Erath County Living - VOL I 2023

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VOL I 2023

Evans, 55, had a choice between Stephenville and Brownwood for his practice, which he said was easy to make.

FALLING IN LOVE WITH FALL

While the change of colors and cool air is enough to enjoy, the fall months also bring their own season of activities and bucket lists.

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

Lamar and Marilynn are two of Tarleton’s most generous donors, and they have poured their heart and soul into transformational learning.

Hometown Liv ing At Its Best


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Hometown Living At Its Best

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Helping your family get more out of health care. Caring for you close to home. At Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, we’re proud to bring you more of the health care you need while keeping you close to home. With personalized care you and your family can count on, everything you need is right around the corner. So you can get in, get healthy and get back to what matters most. That’s how we care more.

Our Services: • Orthopedics

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Doctors on the medical staffs practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health hospitals or Texas Health Resources. © 2023 Texas Health Resources


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CONTENTS

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A QUARTER CENTURY OF HEALING

Evans, 55, had a choice between Stephenville and Brownwood for his practice, which he said was easy to make.

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DR. OSCAR “BUD” FRAZIER: FROM SMALL TOWN TO WORLD RENOWN Beyond skill, this heart doctor has heart and soul for his fellow man. Dr. Frazier continues to work to benefit mankind. He developed the continuous flow left ventricular assist device. He has performed over 1,200 transplants.

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BELIEVE BOLDLY: EMBRACING CHANGE AND TAKING THE NEXT STEP

Is it time for you to grow to the next level in your relationship with Jesus? Is it time to let go of what is comfortable and step into what is next?

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OSMOSIS – LEARNING BY DOING: SPOTLIGHT ON SHAWNA RAY The love for all things rodeo comes naturally. Born into a rodeo family, Shawna spent some time competing in both high school and college rodeo.

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THE MYSTERIOUS MEDICINE BOTTLE

History can reveal a great deal, even the things we share—a home, a neighborhood, a small relic, and a name.

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CHOICES CLINIC AND LIFE RESOURCE CENTER: OFFERING HOPE TO THE HOPELESS Since 1994, Choices Clinic and Life Resource Center has been coming alongside and offering hope to those who didn’t know where to turn.

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ADVANCE CAMP

Chad Wallen invented Advance Camp, a camp for young men in the 6th through 12th grade. The camp has the mission of helping fatherless young men learn practical skills that an involved dad would have taught him.

ABOUT THE COVER Cover photo is of Dr. Evans of Cross Timbers Orthopaedics, who has been taking care of Stephenville athletes for 25 years. To read more about him, turn to page 10.

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MEET YOUR HOMETOWN DOCTORS

A LEGACY IN MOTION c r o s s ti mberso rtho.co m 254-965-2663 561 N. Graham | Stephenville, TX 76401

SC H E DU LE AN APPOINTMENT! Matt Maruska, DO

Alyssa Horn DeJong, PA-C

Williams Evans, MD

ADVANCED IMAGING SERVICES INCLUDING ACR ACCREDITED CT AND MRI

Trust Your Care To Cross Timbers Imaging

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254-968-8600 561 N. Graham | Stephenville, TX 76401

Hometown Living At Its Best

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A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT: TARLETON EDUCATORS MAKE RECORD-SETTING PHILANTHROPIC GIFT “Lamar and Marilynn are two of Tarleton’s most generous donors, and they have poured their heart and soul into transformational learning,” said university president James Hurley.

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FINDING THE JOY IN THE WORK Her love for the outdoors is what drew her to the job in Stephenville. Eisenmann, a Kentucky native who spends as many waking hours as possible in nature, devoted her career to rural healthcare.

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TRAVEL TEXAS: AMARILLO Located about five hours from DFW, Amarillo offers great eating, beautiful scenes and a rich history with educational opportunities.

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FALLING IN LOVE WITH FALL

CONTENTS

While the change of colors and cool air is enough to enjoy, the fall months also bring their own season of activities and bucket lists.

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ERATH GIRL LOVES SERVING HER ERATH FRIENDS Linn, 59 come Aug. 3, has been with Peacock’s longer than many of her customers have even been on this earth – 35 years in all, including the past 32 consecutive.


CROSS TIMBERS FINE ARTS COUNCIL

Serving Bosque, Comanche, Eastland, Erath, Hamilton, Hood, Palo Pinto and Somervell Counties since 1980 Art in Public Places CTFAC has paired with several locations in Stephenville to bring art to the community with each location featuring different local artists. • CTFAC Gallery on the Square 148 West Collge Street • Stephenville Public Library 174 Columbia Avenue • Clark Field Regional Airport 1050 Airport Road • Stephenville Citizens Center 164 E. College Street

Coming in September “The Art of the Cowgirl: The Fashion, Art, & Attitude” • Exhibit on display at the CTFAC Gallery on the Square, September 5-24 • Rodeo Reception Monday, September 18, 4pm-7pm • VIP Luncheon+Fashion Show Friday, September 22, 12 noon

COME SEE US AT OUR NEW LOCATION ON THE SQUARE!

Exhibit: “The Timeless Art of Mary Waters” CTFAC Gallery on the Square August 3-26, 2023

148 West College Street Stephenville, TX 76401

Experience life captured in beautiful bronze sculptures and paintings created by artist, Mary Waters

crosstimbersfinearts.org

*Exhibit is free and open to the public

(254) 965-6190

Find us on facebook


FROM THE PUBLISHER

H

ey, Erath County friends! School is back in session and we are all looking forward to all things fall – football, pumpkin patches, flannels, and of course, cooler temps!

We tell you with every issue how much the people of Erath County inspire us. In this issue, you will read about Linn Whiteley, who has been serving Erath County customers at Peacock’s for 35 years. You’ll also read about Stephenville native, Dr. Oscar ‘Bud’ Frazier, who developed the continuous flow left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and has performed over 1,200 transplants. We want to thank our advertisers for making this publication possible and free to the community! Help us express our gratitude by shopping local and visiting their establishments to pick up your complimentary copy.   This publication is about you! Please feel free to email us photos of your events to add to our Hometown Happenings or any stories you would like to read in the next issue. We would love to hear from you! We give thanks to God for our many blessings and look forward to a great year to come! Until the next edition, wishing you many blessings -

PUBLISHER

RedFin Publishing Justin & Hayley Six

Kyle & Halsey Clark

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Hayley Six

CREATIVE | DESIGN

VYBE Marketing & Media

CONTENT COORDINATOR

PROOF READER

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Kyle and Halsey Clark

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. - Proverbs 16:3 Erath County Living Magazine | RedFin Publishing

www.ErathCountyLiving.com

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Jennifer Cabbage

Robert Finney Caitlyn Moyer

Sass & Soul Images COVER PHOTO

Provided by Cross Timbers Orthopaedics

SALES Julie Henderson Julie.redfinpublishing@Gmail.com 817-597-0028

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Lindsay L. Allen Peggy Purser Freeman Janette Halliday Connie Lewis Leonard Rick Mauch Erica Willis

CONTRIBUTORS

Justin and Hayley Six

Marybelle Gomez Marybelle.RedFin@Gmail.com

Tarleton State University Texas Health Hospital Stephenville

Erath County Living© is published semi-annually by RedFin Publishing.

www.RedfinPublishing.com P.O. Box 1239 | Weatherford, TX 76086 (817) 618-9465

All rights reserved. Copies or reproduction of this publication in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without expressed written authorization from the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein. Advertising is subject to omission, errors, and other changes without notice.


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A QUARTER

CENTURY OF

HEALING BY RICK MAUCH PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CROSS TIMBERS ORTHOPAEDICS

EVANS, 55, HAD A CHOICE BETWEEN STEPHENVILLE AND BROWNWOOD FOR HIS PRACTICE, WHICH HE SAID WAS EASY TO MAKE.

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"EVANS WILL BE CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF SERVICE IN STEPHENVILLE ON JULY 17."

A

quarter century ago Dr. Bill Evans arrived to practice medicine in Stephenville, Texas with a dual purpose. Of course, he wanted to practice medicine, his specialty being orthopedics. But he had another reason for landing in Stephenville. “My wife, Nanette of 26 years, practices radiology here in Stephenville. She and I met in medical school and got married, near the end of my orthopedic residency in Atlanta. I was able to coax her into moving to a town large enough to practice near my home of Proctor, so that I could enjoy farming and ranching as well,” Evans said. “Many would say that I am easily distracted by cows.” He and Nanette started an Angus ranch along with his family. “I continue to enjoy the art of producing quality Angus cattle–from pasture to plate and for breeding stock. We have been blessed to have some national Angus sires and have actually had the number one artificial insemination bull in Australia,” he said. “I feel we are better known in Montana and out of the country than Erath County for Angus Cattle.” Evans, 55, had a choice between Stephenville and Brownwood for his practice, which he said was easy to make. He joined Dr. James Herbertson and practiced in the Bosque River Shopping Center for the first three years. Dr. Herbertson decided to partially retire and practice at the Stephenville Medical and Surgical Clinic and that’s when Evans started Cross Timbers Orthopedics. “Nanette and I were fortunate enough to purchase the Boucher Morgan and Young accounting office building right across from the Stephenville Hospital when they outgrew the building and moved to the new location,” Evans said. While at the Bosque Center, the practice employed 2 people, in our current location the staff is now up to 27. Stephenville has been a blessing.”

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Evans will be celebrating 25 years of service in Stephenville on July 17. Stephenville is the only city in which Evans has practiced medicine. He graduated from Texas A & M Summa Cum Laude, was a member of the College of Science Dean’s Forum and got his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. He graduated in the top percentile of the class and was indoctrinated into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He did his residency at Emory University Hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia and was associate team Physician for the Atlanta Ballet and a physician at the Atlanta Olympics.

