Working together to help Houston
As we gather around our Thanksgiving tables this November, we will most likely think of everything for which we are thankful. In the count, always, are our friends.
Two friends for whom Houston is very grateful are Cora Sue Mach and Sidney Faust. Together, they are making our city’s reputation for charitable generosity and volunteerism sparkle.
Not too long ago, driving to an event-planning meeting, Sidney said, “We are not volunteering for anything else. Nothing!”
Cora Sue firmly agreed, “Nothing!”
When a call came stating, “We need someone to chair the Champagne reception,” Sidney’s hand shot up instantly, “Oh, Cora Sue and I can do that!” They are both still laughing and still volunteering each other. In fact, as this magazine rolls off the presses, this dynamic duo will be hosting its annual outlandish Halloween party, “The Trick or Treat Toy Party” for Texas Children’s Cancer Center and the Cancer League. (Admission is a toy for a young cancer patient.)
On Nov. 1, Cora Sue and Sidney will serve as speaker liaisons for the Huffington Center on Aging Women’s Health Summit, a luncheon they chaired together in 2004. Later this month, they will be dinner chairs for The Cystic Fibrosis Gala.
These two confident and engaging ladies have taken on quite a lot since they first met in the late ’90s as founding members of BRASS, Baylor Research Advocates for Student Scientists, which raises scholarship funds for young scientists.
Sidney and her husband, Don, were honored as BRASS Angels in 1997, while Cora Sue served as president of the organization from 1998-2000. The BRASS Christmas party will be held at Don and Sidney’s home, as usual. Additionally, they are all active with the Baylor Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine.
The first event Cora Sue and Sidney chaired together was the 1999 Houston Symphony League’s Maestro Collection Fashion Show and Luncheon. Other organizations benefiting from their collaboration since include: Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Greater Houston Preservation Alliance, Shepherd School of Music and the Houston Ballet, just to name a few.
“Hard work, but we enjoyed it,” Sidney says of their charity work. “We have lots of laughs and never one misunderstanding. We have a genuine love and respect for one another.”
Cora Sue is a native Houstonian. Right out of high school, she worked during the day and went to the University of Houston at night. She credits “the great education from the sisters at Incarnate Word Academy” for helping her rise quickly from the steno pool at Southwestern Bell to engineering assistant. She met Harry Mach, a St. Thomas High School graduate, at a Catholic Young Adults function in 1963. Harry worked with his family’s business, started by his father in 1953.
Cora Sue volunteered at her children’s schools, the March of Dimes and Inner City Catholic Schools, but really got going in the volunteer/charity world after meeting Sidney. Part of what makes it all work is the fact “that Harry and Don bonded early on,” Cora Sue shares, describing their husbands as the “unsung heroes” of the ladies’ charity work.
The Mach’s joy centers on their family: sons, Butch and Steve; daughters-in-law, Carmen and Joella; and their five grandchildren. “My greatest reward is in watching our children reach out to the community and assume leadership roles in worthwhile community activities,” Cora Sue explains.
Yet, observation shows that her greatest joy might well be grandmotherhood! Cora Sue and Sidney’s grandchildren are the same ages and love to play together. Dec. 2 will find them playing at the Symphony League’s Magical Musical Morning “Penguin Parade Fiesta,” which Cora Sue is chairing.
Sidney Faust is a native of Longview, Texas. Her mother, a librarian, was concerned about Sidney’s stage fright so, “my mother made me take speech in high school,” she says. “I would have taken anything but speech. I studied voice for nine years and was frequently asked to sing solos around town, but it was always an ordeal. I more or less got over stage fright, but was never comfortable singing — dancing was fine.”
At Kilgore Junior College, Sidney was a member of the famous Rangerettes. After graduating from North Texas University in speech and drama, and doing graduate work at the University of Colorado, Sidney taught in several Texas school districts. She settled in Baytown, where she was active in the community, before marrying Don Faust, owner of Faust Distributing, and moving to Houston.
This year, Sidney is chaplain for the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and president of the River Oaks Rose Club, among many other charitable commitments. “My husband’s love and constant support make all my endeavors possible,” she says. Her family is all-encompassing, as she includes, “three stepchildren, grandchildren, two bearded collies and treasured friends.”
“Treasured friends,” accurately describes Sidney Faust and Cora Sue Mach. Where such friendship exists, everyone is blessed — so let us all be thankful!