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Join us for the 7th Annual PAINT THE PARKWAY PINK! Saturday, October 20th 7:30am-11:00am Register at

Pictured (L-R) Jean Holt, MD, Heather Woehrle, (Breast Cancer Survivor), Julie Hudson, MSN,RN, (Breast Cancer Survivor), and Liz Blue Braden Photo by Gary Lott Photography



Holiday Hosting The Club at Sonterra Prepares the Perfect Party By Amy Morgan


osting a holiday office party, luncheon or customer appreciation event? You’ll find no better venue than The Club at Sonterra. Whether you’re inviting 30 or 300, Director of Events and Catering Athena Nolen is poised to help you plan the perfect party. Athena has been with the Club at Sonterra for 2½ years, transferring from sister club Sweetwater in Houston. Community members can access the Club at Sonterra’s facility to host private gatherings, with many repeating bookings annually because of their positive experiences. “We are happy to personalize the details of your event. Just tell us what you want, and there is almost always a ‘yes’ in there somewhere,” Athena said. She recounted an instance where she fulfilled a member’s desire for a specialty menu that included favorite dishes from the Caribbean. “Were her selections on the menu? No,” Athena said. “We sat down with the chef and made it happen. She was so grateful and happy and excited.” Another popular request - several brides have asked for their dogs to walk them down the aisle at their wedding. The Club at Sonterra is conveniently located in Stone Oak – no fighting traffic or worrying about a long journey home. Parking is free, plentiful, and right outside the front door. And no fussing about décor – the Club at Sonterra sets the holiday mood with festive decorations and music. A massive, 15-foot illuminated tree graces the entry foyer, and wreaths festoon the windows. Each gathering room includes its own tree and individual holiday theme, with packages including centerpieces and linens reflecting the colors of the season. The catering menu completes the holiday spirit. “Brunch is magnificent!” Athena said. “We offer literally 100 feet of brunch items. We have a carving station, made to order omelets, made to order Ahi tuna, soup, salad, fruit, and 20 feet of dessert. Favorites are the warm cobbler with ice cream or the 1001 chocolate chip cake, and we always have live music, either a guitar or pianist.” The Club at Sonterra can suit any size or type event with en suite bars, choice of meal service and two floating, resizable dance floors. One business reserves the ballroom to show their appreciation for staff and clients with a traditional Thanksgiving luncheon featuring roasted turkey with all the fixings. “We have another group that takes over the entire clubhouse with 600-700 people for their awards banquet,” she said. “We set up several buffets, multiple bars and use every single one of our rooms. Another client hosts games in a 5000-square-foot casino,” Athena added.


With so many options to personalize the perfect party at the Club at Sonterra, why look farther afield? Contact anolen@ or 210-496-1560 to schedule a consultation before the calendar fills.

Where friends invite friends! Ask a member how to join today.

Active Military Discounts ~ Our Amenities ~

Two 18-hole Championship Golf Courses Men’s & Women’s Golf Associations Jr. Golf Programs 25 Tennis Courts Tennis Leagues & Junior Clinics Jr. Olympic Swimming Pool Fitness Center Kids Club

~ Social Activities ~ New Year’s Eve Gala Quarterly Member Mixers Valentine’s Dinner Breakfast with the Easter Bunny Brunch every Sunday Wine & Liquor Tastings Summer Music Series Kids Club with Mini Camps Clubs within a Club

Deborah Routon | Director of Membership |

901 Sonterra Boulevard • 78258 • 210.483.4292 • Facebook .com/ ClubatSonterra


Go-Getter Golfer By Amy Morgan

Ronald Reagan High School varsity golfer Kinsey Ray, the is all in the family. Her father, David, an avid player, Fputorsport a club in her hand when she was three years old. The competitor strove to catch up with her older brothers, also former golfers at Reagan. The family enjoys playing together at Oak Hills Country Club.

But Kinsey has surpassed her brothers’ legacy. Even before the 2018 school year started, the senior committed to play for the University of Texas at Arlington. One of her goals was to play Division One golf in college, she said, and she was attracted by the facilities of UT Arlington, as well as the opportunity to create a legacy as the fledgling women’s golf team grows. Providing leadership and stability to a young team is a role with which Kinsey is familiar. The NEISD Individual District Champion last year will serve a second stint as team captain, and Kinsey will be the key to lead the Division Champion Reagan Women’s Golf team back to state. Reagan’s longstanding coach, Coach McCuiston, was replaced by first-year assistant Bailey Ferguson, and several other strong players graduated. Kinsey knows responsibility will fall to her to help Reagan’s team continue to finish on top. “I want to instill the team traditions,” she said. “On the way to tournaments we listen to a certain playlist and always end with Keep your Head Up, by Andy Graham. It’s the little things we want to keep going when we graduate” - and the tradition of winning district and advancing to state. NEISD Individual District Champion golfer Kinsey Ray will kick off Reagan’s season at the Swing for the Cure Tournament this month.