Prior to him, no one in his family had a career in medicine. It doesn’t look like his children will be following in his footsteps either, he noted with a smile. “Neither of the kids wanted to go into medicine. They both saw how time consuming medical private practice can be. Nanette and I only wish for them to be happy with what they do,” he said. “Nanette was drawn into medicine by her paternal grandfather, who was a surgeon in Puerto Rico, and quite the role model.” Evans chose the field of orthopedic medicine because he has always enjoyed sports. At first, he thought he might want

"He graduated in the top percentile of the class and was indoctrinated into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society."

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to study to be an engineer, but in the end his love of sports guided him. “Learning the musculoskeletal system, treating bones and joints, and caring for kids, adults and elderly has been a joy. Orthopedics keep you on your toes,” he said. “I’ve always been a sports nut. CTO began caring for Tarleton State athletes and developed a strong friendship with Lonn Reismann (former Texans basketball coach and current Athletic Director for Tarleton State University) and Dr. Steve Simson (former Director of Sports Medicine). I have seen the University excel and grow.” Since the late 1990’s Evans has volunteered as team physician for the Stephenville and surrounding Cross Timbers schools’ sports programs. “I have seen some players go on to play in college and as professionals. With the hours spent on sidelines, sports events, physicals and traveling with teams, it has been a privilege to get to know some of the players and their families. We have gotten to know some of these kids quite well and we celebrated their achievements with their

"The worst injury of all time still remains a donkey bite– don’t ever get a donkey mad enough to bite you and pull you over a pipe fence!" families as well as mourned the tragic loss of some. The relationships have been a rich part of our service, God has given us a joyous ride in Stephenville. I will forever be grateful to be a part of such a solid community,” he said. During his career, Evans has dealt with several serious injuries, including treating Hollywood types who were bucked off livestock at legendary bull rider Ty Murray’s ranch. He’s also dealt with injuries connected to “Dancing with the Stars” and well as the popular pickleball. But the worst injury of all that he’s worked on? “The worst injury of all time still remains a donkey bite–don’t ever get a donkey mad enough to bite you and pull you over a pipe fence!” he exclaimed. He recalled that in his first year in Atlanta as an intern, he participated in caring for a former President’s wife. As a resident he assisted on two hand surgeries on the former US President. More typically, I care for shoulder and knee injuries but also take care of bone fractures,tendon, and ligament injuries as well as degenerative joints. While Evans continues to practice sports medicine daily, he said he’s blessed to have been able to recruit and work with his Associate Dr. Matt Maruska as a Family Practice Sports Medicine physician for the past 8 years.

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“He is an outstanding practitioner and practices Sports Medicine to a high degree. He has been providing cutting edge non operative treatment to area patients. He is highly experienced in regenerative therapy, having successfully performed the procedures for the past 8 years and is dedicated to building the service line with the latest treatment options and high quality patient centered care. In addition to his exceptional talents as a physician, he is a great dad and coach as well,” Evans said. They work with Tarleton State University together and regularly even travel with the Sports teams. “We are blessed to teach the Master’s Tarleton Athletic Trainers, physician assistants from Hardin-Simmons and medical students who request rotations through the office. “Paying it forward is important as these kids will be going on to do a great job caring for others in their communities as well. CTO feels strongly about giving back to the community with an excess of $100,000 given back to community. In addition, the staff contributes countless hours in donated services. “Although it’s nice to be recognized as the only Board-Certified Sports Medicine Surgeon in Stephenville, my rewards happen daily by watching kids and adults get better. I love seeing people get back to work and things

they enjoy. I’m blessed to have a job that allows people the opportunity to maintain quality of life.” And had he not become a doctor? “When doing interviews for orthopedic residency, a routine question asked is, ‘What will you do if you don’t get into orthopedic residency?’ The routine answer is to do a year of general surgery and try again,” he said, adding with a smile, “My answer was definitely go back home to the farm in Proctor and go to work.” Like most doctors, quality time is hard to come by for Evans, be he does work to make sure he has quality time with his family. “I used to enjoy baseball and golf but gave up most of those things to watch the kids play sports. Some of my greatest memories are on the sidelines watching my kids,” he said. As for how long he plans to continue practicing, well while he rarely has a day off, he doesn’t see himself doing anything else soon. “I see myself practicing for at least another decade as I truly love what I do,” he said. “I still have a passion for orthopedics and sports medicine and don’t see that gong away anytime soon!” ECL

"Evans chose the field of orthopedic medicine because he has always enjoyed sports."

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"SOME OF MY GREATEST MEMORIES ARE ON THE SIDELINES WATCHING MY KIDS."

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Erath County Living


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DR. OSCAR

"Bud"

FRAZIER FROM SMALL TOWN TO WORLD RENOWN BY CONNIE LEWIS LEONARD PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JT FRAZIER

BEYOND SKILL, THIS HEART DOCTOR HAS HEART AND SOUL FOR HIS FELLOW MAN. DR. FRAZIER CONTINUES TO WORK TO BENEFIT MANKIND. HE DEVELOPED THE CONTINUOUS FLOW LEFT VENTRICULAR ASSIST DEVICE. HE HAS PERFORMED OVER 1,200 TRANSPLANTS.

T

he Best of the Best, The Country’s Best Heart Doctors, America’s Top Doctors, Living Legend Award, “Gift to Mankind” Award, The Best Medical Specialists in North America and Scientific Achievement Award are just a few of the accolades bestowed upon Dr. Oscar “Bud” Frazier.

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But how does a man born and raised in small-town Stephenville become a world-renowned doctor, research scientist, inventor, speaker, and teacher? Beyond skill, this heart doctor has heart and soul for his fellow man. Dr. Frazier’s parents modeled determination, excellence, and work ethic. Oscar H. Frazier Sr. served as a math teacher and track coach at Tarleton Junior College for forty years, beginning in 1925. Completed in 1977, the Oscar H. Frazier Memorial Track bears his name. Dr. Frazier’s mother, Adele, taught high school English. Committed to preserving history, she once laid down on a brick road to prevent a paving project. His sister Marilyn became a librarian and lover of music, an overcomer with strength and grace. Bud Frazier was an all-around athlete. In 1951, he was the best hitter in Little League. The next year, he had a 600 batting average. Since football is king in Texas, his baseball opportunities ended after Little League. The town of Minerals Wells carried more prestige than Stephenville, partly due to Fort Wolters, The Baker Hotel and Crazy Water. Mineral Wells High School noticed Bud’s superior athletic ability, so they recruited Mrs. Adele Frazier to teach English so Bud could be their running back. After high school, he attended Tarleton before

going to the University of Texas as their most promising kicker and punter. He also ran track, qualifying for the mile-relay team. During spring training, an injury ended his football and track careers. Bud went on to major in history and literature, but after watching his parents spend endless hours grading papers, he knew he didn’t want to follow their paths as teachers. Bud enjoyed stories by Anton Chekhov and William Carlos Williams, both physicians by profession. While home on Easter break, he told his mother he thought he might go to medical school. She said he could do anything he wanted as long as he didn’t lie, cheat, or steal, but she felt his soft heart might not be able to handle so much death at a time before cancer cures or many successful heart operations. He graduated with a BA degree from UT in 1963 and was admitted to Baylor College of medicine.

“Drafted into the Vietnam War, Dr. Frazier served as one of the last flight surgeons in a US Assault Helicopter combat unit from 1968-1970 where the people honored him with the Vietnamese Friendship Award.” 20

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“He developed the Continuous flow Left Ventricular Assist Device. He has performed over 1,200 transplants while simultaneously conducting research since 1976.” Each year, Baylor medical students were required to complete a research paper. A friend invited him to collaborate on writing about the future of artificial hearts. Each year, he researched and learned more about this cutting edge technology. Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, the most famous heart surgeon in the world at that time, proved ferocious to work for. Upon graduating with an MD in 1967, Dr. Bud Frasier received the coveted DeBakey Award for Outstanding Surgical Student.

Drafted into the Vietnam War, Dr. Frazier served as one of the last flight surgeons in a US Assault Helicopter combat unit from 1968-1970. After witnessing the sacrifice of so many young boys, he determined to continue working to save lives. He became friends with the director of the medical program in the county where the helicopter company was based. Dr. Frazier accompanied him once a week to small villages to treat patients, many suffering from malaria and tuberculosis. The people honored him with the Vietnamese Friendship Award.

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performed over 1,200 transplants while simultaneously conducting research since 197. What he has created will long outlive him, but he’s not finished. Working on a total artificial heart for the past ten years, he has developed the best prototype so far. After experimenting and successfully implanting it in calves, the device should be ready this fall to implant in a human who has no other hope for survival. Dr. Frazier’s loving heart extends throughout the world. In 2019, while visiting China, he met young patients who were alive because of pumps he developed in his lab. Over 60,000 pumps implanted worldwide have kept hearts and souls alive. Dr. Frazier said, “It’s extremely gratifying because otherwise they would be dead.” Dr. Frazier’s heart beats for his family. He met his beautiful wife Rachel at UT where she was preparing for her career as an educator. They married in his first year at Baylor, and she taught elementary school while he completed his education and established himself in the medical community. Together they modeled a strong work ethic and family values. Their son Todd, who graduated from Julliard School of Music, is an accomplished composer who leads arts in medicine programming at Houston Methodist Hospital. Their daughter Allison is a writer and Executive Life Coach. They have four cherished grandchildren.

Fulfilling his military service, Frazier returned to Houston to complete his surgical training under Dr. Michael E. DeBakey; Domingo Liotta, research scientist developing the first total artificial heart; and Dr. Denton A. Cooley, a master heart surgeon, whose talent made Houston the world’s leading center for heart surgery at that time. While a medical student assisting Dr. DeBakey with open-heart surgery, a young patient’s heart stopped. As long as Dr. Frazier massaged the heart, the man’s eyes would open and make contact with Dr. Frazier. When he stopped massaging it, the heart stopped, and they couldn’t get it started again. Dr. Frazier thought. “If the hand can keep him alive, we should be able to build a pump to do it.” Texas Heart Institute is the largest heart institute in the world, and The Cullen Research Lab is one of the world’s leading research centers. Dr. Frazier spent about threefourths of his time performing surgeries and one-fourth of his time researching. Some people are too gravely ill to wait for an available heart transplant, thus an artificial device is their only hope for survival. Dr. Frazier is a visionary who sees the future with clarity. Machines that not only keep people alive but give them quality of life is an idea so big “it forces us to redefine humanity.” As far as medicine has advanced during his career, Dr. Frazier continues to work to benefit mankind. He developed the Continuous-flow Left Ventricular Assist Device. He has

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“Dr. Frazier’s big heart desires to give back to his hometown that gave him so many precious memories.

