December 2018 Echo

Page 1

is published monthly by Barton Publications, Inc 113 W. Center St., Kyle, TX Publisher Cyndy Slovak–Barton Editor Moses Leos III Graphics Director David White Contributing Writers Moses Leos III Exsar Arguello Katie Burrell Contributing

Photographers Moses Leos III Exsar Arguello Katie Burrell Distribution

The search for Citizens of the Year


onths ago, when the idea of finding Citizens of the Year (COTY) initially popped into our heads, most of us at the time couldn’t quite wrap our heads around what this endeavor could look like. The premise seemed simple enough – find the people who make an impact across various categories on our community and highlight their efforts. But getting to that point was much, much more difficult. Simply because there are so many in our area – those who were nominated and many more who weren’t – that are worthy of being a “Citizen of the Year.” Such has been the discovery by our team who has worked tirelessly for the past few months getting this together. Through all of the stories we’ve gathered, we’ve found how much just one person’s actions can impact so many. How many in our midst are selfless enough to spend their time, energy and, at times, money to help their

neighbors out. Nothing, and we mean nothing, makes us prouder to learn more about those who make a difference in our community and how much they mean to others. In our eyes, everyone was a winner here. But how did we find our COTY? It was a process that began with the help of you, our readers, who so graciously gave us your COTY nominations for Buda, Kyle and Dripping Springs across four distinct categories. Later, we then asked our readers to provide reasons why a person should be named as a COTY. From there, our staff came together and cobbled over 70 total responses for all of our candidates. We then looked at

each response and attempted to gauge how much of an impact that person made on his/ her community. None of this, the stories, the photos, the interviews, could have been done without the help of our friends, neighbors and so many others who have contributed to our cause, and making all of our lives so much easier. We appreciate everyone’s efforts. We also appreciate the work of our staff, especially reporters Exsar Arguello and Katie Burrell, who worked diligently to talk with nominees and winners and craft exceptional stories about them. We also hope that learning about these 12 individuals spurs people to get involved and give back to their community, too. While we’re a growing community, we also shouldn’t overlook extending a helping hand. So, without further ado, here are your 2018 Citizens of the Year. Thank you for reading, Moses Leos III, Editor

David White Marketing Tracy Mack Jim Darby Teresa Starr



Amy Rae Hilton

Ginger Faught

Office Manager



Verna Wommack

Kate Curley

Robert Avera

For advertising



information, please

Jim Lewis

Teresa Tobias

department at



Leanne Logan

David Abdelmaseih



Wayland & Kathy Clark

Jennifer Scott



Marisa Tuzzi

Kimberley Fitzgerald

contact our sales 512–268–7862. See the

Hays County Echo online for free at

2 | Hays County Echo | DECEMBER 2018

Texas Lehigh Sudoku Solution, Puzzle, page 14

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Kids eat free on Wednesdays. 100 N Main Street, Buda, TX 78610 • (512) 312-4387

Serving breakfast and lunch and now open for dinner

Looking for good grub in and around Hays County? Just look here.



Business Hours:


Monday - Saturday • 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Tues-Thurs, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri-Sat, 11 a.m.-12 a.m. Sun-Mon, 3-10 p.m. HAPPY HOUR 3-7 p.m. Mon-Fri

No sauce. No forks. No kidding.

Closed Sunday

(512) 295-0121 | 116 N. Main Street in Buda

619 N. Colorado St. • Lockhart, TX 78644-2110 Phone: 512-398-2361 • Fax: 512-376-5576

A product of Barton Publications | 3


Katey Curley


Title 1 campuses, Curley has seen how it affects students’ daily lives. Some students might not have needs that are totally obvious. Others, however, could be in need of food, clothing or other daily items. That’s why Curley tries to keep an eye out for students BY MOSES LEOS III and their families who might Like many elementary need a little help. Part of that school teachers, Katey Curprocess involves meeting parley wants every student who ents during “Neighborhood enters her classroom to be a Walks,” which is done before force for change. the start of the school year. It’s a message that motiThe walk allows Curley to vates Curley to dedicate an meet with parents and talk entire bulletin board challeng- with them before their stuing her first grade students to dent enters her class. It also “Change the World” in their allows her, in a nonjudgmenown way. tal way, to see what their situBut for Curley, change ations might be, and if needdoesn’t have to wait until ed, to provide assistance. her students are older. By But for Patrick Curley, teaching skills such as incluKatey’s husband, seeing her sion, empathy, tolerance and go above and beyond the volunteerism, Curley, a Buda call of duty “doesn’t begin to resident and Hays CISD alum- describe her.” Patrick Curley na, offers children insight on said Katey’s outlook and view societal skills necessary for life of her students has changed beyond the classroom. even his gaze on the world. Through her own personal He cited one instance efforts, which include giving where he helped Katey drive back and providing help to an extra mattress to the home those students in need, Curley of a student who told her she hopes to make an impact with was tired of sleeping in the every person she educates. same bed as her grandmother. For Curley, her heart is “alHe also recalled how over the ways” with children who atspan of a week, she anonytend Title 1 campuses, which mously gained assistance to are schools that have 50 perfundraise for a bicycle for a cent or more of their populastudent who wished he had tion on free or reduced lunch one. and receive federal aid from Shoes, clothes, school supthe federal government. plies, bikes, glasses, whatever Having worked at Tom her students need, Patrick Green, Pfluger and Buda eleCurley said Katey “steps up.” mentary schools, which are all “She never wants the cred-


