An avid horse-enthusiast, Judi Holmes is pictured beside her beloved horse, Geste. She is not horsing around this December as she works hard on a number of charitable events, including the Winter Ball which has become one of Houston’s premier events over the past 19 years.
The Winter Ball is consistently a grand sell-out event year after year. It raises money for diseases most people consider almost unmentionable: Crohn’s and Colitis. These diseases are being treated much the same as cancer was in decades past, when it was referred to in whispers as, “the ‘C’ word.” Today, we have “the “CC” word,” or Crohn’s and Colitis: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The Winter Ball raises money for the Crohn’s &Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) to find a cure and develop better treatments for these often unspoken of diseases.
There are many elegant surprises in store for guests attending the Winter Ball, dubbed Windows of Winter, on Jan. 21 at the Hilton Americas Ballroom. Guests will feel as though they’ve stepped inside a castle and are looking out its windows at winter scenes from throughout the world.
Houston is probably one of the best educated cities about IBDs, thanks to the Winter Ball and its honorees. The Winter Ball chooses 10 Women of Distinction, one Woman of Distinction Ambassador and two youth ambassadors for their work in philanthropy throughout the greater Houston area.
An Oklahoma girl, Judi Holmes says, “I never thought I’d cross the Red River, much less live on the other side. But now that I’m here, I can’t imagine living anywhere but Texas!” The middle child of three girls, Judi earned her M.B.A.; and for the next 14 years, she lived in Dallas managing her oil and gas investment banking firm. She then relocated to Houston after her marriage to Jack Holmes in 1993.
She now manages Gray Wolf Farms in Magnolia and Argyle, where she raises hunter jumper horses for competition throughout the country. Judi serves on the Board of Directors for the National Horse Show Association of America, the Washington International Horse Show and the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. She also serves on the governing bodies for the equestrian teams of the United States Olympics.
Judi wears many philanthropic hats. She is currently President of the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary. During Katrina, it was the Women’s Auxiliary, specifically Mary Maxey at Judi’s request, that found the 60,000-square-foot warehouse in Pasadena to help evacuees. And Judi was down there in the sweltering heat with other Auxiliary volunteers, Sidney Faust, Carolyn Mann, Lilly Andress, Suzie Coneway and Joyce Standish to name a few, doing the grunt work of sorting the donations and helping families find what they needed.
She reveals that what she “loves about the Salvation Army is all the good things they do locally, nationally and even internationally. And, it’s faith based, which we’re proud of. The organization never discriminates. It takes care of those in need and asks questions later. They are there in the early stages of a disaster, and they are there when the dust settles.” On Dec. 13, Judi and her Army will become Secret Santas at a warehouse, “making the list, checking it twice, no discrimination between the naughty and nice,” as they wrap presents and stuff gift bags for needy children. Judi isn?t a princess; she is a hard worker with an excellent brain. Houston is lucky to have her. H