The family enjoys returning to Stephenville to reminisce about days gone by. Dr. Frazier maintains close relationships with friends and tells tales about his childhood in the quiet, pastoral setting where “You couldn’t sin if you wanted to.”Once, a former Baptist pastor destroyed a pinball machine with a sledgehammer to keep young Bud and his friends from the sin of gambling. Dr. Frazier’s big heart desires to give back to his hometown that gave him so many precious memories. The family is building The Frazier Conservatory to serve as a family retreat. It will house some of Dr. Frazier’s beloved books, including poetry, Shakespeare, and history. The Conservatory will also be a place to promote art and music appreciation in a natural environment. ECL

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DUBLIN I.S.D. EVERY CHILD. EVERY MINUTE. EVERY DAY. “ We believe a strong community builds a strong school. And, a strong school builds a strong community.” •

2019National NationalBlue BlueRibbon RibbonSchool Sc hool 2019

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Highest#20 AcaAmong d emic SBest coresElementary in E ra t h Ranked Count y in Texas 2021 Schools

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Dedicated DedicatedGT GTProgram/Classes P ro g ra m /C la s s es

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State Stat e &&National NationalQualifiers Qualifi fie e rs

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• Mentoring MentoringPrograms P ro g ra m s

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Committed to Academic Excellence

Dublin Elementary is one of 27 schools in Texas, 362 in the nation and the only school in Erath County to be recognized as an exemplary high performance school receiving the prestigious U.S. Department of Education 2019 National Blue Ribbon. "We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives,” said Nancy DeVos, United States Secretary of Education, in a video message to the honorees. “As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning."

DUBLIN I.S.D. Administration 420 N. Post Oak, Dublin, Texas 76446 (254) 445-3341 DublinISD.us Hometown Living At Its Best

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Believe

Boldly Embracing Change and Taking the Next Step

Is it time for you to grow to the next level in your relationship with Jesus? Is it time to let go of what is comfortable and step into what is next? B Y E R I C A W I L L I S | B E L I E V E B O L D LY. C O M

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I

love the view from my bedroom window. On cool spring nights, I open my old, worn windows to allow a breeze across my bed as I sleep. Tucked away in warm quilts, I know the fresh air is bringing my winter body back to life after a long hibernation. It’s a feeling I look forward to all year. I love my old home. It carries stories of families raised within its walls. There are names carved into tall wooden doors and handprints pressed into the concrete patio in back. I am adding my own stories as I raise my family here; three kids simultaneously nearing a new season of life. My son and two daughters are maturing and growing, stepping into high school, middle school, and potty training, respectively. Yes, you read that right. Potty training. It is a new season for her as much as it is for me. No more changing table! No more diapers! No more trash cans that stink up the house, begging for disposal on the curb! I am ready to walk into this marker moment with my hands held high in victory; hands that are not covered in diaper cream or smelling like Pampers wipes “fresh scent.”

Surprisingly, some Christians still expect the things that fed them as infants to feed them as adults.

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We have only one bathroom in this old Victorian home. We have one restroom for all four of us to share. Ahem, excuse me, now five to share. The freedom of diaper-less life brings with it, well, five people lined up at the door to take turns brushing teeth, taking showers, and you-know-what. My husband and I agree we have outgrown the functionality of our home but instead of moving, we are installing an additional bathroom. This growth will cost me time, money, and even comfort for a season. It will require that I remove not one but two of my beloved windows from which I get that spring breeze every year. This change makes my heart sad, but I know it is needed so our home can function for everyone. As I thought about this sacrifice of my beloved windows, I was reminded of my faith.

Growing up isn’t badit is just part of life. God helps us grow from baby Christians to mature Christians, just like my daughter grew out of diapers. Surprisingly, some Christians still expect the things that fed them as infants to feed them as adults. I don’t blame them! As baby Christians, we began to like the patterns: same study, same author, same routine, even the same message. Over time the patterns that helped us grow can keep us small. Often, we don’t see the need for change until the line to use the restroom is three people deep and you wonder how you missed that everyone was growing up. Is it time for you to grow to the next level in your relationship with Jesus? Is it time to let go of what is comfortable and step into what is next? Yes, we keep the same foundation, but maybe improving our methods or understanding can help us know Jesus more intimately. Growing up isn’t bad- it is just part of life. Expanding our love for God may cause growing pains, but the wisdom on the other side of maturity is worth it. So go ahead and take out the windows. I imagine God will replace that spring breeze with something even better. ECL

- Erica

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THE LOVE FOR ALL THINGS RODEO COMES NATURALLY. BORN INTO A RODEO FAMILY, SHAWNA SPENT SOME TIME COMPETING IN BOTH HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE RODEO.

“SHE DID EVERYTHING AND EXPECTED NOTHING IN RETURN. THAT’S TRUE PASSION.”

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smosis-learning or being influenced by something or someone through being in close proximity. Shawna Ray credits her career as a rodeo timer and secretary as a direct result of osmosis. Her family, environment and background in the industry has earned her a steadfast reputation for being willing and able to meet the demands of her career choice as a rodeo timer and secretary. As a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) timer and secretary, Ray’s timer job description includes keeping and recording rodeo contestants’ times and scores for rodeo performances. As a secretary, she is responsible for the administration

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at the caliber of the other timers that were being selected. I finally realized that I could do the job and was so glad that I took that chance to time such a huge rodeo as the NFR. Every contestant wants to make it to the NFR, and contract personnel still want to work the NFR.”

For The Love of Family The dynamic relationship between Shawna and her mother, Brenda Crowder, was evident both in and out of the arena. Through their extensive traveling for rodeos from coast to coast, Shawna fondly recalls how they would make time to sightsee on their ventures. She laughed, recalling Brenda stating, “If we can’t make memories, why are we doing it?” And it’s those travels and friendship made along the way that give her strength. “Rodeo is a family, and I can’t imagine not seeing everyone. I have friendships across the nation. We are one big family.”

of contestants’ entries, results,and subsequent payouts. Both are demanding, detail oriented jobs requiring multi-tasking abilities and a love for the sport. The love for all things rodeo comes naturally. Born into a rodeo family, Shawna spent some time competing in both high school and college rodeo. Being an administrative professional in rodeo wasn’t what she set out to do. “I originally wanted to be a vet.” Her first gig as a timer came at the tender age of 12. Her mother, Brenda Crowder, threw her in the deep end of timing, using her to time at a Cleburne jackpot. Shawna recalled Brenda saying, “You can do this!” The ball started rolling and she started accompanying her mother to rodeos on weekends. She obtained her PRCA card in 1999 but wasn’t focused completely on being a timer. Her ‘daytime’ job as a home health administrator kept her busy, a job she maintains alongside being a timer.“I didn’t do a lot of timing until 2004,“just because I had a real job.” Her vast rodeo knowledge and experience as a timer has taken her places in professional rodeo. She has been selected to work the Wrangler National Final Rodeo, the National Finals Steer Roping, and the Dodge Ram Circuit Finals two times in 2011 and 2014. She has timed the PRCA Texas Circuit Finals eleven times since 2011. Adding to her resume, she obtained her PRCA secretary’s card in 2022 and subsequently served as Texas Circuit Finals secretary in 2022. “Goals-they change. I never wanted to time the NFR because I thought it was too fast paced and that I was not

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Her professionalism in her skill set have led to accolades and respect from her peers. In 2018, the PRCA added Timer of the Year to the PRCA Contract Personnel Awards banquet. Five nominees in each category are up for recognition. Within the next three years, fellow PRCA members would award the mother/daughter duo of Shawna and Brenda in each category. 2019 proved to be a banner year with Brenda winning secretary of the year and Shawna being named top timer of the year. Repeated accolades came for Brenda’s efforts as timer of the year in 2020. Since 2016, Brenda’s name appeared each year on the nominee list for secretary of the year. Posthumously, she earned the title again in 2021. Humbleness comes first for Shawna regarding recognition. “I was nominated every year. That means more to me than winning.”

“BRENDA ATE, SLEPT AND BREATHED RODEO.”

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“IF WE CAN’T MAKE MEMORIES, WHY ARE WE DOING IT?”

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Influence As A Teacher It’s often said individuals are a product of their environment. Her mother, Brenda, grew up in a rodeo family, the daughter of a roper and rodeo secretary. Her father, Ronnie Ray, has a long rodeo career history. And she will tell you, both have had a lot to do with where she is in her career. “Dad was riding broncs right up until the night I was born. I got exposed to all aspects of rodeo through him and did jobs within the rodeo business not related to being a timer.” Her father has worked in every facet of the rodeo business and served as Tarleton State University rodeo coach from 1984-1988. Notably, all three-Shawna, Ronnie and Brenda worked the prestigious “The American,”rodeo from 2014 through 2019, with Ronnie serving as a flagger. Shawna and Brenda worked on the same production for an additional two years into 2021. Yet, the influence was not solely dependent on doing all things rodeo for a career. Shawna said her parents always encouraged her and her brother, Billy Jack, to pursue whatever avenue they wanted to do as long as they were successful. Her brother serves as a professor of Kinesiology and Graduate Program Coordinator at Sul Ross State University.