4 | Hays County Echo | DECEMBER 2018

it. It’s all about the kid, 100 percent of the time,” Patrick Curley said. “She doesn’t want the kid to know Mrs. Curley bought it. She just wants them to have it, and figures out a way to take the attention away from her.” A former Tom Green Hornet, Dahlstrom Mustang and Hays Rebel, Katey Curley said she was drawn to the education field at an early age. Part of that stems from her mother, who operated a day care facility, which allowed Curley to work around children for most of her life. She also remembers how she took on the role of an educator during playtime. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Katey Curley said. “I remember sitting on my bunk bed and lining up stuffed animals and playing school. It’s my calling and what I was put on this earth to do.” As a result, Katie Curley tries to love her students so much “they can’t but help to learn.” She also works to make sure her students feel safe in the classroom, while keeping them from worrying too much about the stresses in the world around them. Part of that also extends to teaching them about inclusion of others, which she believes is a critical part of daily life. “If I can take some of the stresses from the world away from them, and let them just Amy Hilton

be a child and let them feel safe, that’s when they flourish,” Katie Curley said. “That’s always first. When they speak on struggles or stresses, I tell them about what they can control and it allows them to thrive.” Sheng Strugar, a Buda Elemetnary parent whose student was in Curley’s class in 2017, extolled the style of teaching she employs and the communication she provides to parents. Her kindness also helped their daughter overcome shyness to the point where she is now “a completely different person.” Christi McAnelly said Curley “puts her heart and soul” into everything she does and makes every kid in her class feel as if they are her own. “She is not only an educator but a role model, promoter of respect, passionate, committed, an inspiration and my child’s hero,” Strugar said.

From an early age, Amy Rae Hilton heeded the call for service. 
That drive began when she was in elementary school, going to church.

BUDA AREA CITIZENS OF THE YEAR 2018 Hilton said her church encouraged her to donate her time over money, which she has continued to hold to this day. Years later, no matter if it’s through the Boy Scouts or helping neighbors in her native Mountain City, Amy Rae Hilton is always willing to serve her community. Hilton is an Advancement Chair and Merit Badge Counselor and former den mom to Cub Scouts Troop 125 , who works within the community of Buda and Mountain City to promote friendship and neighborly involvement. Hilton also created the Loving Mountain City group to facilitate community involvement through events and fundraisers. Hilton’s events have proven popular as they draw locals out of their homes to participate in activities together including carnivals and festivals. “The community was starting to change, and younger generations were moving in,” Hilton said. “There was nothing to connect everyone. I just wanted to bring something in to give everybody of all ages something to do together.” The organization, with the help of Hilton, also does fundraising drives for local food banks and for PAW of Central Texas. Deanna Solis, Mountain City resident, said she feels closer to her community because of her involvement with Loving Mountain City. “I truly can say I Love Mountain City and it’s because I’ve been able to feel like I’m a part of my community by participating in the events Amy helps organize,” Solis said. As a support systems specialist at Texas State University, and a mother to two sons, Hilton has a busy schedule, but still makes time to be involved in her children’s activities and volunteer in her community. “I just make the time,” Hilton said. “It’s not always easy, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.” Engaged to her fiancé, David Haffelder, the two also devote much of their time to the Exceptional Rodeo, an

event that offers special needs individuals the chance to participate in rodeo events. “For the past four years Amy has volunteered at the Brent Thurman Memorial’s “Exceptional Rodeo” for special needs children and adults,” Haffelder said. “Amy has done whatever was asked of her, but most importantly she used her photography talents to capture priceless moments during this event of special needs children and their families enjoying their time together.”

