The Lone Star Flight Museum was transformed into a Monte Carlo destination with a wash of coastal color and vibrant floral displays as operatic voices floated through the hangar. This year’s fundraising gala raised $620,000 to support the museum’s STEM-related programs, educational mission, and exhibits. and paid tribute to museum founder Robert L. Waltrip. The gala program also recognized Veteran’s Day and those who have bravely served our country.

CenterPoint Energy, ConocoPhillips, and Bette and Ralph Thomas served as premier sponsors. Other key sponsors include Carolyn and Anthony Hall, Joan Skipper and Ed Peine, and the Strake Foundation.

KPRC Channel 2 Meteorologist and Houston Newsmakers host Khambrel Marshall served as master of ceremonies. Gala co-chairs Kelly and David Rose and Megan and Jason Ryan welcomed more than 500 guests and supporters for an evening that included a wine pull, big board auction, paddle raise, and a spirited live auction.

LSFM President and Chief Executive Officer and retired Lt. Gen. Doug Owens (USAF) spoke about the achievements of the museum and exciting plans for the coming year, including new exhibits and hands-on experiences.

A highlight of the gala was a tribute to the late Robert L. “Bob” Waltrip. A moving video showcased his business expertise, the love of his family, and his passion for aviation that led him to establish the Lone Star Flight Museum in 1985. With Waltrip family members looking on, daughter Holly Waltrip-Long spoke about her father’s incredible character, strong spirit, and drive.

Gala attendees enjoyed the French Rivera themed seated dinner by City Kitchen, dessert stations, and specialty cocktails. The Events Company produced the spectacular décor and created a vibrant atmosphere.

The big board and live auction, led by Rusty Mertink, added a punch of excitement with paddles up and a spirited bidding war for amazing travel and entertainment packages. Available for purchase were trips to see the U.S. Open Tennis tournament, a NASCAR racing experience, NCAA Final Four, and special wildlife experiences!

Topping off the night were exclusive tours inside amazing aircraft and space shuttle simulators, viewing STEM-based exhibits, flight simulators, and dancing to music spinning by DJ Druw.

“The dedicated work of our staff, gala co-chairs, sponsors and donors made this incredible night possible. Our mission is to celebrate flight and achievements in Texas aviation history and to educate and engage our youth through STEM. Funds raised support the continued growth of our museum’s content and educational programs. The generosity of the Houston philanthropic community and their ongoing support enable us to continue this work and inspire future aviators and STEM professionals. Mr. Waltrip would be so proud,” said General Owens.

To support the Lone Star Flight Museum and to learn more about the STEM education programs at the only museum in Houston whose exhibits fly, please call our development department at 346-352-7678.