“raised” here. “I can’t imagine being anywhere. Being hereit’s home. I am not sure I could ever relocate.” Shawna sees things through a different lense after her mother’s passing. “Just to be happy, whether it’s still rodeoing or just office work.” She has dismissed any past thoughts of changing gears-” I really can’t see myself doing anything else.” ECL

The Color Purple In 2021, life changed dramatically for Shawna with the passing of her mother Brenda. A flood of appreciation began for the woman who was so passionate about rodeo and the people she served. Shortly after her mother’s passing, the Mesquite rodeo committee set about to pay homage to their favored secretary and timer. Discovering purple was Brenda's favorite color, which became the distinguishing theme in all memorials going forward across the nation. Rodeo committees would utilize some type of purple in her honor. Shawna found it ironic that the 2021 NFR used purple in arena lighting and credential colors and was also the year she was named Secretary of the Year. Brenda was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame this past April. Not one for the spotlight at all, Shawna described her mother as one who believed in all things rodeo as well as giving to each and everyone. “Brenda ate, slept, and breathed rodeo. She always went above and beyond. She did everything and expected nothing in return. That’s true passion.”

“RODEO IS A FAMILY. I CAN’T IMAGINE NOT SEEING EVERYONE.”

Home Is Where The Heart Is Shawna can’t imagine calling anywhere but Stephenville home. While not born in Stephenville, the family moved to Erath county in 1980 and she considers being

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Experience time travel…

…in Dublin! Come to Dublin, Texas, and visit our three fabulous museums: The Dublin Historical Museum, The Dublin Rodeo Museum, and The Ben Hogan Museum. Take a journey through time and see for yourself the people, places, and events that are still giving Dublin its character today. Enjoy hearing the stories that change still images to living lessons. Wander through the years, hear the conversations, and get to know Dublin like never before. While you’re here, check out the places to eat and shop…then maybe stay awhile!

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• 1.21 Gigawatts Antiques • Armagh Creamery • Austin Street Fabrics • Back Home General Store • Bargain Furniture • Blessings/Merle Norman • Bradberry’s Best • Bradberry Builders Supply • Charlotte Bennett Reflexologist • Dollar General • Dublin Floral • Family Dollar • Golden Butterfly Jewelers • Grafton Market • Higginbotham’s • Hole in The Wall Apothecary Shoppe • Hot-Tempered Chocolates (in Blackjack Office Center) • Interior Dimensions • Lucky Brewing Company • Lucky Vineyards • Things Celtic • Thompson’s Meats • Velasco Car Audio • Veldhuizen Cheese Shoppe • Wicked Clover • Will Do Good Thrift Store

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CHOICES CLINIC AND LIFE RESOURCE CENTER

OFFERING

TO THE HOPELESS By Connie Lewis Leonard Photos Provided by Choices Clinic

SINCE 1994, CHOICES CLINIC AND LIFE RESOURCE CENTER HAS BEEN COMING ALONGSIDE AND OFFERING HOPE TO THOSE WHO DIDN’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN.

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magine being a young girl, afraid to tell your family you’re pregnant, afraid of what your friends might say. What if they already know and are pressuring you to get rid of “it” through an abortion? What if you want your baby, but you don’t think you have any other options? How can you take care of “it”—feed it, clothe it, provide for it? Where will you live? Since 1994, Choices Clinic and Life Resource Center has been coming alongside and offering hope to those who didn’t know where to turn. Free pregnancy tests, options counseling, limited ultrasounds, STI testing and treatment, and various classes are available because of the incredibly generous support of local individuals, churches, and businesses. In 2022, 778 clients were served, including 1,182 total client visits.

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Since 1994, Choices Clinic and Life Resource Center has been coming alongside and offering hope to those who didn’t know where to turn.

In order to continue offering free services to clients, Choices is always in need of financial donations. There is also a need for diapers and baby wipes, which clients receive with points earned by attending classes. Additionally, the first Wednesday of each month is “free diaper day” open to anyone in need within the community. Choices offers classes, including prenatal, pregnancy care, and a special childbirth series. Clients can take classes from the beginning of their pregnancy until their children are three years old. Other classes teach life skills, healthy relationships, and many other topics. Each time a client attends a class at Choices, they receive a dozen diapers, and they also receive points that they can use to obtain items in the baby boutique, such as diapers, baby wipes, baby clothes, formula, baby food, and other baby items. They can even earn a brand new crib and mattress through the class program. Mending the Soul is a special group class for women who have suffered any type of abuse. It is an incredible Bible-based class to foster healing from abuse. The Abortion Grief Recovery program is designed to help women who are experiencing emotional struggles or grief following an abortion. The program is led by a woman who has experienced abortion and can help guide these women through the process of grieving and healing from the trauma of abuse through God's love and

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grace. This program is completely free and confidential. If someone is interested in this class, they can email agr@choicesclinic.net. Ginny Moring serves as Executive Director of Choices. She said, “I began volunteering at Choices in April of 2017. Initially I served on the banquet planning committee and soon began to teach prenatal classes as well. In 2019, I had been asking the Lord how I could serve more, and He answered through a phone call from Choices asking if I’d be interested in applying for the job of Stephenville Director. After prayer, I joined Choices in May 2017. At the end of 2021, the current Executive Director resigned and after interviewing with the board of directors, I was offered the position. I have served as Executive Director since then. “There are so many rewards to serving at Choices. I can honestly say that I look forward to going to work every day. I am so blessed to be able to work in a place where I can serve others and feel that what I am doing is of value. I work with an incredible team of women and men (staff, volunteers, and board members) who build each other up and encourage each other. Together, we are able to provide services that remove some of the burdens our clients are facing and hopefully can empower them to choose life for their babies. We get to show the love of Jesus to our clients and let them know that they


are important, special, and loved very much. “We have an amazing team of volunteers here at Choices. I’m so grateful for their service to Choices and our clients, and we could definitely use some more volunteers to join our team! If anyone is interested, we will find a place for you here. We need volunteers to be client advocates (meeting with clients for pregnancy testing and options counseling), teaching classes, working in our boutique, and much more! There is also a need for nurse volunteers to work at the clinic.” Some volunteers shared their testimonials about volunteering at Choices:“God led me to Choices one spring day in 2019. My desire was to volunteer and serve women through Bible study for post-abortion recovery. I couldn’t realize the tremendous healing gift he was leading me to through a nine-week Bible study with three incredible

“Volunteering at Choices as a nurse has been such an honor and life changing experience. My faith in God has grown exponentially by volunteering and realizing he shows up and provides in such a big way for both clients and volunteers.”

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A few clients also shared their testimonials:

women. Our class met at Choices, and I will never forget their tender love and support as they walked with me, faithfully showing me the Father’s love and mercy. My healing journey continues. If you are or know someone who is suffering from the choice to abort, Choices offers a Bible study, staff, and support to journey with you to find God’s healing truth, amazing love, and tender mercy. Every aspect of this class is completely confidential; all services offered at Choices are confidential. I feel led to share my story to glorify God and share hope of healing/recovery with others who agonize over a decision to abort.”- Blessings of hope, Michelle Oliver “Volunteering at Choices as a nurse has been such an honor and life changing experience. My faith in God has grown exponentially by volunteering and realizing he shows up and provides in such a big way for both clients and volunteers. I have gained a huge support network with the staff and volunteers at Choices who have become my closest friends now. I am so grateful for Choices and having the opportunity to volunteer with them over the last few years.”-Rachael Harmon

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“I’m so grateful to Choices for all the help I’ve been given. I’ve received so many resources and spiritual lessons.”

“When I found out I was pregnant, I found Choices and they performed my pregnancy test and the sonogram at no cost.”– Mayra

“I will always be thankful to Choices for the help I received with my three pregnancies spiritually with Bible lessons and with all the huge help they gave me for my family like toys at Christmas, diapers, baby clothes, and other baby items.”– Anna


2022 Statistics • 1,182 total client visits (up from 903 in 2021 • 448 pregnancy tests performed (up from 364 in 2021) • 231 ultrasounds were given (up from 161 in 2021) • Of 239 positive pregnancy tests, 105 were vulnerable to aborti9on when they arrived at Choices. A known data, only 22 of these 105 women were still undecided or had completed an abortion. • 15,000 diapers given away • Over 350 prenatal and parenting classes were taught

Each year the annual Change for Life Baby Bottle Campaign is kicked off on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, which falls on the third Sunday of January. Many local churches have partnered in this fundraiser. They pick up baby bottles at Choices and hand them out to their congregation on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. The donors then begin to fill the baby bottles with change over the next few weeks. Many of the bottles also contain cash and checks. They return the bottles to their churches on the first Sunday of March, and the churches return the bottles to Choices the following week. So far this year over $58,000 has been raised! It would be a great blessing to have even more churches to partner with Choices next year. The other main fundraiser is the annual banquet in October. In closing, Ginny said, “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our donors and volunteers, who are helping to save lives, helping to ease the burdens of those in need, and providing a hope and a future for our clients. ECL

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

More information is available at: Visit www.ChoicesClinic.net, Email: Ginny@ChoicesClinic:.net or Call 833-773-3001.

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CAMP

HELPS YOUTH

ADVANCE INTO ADULTHOOD By Rick Mauch Photos provided by Advance Camp

Chad Wallen invented Advance Camp, a camp for young men in the 6th through 12th grade. The camp has the mission of helping fatherless young men learn practical skills that an involved dad would have taught him.

A

dvancing to adulthood can be hard, especially if one parent is missing from the journey. That is why Chad Wallen invented Advance Camp, a camp for young men in the 6th through 12th grade that meets one Saturday a month with the mission of helping fatherless young men learn practical skills that an involved dad would have taught him.

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“We never refer to them as boys or kids. They are young men, because that’s what they are on their way to becoming.”

In addition, dedicated mentors help the young men become established in a relationship with Jesus Christ. “We never refer to them as boys or kids. They are young men, because that’s what they are on their way to becoming,” Wallen said. “It’s tough when a young man hears others say things like, ‘This weekend I helped my dad change the oil in his car’ or ‘I went fishing with my dad’ and that young man thinks this sucks. I don’t even have a dad around.” There are Advance Camps in three locations, Granbury, Oregon, and Florida. Wallen and his wife Kelsey started the first camp when they lived in Oregon in 2015. Then, after moving to Granbury in 2018 they launched the first camp here on Jan. 26, 2019, and it is now the national headquarters.