JIM LEWIS GOVERNMENT BY MOSES LEOS III While living in Apopka, Florida several years ago, Jim Lewis was bitten by the political bug. Having been involved in various social and civic clubs and organizations, Lewis, known for his outspokenness, was encouraged to try his hand at an Apopka City Council seat, a title Lewis nearly secured. While he didn’t win the seat, Lewis realized there was a way he could do more for his community that goes beyond anything a city council member could. By serving on boards and commissions, Lewis understood he had an ability to assist the city in managing its growth. Years later, Lewis, a native of San Antonio, continues to do just that as the Vice President of the Buda Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Board of Directors. Finding ways to diversify economic growth for a rapidly growing area is a point of pride for Lewis and others who serve on the board. “It was where I could contribute the best for Buda, and being a citizen and a business man in town, that was my choice,” Lewis said. One of the primary motivators that drove him to apply for the position was the need to expand the number of

businesses in the city. When Scott and White to town, has been a “team effort,” Lewis he applied roughly four years said. ago, Buda’s growth was in its “It’s a sense of pride and ac“infancy” and he wanted to complishment ensure it grew and it’s a in the best team effort,” way possible. Lewis said. Lewis also “It’s a madrew from jor sense of his time on pride to look downtown somewhere redeveland see what opment we’ve brought boards in to Buda.” Kissimmee Lewis adand Apopvocates for ka, Florida. more people While there to get involved were simin their city ilarities, government Lewis said in some way. Buda’s Going through Jim and his wife Gerry Lewis community Buda’s Citicohesivezens Academy ness and opened his eyes smaller size was appealing. sand showed him the need to What the board has done be involved in the process. over the past few years, rang“I think as we get bigger, it’s ing from helping new busigoing to be harder to (remain nesses start to deals including cohesive), so we need to work the one that brought Baylor, at that,” Lewis said.

Dine In or Take Out! Lunch ★ Sandwiches Desserts ★ Casseroles WEEKDAYS: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. SATURDAY: 10:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. SUNDAY: Closed

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK (Like us even better in person)

HOLIDAY SEASON PIES DON’T WAIT - ORDER NOW! Holiday or Company Parties? Our Quiches, Casseroles and Baked Goods are perfect!

On the Square in Downtown Kyle 202 West Center Street | 512-268-5885 See our online menus at A product of Barton Publications | 5

BUDA AREA CITIZENS OF THE YEAR 2018 a smaller company’s ownership give back as much time and resources to the Hays County community. Anselment has worked for international companies in Australia and Sweden with 80,000 staff members, all of which, despite having large profits, are not involved with community efforts. “However, since coming to Night Hawk, I’ve witnessed Night Hawk owner Leanne Logan give back a larger percent of her time and available resources than I’ve observed invested by those larger companies,” Anselment said. “It’s rare in an age where making profits is the most important consideration for most firms, to see an owner so devoted to protecting and giving back to her community.”For the



past few years, Logan has made it a priority to partner with the Hays County Food Bank during its annual Turkeys Tackling Hunger boxing day. Additionally, Logan said the company is always donating extra food to the food bank and different youth organizations in Austin. But for the Logan family, the most important part of the business is fostering a community of people who give back, a focal point of Logan’s business that is embedded in the business’s philosophy. “We are extremely blessed with all the success we’ve had, but it’s all about partnering with local businesses and giving back to our community,” Logan said. “Our partnership with H.E.B is fantastic. They are a beloved Texas company that believes in what we do, and although it’s a huge grocery store, they still support local. And that’s what it’s all about.”

When Leann Leanne Logan an Logan took over d husband Scott the helm of Night Hawk Frozen Foods from her father increase and that’s one thing in 2012, she was more than we are most proud of with ready to make an impact. the company,” Logan said. In the six years since, Logan “We’ve had people here for has overseen a company 20, 30 and even 40 years. That that’s increased revenue by 100 percent, grown company means a lot to us.” But along with growth staffing by 66 percent and of the company is also her has hired the first woman penchant to give back as Vice President and Chief well. Michelle Anselment, Operating Officer in its 54 a Night Hawk employee year history. “Our employed said she has never seen staff has continued to

Old Fashioned Soda Fountain Treats and Full Service Pharmacy


Debbie Thames Insurance Agency AUTO • HOME • LIFE • BOAT • HEALTH

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm 251 N. FM 1626 #2C, Buda, TX 78610 Office: (512) 312-1917 • Fax: 312-0688

