multiple charitable organizations over the years, including but not limited to: The Star of Hope and Sjodren’s Syndrome march. Reverend Boxie has also volunteered her time at many healthcare fairs, and currently serves with the Evangelist Chapel AME Healthcare Organization.

Rev. Boxie is proud to be a member of the Board of Advisory for The College of Healthcare Professionals, teaches in the classroom and is a clinical instructor with the Texas Health School.

She has experience working as a Staff Nurse, Nursing Supervisor, Operative Administrative Nurse, and Director of Nursing and is currently employed with GasDoc, Incorporated as the Executive Administrator.



Sandra Massie Hines is the executive director of Junior Achievers, a nonprofit organization that works with schools, churches, business & the private sector to promote jobs, peer mediation and healthy, drug-free living among youth. She is a also a proud Christian, Humanitarian, civic leader, peace maker, notable Worthing High School Alumni and volunteer for the indigent and the underserved in the Houston area.

She is the Co-Founder of the Atlanta Library of Peace, Ist Black Graduate of the City of Houston Citizens Fire Academy, the Honorary Mayor of the Sunnyside community in Houston, where her activism on behalf of people with substance abuse problems is well known.

Sandra Massie Hines, a single mother of five children (all grown), is longtime activist and civil rights leader, advocates for the elderly, poor, homeless, and women with children.

While continuing on her regular mission of feeding the elderly, homeless and the hungry through a program she founded, called: "End Hunger Sunnyside- End Hunger Houston", she partners with the Houston Food Bank to provide the food outreach. 

A few years ago, “Mayor” Hines took a bold stand for dozens of residents of Crestmont Apartments, who were living in deplorable and unsanitary conditions. She spent numerous days and nights at the apartment site gathering the people’s concerns to ensure action was taken to bring them relief. Her hard work made a remarkable impression upon the Mayor of Houston (at the time) Annise Parker to move them from this soon-to-be condemned complex, to a new location in which the city covered the first month rent and all associated fees.

Sandra Massie Hines spends most of her days busy fighting for others to live with integrity and a peaceable life. She advocates for citizens with many concerns, such as for one who had a large sink hole in her back yard, invoking a hasty response from city officials to resolve the issue. However, in the end, the issue was resolved.

She has organized, along with many other community leaders a clothes drive for Houston & Louisiana flood victims. And due to her tireless efforts to serve all of humanity, she was selected by former President, George W. Bush for the Presidential Points of Lights and was called on by former President Bill Clinton for prayer. 

Sandra Massie Hines has also been called on to consult with mayors, congressional leaders, kings and presidents of other countries because of her extensive knowledge of how to empower people dealing with oppression. And she’s not afraid to stand on the front-lines either, and regularly marches against crime. She is continuously on the battlefield for senior citizens who have been victimized, insuring law enforcement is aware of the criminal activity surrounding the residences of senior citizens. She also orchestrates meetings that inform the community of crime prevention and victim assistance endeavors. 

Sandra Massie Hines is known as the “Mayor of Sunnyside” in Houston, Texas, and gives selflessly to the betterment of others.



If you would like to learn more information about the “Pillars of the Community Awards”, or support the HESP Union, please call (713) 660-8435 and ask for Wretha Rawls-Thomas.

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: "I would like to thank Wretha Rawls Thomas for recognizing community leaders, business professionals and educators for more than 27 years."


For over 27 years community, leaders, business professionals and educators have been recognized as distinguished “Pillars of the Community” by Wretha Rawls-Thomas, founder/president of the HESP Union which represents custodians, kitchen workers and bus drivers employed by (HISD) the Houston Independent School District.


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