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Offices are provided by First Baptist Church and campers gather at StoneWater Church. From there, they are taken to wherever the trade lessons are being held that week. For example, they recently learned about auto repair at Christian Brothers Automotive, Wallen said. “We teach onsite so they can see up close and get the best perspective,” he said. Wallen originally started Advance Camp with another man who was running a single mom’s ministry in Oregon. There were all kinds of services for the moms and daughters at the ministry, but he wondered what could be done to help their sons. “We thought what can we do to teach these young men something they can take with them as they go through life?” Wallen said. “We want to give them a

Among the trades Advance Camp has focused on are general contracting, automotive repair and maintenance, leather work, blacksmithing and more.


career path as opposed to being subject to someday being incarcerated, doing drugs or something bad like that.” Among the trades Advance Camp has focused on are general contracting, automotive repair and maintenance, leather work, blacksmithing and more. “We show them so many things throughout the year. It’s great to see a young man get passionate about something that he knew nothing about before,” Wallen said. Wallen referenced a letter he received from a mother about her son falling in love with blacksmithing after a camp. She described him as having gone from no ambition to now being passionate.

There’s a lot of effort and logistics, but that’s the fun part for sure, seeing these young men come in and their lives light up, leaving with an excitement they didn’t have before.

“Moms go from a place of no hope to their sons having a direction,” Wallen said. “We are set up for being a place for prevention.” Wallen cited statistics that show 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes, 90% of all inmates are men and 75% of those grew up without a dad, and 71% of dropouts and teen pregnancies involves a fatherless youth. Also, in 1950 there were less than 5% of children born out of wedlock compared to that number being 51% in 2017. Recently, Wallen said an organization reached out that had received a grant to help with suicide prevention training offered that training to all the Advance Camp mentors. “She reached out and she wants to use their grant money to help us because of our demographics,” he said. “What a blessing.” Ironically, when the Wallens first moved to Texas the plan was to start a lavender farm and a longhorn ranch. While those plans have yet to see life, Advance Camp is flourishing, he said. “That must have been his (God’s) plan because all kinds of obstacles have gotten in the way of the farm and ranch, but all kinds of doors have opened for Advance Camp,” he said. “This is my full-time job, but it’s very rare that I feel like I have a job.

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Advance Camp draws participants from all over, including Hood County, Parker County, Somervell County, Johnson County, Tarrant County and more.

ated, or worse, just don’t want to be a part of their son’s life. “To the point they literally live in the same town and haven’t seen each other in seven or eight years,” Wallen said. “It’s so sad.” Advance Camp draws participants from all over, including Hood County, Parker County, Somervell County, Johnson County, Tarrant County and more. Some participants even come from as far away as Garland and Greenville. “Some are here every single camp, even if they’ve done the activity before,” he said. “And we encourage that.” And no qualified camper ever gets turned away. Also, there is no cost to the mother, except getting her son there. Advance Camp even provides things such as a hunting license and duck stamp, fishing license, and even equipment. “We don’t want any mom to have a financial burden,” Wallen said. Oh, and they ask that the young man be dropped off having had breakfast. They will feed them lunch and snacks. “I always say you will never leave Advance Camp hungry,” Wallen chuckled. Advance Camp relies on donations, mainly from private donors and churches, but they also have supplemental help coming from such places as Cabela’s, Carey & Sons Marine, HEB and Walmart. Wallen said three major needs for Advance Camp are financial partners, donated land for a permanent location, and awareness to reach more fatherless and potential mentors. They will also have local celebrities participate sometimes. Former pro baseball player Beau Mills took some campers out “There’s a lot of effort and logistics, but that’s the fun part for sure, seeing these young men come in and their lives light up, leaving with an excitement they didn’t have before. They get to use their artistic side, their communications side and more, it’s so wonderful to see.” Wallen said most campers show up with a preconceived thought that they will stand out because they are fatherless. Then, upon realizing the rest of the campers are as well, they understand they are part of a kinship. Wallen recalled a story where one camper was talking about his mother being a single mom, and another said his mother is also a single mom, to which another chimed in, “Dude, we all have single moms.” Advance Camp defines fatherless as the father not living in the same house. So, in some cases the dads are involved in their lives, but in many cases the dads are deceased, incarcer52

Erath County Living


They will also have local celebrities participate sometimes

on his bass boat, and former NFL quarterback Kevin Kolb was a motivational speaker at an Identity Walk in Walnut Springs. “These young men come to camp with the thought ‘My dad was, so I’ll become,’” Wallen said. “We break that cycle. We are literally changing a generation. “The first time I remember my dad telling me he was proud of me I was 39 years old, and I just started Advance Camp here in Texas. I was 19 when I first remember him telling me he loved me. “One camper told me his dad has never told him he loves him or is proud of him. Now, every camp, I re-affirm how proud I am of him.” To become an Advance Camp volunteer, a person must pass a national background check, be Ministry Safe certified, sign a year of commitment letter, and read and sign the policy and procedures manual. After doing all this, to be a mentor, just show up, Wallen said. Wallen said he is considering expanding Advance Camp if an opportunity he’s looking into near Nashville, Tenn. comes through. Ironically, it would also be branching out from a single mom’s ministry, just like the original. And, if that partnership works out, Wallen said there are already talks about possibly including Las Vegas. “Lord, if you say go, I’ll go,” Wallen said. “I’m not going to go without you.” ECL

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Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo Stephenville, Texas

Photo by Caitlin Moyer

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THE MYSTERIOUS

N ICI ED E M BOTTLE By Peggy Purser Freeman Photos by Sass & Soul Images and Provided by Karen Sandlin

At first glance, it looked empty. Then I noticed a tiny bottle. I picked it up and realized it was an old-style, glass medicine bottle. Assuming the previous owner had left it behind, I picked it up to return it to them.

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n 2008, Karen Sandlin Finney and family moved into a Stephenville home built early in the 1900s and remodeled in the late 1940s. Nestled between hundred-year-old oak trees, it’s only blocks from Tarleton State University. Karen shared her story of the mysterious medicine bottle, her great smile and contagious laughter danced with each word.

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“From the moment I slipped the key in the lock, this bungalow whispered peace,”Karen said.“I knew I was home. But I didn’t know this home held a mystery that would take years to unfold.”As Karen surveyed the bedroom and imagined her family’s belongings decorating the space, a strange, oversized medicine case on the back wall caught her attention.“ I asked myself, had it been there when we toured the house a few weeks before?”Karen continued.“The double door creaked as I opened the cabinet,and I peered in. At first glance, it looked empty. Then I noticed a tiny bottle. I picked it up and realized it was an old-style, glass medicine bottle. Assuming the previous owner had left it behind, I picked it up to return it to them. The clear-printed, old label, jumped out at me.‘Karen Sandlin!’ my mouth gaped, and I almost dropped the bottle. Karen Sandlin? That was me.” Karen Sandlin Finney had spent her younger years in Midland and her high school days in Irving, She had never lived in Erath County before and had no family in the area. “It felt strange?”Karen continued. Laughing,I put the bottle back on the shelf and contemplated the idea of a prank. I had to concentrate on the move-in.” The thought that someone with my name had lived here and needed medicine. I couldn't get it

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out of my mind. A week later, I called the previous owner, Blake LaRue. He chuckled and said he had left the bottle because they found it in the old cabinet when they moved into the house. When they had first found it, it seemed wrong somehow to throw it away. And when they moved it seemed right to leave it. Then he suggested I check the blueprints they had also left. When the old house had been renovated, the remodel-architect, William Sandlin, had used the style of the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. He had bought it for his young family and worked for years on the design of the house to create something special.

"THE THOUGHT THAT SOMEONE WITH MY NAME HAD LIVED HERE AND NEEDED MEDICINE." Searching for a William Sandlin, I found no one in the area and looked up who sold the house to the LaRue family. Mrs. Perkins had lived there for over twenty years and knew the family well. The


she get my number? I thought she had lost her marbles.” “After hearing this caller explain a bit more, I remembered the bottle,” Wisconsin’s Karen said.“I was amazed that it had made it through the decades. I remembered the cabinet, the old house and discovered that this lady on the phone wasn’t crazy. We shared a same name, and she now lives in my former home.” Memories of the old pill bottle led to memories of walls, trees, and neighbors. Stories of high school hazing and childhood friends flowed across the miles. Soon old memories turned into a new friendship.” Wisconsin’s Karen laughed with delight as she told the neighborhood stories. Like living next door to the last hanging Sheriff. She told how all the young kids would sneak close to the house and whisper stories of the hanging and would run from the house. We were positive that there were coffins buried under that house.” “Discovering who owned the little medicine bottle

Sandlins had moved to Wisconsin and the other Karen Sandlin now lived somewhere in the state. Wisconsin is a big place. I had no answers, but I had more questions. How could I find the answers?” Karen Sandlin Finney worked as a home health nurse during 2009. While working with a Mr. Carr, who also lived on Tarleton street, she realized he could have gone to school with that other Karen. “I live on the other side of Tarleton Street.”Karen explained.”The dark green house with the rock wall around it.” “The Sandlin House?”Mr. Carr asked.“Karen Sandlin.“I went to school with her. Always wanted to date her.”

