We believe the major contributor to the economic and cultural growth of Houston is its people. It is inspiring to note just how many Houstonians are selflessly giving back to their communities to help create an even better city for everyone. From a world-leading doctor to a rapper-turned-college professor, these individuals proudly represent our city’s spirit of innovation and charitable giving. Let’s meet some of the people who are making Houston such a great place live and work.
Few Houstonians have made their city as proud as former Houston Astros second baseman and catcher Craig Biggio. Although having both over 3,000 career hits and a place in the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame is impressive, Biggio’s accomplishments off the field are what earned him a place on our list. For nearly 20 years, Biggio has donated time and money to The Sunshine Kids, a Houston organization devoted to improving the lives of children with cancer. He has gone above and beyond simple donations and promotion by hosting special events for The Sunshine Kids. He frequently visits participating hospitals to spend time with the kids in-person. Biggio’s commitment to the organization is so strong that their signature yellow sun logo is affixed to his retired number at Minute Maid Park, making The Sunshine Kids a permanent part of his athletic legacy.
Over the last several years, Bun B has evolved beyond his role as a rapper to become one of Houston’s most beloved activists and spokespersons. Whenever Houston’s sports teams are electrifying the city, we can always rely on Bun B to drop a post-season anthem for Houston to rally around. But even when the microphone is off, his hard work for the city continues. In 2011, Bun B became a professor at Rice University and began teaching an acclaimed course on hip-hop and religious values. An online version of the class was created to spread his positive message to an even wider audience. Bun B also collaborated with former Mayor Annise Parker to campaign against texting and driving in Houston. Whether you enjoy his music or not, his commitment to making Houston a great place to live and work is nothing short of commendable.
Houston is known worldwide for its medical innovators, and heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley is one of the most highly respected of them all. As the author of 12 books and more than 14,000 scientific articles, his accomplishments exceed what most people could do in five lifetimes. Dr. Cooley founded the Texas Heart Institute in 1962. In 1969, he performed the first total implantation of an artificial heart. Thanks to his and his colleagues’ work on artificial heart valves, the mortality rate for valve transplant procedures decreased from 70 percent to 8 percent. Dr. Cooley’s incredible talent has even been called upon for matters of national importance, as when then-presidential candidate George W. Bush asked Dr. Cooley to evaluate the health of his vice presidential nominee, Dick Cheney. If you or a loved one have received excellent heart care in one of Houston’s hospitals, you probably have Dr. Denton Cooley to thank.
As many Houstonians already know, the University of Houston is a world-class school. But now, thanks to the hard work of Chancellor Renu Khator, the whole world is starting to take notice. Since her appointment in 2008, the University of Houston has seen massive growth and improvement. In 2011, the University of Houston’s main campus was bestowed with Tier One status by the Carnegie Foundation, placing the university in the same category as Texas A&M and the University of Texas. But that’s not all. Under Chancellor Khator, the university has gone from being a commuter school to having the second most student housing in the state of Texas. It built the impressive new TDECU Stadium, which hosts the 2015 Peach Bowl winning Houston Cougars football team.
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale
While Mattress Firm owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale may be best known for his famous “Saves you Money!” guarantee, he has also quietly given away millions of dollars and countless hours to deserving charities all around Houston. In addition to being one of the biggest sponsors of our beloved Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, McIngvale has contributed time and money to many worthy causes: education programs, hospital funding, free Thanksgiving dinners and new furniture for needy families. His good deeds have not gone unnoticed. He has been bestowed with the prestigious Daily Point of Light Award by none other than former president George H.W. Bush. Whether it’s for his unforgettable commercials, or his award-winning charitable endeavors, chances are Houston will never forget Mattress Mack.
Whether you’re a Texans fan or not, it’s hard not to like J.J. Watt. Even during the most frustrating of football seasons, Watt’s enthusiasm, tenacity and positive spirit kept everyone rooting for him. As fun as he is to watch on the field, his accomplishments outside of football are even more inspiring. In 2011, Watt founded the Justin J. Watt foundation to raise money for after-school programs in schools all across the country. Since then, the organization has raised over $1.5 million for much-needed supplies and facilities, directly impacting the lives of thousands of children across America. Watt also donates his time to visiting and entertaining sick children, even dressing up as Batman to surprise patients at Texas Children’s Hospital. As both a one-man wrecking crew on the football field and a tireless advocate for children, hardly a day goes by that J.J. Watt doesn’t make Houston proud.
Proud to Serve Houston
At Thiessen Law Firm, we are proud to serve the people of this great city. If you or a loved on is in need of legal defense, contact our team for a free one-on-one consultation. Together, we can help you get your life back on track so that you can continue to enjoy everything Houston has to offer.