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FORT BEND June 2021

Living

A Surgeon & A Storyteller Dr. Herb Phelan captivates readers with The Cuts That Cure

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Contents &Staff

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CHAIRMAN, EDITOR & PUBLISHER Clyde King cking@hartmannews.com

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HOW LONG IS A NOVEL?

That moment when Herb realized he wrote a book

T

by MARQUITA GRIFFIN | mgriffin@fbherald.com

he secret is out, well, not that it was a secret, to begin with. When word hit the streets about a Rosenberg native who was releasing his first book, of course, interested parties wanted to know the author’s name. His name, sources revealed, was Arthur Herbert. But Arthur, the author, is also Dr. Herb Phelan III, the practicing surgeon and son of Rosenberg residents Herb and Maxine Phelan. “I’m not super-secretive about the pen name,” Herb said kindly. “It just facilitates keeping a wall between my day job as a practicing surgeon and my fiction-writing.” With his name on scientific writings — he has 116 peerreviewed scientific publications — and his name on his fictional work, “a pen name makes it easier to keep these straight as to which is which,” he said. Formerly of Rosenberg, Phelan and his wife Dr. Amy Phelan currently reside in New Orleans. For the most of the last two decades, however, Herb was training in Dallas and then working as an attending trauma and burn surgeon at Parkland Hospital — “a place best known as the hospital where they took both JFK and, later, Oswald,” he adds. Eighteen months ago, Phelan was recruited to a New Orleans practice “by a good friend who’s now [his] practice partner, Dr. Jeff Carter,” and notably when he started on March 30, 2020, the nation was in the middle of the disastrous COVID-19 surge. “It was crazy to be dealing with a pandemic while I was still trying to figure out how the phones worked and where the bathrooms were at my new hospital,” he recalled.

A DOCTOR KNOWN FOR STORYTELLING

Phelan’s journey to becoming a surgeon is an intriguing one. After attending Strake Jesuit in Houston, Phelan received a fullride scholarship to a small Jesuit school in Mobile,Alabama called Spring Hill College. “I double majored in English and Biology, as I’d always liked the humanities, but harbored thoughts of going to med school,” he said. Following graduation, he spent a year with a Jesuit-run domestic Peace Corps called the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and the corps put him to work as a social worker in Kansas City, Missouri. After completing his term with the corps “jobs came and went for about three years” before Phelan enrolled in medical school. “I was a lab tech at Baylor Med School in Houston,” he said, ticking off past positions.“I tended bar at the Highland Tavern for Butch Nawara out on Highway 36. I was a sample catcher for a mudlogging outfit on offshore oil rigs [and] I landscaped the Cegelski trailer park off Louise street a lot with my brother Mike. “All these made me appreciate the opportunity a lot more once I started med school.” And during the medical career that followed, Phelan was presented with plenty of opportunities to write — expository writings, that is. Scientific writing is heavily researched,

6 • West Fort Bend Living

referenced, and the writer focuses on building arguments, he explained. And, he noted, “one is encouraged to be economical with language.” Those rules don’t apply with fictional works, though. “Writing fiction is great because it’s really just sitting down and making stuff up,” Phelan said. Phelan explains that he’s one of those who loves reading, and he suspects that passion for it is rooted in his upbringing. It’s at this point that he takes a moment to provide a bit of background knowledge: “My mom, Maxine Phelan, was a longtime English teacher at Lamar Consolidated who seems to have taught English to half the town over age 40.” Now, with that explained, he continues his thought: “If there’s anything to genetics, it explains why the English part [ of college] came so easily to me.” This could also explain why Phelan and his brother Mike “have always been a couple of storytellers.” “And truth to tell, I don’t hold a candle to him,” Herb said of his brother. He then shares a funny story about his brother’s wife, Ronnie, who was returning from a business trip in Orlando, where she’d been at a considerably bustling expo event. Someone overheard her say she was from Rosenberg, Texas, and the stranger asked her:‘Do you know the Phelan boys?’ “So,” Phelan said with humor lacing his words, “until I cure cancer, storytelling is what I’ll be best known for.”

THE GRADUAL GROWTH OF A STORY

Phelan’s debut novel (under the name Arthur Herbert) The Cuts That Cure was released May 11 and is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Phelan surmises that if he’d intended to write a novel, he “probably never would have accomplished it.” It began at a Starbucks in Flower Mound, Texas where Phelan was working on a scientific protocol. This was during his transitional period between Dallas and New Orleans. “And I was stuck,” he recalled. “After staring at the blinking cursor for the better part of twenty minutes, I just opened up a blank Word document and started typing in the hopes that just the mechanical act of putting words to paper would get me kickstarted.” The effort resulted in him writing about 1,100 words describing his trip to Ojinaga, just across the border from Presidio. “There was nothing to it other than just pure description, but it worked, and with a new head of steam, I went back to my protocol. But I saved that Word document.” The next day, Phelan did it again. He wrote about 1,000 words before turning his focus onto his scientific writing. “This went on for a couple of weeks, then a month. Slowly, there were characters appearing, and a plot took form. After a few months of this, I saw that I had almost 60,000 words. I literally googled,“How long is a novel?”’


The results indicated the average debut novel is usually 80-90,000 words. “I realized I’d about written a book!” he said. “From that point on, finishing it was easy.”

‘A PAGE TURNER’

The Cuts That Cure follows a disgraced surgeon who crosses paths with a cruel teenager in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Phelan said his book contains psychological suspense, mystery, and even some horror elements. “If you like Stephen King or Gillian Flynn —the lady who wrote Gone Girl and - as well as the HBO series “Utopia”), it’s fair to say that you’ll like the book,” Phelan said. Weeks before our interview and the release of the book, Phelan was encouraged by the pre-order sales hitting “almost three times the number [his] publisher initially told him,” and because of the strength of the pre-orders, his book spent some time as a No.1 Amazon new release. “This must be what it feels like to watch your kid go out into the real world: exciting but nerve-wracking,” he said of the idea of his novel being read by consumers. Even before the book’s public release, Phelan and his publisher received reviews from bloggers and professional reviewers. “I’m happy to say they’ve been very strong so far,” he said, before adding that he was fortunate to become acquainted with New York Times bestseller Nick Russell, who provided Phelan with a quote for the cover of his book. “A tale of intrigue and suspense, with a villain that will keep you awake. A page turner you don’t want to miss!” Russell’s quote reads. “Nick writes mysteries, too,” Phelan said. “And has become a real mentor to me.” Phelan hopes Russell’s remark will help The Cuts That Cure “stand out from the 1.4 million books a year that Amazon publishes on its platform.”

