Healthcare for Homeless Head Meets Michelle Obama, Gets Big Surprise Check
As founder and president of Healthcare for the Homeless -- Houston (HHH), Dr. David Buck is a busy man. So busy, in fact, he was taken aback when his office got a voice message from U.S. Representative Gene Green's wife Helen saying that she would like Dr. Buck to attend the Centennial First Lady's Luncheon in Washington, D.C. and "meet the First Lady."
Dr. David Buck (l) and Lee Ann Womack at First Lady's Luncheon, Washington, D.C.
"I was very skeptical," laughs Buck, whose organization sees 10,000 patients a year and has an annual budget of $2.5 million. "I thought some colleague must be playing a joke on me."
Even when he eventually spoke with Mrs. Green, he still couldn't quite believe what was happening.
"She said they could get me an airline ticket," Buck recalls, "and I thought not just anybody can do that. But I was still just waiting for that Candid Camera moment when someone jumps out and says the joke is on you."
What was even more mysterious to Buck was the fact that country singer Lee Ann Womack -- whom Green had selected as her guest at the function, also asking her to name the charity to be honored with this year's donation -- had tapped Buck and Healthcare for the Homeless -- Houston to receive the charitable funds attached to the annual event.
"I really was baffled," Buck confesses. "I didn't know Lee Ann Womack and couldn't understand why or how she had decided that we were the charity to receive this year's donation."
As chairwoman of the event, Mrs. Green says she chose Womack, who is married to former Houstonian and Nashville record producer Frank Liddell, because she had danced to Womack's signature hit "I Hope You Dance" at her son's wedding "and because Lee Ann was gracious enough to donate her time and talent to the event." Womack broke off from recording her next album to attend -- and sing at -- the luncheon.
"As chairperson of the luncheon, I would normally have decided which charity to give the money to, but because Lee Ann donated her time I wanted her to get to name our charity this year," Green explained. "And we were just thrilled when she came up with such a worthy cause to help."
Mrs. Green went on to explain that her husband is very sensitive to health-care issues "because his district is underserved."
"He always tells people that he hates that his constituents can see the Medical Center but most don't have the money or the insurance to have access to it," says Green.