Right at HOME Video e-magazine January 2021 Issue

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Advocate Attorney Local Lawyer Helps Clients Navigate Life’s Difficult Situations

By Amy Morgan

L

ife is full of situations the untrained person is simply not equipped to resolve — and the past year created a multitude of unprecedented complications. Don’t worry and wonder when the other shoe will drop. Seek good advice and wise counsel from a legal advocate who can help you navigate issues ranging from bankruptcy and custody to wills, probate, traffic tickets or DWI. Local family and criminal law attorney Trisha Morales Padia has spent close to a decade protecting client interests. She clearly and competently explains legal details so people are able to make a confident decision about the best way to move forward. Trisha owns her own practice, which means she is personally accessible and responsive to those who engage her services. Trisha feels strongly that people should make informed decisions. She understands when a situation arises, many feel compelled to seek answers immediately, even (often) in the middle of the night. To meet the need, she created a podcast, Lawful Insight, which helps explain common legal

concerns like divorce, what to expect from a hearing, or how to divide retirement benefits. “I want to give people options to get information on their timeline,” she said. “They can find a simple explanation to ease their stress and not have to wait for someone to call them back.” Potential clients can access the podcast on Podbean and Spotify, or watch a video via YouTube. Find links on Trisha’s website, www.moralespadialaw.com.


Trisha graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio in 2010. She is a member of the family law section of the San Antonio Bar Association and on the board of the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Law is Trisha’s second career. She worked as a media buyer in Colorado after obtaining a marketing degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The volatile economy of the mid 2000s convinced her to return to her childhood dream of becoming an attorney. She and her husband moved to Texas when she enrolled at St. Mary’s. Trisha chose San Antonio for its reputation as a “big city with a small town feel.” The couple has set down roots here. They now have two small children, and Trisha’s parents She’s seen other disruptions caused by Covid-19 — and sister followed them to Texas. bankruptcy, occupancy license issues and small business closings as financial situations have changed. Deaths of After passing the bar, Trisha began working on criminal family members lead to probate concerns, as it is necessary cases and realized she enjoyed solving problems, helping to appoint executors and approve all legal heirs before people make things right in their lives. She has a strong property can be transferred. “It is not as easy as people sense of justice and advocates for the underdog. She think it is to distribute all the assets correctly,” Trisha said. remembers one case in particular where she was able to prevent a parent from taking a minor child overseas, It only takes consuming one too many alcoholic beverages precluding other family members’ access. She used before someone might find themselves charged with a her expertise to create a solution that protected the DWI. Whether it happens to a loved one or a friend of relationships and saved much heartache. a friend, Trisha will know the wisest steps to take. Her office sits next to the courthouse downtown, convenient Trisha said child custody in the case of unmarried couples for frequent trips she made on clients’ behalf prior to the can be a problem. If there’s no official marriage, there are docket being moved to Zoom in 2020. no official court orders for child visitation if the relationship dissolves. Her own experience as a mother informs her You never know when a legal concern might pop up. Save knowledge of the strength of the parent-child bond and Trisha’s information in your contacts so you’ll be prepared inspires her to work to legally protect parental rights. with an advocate in your corner if/when that day arrives.


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Fantastic Fundraiser Reagan Dancer Advocates for Others

By Amy Morgan

I

f this were a normal January, Ronald Reagan High School Senior Amelia Johnson would be preparing with her teammates on the varsity dance team for the upcoming winter competition season. As Lt. Colonel, she’s responsible for readying the team for performances, including their debut on the football field October 3. She’s adapted routines to distance the girls across the length of the field and removed kick lines. “We don’t take any game for granted and have new appreciation for the opportunities we have now,” she said. Nothing this year has been normal. Dancers had no sooner finished competition and completed tryouts last February when everything moved online for the rest of the year. “We found out who made the team, and that’s the last time we were at school,” Amelia said. “Everything changed more than we ever could have expected.” Change is difficult for many, but Amelia, who struggles with anxiety, finds it even more disruptive. Diagnosed with the disorder at a young age, Amelia passionately advocates for others. “It’s a stigma having to learn with constant anxiety,” she said. “Seeing other kids struggling was heartbreaking to me.” She designed a T-shirt to raise funds for the Child Mind Institute, a non-profit organization that raises awareness of mental illness and helps kids receive therapy. She researched groups, created the design and promoted the shirt’s sale through her social medial platforms. Amelia was so encouraged by the 70 people who purchased shirts, which allowed her to donate $900 to the institute.

“Anxiety is a hard thing. The fact that my community rallied around me means a lot,” she said. The shirt’s message, “Storms make trees take deeper roots,” is reflective of her own experience. “I’ve been through a lot of storms in my life, but they made me a stronger person,” she said. Amelia credits her parents for their support in the midst of her struggles. Amelia took refuge in dance when the going was especially tough. Her sophomore year, a medication she took to help alleviate anxiety caused an obvious head tic. “ It was very public,” she said. “The only time it went away was when I was dancing.” She is grateful Reagan dance coach, “V. Rod,” encouraged her to stick with it. “Dance is my home and happy place,” Amelia said. She was able to return to teaching at Heather Stolle’s School of Dance this summer, and while the rest of the team learned routines virtually, she had a practice partner in her sister, Leora, also one of Reagan’s Diamond Dancers. Amelia draws great strength from her faith and Community Bible Church study group. Her experience with medical professionals has inspired her to pursue a career as a NICU nurse. “Every nurse has been so kind. I want to do that for people,” she added.