NUGGETS OF TRUTH & THE POWER OF EDITORS

Although fabrication of intriguing suspense, there are nuggets of reality within Phelan’s story, truths that he knows firsthand. “Physician burnout is a real thing, and it’s something I’ve grappled with myself,” said Phelan. “Although, obviously not to the extent that my protagonist does in the book.” He remembers working for a boss who “seemed to treat young faculty members almost like cannon fodder.” “Squeeze all you can out of them while they’re young and cheap, and if they leave, just go get another one,” Phelan explained. “I actually knew a doctor who had quit to go teach middle-grade science for a while, so there was a nugget there.” As far as the book’s setting, Phelan said he knew small-town Texas, close to the border of Mexico, was ideal.

A Q&A with Arthur Herbert

(aka Dr. Herb Phelan)

Marquita Griffin: What was frustrating about the writing process? Dr. Herb Phelan: There have been times [when Dana Isaacson] recommended I do something that is tough. For instance, for my second novel, the first chapter was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever written. I loved that chapter. Then when I sent the first three chapters to Dana, he said it actually worked better by making chapter two into the new start of the book and scrapping the old chapter one. Getting rid of chapter one was like drowning kittens. But, when I looked at it with fresh eyes I saw what he meant, and he was right. MG: Are you focused on a particular genre, or just being a storyteller in general? HP: I’ve always liked suspense and mystery, so that’s what the first two novels plus my short fiction have all been in. When people would ask me what kind of fiction I wrote, for the longest time I would always jokingly answer, “Bigfoot erotica.” I stopped saying that, though, because come to find Bigfoot erotica is actually a thing. I just love the idea that there are people who’re out there making a buck writing that stuff. That’s capitalism at its finest. And as far as the audience for it— well, the heart wants what the heart wants. MG: Would you like to share a bit about the second book’s plot? HP: Sure. It’s set in west Texas in the town of Amoret, a fictionalized version of Alpine. The protagonist is a small-town doctor in his eighties who is recounting to a reporter the story of an event in 1982 when the husband of one of the town’s prominent families disappears one night. It’s a traditional mystery, and it’s been an absolute joy to write. That’s the beauty of writing about a world with which I’m so familiar, there are times when it feels so effortless I feel almost like I’m transcribing. MG: After the completion of your second book, what else do you have planned? HP: I’d like to keep up a pace of a novel a year if possible. If this goes like I’m hoping, it has the potential to be a nice side gig for once I decide to retire from surgery, whenever that may be. For now, it just means continuing to tell stories. If you think this sounds like it would be fun, you’re right. MG: And some of your short fiction is already available on your website, right? HP: Yes, I’ve written some short fiction that’s been well-received. “Sisters” spent some time as an Amazon #1 Best Seller in the 15-minute fiction category. The ending of that story may be the best thing I’ve ever written. The nugget of that story’s origin came about when my best friend and I were hitch-hiking in a remote part of Vancouver Island in the summer of 2019. Then a couple of months ago, I was coming home from the hospital and saw a priest standing on the sidewalk in front of one of my neighbor’s houses, pacing back and forth talking on a cell phone. An NOPD cruiser was parked nearby, and the cop was leaning against the cruiser’s hood looking bored while he watched the priest. Amy and I live just off of St. Charles avenue and the trolley line, and even in a neighborhood as colorful as that one that’s a sight you don’t see every day. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get that image out of my head. I never found out what actually happened, but in one frenetic burst of activity over a weekend, I wrote the short story, “Mister B.’s Goodbye.” You can download both of those if you go to my website at arthurherbertwriter.com. To advertise, call 281-342-4474

•7


MAKING THE TIME FOR THE NEXT NOVEL

And perhaps award-winning narrator Victor Warren can assist in boosting the novel’s reputation, too. Warren, who’s from Massachusetts, can “do a Texas accent that’s pure Matthew McConaughey,” said Phelan, explaining that Warren will bring his book to life. After auditioning 16 narrators for The Cuts that Cure who “were all great,” Phelan said Warran was “really head and shoulders above everyone else.”At the time of this interview, the audio was with engineers and May 9 was the projected date of the availability of the audiobook. “I can’t tell you how surreal it was to hear these words that’d only been in my head for so long suddenly coming out of someone else’s mouth,” Phelan said.“Professional narrators don’t just read the words on the page, they’ll use voices for different characters in a way that really helps to bring the text to life.” With one book down, Phelan is already into his second work, potentially titled Strutting Through the Storm. This round is proving a bit more challenging because of time management, Phelan said. Finding time to write his first book was simple because he was transitioning between jobs. But now, with the practice “going full bore,” Phelan has to approach his storytelling differently. “I’ve found that I can’t find the time to write fiction, I have to make the time,” he said. So, on the days when I write fiction, I get up between 3 and 3:30 a.m. and write until I have to start getting cleaned up to go to work at 5:30 a.m. “It’s tough, but the words don’t put themselves on the page, you have to do it.” Once he completes his second novel, Phelan looks forward to penning the next work. “I’d like to keep up a pace of a novel a year if possible. If this goes like I’m hoping, it has the potential to be a nice side gig for once I decide to retire from surgery, whenever that may be,” he said. For now, it just means continuing to tell stories.” “If you think this sounds like it would be fun,” he added teasingly,“you’re right.” “I’ve come to love everything about the culture of the border: the food, the music, the language, the people. It’s also got a dark underbelly down there that makes it fun to write about,” Phelan added. “For something that took shape as I wrote, it’s actually remarkable that the final product was so cohesive. “Again, I have Dana to thank for much of that.” Dana, is Dana Isaacson, the developmental editor who works for Blackstone publishing and the editor Phelan contracted to review the Cuts manuscript. Receiving “professional-level feedback” is crucial, Phelan said. “When people think of editors, they think of someone who proofs your writing looking for punctuation and syntax errors,” Phelan said. “Developmental editors are a different thing altogether. The job of a good DE is to advise you on story elements.” Phelan said after Dana read the draft, the constructive criticism was beneficially specific: “Tone this part down, build this part up. Give the protagonist a love interest. Combine these two characters into one. This scene doesn’t work, get rid of it. This scene is great, flesh out the interaction here,” Phelan recalled. “He really helped take the story to the next level.”

8 • West Fort Bend Living


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•9


Stacey Smith and Favour Okafor during a Nourish and Flourish session for upper school.

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• 11


Despite a pandemic, Calvary continued to serve its students with an enriching learning environment.