Your Business & Referrals Are Appreciated 6 | Hays County Echo | DECEMBER 2018



Delivery Compounding Herbs/Homeopathy Essential Oils Wound Care

Pharmacy: 512-312-2111 • Fountain: 512-312-2172

203 Railroad St. • Buda, Texas We accept Most Major Insurance and Medicare Part D Plans



Kathy & Wayland Clark

WAYLAND & KATHY CLARK COMMUNITY BY KATIE BURRELL When Wayland and Kathy Clark moved to Dripping Springs in 1979, the city was small and volunteer work solved a lot of the town’s shortcomings. Eventually Wayland, who worked for a phone company, took on a volunteer position as an EMT, where he stayed for 10 years from 1982 to 1992. His decade-long tenure as a volunteer EMT kickstarted their mutual interest in community service, which has continued, where Wayland and Kathy, a retired DSISD educator, both volunteer through various community charities. Together, the couple serves with The Friends Foundation, originally as volunteers and currently as board members. The Friends Foundation aims to provide financial support to the elderly community in Dripping Springs. Members of the foundation work to fundraise for and feed those in their community. The Clark’s got involved because they share a similar goal to the organization: to better the lives of those who share their city. “I just like to give to the community and Dripping

Springs is so fortunate to have the amount of people who do that,” Wayland said. “I don’t want to just live in the community, I want to participate.” The Clark’s efforts don’t go unseen, and often inspire those around them to make time in their lives to help their friends and neighbors. “Kathy is a beloved Dripping Springs retired educator who still volunteers her time working in the schools and helping student teachers to become the best at their profession,” said Kathy Carriker. “This is about the only time you’ll see her without Wayland. Kathy also is very active in the Order of the Eastern Star. You’ll see Kathy and Wayland at Eastern Star booths selling handmade jewelry and baked goods to raise money for worthy projects.” Kathy said she knew that after she retired from teaching, she would still be active in local schools. “I wanted to stay involved with the kids and the teachers I know at the school and they can always use extra assistance anywhere in the school,” Kathy said. The Clark family can also be seen cheering for the Dripping Springs Tigers’ football team. Wayland, a contributing photographer for the News-Dispatch, takes photos on the sidelines, while Kathy cheers on the students. When the couple isn’t watching high school football or helping the school district, they spend much of their time in meetings and fundraisers for The Friends Foundation.

Outside of our 12 top Citizens of the Year, there were several other nominees who are worth mentioning. Read upcoming issues of the Hays Free Press and News-Dispatch for their stories. A product of Barton Publications | 7



Ginger Faught



EDUCATION BY MOSES LEOS III Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Marisa Tuzzi never envisioned a career in education. Spurred by her father, who worked in advertising for most of his life, Tuzzi sought to follow in his footsteps and earned a Marketing degree from Texas A&M University.
But she quickly realized the marketing world wasn’t a good fit. Instead, she remembered how much her father, who once served as a school board member, had always encouraged Tuzzi to enter into the education field. That push led Tuzzi to obtain her teaching degree from Southwest Texas State, which then turned into a job at Dripping Springs High. Seventeen years later, Tuzzi, who now serves as assistant athletic director at Dripping Springs High, continues to marvel at the

decision she made, primarily due to the lives she’s helped change, both in the classroom and on the field. “It’s been a long and crooked road, but I told students there’s nothing greater than what you want to do and waking up happy and thankful of where you’re supposed to be,” Tuzzi said.
Tuzzi said it’s an amazing feeling to see students she’s helped guide and educate during their time in high school thrive. That extends to sharing her passion and love for cross country and track and field with the students she teaches. During her tenure, Tuzzi has built Dripping Springs’ cross country program into a state-level contender. But one of her greatest thrills is getting updates from alumni who have either continued their athletic careers at the collegiate level, or from those who continue to run for the love of it. “Somehow they created a life around what we built together in high school. Something was sparked during their experience,” Tuzzi said. “The beauty of this sport is it’s something they can do for the rest of their lives.”

PrePlanning • aftercare Program cremation • traditional ServiceS

FM 2770 & Kohler’s Crossing • 1715 Kirby, Kyle, TX 78640 in Plum Creek

512-268-8200 H

8 | Hays County Echo | DECEMBER 2018

Dripping Springs residents recognize Deputy City Administrator Ginger Faught as an integral part of both city hall and the city itself. Faught is known to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to ensuring city projects are completed and citizens are happy. “She has always gone out Robert of her way to help citizens in Avera a kind, prompt and professional manner,” said Michelle Fischer, City Administrator. “She has worked extremely hard over the last several years on the city’s wastewater utility expansion and transportation issues.” After graduating with her degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Faught immediately went to work for the city of Dripping Springs in 2000. “I just have a heart for service,” Faught said. “I love to help people and it’s a great way to meet the neighbors and it’s amazing the different people you can meet. One person can make a big difference and even bigger with help.” Faught has contributed to road projects, housing projects and is responsible, in-part, for Dripping Springs’ growth. “Ginger is one of the ones that has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make Dripping Springs a community that I am proud of and I use it as a benchmark to compare to other communities,” said Tom Darmstadter, local real estate broker. “I believe that the city is extremely lucky to have someone dedicated, committed and someone that can handle her

work responsibilities while at the same time have raised three wonderful children.”