"THE PHONE WENT SILENT. SHE DIDN’T HANG UP. I THOUGHT SHE HAD STOPPED BREATHING." and solving the mystery of the two Karen Sandlins entertained me.” Karen added.“My mom was a great partner in unraveling this mystery and has shared

"MRS. PERKINS HAD LIVED THERE FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS AND KNEW THE FAMILY WELL." Karen Finney searched Classmates.com and found Karen Sandlin attended Stephenville high school. I searched for a phone number. My pulse raced as I called the Karen Sandlin who once lived in this space and needed this medication. Did weshare more than a name?‘Hello.’I tried to explain as soon as possible. ‘My name is Karen Sandlin and I live in Stephenville,Texas in the house where you once lived.”The phone went silent. She didn’t hang up. I thought she had stopped breathing. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s Karen Sandlin’s brain raced.“This woman’s crazy? ”Who is she and where did

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"THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON." it more than once. She always says. There are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.” History can reveal a great deal, even the things we share—a home, a neighborhood, a small relic, and a name. Wisconsin’s Karen remembers Stephenville with fondness, and the two call one another often to stay in touch, share live stories and just laugh. Karen Finney believes the family love of those who lived in the house on Tarleton Street created the peace she has always felt in the home. “My kids and I feel good vibes in this beautiful space, its rock walls, and wonderful trees. I take comfort in the other families that enjoyed living here, especially the other Karen.” The two Karens now enjoy a friends hip, a

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shared mystery,and memories full of happiness. Coincidence? Maybe, but sometimes it just seems right, family isn’t always DNA. Sometimes, it’s brick and mortar and little medicine bottle. ECL

"WE SHARED A SAME NAME, AND SHE NOW LIVES IN MY FORMER HOME."


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TARLETON EDUCATORS MAKE RECORD-SETTING PHILANTHROPIC GIFT Provided by Tarleton State University

“ L A M A R A N D M A R I LY N N A R E T W O O F TA R L E T O N ’ S M O S T G E N E RO U S D O N O R S , A N D T H E Y H AV E P O U R E D T H E I R H E A RT A N D S O U L I N T O T R A N S F O R M AT I O N A L LEARNING,” SAID UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT J A M E S H U R L E Y.

D

r. Lamar and Marilynn Johanson have set a Tarleton State University philanthropic record through the donation of their Central Texas ranch. Earlier this year they joined university leaders to celebrate a $9 million increase in their life estate gift, bringing their total monetary support of the university to almost $15 million. The property covers about 1,700 acres in San Saba and Mills counties. The career educators conveyed the ranch and its mineral rights, then valued at $5 million, to the Texas A&M System in 2012 for the benefit of Tarleton State while retaining the right to live there.

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In 2021 they decided to execute their life estate gift early and allow the university to sell the San Saba property, to expedite endowed scholarships for Tarleton students. The gift represents a high bar for academic philanthropy and extends a remarkable legacy of generosity and teaching. The Johansons spent more than seven decades combined in education, Lamar at Tarleton for 40 years and Marilynn at Texas public schools in 1961-1995. “Lamar and Marilynn are two of Tarleton’s most generous donors, and they have poured their heart and soul into transformational learning,” said university President James Hurley. “There’s no way to count the lives that have been changed by their leadership and amazing generosity, or the thousands yet to benefit. We are profoundly grateful.”

THE GIFT REPRESENTS A HIGH BAR FOR ACADEMIC P H I L A N T H RO P Y A N D EXTENDS A REMARKABLE L E G A C Y O F G E N E RO S I T Y AND TEACHING.

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Roughly 800 acres along the Colorado River in Mills County will remain home to Tarleton’s Timberlake Biological Field Station, established in 2015, to advance environmental research, engage students in scientific discovery and promote stewardship of the natural world. A $2.5 million endowment will ensure care and oversight of the property. The field station, in Mills County near Goldthwaite, was created to promote education and research while emphasizing the ecological character of the Colorado River Basin and the diversity of the Cross Timbers and Edwards Plateau eco regions. It welcomes students for the adventure of hands-on science in a natural setting. The “east meets west” area exemplifies the ecological transition between the Cross Timbers and Edwards Plateau regions of Central Texas and supports a unique mix of species for study in research and classroom-related endeavors. It also is known for outdoor recreation such as bird watching, camping, fishing, hiking and kayaking. The Johansons are both products of San Saba County. He played football and basketball for the Cherokee Indians and was salutatorian of his 1953 Cherokee High School graduating class. She grew up on the family stock farm and was a member of the Class of ’57 at San Saba High School.

THEY MET IN 1954 WHILE L A M A R WA S A S T U D E N T AT S O U T H W E S T T E X A S S T AT E TEACHERS COLLEGE IN SAN MARCOS, WHERE HE EARNED BOTH A BACHELOR’S AND A MASTER’S DEGREE.

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They met in 1954 while Lamar was a student at Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, where he earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force after graduation in 1958. They wed in 1960 and, following the completion of Lamar’s military duty, moved to Stephenville in 1961 where Lamar had accepted a position at Tarleton in the Department of Biological Sciences. Marilynn was hired to teach vocational home economics at Hico High School.

THE “EAST MEETS WEST” AREA EXEMPLIFIES THE ECOLOGICAL TRANSITION B E T W E E N T H E C RO S S T I M B E R S A N D E D W A R D S P L AT E A U REGIONS OF CENTRAL TEXAS A N D S U P P O RT S A U N I Q U E M I X OF SPECIES FOR STUDY IN R E S E A R C H A N D C L A S S RO O M R E L A T E D E N D E AV O R S .

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In 1963 Lamar took a leave of absence to earn his doctorate in plant physiology and biochemistry from Texas A&M University. They returned to Tarleton in 1967. Lamar served 18 years as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and was the inaugural Executive Director of Tarleton University System Center-Central Texas in Killeen (now Texas A&M University-Central Texas) before he retired in 2001. The Texas A&M University System recognized his leadership that year by confirming him as Dean Emeritus, College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Biological Sciences. He spearheaded efforts to establish associate and baccalaureate degree programs in nursing and the medical laboratory sciences program in the core of downtown Fort Worth’s Medical District, and he advocated for constructing and helped design Tarleton’s science building, which now bears his name. Marilynn received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman's University and in 1980 earned her master’s degree from Tarleton State. In addition to teaching in Hico, her career included a stint at Stephenville High School.


THE JOHANSONS CONTINUE T H E I R A S S O C I AT I O N W I T H T A R L E T O N , AT T E N D I N G A N D V O L U N T E E R I N G AT AT H L E T I C AND ACADEMIC EVENTS. A Tarleton Distinguished Alumna (2015), she served as an education specialist with the Texas Education Agency and as an elementary school and high school principal in the Strawn and Goldthwaite independent school districts. She served as President of the Texas Vocational Homemaking Teachers Association and Texas Vocational Teachers Association, and Vice President of the Region IV American Vocational Association, which named her Outstanding Classroom Teacher of the Year. The Johansons continue their association with Tarleton, attending and volunteering at athletic and academic events. Both received the All-Purple Award, recognizing those who go above and beyond in supporting Tarleton athletics. Lamar has been on the Texan Club board of directors since its inception in 1994 and continues to chair the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. “Dr. Jo is a Hall of Famer himself, and he’s one of the first recipients of the President’s All-Purple Award,” said Lonn Reisman, Tarleton Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. “There’s not an award he hasn’t received. He has done it all, seen it all and participated in it all.” Despite never competing for the purple and white or attending Tarleton as a student, Dr. Johanson became a loyal supporter as the small junior college transitioned to a senior college. “From the fall of 1961 and for the next 40 years, what happened at Tarleton I was either a part of or not too far removed, and had a unique perspective,” he said. The couple received Tarleton’s 2020 Legacy Award for Leadership and, a year later, honorary doctorates of humane letters. “Tarleton and education have been integral parts of our lives, providing us with many eventful and unique opportunities,” Lamar said. “We are blessed to be able to give back to the university that is so dear to our hearts.” ECL

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OY J

IN THE WORK

Provided by Texas Health Hospital Stephenville Photos by Sass & Soul Images

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laudia Eisenmann, the new president of Texas Heath Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, wants to spark joy at the hospital. Eisenmann wants doctors, nurses, and staff to feel a joy in their work that will carry them through the even toughest days at the hospital and allow them eases patients’ fears. “You have to look forward to coming to work, because, as we learned from Covid, these jobs can be tough. You have to see healthcare as a special mission, and there has to be joy in the work,” she said. It’s part of her vision of what rural healthcare can offer America, and it’s part of what she considers her mission in life. Put patients in a rural environment close to nature, with healthcare professionals who take joy in caring for their community, and sick people have the best chance at healing.

Her love for the outdoors is what drew her to the job in Stephenville. Eisenmann, a Kentucky native who spends as many waking hours as possible in nature, devoted her career to rural healthcare. Hometown Living At Its Best

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"I’ve had a lot of opportunities to be in much larger hospitals, but I always just knew in my heart that my fit was to serve the mission in smaller communities." Her love for the outdoors is what drew her to the job in Stephenville. Eisenmann, a Kentucky native who spends as many waking hours as possible in nature, devoted her career to rural healthcare. She moved from Evansville, Indiana, where she was a system VP of Deaconess Health System and the chief executive of Deaconess Gibson Hospital and Deaconess Union County Hospital. She also worked in Texas previously as chief executive of Wilbarger General Hospital in Vernon and as VP for Christus St. Michael Health System and the administrator of Christus St. Michael Rehabilitation Hospital in Texarkana. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities to be in larger hospitals, but I always just knew in my heart that my fit was to serve in smaller communities,” Eisenmann said. “I’m a person who believes we all come into this world with an assignment. Nobody else can do that assignment. When you find it, and you use whatever your gifts are -- because that’s why you have the gifts, for your assignment in life -- when you pour yourself into it, you cannot fail. You simply cannot fail.” Eisenmann is a hunter who uses a bow and arrow, not a compound bow with cams that do most of the work, but a traditional bow that requires strength and focus. “What I learned from traditional archery and yoga, is everything in life is a discipline and a practice,” she said. “You have to be very clear about what the target is.” She carries that focus to her home, where she plans to return her land back to native grasses and forest. When she was living in Vernon, Texas, she bought 120 acres that had been used for wheat farming.