12 • West Fort Bend Living


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Talk -of-th e-To wn

Richmond Police Department honors top employees

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hilip Jackson was named Richmond Police Department’s officer of the year in April, and Todd Ganey was named the 2020 employee of the year. The police department held its annual awards banquet at Swinging Door BBQ. This event, sponsored by the Richmond Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association, honors employees who show dedication and commitment to the mission of the Richmond Police Department throughout the year. Each division commander is asked to pick someone from their division who they believe is deserving of this honor. Besides Jackson and Ganey, awards went to Ariel Tristan, telecommunicator of the year; Bradley McNeal, top gun day shift division champion; Sgt. Steven Rychlik, top gun night shift division champion and overall champion; Det. Andy Runge, top gun CID division champion, Robert Oliver, top gun administrative division champion; and crime scene Elizabeth Neal, investigator of the year. “2020 proved to be a challenging year for all of us with the COVID pandemic,” Police Chief JJ Craig said. “While others had the ability to work from home, these dedicated employees had no choice but to continue working full schedules. “We are extremely proud of all of these deserving employees who continually show dedication and commitment to the Richmond Police Department and the citizens of Richmond.”

From left, Richmond Police Chief JJ Craig, 2020 Employee of the Year Officer Todd Ganey, 2020 Officer of the Year Phillip Jackson, Telecommunicator of the Year Ariel Tristan, Top Gun Day Shift Division Champion Officer Bradley McNeal, Top Gun Night Shift Division Champion and Overall Champion Sergeant Steven Rychlik, Top Gun CID Division Champion Detective Andy Runge, and Top Gun Administrative Division Champion Officer Robert Oliver. Not Pictured is Investigator of the Year Crime Scene Investigator Elizabeth Neal.

corner of U.S. 59 and Highway 36, near the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds. Commissioners also unanimously approved to create a ground lease/leaseback development agreement for the development of around 230,000-sq multi-purpose facility. This agreement would allow the county to own the land but allow a private company to build the facility — named the EpiCenter — and pay a lease to Fort Bend County to operate it. The county would then own the facility when the debt is paid. The total development cost of the EpiCenter is approximately $120 million. The deal would authorize County Auditor Ed Sturdivant, County Attorney Bridgette Smith-Lawson, and County Judge KP George to execute the deal, while George will be the person to oversee the lease agreement. The facility will be able to host a variety of event types, including: public/consumer shows, graduations, sports and recreation, spectator events, community/civic events, agriculture/livestock/equestrian shows, festivals, and fairs and conferences. Plus with this multipurpose facility, the county can host trade shows and amateur athletic events, including athletic and graduation events for schools in Lamar Consolidated ISD, Needville ISD, and Stafford MSD. Furthermore, the facility would also be an emergency facility that can be useful for weather events such as hurricanes, floods, and extreme winter weather. Plus, it could serve as an emergency command center. Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales said that the facility would be called the Fort Bend County EpiCenter since it would be located in the center of the county. By estimation, the EpiCenter could be completed by late 2022, according to Precinct 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage. Prestage also said that the EpiCenter would bring more jobs to the area and more retail income through hotel sales to Fort Bend. “This will be a big benefit for Fort Bend County and its residents,” Morales said. Last year, George tabbed Prestage and Morales as co-chairs of a committee that would research the EpiCenter and its financial impact on Fort Bend County and the Richmond-Rosenberg area. The report showed “great demand” for the facility, Prestage said. In 2019, Morales wanted to put the construction of the Epicenter into a bond package with other county facilities, but the $233 million price tag weighed down the bond and the decision was scrapped. The county plans to have a public groundbreaking ceremony soon and will provide regular construction project updates and progress photographs on the county website.

County approves EpiCenter

by CHAD WASHINGTON | cwashington@fbherald.com

A

fter years of studies and closed-session discussions, it looks like Fort Bend County will go forward with a plan to build a multi-purpose facility in Rosenberg. County commissioners approved an advanced funding resolution for county officials to purchase 51.75 acres of land on the southwest

14 • West Fort Bend Living

An artist’s rendering of the Fort Bend County EpiCenter, a multipurpose facility approved by county commissioners. The project is expected to cost $120 million.


Alexis Jackson Named Child Advocate of the Year

T

he enthusiasm with which Alexis Jackson advocates for children has been described as “above and beyond.”And just a couple of months ago, the Child Advocates of Fort Bend volunteer was honored by the very agency she is devoted to. In April Jackson was named the 2020 Child Advocate of the Year at the nonprofit’s first Virtual Volunteer Celebration, which drew more than 100 volunteers, community partners, and staff. “Her actions will have a long-lasting Alexis Jackson. impact for the children we serve and for our community,” said Child Advocates of Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford.“She serves in so many capacities.” Jackson became a CASA volunteer advocate in 2016 and has served four children in the nonprofit’s Infant and Toddler and NEST programs. She’s even traveled to Killeen,Texas to visit a child,“and fights hard for sibling groups to stay together because she understands the importance of that familial bond,” Mefford added. Jackson is also a lead committee member on Child Advocate’s Christmas Home Tour and Gala. “She was the first volunteer for the FRIENDS Council and the Volunteer Council at the same time,” Mefford stressed.

Jackson also lends a hand to the nonprofit’s administration reception desk and participates as a speaker in the nonprofit’s Voices for Children Tours. “She and her husband are members of our Voices For Children CIRCLE, providing the agency with critical funding,” explained Mefford. Other honorees at the volunteer celebration included Jill Thaxton (CASA Volunteer of the Year), Mary Koehler (Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteer of the Year), Ken Kosub (Event Volunteer of the Year), Zona Johnson (Voices for Children Ambassador of the Year). Dr. Charles Dupre (Children’s Hero) and Roy Cordes (Lifetime Hero). Melissa Munoz was the recipient of the Mariel Barrera Champion for Children Award. Barrera, a longtime employee of Child Advocates of Fort Bend passed away in early 2017. A full list of honorees and information about volunteer opportunities with Child Advocates of Fort Bend is available at www.cafb.org.

Bud O’Shieles Community Center ‘welcomes its family back home’

F

ollowing a year of serving congregate participants in their homes, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels announced the first of its centers — the Bud O’Shieles Community Center at 1330 Band Road in Rosenberg — will welcome back seniors on June 7 with activities such as activities, including bingo, art, and fitness classes, as well as a hot meal.