SENIOR MOMENT

Lucky in Love Social Seniors Shelter Together By Amy Morgan

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heila and Roy Hedges recognize how fortunate they are to be together during this pandemic season. Not only do they appreciate the safety and convenience of living in proximity to friends at Independence Hill, one of their favorite pastimes has been zooming around the campus in their bright orange golf cart with their Yorkie, Bradley, perched on Sheila’s lap. Since moving to Independence Hill two years ago, the Hedges are known for being the life of the party. They’ve enjoyed greeting potential new residents and were surprised to receive meal tickets as a thank you. They were able to share these tickets with their family when they came to eat a wonderful meal in the lovely dining room. Roy’s daughter was so impressed with the elegance, delicious food and the attention the wait staff paid to them. Their elaborate day-of-the-dead costumes earned them first place in last year’s Halloween contest and a generous prize. The festive couple met at a St. Patrick’s holiday party in California. Roy, a Texan, was dressed in western wear, and Sheila teasingly asked him where he’d parked his horse. Turns out, he had some “horsepower” parked out front — his motorcycle. Sheila hopped on for a ride, and the pair ended up talking for hours at a Denny’s diner. Sheila was working as a nurse in the Santa Clara County Jail. Roy was with Memorex after serving a seven-year Navy stint that included two tours to Vietnam. The couple discovered their mutual interest in antiques when they were dating. Browsing flea markets together led to a small business restoring and selling furniture and European dolls out of their Spanish bungalow in California. Sheila is a whiz at sewing and refinishing. “I’m not afraid of much,” she laughed. Now the Hedges’ second story, two-bedroom with vaulted ceilings looks out onto Independence Village’s grassy park and allows plenty of room for their collections. The couple left the West Coast for Texas in 1989. Never ones to sit idle, Roy began driving a school bus for handicapped students while Sheila assisted with the children. They became attached to their passengers and knew everyone’s pet on the route. They also managed the rental program at Tropical Hideaway on Lake LBJ and built a retirement home across the street. Lawn maintenance and upkeep became tiresome, and after the Hedges settled in San Antonio, Sheila was relieved to “never cook again.” Always ready for the next adventure, Roy and Sheila recruited their next-door neighbors to help them decorate their building for Independence Hill’s holiday contest. They put together an outdoor Christmas tree, complete with teddy bear and presents, which spanned the length and height of their balcony. Roy’s background in electronics also came in handy to light a beautiful Menorah to recognize Sheila’s Jewish faith. Needless to say, their efforts earned them another first place recognition. The two have been married for 39 years and credit their differences for keeping them together. “We balance each other out,” Roy said. For more information about the lifestyle offered at Independence Hill, call (210) 764-5260, or go to www.independencehill.com.


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PET TIP

Pets on Planes

Determine Dog’s Duty Prior to Approach

By Tamara Wetegrove

I

f you braved Covid quarantine to travel over the holiday season, you might have noticed how many people were accompanied by their canine companions. Therapy dogs, service dogs, emotional support animals …. pups on the go could be seen trotting through airports and peeking from car windows nationwide. Even the most nervous traveler can hardly help smiling at a precocious pup, and dog lovers are tempted to ask for a cuddle. How can you know if that darling dog is petable or on duty?

large enough to bring stature to their position and selected for their calm temperament and trainability. In either case, once you determine the pooch you are perusing is in fact on the job, it is best to admire him from afar to keep from distracting from the vital task at hand. Therapy dogs are trained to interact with people and behave in a public setting.They provide companionship and comfort in senior living facilities and veteran’s hospitals or help children with their social skills or reading ability. A therapy dog may have his role designated on his collar, which can list certifications or awards earned. Sometimes, owners are so attached to their furry family members they just can’t bear to be separated, even if it means paying a stiff fee for the privilege of bringing Fido on the plane. A quick check reveals airlines charge $75 to $200 each way for a pup to fly. It has become increasingly common for people to certify their pets as Emotional Support Animals, which may entitle them to fly with their owner at a reduced rate. ESA’s do not need any special training other than a note from their owner’s mental health professional stating their necessity.

Look closely. Your first clue might be written on the dog’s harness. Service animals commonly wear a vest that notes their position and often asks they NOT be touched. Service dogs are a highly trained canine member of a team and perform a vitally important role for their human companion. Dogs complete tasks as simple as fetching items for someone with mobility issues or as detailed as guiding one with hearing or visual It is always wise and courteous to impairment, detecting dangerous blood sugar levels for ask an owner before approaching or diabetics, or warning of impending epileptic seizure. petting someone else’s dog. Remember to respect that the owner considers You may come across working dogs, like those trained Fido a family member, and act to detect drugs or explosives, at the airport. You’ll know accordingly when tempted to run them by their uniformed human handlers, often military toward someone else’s pooch —no or law enforcement. Breeds chosen for these roles are matter how adorable.


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