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Career and Recovery Resources (CRR) 22nd Annual Barrier Breaker Award Luncheon
Press Release
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

CRR 22nd Annual Breaking  Barriers LuncheonApproximately 400 of Career and Recovery Resources (CRR) board members, public officials, clients and supporters gathered at the 22nd Annual Barrier Breaker Award Luncheon on Monday to honor the Honorable Harris County Judge Ed and Mrs. Gwen Emmett along with Mrs. Philamena and Mr. Arthur Baird, two leaders who exemplify the mission of CRR, for their outstanding leadership within the Houston community. Four of the organization's STAR clients shared their heartfelt stories of how CRR helped them overcome personal challenges to attain success and employment.

Luncheon honorees are Judge Ed and Mrs. Gwen Emmett along with Mrs. Philamena and Mr. Arthur Baird. Ed Emmett has been Harris County Judge since 2007 and was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987. Gwen Emmett has a vision for a Regional Health Systems that focuses on primary care and healthy homes for every citizen. She is an active Board Member of the Immunization Partnership, Baker Ripley, Communities in Schools, and Mental Health America.

CRR 22nd Annual Barrier Breaker Award Luncheon Philamena Baird currently serves as Chairman of The Houston Arts Alliance and previously served as acting CEO in 2017.  She currently serves on several board including Children at Risk, The Women’s Fund, Houston Fire Fighters Foundation, Interfaith Ministry, Moore’s School of Music, American Heart Association, Texas Southern University, The Self Foundation, Houston First, Memorial Hermann Hospital System, Teach for America and is on the advisory board of Career and Recovery Resources, Inc.  Arthur Baird, is the grandson of Ninnie Baird, founder of Mrs. Baird’s Bakeries. He started in the bakery business at the age of 14 and retired 46 years later in 1998 as Executive VP. Arthur has served on the boards of the Greater Houston Partnership, March of Dimes, Houston Business Community for Education, Sheltering Arms, Avancè, DePelchin Children’s Center, The Texas Advisory Board for Children’s Defense Fund, Unity Christian Church and Memorial Hermann Hospital System, just to name a few.

CRR 22nd Annual Barrier Breaker Award Luncheon Additionally, the Outstanding Corporate Leader and Signature Underwriter,   H-E-B was recognized and honored at the event. The luncheon, which serves as the organization's main yearly fundraiser, raised more than $265,000 to date with the agency expecting more donations from the event in the days ahead. Proceeds directly benefit CRR’s four core program areas:  1) Employment Placement and Career Development, 2) Veteran & Housing Assistance, 3) Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, and 4) their Alternative Substance/Alcohol Abuse out-patient Treatment services.  

Corporate Leader and Signature Underwriter, HEB, and STAR Clients (Donald Harris, Anna Vasquez, Alvin Byrd, and Jessica Y.) of Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. were also honored at the luncheon.                                  

KTRK’s VP of Community Affairs Cynthia Cisneros and Spencer Tillman, author and lead studio analyst for CBS Sports' "College Football Today," shared emcee duties.

Mrs. Alma and Dr. Vernus C. Swisher, CEO of Career and Recovery Resources, Inc, Congressman Gene Green, Duni Hebron with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee’s Office, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Council Members Dwight Boykins, Karla Cisneros, Martha Castex-Tatum, and Brenda Stardig, Fire Chief Samuel Pena, Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, Kathryn Griffin, Human Trafficking Director with Harris County Constable Precinct One, Judge Denise Bradley of the 262nd District Court  and Harris County STAR Drug Courts, Jo Ellen & John Sweeney, Lainie Gordon, Dr. Judith Craven, Ambassador Arthur Schechter, Paula Sutton & Bill Gross, Lorenza Butler of, Dr. Stephen Kleinberg, Founding Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, and Professor of Sociology at Rice University, Annette Zimmerman and Michele Oshinski, CEO and Vice President of PrimeWay Federal Credit Union, Jeffery Wallace, President & CEO of Greater Houston Black Chamber, Emilian White, President/CEO Amazing 102.5 FM Radio, Victor Kendall, VP for Advancement of the Lift Fund,  Anne Neeson with Memorial Hermann Foundation, Darryl Montgomery President of Wells Fargo Bank, Judson Robinson III, John Allen, Director, Marketing Executive with PurePoint Financial a division of MUFG Union Bank, President and CEO of Houston Area Urban League, Nancy and Lauren Levicki Co-Founder/President and Vice President of Dress for Success Houston, Anna Dragsbaek, CEO The Women’s Home, Dr. Muddassir Siddiqi, President of Houston Community College–Central, Twila Carter with the Houston Astros Foundation, Bob Eury and Algenita Scott-Davis with Central Houston, Attorney Cheryl Swisher, Warren Broadnax with She’s Happy Hair,  Margaret Oser, Vice President of United Way of Greater Houston and her colleagues Curtis McMinn, Rashid, Tillis, Rose Taylor, Debbie Span-Bailey, Cornelius Blackshear, Erin Trytten, and Thank Nguyen.

Photos were provided by  Ken Jones Photography,


Established in 1945, Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. (CRR), is dedicated to helping people identify and overcome barriers to employment. CRR has four core program areas:  1) Employment and Career Development, 2) Veteran & Housing Assistance, 3) Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, and 4) Alternative Substance/Alcohol Abuse Out-patient Treatment. The agency offers computer training, literacy education, career counseling, job placement assistance and substance abuse and alcohol outpatient treatment and prevention education services.  In 2017, CRR served over 5,250 clients and provided educational out-reach to over 5,000 youth and young-adults.

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