On May 7, 2016, the Memorial Hermann Foundation hosted its annual Circle of Life Gala at the Hilton Americas-Houston, chaired by Susan Sarofim and the Memorial Hermann Foundation Board. Clarence Cazalot, Walter Johnson and Jim Smith served as honorary chairs.
The sold-out evening honored Memorial Hermann’s own “Father of Trauma” and Memorial Hermann Life Flight founder, the late Dr. James H. “Red” Duke, Jr. Dr. Duke was instrumental in developing and bringing the air-ambulance program to Houston in 1976 and served as its medical director for nearly four decades. Since its inaugural flight, Life Flight has become one of the most successful air-ambulance programs in the country.
Dan Wolterman, Memorial Hermann Health System president and CEO announced the renaming of the Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute, which is home to Houston’s only Level I trauma center with its own air-ambulance capabilities, and a verified adult burn center. In honor of Dr. Duke’s great legacy, the Institute will now be named the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute. Dr. Duke’s daughter, Dr. Sara Duke, and her husband Charles King received the recognition on behalf of the Duke family.
Memorial Hermann also paid tribute to Wolterman, who recently announced his retirement from his post as president and CEO of Memorial Hermann; Dr. Benjamin K. Chu will assume the role. In a powerful video tribute, friends, colleagues and Memorial Hermann Health System Board members shared their appreciation for Wolterman’s indelible leadership and friendship. At the conclusion of the video, and as a special surprise, it was announced that a Life Flight helicopter would be named in his honor.
Along with special tributes, the evening featured dinner and music from Atlanta-based band Simply Irresistible. Raising $2.9 million with 1,600 guests in attendance, the Gala proved itself once again as one of the most entertaining and exciting events of the year.