BY MOSES LEOS III Like many youth fresh out of high school, Robert Avera wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do when he hit the real world years ago. That all changed when he discovered AmeriCorps, a national service program that fosters civic engagement in young people. From battling raging wildfires in the Rocky Mountains in his younger days, to now working as an injury attorney in the Dripping Springs area, Avera learned how much giving back to those in need were important virtues to live by. That mindset took root when Avera focused on public safety

DRIPPING SPRINGS AREA CITIZENS OF THE YEAR 2018 and environment in AmeriCorps. It was there he opted to join the U.S. Forest Service as a firefighter, where for seven years Avera was part of the Hotshots crew, which dealt with battling some of the hottest parts of a forest fire. Avera’s group was often dispatched to areas such as Utah, Colorado and even Oklahoma. Avera enjoyed the camaraderie associated with battling forest fires, including sharing experiences of the long, arduous hours put in to extinguish the blaze. But he also was proud to see how appreciative people were of their efforts, and how he and other firefighters were equally proud to keep residents safe and secure from the blaze. “Doing something for someone else pays dividends way over the efforts,” Avera said. That caught with me and was the impetus for me joining AmeriCorps. I wanted to do something for someone else.”

Community service continued on through his adult years. Avera initially attended Colorado State University and majored in ranging and forest management. Later in life, Avera attended Baylor University and obtained his law degree. In 2008, Avera opened his own law firm in the Dripping Springs area, with the main focus on personal injury. For Avera, getting into a professional career that involves service and helping others was imperative. “A lot of times, people need help,” Avera said. “They show appreciation for the work I do.” Community service extends beyond the courtroom for Avera as well. Other activities include serving as a member of the Hays County Emergency Services District No. 6 board of directors, as well as part of a council with the Dripping Springs Youth Soccer Association.

We know how it works! • 24-hour Jail Release • Financial Arrangements • Warrant Walk-through • Accepting Visa, MasterCard & Discover • Serving all of Hays County

Located in the San Marcos Square



Get the skills you need from the most affordable college in Central Texas. Register today.







A product of Barton Publications | 9



COMMUNITY BY KATIE BURRELL With a school named after her father-in-law, Teresa Tobias has big shoes to fill in a community that believes she does just that and more. Tobias is a Hays CISD School Board Trustee with children of her own in the district. She also happens to be related Rosalio Tobias, the namesake of Tobias Elementary school. Tobias’ experience serving the school district dates back over a decade. She’s with the Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) at Tobias and Fuentes Elementary schools and Simon Middle School over the years. Tobias is also active with the Lobo Band Booster Club and the Lehman NJROTC parent support group. Tobias can be seen selling popcorn and nachos on game days for the booster club, who also has a deal to always sell her favorite soda, Big Red. “She is such a wonderful, cheerful, hard worker/volunteer among many things,” said friend Alicia Valadez Acord. “Teresa is both admired and respected by many. Teresa

is always on the go, and her personal approach in every project she takes on makes her shine. Her dedication to her family, the Hays ISD School Board… and the countless hours in volunteer work is well known.” Tobias says she wants the best for the school district and students, which is why she is always so willing to get handson with different campus projects. Most recently, Tobias dressed up on Halloween day for the district’s storybook parade. She wore her favorite beauty school drop-out costume from “Grease” and high-fived the students as they walked through the halls. “It’s always been our family’s legacy to serve the schools,” Tobias said. “I have a son with special needs and

10 | Hays County Echo | DECEMBER 2018

that’s taught me to be an advocate for children.” Tobias also makes an effort to fill in for parents of special needs students during Admission Review Dismissal meetings where she can be there for students and families who are going through the same education hurdles she went through with her son. “There was no one there for me when my child was diagnosed at three,” Tobias said. “So it’s a bit self-soothing to be able to help people in the same situation.”