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“I could not get out of my vehicle and stand on the property without stickers on my jeans, I couldn’t let my dogs run on it because they’d have stickers in their paws,” she said. So, she worked with a biologist friend to return the land to native prairie grasses. Within three years, the burrs and invasive grasses were gone. Native horned frogs returned, quail moved in, and the property was flush with pollinators. She sold the property and bought 30 acres in Stephenville that she intends to turn to native species, too. “Whatever you do that is good for the earth is good for all the people who live on the earth,” she said. “We don’t own land, we think we do, but that big purchase payment is really a rental payment. You don’t take it with


you when you go. You are keeping it sacred for the next group of people.” Her focus and discipline is even evident in her pet care. Eisenmann has four dogs, including a wire-haired dachshund puppy named Samuel that came into her life through a series of unexpected events. Her voice almost sings as she talks about him, clearly her favorite: “He is a supreme hound dog.” Samuel is a standard dachshund, bred specifically for use by hunters to trail wounded prey, and Eisenmann is training him to do so. She’s even considering training him for human search and rescue. Her archer’s focus is evident at work, too. For example, Eisenmann doesn’t let disparaging comments bother her. She joins two top female leaders in Stephenville, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marilyn Brister and Chief Nursing Office Cindy McCarthy. “My one superpower is I can ignore things. I don’t make a big deal out of somebody saying something marginalizing or maybe a little bit condescending. For me, I consider that jet fuel. I’m going to work 10 times harder and I’m going to rally my team together with a great deal of enthusiasm so we can power past those barriers,” she said. Eisenmann acknowledges that small-town hospitals have a lot of challenges, but they also have special gifts, including healthcare professionals with long tenure and deep roots in the community. She sees Stephenville as a unique place of opportunity: “When you find that unusual place where the warm sense of community meets the desire for growth, that’s where you can make a difference and where you need to be.” ECL

"You don’t take it with you when you go. You are keeping it sacred for the next group of people."

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By Lindsay L. Allen

Amarillo

In a state filled with beautiful landscapes, people of all backgrounds, festivals to celebrate every occasion and unique sunsets painting every evening skyline, one never has to leave the state of Texas to create memories that last forever. Join us as we explore Texas towns and what makes them so special.

Located about five hours from DFW, Amarillo offers great eating, beautiful scenes and a rich history with educational opportunities.

T

he panhandle of Texas doesn’t draw the attention of too many, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a gem worth finding! Amarillo is just the gem travelers looking to explore Texas or needing a break on their drive need. In fact, for those that are Colorado bound, Amarillo is a perfect town to get out and stretch your legs and stay awhile before hitting the road again. Located about five hours from DFW, Amarillo offers great eating, beautiful scenes and a rich history with educational opportunities. VisitAmarillo.com says it best, “Amarillo, Texas is a unique and history-rich area located where the southern plains meet the desert. Amarillo and the surrounding Panhandle area are a unique blend of two American eras; working western ranches and a vibrant twenty-first-century economy - making Amarillo the perfect mix of old and new Texas traditions.” What makes Amarillo so unique and worth the stop?

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Dining

The Big Texan Steak Ranch is famous for serving up a 72-ounce steak in addition to shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad and a roll. Those who dare to take the challenge can order this $72 entrée and eat the entire meal within 60 minutes and get it for free! If attempting this Texas sized steak isn’t for you, you can enjoy a number of other options from the menu or visit the gift store for steak seasoning, Route 66 merchandise and a number of other fun items to commemorate your trip. You can also stay at the Big Texan motel, Airbnb or RV park and they even offer accommodations for your horses!

Those who dare to take the challenge can order this $72 entrEe and eat the entire meal within 60 minutes and get it for free! Coyote Bluff Cafe is another popular stop and serves up the best half-pound hamburgers, served on fresh buns with fried potatoes. It may not look like much from the outside, but inside it is filled with many locals and road trippers trying to get their fill!

Family Fun

The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum tells the story of the importance of horse to the American cowboy and settling the Southwest. With larger-than-life bronze statues of history-making horses in front of the museum, the history of the American quarter horse from the 17th century to the present day,

• The Amarillo Zoo is another important stop and has it all, with more than 150 animals representing 80 species of all sizes. Hometown Living At Its Best

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paintings and other works in the America’s Horse in Art gallery and informative and kid-friendly exhibits, there is so much to see and do for horse enthusiasts! The Amarillo Zoo is another important stop and has it all with more than 150 animals representing 80 species of all sizes. Be sure and stop by to see everything from black-handed spider monkeys and fire salamanders to African lions and green-winged macaws.

• The Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to the second largest canyon in the country and offers more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails to follow. Feeling adventurous? A quick Internet search will lead you to a number of options for horseback riding along the plains and allow you and your family to experience the scenic views of the area. With rides varying in length and difficulty, the various trails are ready for you and your crew to saddle up and explore it all from the back of a horse!

Unique Sites

A quick and necessary stop when passing through Amarillo is Cadillac Ranch. With 10 vintage cars that are stuck nose first in farmland, it’s a neat pit stop and great photo location. Bring your own can of spray paint and have fun decorating the cars for this ever-evolving artwork in Amarillo. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park is home to the second largest canyon in the country and offers more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails to follow. At the floor of the canyon is The Trading Post where you can take home souvenirs and grab a bite to eat and, in the summer, you have to make sure you watch the TEXAS performance, an outdoor musical drama that tells the story of Texas with songs, dances and plenty of humor. At its peak, there was nothing that represented America’s adventurous spirit more than Route 66. Running from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, Route 66 covered 2,448-miles and was the major route for many. In Amarillo you can experience the Route 66 Historic District, a 13-block area neighborhood that runs along 6th Street. With more than 60 antique shops, boutiques, landmarks and places to eat, there is plenty to see and do while you experience a little bit of famed history. The unassuming town has it all; scenery, history, fun and plenty of good times to be had! ECL


WHEN IN AMARILLO The Big Texan Steak Ranch is famous for serving up a 72-ounce steak in addition to shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad and a roll. Those who dare to take the challenge can order this $72 entrée and eat the entire meal within 60 minutes and get it for free!

WHAT TO DO The Amarillo Zoo is another important stop and has it all with more than 150 animals representing 80 species of all sizes. Be sure and stop by to see everything from black-handed spider monkeys and fire salamanders to African lions and green-winged macaws.

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Falling in love with

Fall By Lindsay Allen

While the change of colors and cool air is enough to enjoy, the fall months also bring their own season of activities and bucket lists.

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here is something about the excitement of pumpkin-flavored everything, the leaves changing and cooler days and nights that get everyone looking forward to the fall months. While the change of colors and cool air is enough to enjoy, the fall months also bring their own season of activities and bucket lists – from Friday night football to beautiful sunset views and everything in between, there is never a shortage of fun! As you and your loved ones begin to anticipate the season, check out the list of activities and form your own fall bucket list this year!


1. Get Outdoors! The cooler weather is the perfect excuse to take that camping trip you have been putting off or to start those evening walks you have been wanting to do. In fact, many state parks have special events on the weekends for campers that include stargazing and hayrides, in addition to bird watching events and guided hikes. Check your local state park to see what activities they have planned this fall - some are even known for hosting trick – or– treat events as campers decorate their site for Halloween and eagerly pass out candy to all who walk through the park! If camping is not your thing, you can still take advantage of the season and picnic at the local city park or roast s’mores in an outdoor fire pit!

2. Night Life This is a great time of year to find live music at a local restaurant and ask for the patio seating! Weatherford, Granbury, and Grandview have many regularly planned – and free – concerts or restaurants that have live music with outdoor seating options.

3. Get in the Spirit Many local churches and cities host fall festivals that are great for all ages. From trunk– or– treats, to chili suppers, costume contests, carnival games, inflatables and bounce houses, face painting, concession stand treats and more – why wouldn’t you want to load up the kids and head to one (or several) of these events?

4. Drive-In Movies With the fall breeze in your favor, find your local drive-in theater (locations in Granbury, Fort Worth and Waxahachie) or outdoor movie showing (Weatherford will be showing Hocus Pocus on Oct. 14 at the city amphitheater) and enjoy a movie under the stars! Don’t forget your lawn chair, blanket, and a radio to tune into the movie!

The cooler weather is the perfect excuse to take that camping trip.

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With the fall breeze in your favor, find your local drive-in theater or your local outdoor movie showing.

5. Fall Cooking Feeling adventurous? Try a new recipe using a fall squash – from pumpkin to acorn squash or butternut squash – there are many options out there to celebrate the season. An author favorite recipe is shared below. Or take advantage of the apple season and cover some in caramel or make an apple pie – whatever it takes to bring the fall smells into your home!

Beef Enchilada Stuffed Acorn Squash Created By: Alex Snodgrass with The Defined Dish FOR THE ACORN SQUASH • 2 medium sized acorn squashes • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt FOR THE BEEF • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced (or 1/2 medium onion) • 1-pound ground beef • 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper and dried oregano • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne • 1 teaspoon each of salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder and garlic powder • 1.5 tablespoons ghee • 2 tablespoons tomato paste • 2/3 cup beef broth • 1/2 avocado, sliced, for serving • 1/4 cup pico de gallo, for serving • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro, for serving

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INSTRUCTIONS 1. P reheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. P lace the squash horizontally on a cutting board. Trim the ends off of the squash by cutting just enough of the pointy tip off in order to create a flatter bottom, taking care not to cut too far as to get into the hollow part of the squash. Now, cut each acorn squash in half, horizontally. Then, scoop out seeds and stringy bits inside the squash (I find using an ice cream scoop works best), being careful not to break a hole in the bottom of the cavity. 3. P lace acorn squash cut side up on the baking sheet and brush the flesh all over with olive oil, until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt. 4. B ake in oven until the flesh of the squash is fork tender, about 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. 5. Meanwhile, while your squash is baking- heat a skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil. Add the onion and ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Brown the beef, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Drain off excess fat if needed. 6. R educe heat to medium and add the cayenne, cumin, paprika, chili, garlic, and dried oregano. Toss spices to incorporate with beef until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1-2 minutes. 7. A dd ghee and melt, stir to combine. Add tomato paste and stir until incorporated with meat. 8. Reduce heat to medium-low and add beef broth. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes. 9. R emove from heat and cover to keep warm until acorn squash are cooked. 10. Once squash are cooked, evenly distribute beef mixture among squash by filling the cavities of the squash. 11. Garnish with cilantro, pico de gallo and avocado and serve and enjoy!