TALK OF THE TOWN Continued on page 19

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• 15


g de n i n

Confessions of a Miserly Gardener

by SANDRA GRAY| Fort Bend Master Gardener

I

Gar

am a practicing tightwad. I love Mother Earth (she knows I do), but I love my money more. So, when I learned all the ways Earth-Kind® gardening could save me money, I was onboard. Here are some ways I save money using these techniques, and you might, too. You don’t need to do all of these things, but every little bit saves you money (and helps Mother Earth). Water wisely. Don’t pay for more water than necessary. Instead, consider using drought-resistant plants, drip irrigation, xeriscapes, and rainwater harvesting. Check your irrigation system regularly to avoid watering the street and sidewalks. Avoid overwatering, a common gardening mistake, because it will save money, and overwatering promotes some plant diseases. Use native plants and plant them in the right place. Native plants are well-adapted to your environment, so they are more likely to thrive. The likelihood of success increases if you put the plant in a place suitable to its needs. More importantly, if the plant lives, you won’t need to pay money to replace it! Mow correctly for your grass type. Mow at the correct height with

a mulching mower and mow frequently enough to remove no more than one-third of the plant. This will keep the grass healthier, and recycling the grass cuttings into the soil reduces the need for fertilization. For extra credit, use a non-gas-powered mower. Hint: a reel mower may save you gym fees. Reduce the amount of turf in your landscape. Doing this can reduce watering, mowing, and fertilization costs. Instead, replace the grass with groundcovers, wildflowers, ornamental grasses, and other plants that require less time and money (!!!). Follow written directions for chemical usage and storage. If you must use chemicals like pesticides or herbicides, carefully follow the package directions. Using too little may be a waste of time, using too much may cause more harm than good (and wastes money).Try to purchase only the amount needed and store supplies carefully so the chemical will not go bad before it is used (again wasting money). Take care of your garden tools. Caring for your tools is always cheaper than replacing them. However, you will want to buy good quality tools initially to ensure they will have a long life under your tender care. Plant a tree. Not only will a tree enhance the market value of your home (ka-ching!), it can also reduce your heating and cooling costs if planted in the right place. Compost. Composting can be as simple as recycling coffee grounds and banana peels into your garden or a bit more elaborate.Yes, there may be some initial set-up costs, but there will also be savings in the compost you won’t need to purchase to enhance your soil. Save seeds and share plants. When your annual plants go to seed, save those seeds for the next season to avoid the costs of seed packets or plants.You can also participate in a plant exchange with friends and neighbors. Bartering can include landscape tips about planting and caring for the plants. I love free! Use solar-powered landscape lighting. Landscape lighting enhances the appeal and security of your landscape. However, I don’t want to pay those electrical costs if there is a free alternative. Do you? Solarpowered lights have become less expensive and easier to install and are worth consideration. Environmentally friendly gardening need not cost you money. It can be a soul satisfier to misers like me. Learn more about Earth-Kind gardening at http://earth-kind.tamu.edu.

Achieve landscape success with a virtual gardening program An example of a bike mower.

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ort Bend County Libraries will present an online program, “Landscape Success: Using Irrigation Wisely,”on Tuesday, June 22, from 2 p.m.to 3:30 p.m. As part three of the Texas AgriLife Extension Office’s “Landscape Success” series for homeowners, this program will be live-streamed via Webex; it will not be in person. Fort Bend County Master Gardeners Nancy Schoepf and Don Parkhouse will discuss water-conservation techniques, hydro-zone planting, and irrigation-system evaluation and maintenance. The program is free and open to the public. Registration is required to receive the link to the Webex session via email. To register online at the library’s website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us), click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program on the date indicated. Participants may also register by calling Fort Bend County Libraries’ Communications Office at 281633-4734.


To advertise, call 281-342-4474

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A Ente rt & rtainm e nt

Family-friendly fun draws Kids & Cops Summer Camp starts soon! thousands in support of he Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office 24th annual Kids & Cops Summer Camp program is open for registration. Hope For Three Starting June 7, the camp program will be held Monday

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ope For Three recently announced two individually hosted events held in April, featuring favorite family games, raised several thousand dollars for the nonprofit. The funds will continue to enable Hope For Three to operate as the leading local nonprofit autism advocacy organization in Fort Bend County. One of the events — dubbed Airmail for Autism — was organized by a father, Matt Smith, whose 5-year-old son Rhett is diagnosed with autism. Rhett was the inspiration behind the fundraiser, his father said. The family-friendly cornhole tournament held at the Houston Premier Sportsplex raised $3,500. Missouri City councilwoman Lynn Clouser, a parent of a child diagnosed with autism, also organized a BINGO fundraiser at Cabo Dogs in Missouri City. Participants of this event departed with a variety of raffle prizes from Rocking M Ranch. The event raised $4,200. “April Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month is over, but we are still on the path to raise awareness and funds for our families, 365/24/7,” said Hope For Three CEO Darla Farmer.“Autism is a lifelong disorder without a known cause or cure, and Hope For Three strives to serve as a beacon of hope for local families.”

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through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students must be 10 to 12 years old on the first day of camp to participate. This camp is on a first-come-first-served basis, with a limit of 48 students per camp. Students participating in the camp will enjoy a day of fun at Main Event, an exciting trip to Typhoon Texas Waterpark as well as other activities. The cost for the camp is $80 and will include lunch Tuesday through Thursday, snacks each day, and the cost for the field trips.The fee also includes a camp T-shirt, a team facemask, and a backpack. Details on camp dates and locations can be found on the application at www.fortbendcountytx.gov. To register, return the completed application and payment to the address listed at the bottom of the application. If you have any questions email kids&cops@fortbendcountytx.gov or call (832) 4732862.

YUMMY: Let’s talk ‘Cool Drinks & Summer Salads’

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he Culinary Book Club at Fort Bend County Libraries’University Branch Library will meet online on Wednesday, June 16 at 1:30 pm.The theme of the month is “Cool Drinks & Summer Salads.” This videoconference will be live-streamed via Webex; it will not be in person at the library. The Culinary Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of every month, and different cooking genres are explored each month. Cooking enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels – from beginners to advanced — are invited to join. Share tips, get ideas and enjoy the camaraderie of other individuals interested in cooking and good cuisine. On Thursday, June 24, enjoy a pre-recorded video demonstration of “Soul Food: Savannah-Style Cornbread.”With this old southern recipe, learn how to make a sweet and delicate cornbread that can accompany a variety of dishes. A link to the video will be posted on FBCL’s online calendar on the scheduled date, and it can be viewed at any time. Registration is not required. This virtual meeting is free and open to the public. Registration is required for the Culinary Book Club ONLY; a link to the Webex session will be emailed to all who register.To register online, go to the FBCL website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us), click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program on the date indicated. Participants may also register by calling the University Branch Library 281-633-5100.