All of it is meant to find that delicate balance between educating the next generation and making it entertaining to boot. But the aims Abdelmaseih has for his student goes far beyond the classroom. He challenges students to push themselves to do more; for some, it’s helping to escape societal ills, while also making sure they pull others out, too. Abdelmaseih believes his role isn’t just as an educator. It’s helping to break the cycle of hopelessness for underprivileged, underserved and economically disadvantaged youth. “I instruct history, but I teach them more than that,” Abdelmasieh said. “They have the whole world ahead of them. So I want to push them to do more David Abdelmaseih with their lives and motivate them to do something, to make sure they can have the best they can have.” Much of that drive comes from Abdelmaseih’s personal upbringing in a single-parent household, which he said helps bridge a connection with many of his students. Knowing the struggle of living in a home where a family member is on welfare or between jobs, and that someone can make it out of that situation, is enlightening for his students. Getting into education was equally a long and winding road. Abdelmaseih knew from an early age he wanted to be a teacher and obtained his degree in education from Seton Hall University. Massive amounts of debt, however, ushered Abdelmasieh into a high-paying corporate data analysis job for many years. BY MOSES LEOS III But he soon discovered the job was unfulfilling. It also When one looks into the didn’t cater to Seton Hall’s “tent classroom of Lehman High history teacher David Abdelma- poles” of community service, seih, they realize he isn’t afraid to which continued to resonate in his mind. mix things up. Those factors led AbdelmaA person who dislikes the seih to realize he needed to do rigidity of conventional education, Abdelmaseih offers lounge more. “I was servicing my bank chairs and couches for those account, my luxuries, and I who populate his Advanced wanted to change that,” AbdelPlacement U.S. History class. maseih said. “I was successful Conversely, the room is surbut was not happy.” rounded with posters detailing the information students will obtain in the rigorous course. COTY CONTINUED, 12




Giving you easier Access on the holidays so you can spend time with the ones you

by Hays Free Press

THANKS to the families who nominated and voted for me! It’s a true honor to be nominated as a “Citizen of the Year” by a community I’ve loved living in and serving for over seven years. I look forward to continuing to provide great medical care and being part of this vibrant and growing area!” MaryAnn Cecelia Katherine Gamble, MD | ARC Family Medicine

967 Wiley Way

Dr. Gamble Voted Citizen of the Year!

Buda Sportsplex Dr




ts a r g


After Hours Clinic


ARC Buda 3420 FM 967, Suite B-100 Buda, TX 78610 512-295-1608

KYLE AREA CITIZENS OF THE YEAR 2018 So, three years ago, Abdelmaseih applied for and received a job at Lehman High; he knew from the first week onward, “I had made the best decision of my life.” Talking to students on a ground-level, real-world basis assists Abdelmaseih in knowing who they are and where they are coming from. It assists him in understanding the myriad of backgrounds, belief systems and circumstances they all have. As a result, Abdelmaseih works to ensure his classroom is a safe place for all and where they can freely express themselves. He also offers the little things to students, such as providing snacks, food or even clothing if a student might need it, to help them succeed. Marisa Myers, an area resident, lauded Abdelmaseih’s commitment to his students and seeing them succeed. She cited his willingness to show up when requested to students’ events, programs and other extracurricular activities. “When students enter his classroom on day one, they learn very quickly that they have an adult role model that has their back and is committed to seeing them succeed,” Myers said. But Abdelmasieh isn’t afraid to make his class difficult, and to ask his students to embrace being uncomfortable. He believes that gives students a leg up in what is often an uncomfortable world. It also becomes a teaching moment, where he tries to set the bar high and gives students

an opportunity to rise up and succeed. Haley Casas, a student at Lehman High, said Abdelmaseih is the most “outgoing, genuine person” people could meet. “I learned so much from him, not only for history, but he is the only teacher that shows and explains the real world to you,” Casas said. An important tenet for Abdelmaseih is being an advocate for volunteerism and the community. During Thanksgiving, students regularly sign up with Abdelmaseih to participate in Operation Turkey in San Marcos. In 2017, Abdelmaseih organized a canned food drive to help replenish the Hays County Food Bank after its stores were depleted following Hurricane Harvey. He also pushes students to be informed politically and to pay attention to their local, state and national elections. “I make them aware you have to be able to reach down and pull others up,” Abdelmaseih said. “Success is not worthy of success unless you are willing to help others succeed.” Michael Snead, an assistant principal at Lehman, said Abdelmaseih’s selflessness is apparent in nearly everything he does for his students. Even when he discovered he was in the running for the Citizen of the Year award, Abdelmaseih never put himself before his school or students. “When I work at a school, I always ask myself, ‘would I send my children here?,’” Snead said. “Meeting David and knowing his passion for students, when my kids are old enough, I want him to be their teacher.”