6. Family Photos Find your local pumpkin patch or take advantage of the leaves changing colors and have your family photo taken. You can never start too early on those Christmas cards…

7. Travel! Now’s the time to plan that trip to the Smokie Mountains or Colorado or the Texas Hill Country to see the leaves changing in full force! Lost Maples State Park in Texas is well known for their vibrant fall colors and attracts a large crowd every year for this reason.

8. Pumpkin Fun It wouldn’t be October if you didn’t make time to decorate, paint or carve a pumpkin. To help your carved pumpkin last longer, either submerge it in a gallon of water mixed with 1/3 cup of bleach or spray the inside and outside with hairspray.

9. Fall Farms As agritourism grows, you won’t find a shortage of farm fun in the fall. From corn mazes, pumpkin patches, concession foods, rides, pig races, sunflower fields and more – farms open to the public are perfect for everyone in the family. A few local farms are listed below. Mainstay Farm Park – Cleburne, Texas Yesterland Farm – Canton, Texas Lone Star Family Farm & Corn Maze – Stephenville, Texas

10. Neighborhood Host The cooler evenings create a wonderful environment to host your neighbors for chili and s’mores. Have everyone bring a lawn chair and enjoy and night under the starts with a warm fire and good company. ECL

Lost Maples State Park in Texas is well known for their vibrant fall colors.

Farms open to the public are perfect for everyone in the family.


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Peacock’s Restaurant

Erath Girl

LOVES SERVING HER ERATH FRIENDS By Rick Mauch Photos provided by Peacock Family

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Erath County Living


LINN, 59 COME AUG. 3, HAS BEEN WITH PEACOCK'S LONGER THAN MANY OF HER CUSTOMERS HAVE EVEN BEEN ON THIS EARTH35 YEARS IN ALL, INCLUDING THE PAST 32 CONSECUTIVE.

L

inn Whiteley is an Erath County girl through and through. From the time she was a little girl to now, she has loved everything about it, especially serving her many friends throughout the county as a waitress at Peacock's Restaurant. And when that was almost taken from her 11 years ago, it was a reminder of just how precious her life and her many friends are. Linn, 59 come Aug. 3, has been with Peacock's longer than many of her customers have even been on this earth- 35 years in all, including the past 32 consecutive. "Stephenville, Erath county is my hometown. I grew up here, and I have lived here most of my life," Linn said. My family owned a farm out close to the county line, where we raised pigs and other small animals. I attended Stephenville High School. "Early adulthood and marriage took me traveling through my early twenties, but I quickly returned to raise my family."

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Linn was in a car accident in 2011. She was on her way to Hico to the grocery store to buy some eggs so she could cook breakfast for her son who had just flown in from Virginia. The roads were wet, and she hydroplaned on a curve. She went through a fence and hit a tree. "I couldn’t move. My phone landed in the floorboard, so I couldn’t call for help," she recalled. "My oldest daughter was expecting my call, and because I wasn’t answering, came to look for me. "Once she arrived, she called the ambulance. Once I made it to the hospital, they told my family I had broken my back and wasn’t sure if I would ever walk again. I needed surgery but found out my bones were too brittle."

ficult time for me. By the grace of God, I have been blessed with incredible family and friends that all pulled together to aid in my time of need. "I had an incredible manager in my corner who checked on me often and kept my position open for me. She never gave up or doubted my return. I couldn't have done it without them all." Linn did fight her way back and she took her rightful place in the restaurant that has been such a big part of her life ever since she was a teenager. She started there at age 14 when it was called the Pit Grill and was owned by Louis and Wanda Weible, who eventually passed it on to their daughter and son-in-law Linda and Steve Peacock.

Linn's life was all about walking, being able to visit with folks throughout the restaurant, asking them how their day was going, was the family doing okay, etc. Not being able to do so was not only taking away her mobility, but also a major part of her life.

They recently passed it on to their daughter and son in law, Stephanie and Michael Beach. Linn doesn't just serve food and beverages to her customers. She is an integral part of their day, and they are the same to her. Among the many who call her friend are legendary bull rider Ty Murry. In fact, it should be noted that it was him who suggested his favorite waitress be spotlighted in print.

"I sat at home going out of my mind, overwhelmed with fear and frustration. I could not get cleared soon enough to return to work!" she reflected, still shook by the memory. "I wore a back brace for the better part of a year stuck at home trying to navigate daily living with my newfound impaired mobility."I am not one to ask for help, so this was a very dif-

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"She has been nothing but a great waitress with a smile and friendly demeanor to everyone for all of this time. I believe she will be here for her entire working life. I think she is so inspiring," Murry wrote in his email making the


suggestion. "I’ve watched Ty Murray grow up over the years. I remember one day Ty stuck his head in the front door and hollered at me. I went over to see what he needed, and he told me he needed me to meet him out back to do something," Linn said. "I didn’t know what was going on. Unsure what to expect, I walked out back, and they had set up a race between Ty and someone else. They needed me to be the flag person so they could see who won the race.

"I couldn’t move. My phone landed in the floorboard,

so I couldn’t call for help.”

"I remember thinking I was going to get fired so I could be outside to judge a race! After the race they all came in and sat down to eat. I was thinking it was over a bet on who was going to pay for lunch." And then there was the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike the accident, when she could will herself to fight back, it was a helpless feeling as restaurants across the entire country- and even the world-were shutting down, some to never reopen. While Peacock's did reopen, it nonetheless seemed like an eternity, Linn said. "COVID was a very scary, hard time. It was the unknown, and nobody likes the unknown. Every day that we went to work we were in fear of what would happen and what was next," Linn said. "We fought hard to stay open, trying to only offer curbside, but eventually we were forced to close. "I remember that day, everyone who was there left in tears. Customers who ordered were in tears. It was hard walking away, not knowing if we would get to open again or how long it would last." Peacock's was closed approximately two months, opening back up to business at 50% and wearing a mask. "We were just happy to be back and operational," Linn said. And yes, Ty is one of her favorite customers, but don't ask her to single out one favorite above all.

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"I can’t narrow it down to one single customer, or even a small handful because there’s been so many throughout the years. All who have been very special," she said. "I've had a chance to get close to many amazing people over the years and had the opportunity to watch them grow up and start families of their own. "Many feel like family to me. I’ve helped celebrate the many incredible accomplishments in their lives. I've experienced graduations, weddings, new babies, and the more sad times like divorces and funerals with these special people/families. They're more than customers to me. They're like my bonus family that I am so blessed to have. "She also feels blessed to have her actual family. When her shift is over and she goes home, they've always been there-even now that the children are grown. "I have the most amazing family. I have the most supportive and hard working husband that commuted to work in Waco daily for 30 years to make sure we could raise our family here surrounded by all the people we love," she said."We are so proud of our children. We instilled strong family values in them,and it shows. They are all happy and have been successful in their careers and family life." And, as much as she loves her work, her favorite place is with her family.

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"She started there at age 14 when it was called the Pit Grill and was owned by Louis and Wanda Weible, who eventually passed it on to their daughter and son-in-law Linda and Steve Peacock." "I love more than anything spending time with my family. I have the most precious grandchildren and am expecting my first great grand any day now!" she said excitedly. "It is such a blessing to spend my time making memories and having fun with them. "My husband and I take great pleasure in spoiling them every chance we get. I also love camping, fishing, gambling, and taking care of my farm animals." Linn noted that she feels honored being spotlighted in writing. However, most who know her would say it is they who are the honored ones-and she knows a lot of folks, for which she is grateful. "A big thanks to Peacock's for being my bonus family and allowing me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people over the years," she said. ECL

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Erath County Living

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INDEX

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Ag Texas Farm Credit Services.............................96

Johnny and June Mercantile.................................... 3

Associated Well Services....................................... 80

Lawrence Hay & Feed...............................................47

Blue Flamingo.............................................................62

Lucky Brewing Company.........................................31

BMY.................................................Inside Front Cover

Lucky Vines Vineyard and Winery........................31

Bramlett Implement - John Deere.......................87

Members Trust..............................................................81

Chasing Ace Charters...............................................46

Peacock’s Restaurant...............................................70

CJ'S Spurs N Thangs................................................47

Prime Metal Buildings and Components...........38

Cold Smoke Coffee Craft House..........................46

RedFIn Pools.................................Inside Back Cover

Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo......... .................................................................................. 54, 63

Remy Tree Service......................................................81

Cowboy Way Travel...................................................96 Cross Timbers Family Services.............................86 Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council............................ 7 Cross Timbers Orthopaedics................................... 5 Donaho Real Estate.................................................. 30 Dublin Economic Development Committee....39 Dublin Independent School District............. 24-25 Dublin Insurance Agency........................................96 DT Roofing.................................................................... 74 Erath County Living...........................................70, 87 Edward & Stokes........................................................86 First National Bank....................................................94 Fraser Agency, Inc..................................................... .16 Fraser, Wilson & Bryan, P.C........................................ 1

Scott's Flowers............................................................96 SOAR Physical Therapy...........................................87 Stephenville Family Dentistry...............................55 Swindle's Jewelry....................................................... 75 Tarleton State University........................................ 80 Texas Center for Oral & Facial Surgery LLC.......... ........................................................................Back Cover Texas Health Hospital Stephenville....................... 2 The Hay & Feed Ranch.............................................94 The Pizza Place...........................................................46 The Salon....................................................................... 74 Veldhuizen Texas Farmstead Cheese................... 9 Venture No. 19.............................................................46 Verde............................................................................... 75 White Magnolia House.............................................. 17

Gifford TV Electronics..............................................87

PLEASE THANK THESE ADVERTISERS FOR MAKING THIS PUBLICATION POSSIBLE! Hometown Living At Its Best

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Erath County Living


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