Preserving the Colorado

Cocktails on the Colorado recognizes 2013 River Hero, announces new identity for Colorado River Alliance

Cocktails on the Colorado recognizes 2013 River Hero, Ray Wilkerson

Chip Oswalt, Ray Wilkerson, Keith Jackson, and Sarah Richards with the Colorado River Alliance after presenting Ray Wilkerson with the River Hero Award at the 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
Chip Oswalt, Ray Wilkerson, Keith Jackson, and Sarah Richards with the Colorado River Alliance after presenting Ray Wilkerson with the River Hero Award. Photo by Jeff Loftin
Sarah Richards presents Sheila Ellwood with the Volunteer of the Year award at the 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
Sarah Richards presents Sheila Ellwood with the Volunteer of the Year award. Photo by Jeff Loftin
The tent at the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
The tent at the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala. Photo by Jeff Loftin
Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th  Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala. Photo by Jeff Loftin
Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala. Photo by Jeff Loftin
 Robert Neblett, Sarah Richards, and Alan Rivas
 Robert Neblett from left, Sarah Richards, and Alan Rivas. Photo by Jeff Loftin
Hosts Doug and Marty Murrell
Hosts Doug and Marty Murrell with friends. Photo by Jeff Loftin
 Students from UT Elementary reading thank you letters at the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
 Students from UT Elementary reading thank you letters at the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala. Photo by Jeff Loftin
 Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
 Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala. Photo by Jeff Loftin
Chip Oswalt, Ray Wilkerson, Keith Jackson, and Sarah Richards with the Colorado River Alliance after presenting Ray Wilkerson with the River Hero Award at the 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
Sarah Richards presents Sheila Ellwood with the Volunteer of the Year award at the 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
The tent at the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th  Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
 Robert Neblett, Sarah Richards, and Alan Rivas
Hosts Doug and Marty Murrell
 Students from UT Elementary reading thank you letters at the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala
 Guests enjoy the Colorado River Alliance 12th Annual Cocktails on the Colorado Gala

Tuesday, May 14 was a landmark occasion for the Colorado River Foundation, marking the 12th annual Cocktails on the Colorado Awards Gala, held at the Austin home of Doug and Marty Murrell. The evening also served as a new beginning — with a big announcement — for the organization.

The Colorado River Foundation announced on Tuesday that it will now be known as the Colorado River Alliance. With a renewed purpose to secure the vitality of the Texas Colorado River through education and advocacy for all generations, the Colorado River Alliance will continue to advocate for the river, which it believes is imperative to the health and wellbeing of the communities it runs through.

In addition to announcing its new identity, the organization awarded the prestigious River Hero Award at the annual gala. Ray Wilkerson, president and CEO of Ray Wilkerson Companies Inc., was named this year’s River Hero for his tireless preservation and education efforts.

 “I've worked with Ray on a wide range of issues that had little in common except their importance to the people and future of this region," said State Senator Kirk Watson. "He is deeply devoted to this region, and this honor reflects the deep gratitude we share for his service."

Wilkerson was instrumental in building the Wilkerson Center for Colorado River Education at Redbud, which he has guided to success through financial support and hands-on involvement. The center has helped the Colorado River Alliance educate over 10,000 students.

Many other individuals were recognized at the 12th annual gala for their stewardship of the Colorado River in Texas and their achievements in making a positive impact on the health of the Colorado River.

Proceeds from Cocktails on the Colorado will directly support natural science education and outdoor recreation for underserved youth, annual river cleanups and additional community projects that encourage the stewardship, awareness and protection of the Colorado River.