Jennifer Scott


Jennifer Scott always knew she had a calling to serve people through her love of politics. That call for service transpired when she became the executive assistant at the Hays County Pct. 2 Commissioner’s office. Working with newly reelected Commissioner Mark Jones has transformed into a genuine friendship. The inseparable duo is often seen together at county events with the task at representing the citizenry of their precinct. “Jones and I make a good team, and our goal is to be the best public servants we can be,” Scott said. “Personally, I have a vested interest in transportation projects here in Precinct 2 and across the county. But no matter the project, it’s always my goal to stay engaged with everything that crosses my desk.” Before tackling her job in the Pct. 2 office, Scott interned with former Commissioner Will Conley, which in her eyes, laid the foundation for her work in county politics, honing her skills on local government. After interning with Conley, Scott received her MA in Public Administration at Texas State University, but wasn’t sure if her calling was local politics. Originally, Scott has the ambition of

becoming a public servant for the state or federal government. But her experiences with local government quickly solidified that her impact on a community could be better utilized locally. “I like having that personal relationship with the people I work with, and that’s ultimately what has kept me here for seven years,” Scott said. “I have face to face interaction and relationships with the people of this precinct, and I love how engaging that can be.” With almost a decade of experience here in Hay County, Scott said she is proud to stay involved with a community she calls home. Sue Richey, a Hays County resident who was one of the numerous citizens who nominated Scott, said Scott prioritizes following up with her constituents and goes out of her way to take care of any situation at hand. “Jennifer Scott is every government employee’s dream,” Richey said. “She makes each person feel like number one, responds to each request, provides additional information with explanations and who to call if necessary. She does it all with a positive attitude and a smile.”

• 5 & 3 Gal. Bottles • Coolers • .5 Liter Bottles • R/O Filtration • Private Label Available • Drinking • Spring Water • Purified Water • Hot & Cold • Room Temp & Cold

Reach more than 10,000 readers in Buda, Kyle and surrounding areas. Advertise in the quartlerly Hays County Echo, by calling Tracy at 512-433-0926.

12 | Hays County Echo | DECEMBER 2018

4 FREE Bottles & First Month Cooler Rental FREE!

Every Drop of Hill Country Springs water comes from a protected Spring Source, NOT filtered municipal Water!

Family Owned and Operated. Friendly Hometown Service, Serving Texans!


(Present this ad to your routeman for special.)


Est. 2016


121 hall professional ctr suite e KYLE,TX


A product of Barton Publications | 13

KYLE AREA CITIZENS OF THE YEAR 2018 Kimberley Butler-Fitzgerald

We make the stuff GROWTH is built on. Texas Lehigh is the proud sponsor of the Hays County Echo Sudoku Puzzles.


may move. “Kimberly has provided the community with great dedication to all students from surrounding high schools, being involved in numerous events in the community, while her hair salon always runs specials to give back to children and adults,” said customer Chavail Carter. BY KATIE BURRELL Butler-Fitzgerald is a mothWhen she’s not cutting hair er to three, highly-involved triplet daughters. Butler-Fitzfor her valued customers, gerald manages to run her Kimberley Butler-Fitzgerald salon, work with the local takes pride in serving as a Parent Teacher Association mother of three, an active school district volunteer and a and put her children through their various sports teams at valued neighbor. For many in the community, Lehman High School. Starting her business wasn’t Fitzgerald, owner of Ladies easy, but Butler-Fitzgerald said and Gents salon in Kyle, is it has all been worth it. She someone who continues to originally worked at shops in give back to the community Austin for eight years, in Buda she serves. for eight years and has been One of those ways is in Kyle for another eight. She’s through her business, which hosts independent stylists that decided Kyle is her last stop, serve residents in Hays County and plans to stay and commit her efforts to improving the and the Austin area. community and the school Butler-Fitzgerald runs her district, which is one of her business with generosity in passions. mind, taking no commission “It has its ups and downs,” from the stylists who work Butler-Fitzgerald said. “I want under her; she often partto see the people here at the ners with local charities and nonprofits. Butler-Fitzgerald’s salon grow, and I also want giving nature has inspired her to do community service. I’d like to see growth in Kyle and customers to get involved as support small business, it’s well, and keeps them coming tough.” back, no matter how far they


14 | Hays County Echo | DECEMBER 2018

See solution, page 2

Keeping our finger on the pulse of the community

.com Serving the readers of Buda, Kyle and surrounding communities Serving the readers in western Hays County


Call 512-268-7862 or email

Hays County Echo Service Directory AIR CONDITIONING A&E Air Conditioning & Heating, LLC Free furnace special, $500 off complete system or 15% off any repair by mentioning you saw us here. 512-312-9535

NEMEC Heating and Air Proudly serving Central Texas. Residential, commercial and after hours available. 512–312–9081 or 512–789–5132

AUTOMOTIVE AMM Collision Center Three great locations! Kyle: 21681 IH–35, 262–1013 Austin: 11740 Manchaca Rd., 292–1060 Dripping Springs: 3990 Hwy 290, 512–894–3888

compost mix. Tractor work available. Specializing in country driveways. 512-858-7952. robinnds@aol. com,

Handyman Deb Ray Homes Honey-do list, drywall repair, clean dryer vent, leaking toilet, repairs for sale of home. Insured. Ray Brown,, 325-248-5027.