Library research database covers 500-plus years of African American History

Courtesy of Hope For Three | Hope For Three CEO and founder Darla Farmer with 5-year-old Rhett who enjoyed time in the sprinklers with his father, Matt Smith.

18 • West Fort Bend Living

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ort Bend County Libraries offers an online African-American History research database from Facts-on-File. Students and other researchers can access this helpful resource online at any time, from the comfort and safety of home, with an FBCL library card.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Continued on page 20


TALK OF THE TOWN Continued from page 15 “Most importantly, the center will provide socialization that has been sorely missed as the pandemic stretched on,” officials said. Fort Bend Seniors said, “as we take this first step towards fully reopening all of our centers, we will continue to follow all health guidelines and recommendations to ensure the continued safety of our seniors, volunteers, and staff members.” Measures include regularly sanitizing hard surfaces, encouraging participants to wear masks, and providing additional space for social distancing. The agency expressed its gratitude for the support from community donors and volunteers. “This reopening would not have been possible without your support over the past year,” said the agency. “ So, from all of us, thank you – for helping us welcome our family back home.” For more information about Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, visit fortbendseniors.org.

Mamie George Community Center launches evening food distribution

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he Mamie George Community Center has launched an evening food distribution service to provide working lowincome Fort Bend County families with an easier

experience accessing food assistance. “In many cases, individuals are working full-time hours but earning lower wages that won’t lift a family out of poverty. Many people with a minimum wage job need help keeping their families fed,” said MGCC Executive Director Gladys BrumfieldJames.“By adding the early evening hours, Catholic Charities can help families who can’t come to our usual food distributions held earlier in the day.” The Mamie George Community Center, which is operated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, set its evening distribution slot at Wednesday, 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. The ongoing schedule for the drive-through food distribution is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. - noon. Families should make an appointment for weekday food pickup. Additionally, the food fairs open to the public are held on a Saturday each month from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. To make an appointment or view the food fair schedule, visit CatholicCharities.org/CovidFoodDistribution. The Mamie George Community Center is located at 1111 Collins Road in Richmond. Other services provided during the pandemic include financial assistance for families in need of help with rent and other essential expenses, meal delivery to seniors, and support for women veterans. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, MGCC provided 3.3 million pounds of food to families who drive through the food pick-up line.

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Continued from page 18 Covering more than 500 years of the African-American experience, this authoritative resource enables library patrons to explore the full spectrum of African-American history and culture. Students can delve deeply into a variety of topics, examine different perspectives, and access historical tablet/mobile-friendly videos that bring history to life.This resource includes a substantial collection of primary sources, images, biographies of key people, original maps and charts, and much more. The biographies listed under “Featured People” include collections of articles on civil rights activists, trailblazing military and political figures, abolition leaders, Harlem Renaissance intellectuals and activists, major musicians and artists, leading scientists, accomplished athletes, and influential writers. Full citations are available throughout the resource, and users can print, copy, and save to a folder all content for personal use. The Curriculum Tools section includes writing and research tips for students and educators, including advice on analyzing and understanding primary sources, editorial cartoons, and online resources. Guides for presenting research include instruction on citing sources, avoiding plagiarism, completing a primary-source worksheet, summarizing articles, and writing research papers. To browse this digital collection, go to the FBCL website, www. fortbend.lib.tx.us, click on “Research,” select “Databases,” and choose “African-American History.” Library patrons need a valid FBCL card (or eCard) to access the resource. For more information, call the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

New streaming video service provides access to ‘thousands of world-class’ resources

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ort Bend County Libraries announces the addition of a new online streaming video service,Access Video On Demand, to its eLibrary collection of digital resources. Library patrons will have instant, unlimited, 24/7 access to thousands of world-class documentaries, award-winning educational films, independent movies, and helpful instructional videos covering a wide range of subjects. This new video-streaming service includes two collections —“Access Video on Demand: Master Collection” for adults and “Access Video On Demand: Just for Kids.” From arts and humanities to science, technology, and math,Access Video On Demand (AVOD) provides instant access to a wide range of subjects for library patrons of all ages. In the AVOD: Master Collection, producers such as the History Channel, HBO, BBC, Nova,A&E, and Ken Burns provide documentaries on topics like business, career planning, health, history, travel, and more. Library patrons can watch a Bob Dylan concert, go on a trip with Rick Steves, learn to bake with Julia Child, or work out with Jeanette Jenkins. AVOD: Just for Kids provides thousands of age-appropriate, advertisement-free videos that children, parents, and caregivers will love. Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, PBS, and the Electric Company are a few of the many available offerings. Interactive games, puzzles, and quizzes are sure to entertain, educate, and inspire young library patrons on this kid-safe media platform. Looking for homework help? AVOD: Just for Kids includes educational, historical, and popular content, with full transcripts of

20 • West Fort Bend Living

programs, a citation builder for bibliographies, and video-clipping tools that help the user embed the video in a presentation. Library patrons need a valid FBCL card (or eCard) to access the service, and there are no check-out limits, waitlists, or overdue fines. Completely browser-based and mobile-friendly, the streaming videos can be viewed on PCs, Macs, iPads, smart TVs, and other internetenabled mobile devices. No app or special software is required. It is possible to create an account with AVOD and create playlists for videos to be watched in the future.With an account, patrons may also pause videos and resume at a later time. All videos come with public performance rights for classroom or other public use, and new videos are added monthly. To browse the AVOD collection of films, go to the FBCL website, www.fortbend.lib.tx.us, click on “ELIBRARY,” and scroll down to Access Video on Demand. For more information, call the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

Free language-learning resource at your fingertips!

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re you planning to visit a foreign country? Would you like to make yourself more marketable to an employer by being bilingual? Do you want to have an advantage on an international business trip by speaking the local language? Learning another language can have many benefits, and Fort Bend County Libraries’“Transparent Language® Online” resource makes learning a new language easy – and it’s free. FBCL’s Adult Services staff will present an online tutorial, “Transparent Language® Online: Learning a Language Beyond Chapter 1,” on Thursday, June 10. This how-to video will be prerecorded so that it can be viewed from the comfort and safety of home at any time after the scheduled date. Learning a new language can be challenging, but retaining and using it in a conversational setting can be even more so. In this video, library staff will talk about how to get beyond “Chapter 1 Basics.” Learn about the “placement test” feature that enables the user to jump past initial lessons to reach the section that is appropriate for their stage of learning. Hear about two other features of this resource that can help the student retain and use the language skills they have learned. About Transparent Language® Online The Transparent Languages resource offers online courses for people who would like to learn a new language.The database includes more than 80 languages – from Afrikaans to Zulu – as well as ESL (English as a Second Language) classes for non-English speaking people who would like to learn English. The English-language-assistance courses are available for people who speak Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean,Vietnamese, Farsi, Hindi, Czech, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Romanian, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Russian, German, French, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Greek,Arabic, or Italian. By using the libraries’ subscription to the service, library patrons can have free access to a resource for which they would otherwise have to pay. NOTE: Because of a recent upgrade to this resource, current users will be required to reset their passwords. This how-to tutorial can be viewed at ww.fortbend.lib.tx.us by clicking on the “Classes and Events” tab, selecting “Virtual Programs,” and finding the virtual “class” on the scheduled date. For more information, call FBCL’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.