Unlike many other varsity sports, golf ’s season spans the school year. Competition kicks off this month with the Swing for the Cure Tournament, hosted by NEISD. The golfers all wear pink the second day, and funds raised are distributed to a deserving cause – last year, a MacArthur teacher who was fighting breast cancer, Kinsey said. Reagan faces rivals like Churchill and Austin’s Westlake and Lake Travis High Schools. Another team in their competition circle, Kingwood High School, was closed for weeks last year due to Hurricane Harvey. Reagan’s golfers reached out to offer aid and spent a day in Rockport cleaning debris in the storm’s aftermath for Church Unlimited. When the season ends, Kinsey plays tournaments individually with the American Junior Golf Association and the Texas Junior Golf Tour, where she posted two wins. Despite all the travel, Kinsey’s GPA is 107, which ranks in Reagan’s top 10 percent. “It is hard to miss that much school and keep up your grades. You learn good time management,” she said. Skills she plans to take with her when she trades her Rattler green for UT-Arlington orange.



Fall Festivities

The Thomas J Henry Bark in The Park is the perfect place to bring the whole family and enjoy food trucks, vendors, music and kids’ area. The biggest draw is the pet costume contest, with its winning prize of $1000. Get creative, and come out for an evening of fun! Proceeds go to rescue groups in the area. Saturday, October 6th, 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Sunken Garden Theater, 3875 N. St. Mary’s St. 78212 Pet Pawlooza, hosted by the Humane Society of Live Oak, is an afternoon to come check out vendors, food trucks, kid activities, and adopt a new friend for your family. Proceeds from a silent auction and raffle will fund Live Oak Animal Control and their medical needs. Saturday, October 13th, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Large Pavilion Area, Live Oak Park, 18001 Park Road, Live Oak 78233

By Courtney Crowley

appy fall! The return of cooler weather makes it the perfect H time to get outside and enjoy the festivities with your pup. Whether you enjoy picking out that special doggy costume or just a new fall-themed collar, dropping temperatures put pep back in the step of man and beast alike.

Before you head out though, make sure your furry family member is festival ready. How to tell? Does Fido like being around other dogs? Does your pup enjoy all types of people, including kids and unpredictable adults? Is he comfortable in noisy environments? Does he have good leash manners, and will he come back to you if he slips out? If your answers are yes, now’s the time to get out and get active at a San Antonio fall event. The following are some to check out. Enjoy a festive fall.


Hidden Trails Community will host Barktoberfest. Bring your furry friends to enjoy craft beer and games for the whole family. A $5 donation gets you in the door and includes a wristband for 3 full-size beers! Donations benefit San Antonio Pets Alive. Saturday, October 13th, Noon – 3 p.m. Hidden Trails Community, 32118 Lemon Mint, Bulverde 78163 Animal Defense League’s Fourth Annual 5k and Kids 1k Trick-or-Trot is fun for the whole family. The Kids 1K Trot will feature candy stops to fuel those little runners along the way. Every runner 13 or older will receive a packet with race tag, timing chip, water bottle and a t-shirt, while supplies last. Pets are more than welcome to join the race and costume contest. Walking or running, this event helps support the Animal Defense League’s fight to provide homes to San Antonio’s pets. Saturday, October 20th, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. McAllister Park, 13102 Jones Maltsberger Road 78247





