Posted on Mar 15, 2018


Rotary Fire Fighters Home 2nd Annual Gala

March 24, 2018

J. W. Marriott Hotel

5150 Westheimer Road

Houston, Texas 77056

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM


Table Sponsorships and Individual Tickets may be purchased on line at:




The date for the Rotary Fire Fighters Home’s second annual Gala is rapidly approaching!  As you know, our original gala date was impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Our theme, “Hope Rises” could not be more appropriate at this time!  Hope rises for all those impacted and now recovering from Harvey and hope most certainly rises for those firefighters and first responders who are currently fighting cancer.


For those of you who are not familiar with the Rotary Fire Fighters Home (RFFH), the project provides temporary housing to firefighters and other first responders at little or no cost, for use while they are undergoing treatment at the Texas Medical Center for any work-related medical condition.  Unfortunately, the most common work-related injury is cancer.


​Why cancer?  Because firefighters have occupational risks from exposure to toxins and hazardous chemicals and as a result, they suffer illnesses (particularly cancer) at a statistically higher rate than the average population. 


Why temporary housing?  Because these illnesses often necessitate specialized treatment, such as chemo and radiation and this treatment usually involves extended stays with access to healthcare providers at the Texas Medical Center (TMC).  And this specialized treatment is usually done on an out-patient basis.  As you know, the cost of hotels and short-term housing for such treatment can be crippling, especially housing near TMC. Unfortunately, health insurance usually does not cover lodging expenses.


The purpose of the Gala is to raise funds for two purposes:  1) to continue to fund and to secure more one-bedroom apartments to temporarily house firefighters now and 2) to be used to ultimately build/buy our own place to accommodate firefighters.


The RFFH project is the primary service project of the Rotary Club of the University Area.


Our keynote speaker is Dr. Antonio Dajer, who was a chief emergency room physician in New Your City on 9/11/2001. He will be introduced by Helen Reisler.


Dr. Dajer was the chief emergency room physician at what’s now called New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital, five blocks from Ground Zero. When the twin towers were hit, Dr. Dajer and his hospital team treated thousands of victims caught in the attack.  For him, just as with millions of others, the experience of 9/11 was a life-changing event. His talk will be riveting and very relevant to our cause. He is chief of emergency room medicine and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in New York City, including New York Downtown Hospital and New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell. He received his medical degree from NYU School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.


Helen Reisler was the president of the Rotary Club of NYC on 9/11 and is the Rotary Alt. International Representative to the United Nations (2007-present).  We are thrilled to have these two distinguished speakers and of course, to have Ernie Manouse as our MC again this year.  Ernie is an American television host, radio personality, writer and producer. 


Sports radio talk show host Steve Johnson (Walton and Johnson) and his wife Christine are our Event Co-Chairs.  Lastly, Joe Torrillo, NYFD Ret’d, will once again help present the HFD Firefighter of the Year award.  If you attended the first Gala, you will remember Joe and his fascinating story of surviving not one, but both twin towers falling on 9/11.  Joe is quite the character!


And last, but certainly not least, our very own DG Bill Palko will once again be the auctioneer for the live auction, which includes two Firefighter Helmets.


The Rotary Firefighters Home motto is "You were there for us; We are here for you."   It speaks to the ongoing and never-failing commitment which firefighters give to the community, and of our commitment to help them when they fight their personal battle against cancer or other work-related illnesses. 


Please join us in supporting firefighters by purchasing a table or tickets. This is an event you won’t want to miss!