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In est Fort Bend Monthly a n d i t s t h re e s i s t e r publications are monthly magazines published by the Fort Bend Herald newspaper. At 1902 South Four th Street in Rosenberg, just a stone’s throw away from Rosenberg’s city hall and police department is a small office, alive with the buzz of editors, ad reps, and journalists combing the streets for stories from all areas of the West Fort Bend community. Bill Hartman From happenings in the city to the quieter roads of rural areas, The Herald has served as a longtime community newspaper filled with local faces and local names. And as is the case with every edition, the intent is to publish as many local faces as possible. This was the philosophy developed by late Herald owner Bill Hartman. And as it stands as the custom for the Fort Bend Herald newspaper, the concentration on the local community stands as the model for West Fort Bend Living and its sister publications, too. On May 3, 2021, Hartman, who was 79 years old, passed away from an illness after suffering an injury last year. Known more commonly by Herald readers as “BH” for authoring the Fort Bend Journal and who published a weekly column he called “Sunday Slants.” He is survived by his sister Mary Hartman Brown-Cody of Baytown; three children, Fred Hartman and wife Laura Lee Prather of Austin; Lee Hartman and wife Shannon Hartman of Sugar Land; and Lizz Sansone and husband Chris Sansone of Sugar Land; six grandchildren, Drew and Kate Hartman of Sugar Land; and Alex and Ella Stapleton, and Julia and Blake Hartman, all of Austin. He lived in Richmond and was a member of St. John’s United Methodist Church. He was an avid sports fan, golfer, horseman, outdoorsman, and firearms enthusiast. He also owned and showed Arabian horses, and was a frequent Top 10 finisher in the U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian western pleasure classes. He owned Hartman Arabian Farms in Needville until the late 1990s. Hartman purchased The Herald-Coaster in 1974 from Carmage Walls and Southern Newspapers, Inc. The newspaper was renamed the Fort Bend Herald in 2007. The Herald became part of Hartman Newspapers, Inc., which at one point owned 17 community newspapers in Texas and

22 • West Fort Bend Living

Oklahoma. Hartman relocated the company to Rosenberg in 1977, and he and his family moved from Beaumont to Richmond. “Bill was my boss for 50 years,” said Clyde King, chairman of Hartman Newspapers and publisher of the Fort Bend Herald.“He was a consummate newspaperman, and you would never find any ‘fake news’ in any of his publications. I remember asking him once how to display a certain story of wrongdoing by a community member, and I’ll never forget his answer: ‘Run it like you would, if you or I did it.’ And what he meant by that was that neither of us or anyone else would be exempt from having our transgressions reported on the front page.” Hartman was also adamant that his editors get as many names and faces in each issue as possible. In a 2015 interview with Jane Goodsill for the Oral History Committee of the Fort Bend Historical Commission, Hartman addressed the impact of technology and social media, saying the negative impact will be felt more by larger newspapers than community papers, like The Herald. “We know what our niche is,” he said. “We’re not going to outChronicle the Chronicle or out-Dallas the Dallas News, but they can’t do what we do, either. We concentrate on providing local coverage.” Hartman was a lifelong veteran of the newspaper business and began working as a teenager for his father Fred, who was editor and publisher of the Baytown Sun for Southern Newspapers. Hartman attended Baytown public schools, graduating from Robert E. Lee High School in 1959. After graduating from Baylor University in 1962 with a business degree, Hartman went to work as editor and publisher of the Bayshore Sun in La Porte. He then moved back to Baytown in 1965 as general manager of the Baytown Sun under his father and Mr. Walls. From 1971-74, Hartman served as editor and publisher of the Beaumont Enterprise & Journal. Then in 1974, he founded Hartman Newspapers. In the 2015 Goodsill interview, Hartman stressed the importance of being involved in the community being covered. “In all the communities where we have newspapers, we make it a part of our publishers and editors jobs take part in civic activities.” Hartman was a tireless promoter of Fort Bend County, and his community activities included serving as president of the Rosenberg-Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce; chairman of the board of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council; director of Polly Ryon Memorial Hospital; past chairman of the Fort Bend County Mobility Task Force; past vice-chairman of the Richmond State School’s Volunteer Services Council; past

Continued on page 26


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Cars, crafts and cuties draw crowd

Historical Richmond Association’s annual Art Walk & Motor Madness returns after year-long quarantine photos by SCOTT REESE WILLEY

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Debbie Helbert and Margaret took home a second-place award in the best lookalike contest at the Bark in the Park competition.

Kim Sydow of Lake Jackson shows off her 1965 Ford Mustang. Husband Mark said he purchased the vintage auto for his wife for about $12,000 and has since spent another $8,000 refurbishing it. Kim says Mark maintains the vehicle. Sean Foley of Richmond and Turtle finished third in the best lookalike contest. Historic Richmond Association volunteer Jessica Huang said she was pleased with the turnout. “It was great to see everyone out and smiling again,” she said. Ingrid Nina Hoegberg, 62, of Richmond, was selling her artwork and purses she made out of plastic shopping bags, known as Plarn. She said she began the enterprise after retiring and at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoegberg, who identifies herself as an “artist and chicken farmer,” said she can whip out a small purse in a day if she puts her mind to it.

24 • West Fort Bend Living

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Rosenberg artist Cisco Tucker organized the Bark in the Park Pet Parade. Italia Hernandez of Richmond and Little Man join in the Bark in the Park Pet Parade.

Blake and Danielle Weston of Richmond and son Parker, 3, check out a vintage Plymouth Barricuda on display at the 2021 Art Walk & Motor Madness in downtown Richmond. The annual event, postponed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is sponsored by the Historic Richmond Association. The Westons were joined by their parents Martin and Toni Gruver of Gladewater, Texas.

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Pecan Grove Elementary School second-grader Elyse Aubrey Foley, 8, dressed as Dorothy for the Bark in the Park contest. Jane Long Elementary School first-grader Keaton Webb, 6, checks out his face tattoo.