European Escape Émigré Eludes Nazi Soldiers By Amy Morgan


here but for the grace of God go I,” are the words Helene Banks uses to describe how her life was providentially guided - from her flight from Brussels, Belgium, in 1940, to her retirement in San Antonio in 2015. Helene was born in Brussels in 1936. Hitler’s Nazi regime marched across Europe, and her Jewish family knew they needed to leave. Helene’s mother, Lena, held an American passport, as she had been born in Philadelphia during her parents’ brief sojourn there. This American citizenship was the key to Helene’s escape just steps ahead of the Nazi soldiers. Lena was expecting another child, so the family waited as long as they could until the deteriorating situation hastened their departure. Her father remained with them to see three-year-old Helene’s sister born in Bordeaux as they fled through France. Lena caught the next train to their ship with Helene and the newborn baby. The day after they left the hospital where she had delivered, it was bombed. Meanwhile, Helene’s father, who was not granted American citizenship, had kissed his family goodbye, then traveled with his brother-in-law through the south of France, finally waiting in Casablanca, Morocco, before rejoining the family in America almost two years later. They reunited and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where her father returned to his occupation as a furrier. Two more little girls were born, and Helene remembers happy times growing up with three younger sisters, safe in America. Helene Banks served in leadership roles with the local chapter Helene married a Navy man, with whom she had her three children: daughters, Deni and Sharon, and son, Len. Their many postings led the family to Texas, where, like her mother, Helene showed great resilience during the delivery of her son in an ill-equipped rural hospital. “I had to hold the anesthesia mask over my own face,” she said. “And they had only three bassinets in the hospital, so when Len was born, they put my baby in a grocery cart!” The family spent 1971-1975 in San Antonio, where they became active in the Agudas Achim synagogue. When the next move took them to Louisville, the children’s hearts remained in Texas. All three attended the University of Texas in Austin. Helene’s first marriage ended, and she went to work at the Kentucky Fried Chicken headquarters in Louisville for ten years. It was in Louisville that she met the love of her life, Norman Banks. His sister, whom she knew from their synagogue, fixed them up, Helene said. They spent 24 happy years together until his death in 2008. “Norman didn’t know a stranger,” she testified. “He was loved by everyone. He had the best sense of humor I ever encountered. He taught me to enjoy life.” The couple traveled, visiting Italy, Israel, England, and Canada. A memorable trip was their return to Brussels in 1994. They found the home in which Helene had been born. It was a historical trip, she said, not a family reunion, because no one was left there to find.

of the National Council of Jewish Women when she started collecting unique menorahs, a selection of which grace her beautifully decorated home in Independence Village.

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Back in Louisville, Helene took advantage of retirement to volunteer, serving in leadership roles with the local chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, her synagogue, and other charities benefitting women and children. It was there she began collecting unique menorahs, a selection of which grace her beautifully decorated home in Independence Village, where she has lived for three years. Deni lives nearby in Bulverde, and Helene enjoys being close enough to connect with her grand and great-grandchildren. Helene actively serves at Agudas Achim. She attends water aerobics and fitness classes conveniently located at Independence Village’s clubhouse and plays Mah Jong and Mexican Train with friends. “The surroundings here are beautiful,” she said, “and the activities are very well done.” In her spare time, Helene enjoys music, needlepointing and collecting blown glass artwork.

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Jump Start your Holiday Shopping Annual Bazaar at The Club at Sonterra Bigger than Ever By Amy Morgan


elebrations occur year round, but the holiday season always adds a little extra sparkle to any festivity. For 24 years, the Sonterra Women’s Association (SWA) at The Club at Sonterra has sponsored the Sonterra Holiday Bazaar - the perfect place for Stone Oak residents to kick off the holidays in style. This year’s bazaar will be bigger and better than ever - expanding to two ballrooms and including more than 55 vendors featuring unique items that can’t be found online or at the mall. The specialty shopping event is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2. “It is such an amazing, vibrant event, with vendors offering items to fit every budget,” said Erika Colantonio, who has co-chaired the event for the past six years with Marilou Epps. “We have an array of jewelry, linens, designer handbags, toys, Christmas décor, cookies and treats for the holidays.” Christmas music sets the mood, and a raffle with a high-value prize spurs excitement. Many shoppers make a day of it with girlfriends or family members. Erika and Marilou have cultivated relationships with carefully vetted vendors to satisfy the desires of the estimated 400 annual shoppers. A perennial favorite are the hand crafted holiday wreaths made by Rosalie Hallenberger. “She brings these amazing, gorgeous wreaths,” Erika said. “They are very elegant and festive, and she puts a lot of effort and love into them. She is one of the favorites by far – everybody comes to see Rosalie.”

(l-r) Lisa Guerrero and Maricela Garcia review a client file at the office of Guerrero Law, PLLC.

Pictured from left to right are Tosh James-Republic Kingdom, Erika Colantonio, Bazaar Co-Chair, Connie Kremer, SWA President, and Marilou Epps, Bazaar Co-Chair. There is no charge to attend the Holiday Bazaar, and free parking is located just outside the front door of The Club at Sonterra, located at 901 Sonterra Blvd. Money raised supports the projects and philanthropy of the Sonterra Women’s Association, said SWA President Connie Kremer. Mark your calendars and gather your group. The Holiday Bazaar at The Club at Sonterra is an event you don’t want to miss.

Unless otherwise indicated, Attorneys are not Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Right at HOME Community Magazine October 2018