Thursday, February 22, 2024 


The Houston Racquet Club

Assistance League of Houston held its popular fundraising event, Books & Brunch, on Thursday, February 22, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. at the Houston Racquet Club with Frank Billingsley as our Master of Ceremonies. The event provided an opportunity for local authors to make a presentation showcasing their literary works and to offer their books for sale. The authors this year were James Olson and Nina Hendee. In addition to the book sale, there was a raffle, silent auction and wine pull which took place. 

Proceeds benefited the philanthropic programs of Assistance League of Houston:  Operation School Bell®, Scholarship Program, Celebration of Giving and Assistance League Reads.

Guest Authors

James Olson was born in Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa.  He served in the U.S. Navy aboard guided missile destroyers and frigates and attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves.  Mr. Olson earned his law degree from the University of Iowa and became a member of the Iowa Bar.  His goal was to be a small-town lawyer in Iowa, but that changed when the Central Intelligence Agency offered him a position in the clandestine service.  Mr. Olson met his wife Meredith at the CIA and together they served under cover for 31 years conducting espionage and covert action operations overseas.  They served in Paris, Moscow, Vienna, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C.  At CIA headquarters, Mr. Olson was Chief of Counterintelligence.  After retiring from the CIA, he taught intelligence courses at the Bush School of Government and Public Service of Texas A&M University.  Meredith and Jim have three children and eleven grandchildren.

Nina Hendee, a native Texan with a passion for the history of our great state was born in Dallas and developed her love of Texas history at a young age.

Nina and her husband Edd, own and operate the Taste of Texas Restaurant which is in its 46th year. The restaurant is ranked as one of the top 100 restaurants in the U.S. and has won numerous awards for their outstanding wine list, delicious menu and unsurpassed service.

The restaurant employs over 200 young people and values the development of their leadership skills by encouraging the students’ academic endeavors providing flexible scheduling, grade bonuses, and a strong commitment to personal and academic excellence.

Nina shares her love of Texas and its rich history with approximately 13,000 Houston area students each school year at the Taste of Texas field trip where she presents great tales of our Texas forefathers. They then tour the restaurant and enjoy a lunch, compliments of the owners.

An active member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Speakers Committee for 25 years, Nina has won the coveted “Mega-Mouth” Award and was named Speaker of the Year 2015. In 2016 Nina was commissioned as an Admiral in the historic Texas Navy.

2024 Event

February 22, 2024