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Continued from page 22 president of the Rosenberg Rotary Club; and past director of the Fort Bend County Fair Association; and director of the Texas Ranger Association Foundation. Hartman served as president of the Texas Daily Newspapers Association in 1977 and was named the Pat Taggart Newspaper Leader of the Year by TDNA in 2004. He was also a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, covering the Houston

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ne of the toughest things to go through in life is losing one of your parents. As you may have read in The Herald, we lost my father Bill earlier this week. He was the rock of our family. We’ve experienced a range of Fred Hartman emotions — grief mixed with joy that comes in waves. The biggest blessing is we’ve been there to support and love each other, and that would’ve made Dad happier than anything. I’ve been touched by friends who’ve called to express their condolences. One minute, I’ll be talking normally, and then they’ll say something that triggers an emotion or memory — and the tears flow. As someone who doesn’t cry easily, I’ve re-learned that we can cry when we’re grieving and when we’re happy. In particular, tears of joy feel really good. Dad — or BH as we sometimes referred to him — was well known to Herald readers because he wrote his “Sunday Slants” column in this space. I’m using that header as a tribute to him today. BH suffered a broken leg last year, and then re-broke the same leg in an accident at home a couple of months ago. As is the case when people get older, their health can decline when they go through that kind of trauma. Normally, I wouldn’t mention so many personal details, but Sunday Slants readers already know this because Dad wrote a series of columns about what happened. But enough sad stuff. Let’s get to the fun. I worked with Dad for the last 35 years in our family business, and value the time we spent together. As you might expect, we butted heads on occasion, but also maintained a close relationship in spite of the fact that he was my boss and we saw each other all the time. Like many fathers and sons, we bonded through sports — going to games, playing golf, hunting, fishing, and riding horses, etc. It was always fun to enjoy an adult beverage with him, too. As BH’s son, I was blessed to meet many colorful and interesting

26 • West Fort Bend Living

Astros in the Herald for many years. “I think it’s important for everybody to take part in his or her community,” he said in the Goodsill interview. "It’s only going to be as good as you make it.Today I’m a little disappointed that too much of our time is spent hurrying from place to place and we don’t take time to look around and smell the flowers. I think that’s important as well.”

characters. He opened many doors for me and other people, and I learned a lot from Dad and his friends. And laughed a lot. He taught me to say “yes sir” and “yes ma-am” to my elders at a young age and to look people in the eye when I talk to them. He also said to be loyal and treat people with respect, but also to stand up for yourself and not suffer fools. Dad was far from the preachy type and a sinner just like the rest of us, but the most important thing he taught us was the importance of having faith in the Lord. In particular, I learned one lesson the hard way. Dad’s friend Maury Meyers was in town to play in a golf tournament with him, and afterward, they challenged me and my friend, Bobby Levey, in a game of two-on-two in our driveway. Bobby and I were about 15 or 16 and thought we were hot stuff. I ended up guarding Maury and fouling him hard a couple of times. When he got the ball the next time, Maury turned and swung his elbow into my chest, sending me sprawling into the grass and on my back. Startled, I made eye contact with Dad for support, but he glared at me and said,“What are you looking at? If you want to play that rough, so can we.” Maury helped me up and we finished the game — and, of course, lost to the old guys. Dad lived a great life and considered himself blessed to be able to live in Texas and publish a newspaper in Fort Bend County. However, it seemed like his greatest joy was being a grandfather, or as he said,“being in the paw paw business.” As successful as Dad was in business, he was even better at being a grandfather. I think he took pride in Drew, Kate, Alex, Ella, Blake, and Julia not only because he enjoyed being around them so much, but because he saw them as representing his legacy and the future. One of my friends told me it’s especially hard to lose one of the very few people you know you can count on 100%, 100% of the time.That how brother Lee, sister Lizz and I felt about Dad. Rest in peace, Dad. We’ll all reunite one of these days, but until then, we love you and are gonna miss you. [Original publish date in The Fort Bend Herald, May 9, 2021]


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PHOTO BY SCOTT REESE WILLEY | Taylor Ray Elementary School kindergarten teacher Stephanie DeLeon was among the educators honored during the HEB’s annual Texas Loves Teachers Tour. The tour included 50 campuses across the state. Taylor Ray was the only campus selected in Fort Bend County. Teachers were treated to a boxed meal and gift bags filled with teachers’ supplies. DeLeon has taught school for five years.

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PHOTO BY SCOTT REESE WILLEY | Taylor Ray Elementary School kindergarten teacher Tonya Haut poses with HEB Buddy during the grocery chain’s Texas Loves Teachers Tour. Haut has taught school for 17 years.

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PHOTO BY CHAD WASHINGTON | An 18-wheeler trailer lays wrecked by a train on Second Street in downtown Richmond last month. The incident took place at 10:30 a.m. when the truck got stuck on the tracks. The train carrying gravel couldn’t stop in time. The truck driver got out before the crash happened and no injuries were reported, according to Richmond police. Second Street was closed for hours while the accident was cleared.

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He alth

Being ‘Tough for Taylor’

Softball player born with rare disorder

story & photos by SCOTT REESE WILLEY | swilley@fbherald.com

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razos High School softball player Taylor Brzozowski remembers the day in March when she slid into home plate and was tagged out on the back of her head. The sophomore immediately knew something was wrong with her body. She’d been having severe headaches for the past three or four years, but the slap on the back of the head by a baseball glove hurt too much. Taylor said she struggled to get to the dugout and lay down. After the game, her parents insisted she get an MRI. The chilling discovery:Taylor, 16, had Chiari Malformation Type 1, in which her brains were essentially protruding from the base of her skull. The condition had grown worse over the years, so much so that a cyst had formed and was pressing against Taylor’s spinal column and compressing her vertebrate. At times, both her legs would go numb. Doctors benched her from sports for the rest of the season. At the time of this interview, Taylor was scheduled to undergo surgery in New York in April to remove part of her skull and reduce the pressure on her spinal cord and nerves. Hopefully, the surgery will allow her to return to a sport she loves: softball. To help her reach that goal, townsfolk held a fundraiser to raise the money her family would need to travel and stay in New York. The benefit, “Tough for Taylor,” drew most if not all of the community of Wallis and the surrounding area. Held at the Wallis Knights of Columbus Hall, the benefit included a band, dancing, live auction, and sale of boiled crawfish. “We knew we had to do something for Taylor,” said Joell Prado, a member of “The Girls,” which helped organize the fundraiser.“She and her family are so well-liked by everyone that the least we could do was help them get to New York so she get the operation she needed.” Prado was joined by partners Kayla Rosniak, Lisa Willis and Lori Ham, and others, who help orchestrate benefits to help folks in Wallis and Orchard communities.