Reliable Handy Man Painting, remodel, home repair, flooring & tile, carpentry, decks & fences, pressure washing, gutters, cleaning, RV repair. 20-plus years of experience. dhall45@yahoo. com, 512-618-0482

LANDSCAPING Daniel Stone & Landscaping Supplies



Prince Plumbing Company Residential repair, remodeling, water heaters, sewer maintenance, slab & gas leak repair. 20 years experience, family owned and operated. 512–312–0710

POOL SERVICE G&S Pool and Spa Service Serving South Austin, Dripping Springs, Driftwood, Kyle and Buda since 1994. 512–326–4695.

High Tide Pool Service Over 10 years cleaning and maintaining pools. Drain & clean, pressure washing, full service repairs, replastering. Free estimates, call Keith Miller at 512 965-3465.

Septic problems... Let us help! Locally serving our community since 1982. Septic repair and installation specialist, septic tank pumping and servicing, aerobic system servicing and more. Commercial and residential. www., 512–282–3889.

Sellman Enterprises, Inc. Septic plumbing, cleaning, repairs Commercial & Residential Serving the Hays Metro area, including Travis, Blanco, Bastrop, Williamson & surrounding counties. 512–312–0002,

SHOE REPAIR Austin Shoe Hospital


You know us... by our reputation! Full service car & truck repair. 601 S. Loop 4 in Buda 512–295–2832

We deliver. Grass: St. Augustine, Buffalo, Bermuda, Tifway. Chopped rock, patio rock, flagstone, drystack, gravel, river rock, mulch, sand and loam. 12015 Hwy 290 W, Cedar Valley, Austin. 512-288-8488.

Central Garage, LLC

Who Does Your Lawn

Tri–County Construction

Complete Auto Repair, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 20 Hwy. 290 West, Dripping Springs 512-894-4114 or 512-858-4252

Call Jesse Reyna at 512-7882180 or email apa6207@ Offering competitive pricing and superior service in the Manchaca, Buda, and Kyle area since 2010. Taking care of all lawn needs so you can play. Mowing, trimming, edging, debris removal, flower bed maintenance

Let us make your dreams a reality! Specializing in custom remodeling and insurance repairs since 1984. Fully insured. 512–282–6224

Buda Automotive

All American Wastewater Solutions, LLC

American Handyman Building relationships one project at a time. Free estimates, one year warranty, insured. https://, 512400-9111

Quality boot & shoe repair as well as purse and luggage repair. Ten locations in Central Texas including: Ben White & Manchaca, 512-4408788; Hwy 290 & Nutty Brown Rd., 512-827-3398; and Hwy 290 in Oak Hill, 512-288-6386.


COMPUTER SERVICE Hays Technical Services Want help selecting the best value? Office systems not maintained? Did your kids or employees leave your computer useless?

DIRT Rick-Rob Trucking Loam, topsoil, sand, gravel, roadbase, asphalt millings, granite,

LEGAL SERVICES John A. Hall Attorney and Counselors At Law Business law, wills, trust, probate, family law, divorce, custody, consumer law, deceptive trade, property law, landlord–tenant law, personal injury, DWI, criminal defense, debt defense, general civil litigation. 130 Hall Professional Center , Kyle, TX. 512–268–6425

Wild West Remodeling No job too small or too big! Kitchen/bath remodels, painting, tile, siding, decks, trim, door & window replacements, drywall repair, electrical and plumbing. Curtis Dorsett, 512–402–4704

Lees Trees Firewood, pruning, tree removal, chipping, planting, cedar posts, bulk mulch. Free assessments & estimates. Affordable oak wilt treatment. Schedule ball moss treatment for June. Call Marcus Lees at (512) 858-4018,


ROOFING Area Roofing Company Serving Hays County. Residential & Commercial. Free estimates. Insurance claims welcome. Ron Johnson, owner. 512–312–5050

Custom window treatments at affordable prices. Graber, Hunter Douglas, Norman and more. Blinds, shades, draperies and shutters. Low prices with lifetime guarantees and fast professional installation. Call 512-847-8970, www.

A product of Barton Publications | 15

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.