“CMT is a very serious neurological disorder that will require brain surgery,” The Girls explained in a poster promoting the fundraiser.“Unfortunately, there are very few pediatric doctors that will accept a case this serious. Fortunately, a great pediatric doctor in New York has stepped up to the plate and is willing to work with Taylor and her family. “However, this does mean that there will be a lot of added expenses for the family during this already stressful time.” Hopefully, the benefit will raise enough money to help raise the family’s spirits during this trying time, the poster concludes. The surgery includes removing a portion of the bottom of Taylor’s skull, removal of the cyst and several vertebrates, and a skin graft. It will take about a week for Taylor to recover in New York and several more weeks of recovery back at home. Fortunately,Taylor said, the surgery to the back of her skull will be unnoticeable because her hair will cover the area. Taylor’s parents, Jennifer and Christopher, said they are touched by “The Girls” efforts and the turnout of the community. “This is amazing,” said Jennifer as she sweeps her gaze around the crowded KC hall. “We never expected anything like this. I don’t have the words to describe how appreciative we feel.” Jennifer gets misty-eyed thinking of her daughter’s serious condition. It’s all she can do to keep tears from forming when she recalls the past three or four years. “We kept taking her to doctors for her headaches but they kept diagnosing her with migraines,” she recalled.“They had us check her teeth and her eyes, and all they could come up with was migraines.” Taylor said there have been times when her legs would go numb. Last month, when she was tagged out, her parents knew it was more than just headaches and they insisted on an MRI. Doctors told the family that Taylor had been born with CMT and that the pressure on her spinal cord and nerves was the cause of the headaches and numbness. The symptoms would only grow worse over time, they were warned. However, if treated correctly,Taylor could live a long healthy life. Taylor said she would be able to return to sports if the surgery is

Rachel Bregenzer, a mom of a softball player, gives Taylor Brzozowski, left, a hug during a benefit in Taylor’s name at the KC Hall in Wallis. Taylor was born with a rare disorder that required brain surgery.

Brazos High School softball player Taylor Brzozowski, left, meets up with friends at a benefit in her honor.

28 • West Fort Bend Living

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PHOTO BY AVERIL GLEASON | Carolyn Seiler’s morning was turtle-y crazy. After catching her pups playing with the reptile in her backyard in Rosenberg, Seiler picked it up and walked it to the woods near Mons Avenue. She added that this was her good deed for the day. Four-year-old Alexandra Ullenes smiles as she prepares to gobble up some mudbugs at Stand Bayou Teachers fundraiser at Bayou Boys in Needville. Ullenes and her family traveled from Houston to support the event, which was sponsored by Needville Education Foundation and benefits Needville ISD teachers and students through grants and scholarships. PHOTO BY JACY CLAYBAKER | Briscoe Junior High School selected its cheerleaders for the 2021-22 school year. They are, front row, from left, Ava Smith, Dakota Sanders, Sadie Sanders, Makenna Gilbreath, Evelyn Bilodeau, and Payge Mouton. Middle row, from left, are Malia Felli, Khloe White, Malin Tilly, Emery Zebold, De’Asia Ward, Briley Favre, Zaira Keaton, Antonia Arriola and Vivienne West. Back row, from left, are Jada Greer, Kyndall Anderson, Ava Baker, Didi Emanuel, Sadie Richards and Skye Solesbee. Celebrating Sash Day at George Junior High are the new George Junior High School cheerleaders for the 2021-22 school year. Bottom Row, from left, are Chloe Quinones, Ariana Rodriguez, Alyza Mendez, Ariana Zavala, Liliana Cardenas, Jaylean Cedillo, Jessie Hernandez, Alyana Hernandez. Top row, from left, are Trinity Scott, Maura Guebara, Kaila Martinez, Gabriella Rodriguez, La’Tarris Pettis.

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Continued from page 28 successful, she said. “That’s my biggest wish, to play softball again,” she said.“I really miss being out there on the field with the rest of the team.” She hopes to play softball in college someday. “I’ve already had colleges looking at me,” she said. On the day of the fundraiser, her teammates and fellow students turned out en mass to wish her well and give what they could to help her get back on the pitcher’s mound. “They’re awesome,”Taylor said.“Everyone has been awesome. I really appreciate what everyone is doing for me.” Taylor is keeping an online diary of her battle with CMT. Follow her at “Tough for Taylor- Chiari Journey” on Facebook. Miss the benefit but still want to help Taylor? Text the amount you’d like to donate to 84321 and Regeneration Church will match it up to $2,000. Or, contact Joell Prado at 979-627-1508, Kayla Rosniak at 832520-6127, and Lisa Willis at 979-627-1690.

Drive-thru Cancer Survivors Day celebration to honor survivors

the Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine. After the drive-thru event, participants will be able to watch an inspirational presentation online from Mack Dryden, a comedian and two-time cancer survivor. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are currently more than 16.9 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today. National Cancer Survivors Day events held around the country allow survivors to come together and celebrate life. Visit join.houstonmethodist.org/survivor-sl to register for the event. Visit houstonmethodist.org/cancer-sl to learn more about the Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land or to find a doctor in your area. CANCER SURVIVORS DAY DRIVE-THRU CELEBRATION Cancer survivors and caregivers are invited to join Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Cancer Survivors Day drive-thru celebration between 9 and 11 a.m. on Friday, June 4.The drive-thru will be held at the Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land: 16675 Southwest Fwy. Sugar Land, TX 77479. Visit join. houstonmethodist.org/survivor-sl to register or find out more information.

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ouston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital will host a drive-thru Cancer Survivors Day Celebration from 9-11 a.m. on Friday, June 4. The hummingbird-themed event, titled “Let Your Spirit Soar,” takes the place of the annual large gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet still offers a chance to honor survivors and caregivers. Participants will receive a gift bag with an inspirational book, face mask, along with resources for survivors and a hummingbird cookie to remind them to “let their spirits soar.” “Since we are still not able to host a large gathering, we are offering a different kind of celebration,” said Amy Sebastian-Deutsch, director of oncology services.“The drive-thru format provides a safe way to celebrate these survivors’ incredible strength and resilience, and we are proud to honor their lives and encourage them, especially during the prolonged challenging time of the pandemic.” Survivors will also enjoy uplifting music by music therapists from

Deborah Smith, oncology nurse, and Dr. Clive Shkedy, board-certified radiation oncologist, visit with a survivor at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s 2020 Cancer Survivors Day Drive-Thru Celebration.

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30 • West Fort Bend Living

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