Tex Appeal | Summer 2021

Page 1

Summer 2021

Life and Style in Central Texas

Paying It Forward

Offering Insurance



Cherished Memories




Colonial Property Management


Tex Appeal Life & Style in Central Texas

Attention Healthcare Professionals: Don’t miss the next edition of Tex Appeal magazine! This edition will highlight Central Texas’ Medical Professionals. Tell readers how your interest in the medical field started, why you enjoy it, and the journey you took to be where you are today. This is your opportunity to connect with over 62,500 readers to tell your story and how you can help them with their journey!

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Karen Clos pays it forward at Texas A&M–Central Texas


Tonya Autry rolls with the punches at Colonial Property Management


Denise Ayers connects Temple students with local businesses


Royce Crawford continues her son‘s legacy at Cherished Memories

Killeen Creators tackles the city‘s food deserts one community garden at a time. | 8


6 7 8 12 14 18

PUBLISHER‘S LETTER CONTRIBUTORS NEIGHBORS Kristin Wright of Killeen Creators SCENE National Train Day and Easter Extravaganza FLAVOURS Brooke May‘s Hecho en Queso and La Luncheonette IN THE SPOTLIGHT Colonial Property Management


Karen Clos of Texas A&M University– Central Texas | 26 Photo by JUSTIN BORJA

22 38 67 68 70 74

THE REVIEW Throw these summer reads in your suitcase CENTRAL TEXAS WOMEN IN BUSINESS PROFILES BEING CENTRAL TEXAN Jennifer Hetzel HEALTH & WELLNESS Fruits and vegetables that help you stay hydrated during summer‘s heat DAYTRIPPIN’ Gault Archaeological Site ADVERTISING INDEX


Angela Jourdain helps residents

find lasting relationships with TLC


Allison Finney helps residents

protect their property and assets


Staff Sgt. Samantha Escamilla finds her calling in the Army


Leah McHorse expands her Darling Décor empire with thrift store

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Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers or Baylor Scott & White Health. ©2019 Baylor Scott & White Health. 45-TEM-69955 GD


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o single out only a few successful Central Texas women in business today is nearly impossible because there are so many from which to choose. That number grows each year along with appreciation of the role women play in business and leadership. I personally have watched this change and the numbers grow since 1987 when I became editor and publisher of the Temple Daily Telegram and the Killeen Daily Herald, and president of Frank Mayborn Enterprises, with many of those years as president and owner of KCEN-TV. Having so many great business women in our area fortunately makes the publication possibilities for this annual theme limitless, and in our Summer 2021 issue we found new ones as well as some familiar ones to share with you. Meet Karen Clos, director of communications at Texas A&M–Central Texas, whose inspiring story on page 26 exemplifies the meaning of the kindness of strangers and paying good deeds forward to help others in achieving their education and career dreams. Find the story of Royce Crawford and her sister-in-law, Valerie Crawford, of Cherished Memories Pet Cremation Services LLC, who work together to keep the memory of precious pets alive for families in the form of custom-made beads worn on a charm bracelet or necklace on page 50. SUE MAYBORN Denise Ayers, the director of Career and Technical Tex Appeal Education at Temple High School, matches learning skills publisher with business needs, helping students discover career options at a state-of-the-art center on page 34. Tonya Autry, vice president of Colonial Property Management in Harker Heights and a Stage IV breast cancer survivor, pulls her family together to help their tenants make their houses homes on page 30. Angela Jourdain of TLC Matchmaking in Killeen provides a better, safer, more effective, stress-free way to date in an extremely complicated world, as well as mentorship, guidance and education about how to have meaningful, lasting relationships on page 54. Allison Finney, owner of Finney Insurance in Belton, tells the tale of her journey from working in a West Texas beef packing house to helping Central Texans make the right choices when it comes to insurance coverage and property protection on page 58. Come see how Leah McHorse, estate sales planner and owner of Darling Décor & More and A Darling Thrift Store in Temple, has expanded her business of “upcycling” and recycling décor and antiques on page 64. Meet our Fort Hood Friend, Staff Sgt. Samantha Escamilla of the 502nd Dental Company Area Support, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Fort Hood, who turned tragedy into a career triumph for herself on page 62. Brooke May caters delicious food and brings her family tradition to Central Texans with her La Luncheonette restaurant and Hecho en Queso food truck on page 14. Kristin Wright and Killeen Creators volunteers work together to eliminate food deserts for Central Texans in Killeen on page 8. Speaking of food, find out what foods are best for staying hydrated in the summer heat on page 68. Find beach and poolside reading choices on page 22, Easter eggs and trains on page 12, and a great place to take the family on an educational day trip on page 70. At Tex Appeal Magazine, we love bringing you the stories of your friends, family and neighbors, but we can’t do it without your story tips. If you have a story suggestion, contact editor Janna Zepp at editor@ texappealmag.com or call 254-774-5266. Sue Mayborn Tex Appeal publisher 6 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

Tex Appeal Life & Style in Central Texas



1809 Florence Rd., Killeen, TX 76540


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Publisher SUE MAYBORN Editor JANNA ZEPP Graphic Designer M. CLARE HAEFNER Contributors FRED AFFLERBACH JUSTIN BORJA BRANDY CRUZ SKEEBO REICHERT AMY ROGNLIE BECKY STINEHOUR CAREY STITES TONYA WARREN Advertising 254-778-4444 in Temple 254-501-7500 in Killeen ABOUT US: Tex Appeal Magazine is published by Frank Mayborn Enterprises, Inc. 10 S. Third St., Temple, TX 76501. The cover and content of Tex Appeal Magazine is fully protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced in any manner without prior permission. SUBSCRIPTIONS: For the United States, $24 per year, 4 issues. Mail check to P.O. Box 6114, Temple, TX 76503-6114. For questions about subscriptions, call 254-778-4444. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Tex Appeal Magazine, P.O. Box 6114, Temple, TX 76503-6114. HOW TO CONTACT US: Advertising: 254-778-4444 or 254-501-7500. Editorial: Contact Janna Zepp at 254-774-5266 or editor@texappealmag.com

CONTRIBUTORS FRED AFFLERBACH literally took the long road to a journalism career. He has written for the Temple Daily Telegram and numerous other newspapers. Drawing on experiences from his long-haul trucking days, he has published two novels. He lives in Cedar Park. Running-to-Live.com JUSTIN BORJA is a proud service member in the Air Force Reserve. He does portrait and commercial photography and lives in Harker Heights. He loves to explore other cities, connecting with people and capturing their images. BorjaVisuals.com BRANDY CRUZ is a proud Army wife and mother of four. She has been a writer, editor, photographer, graphic designer and a host of other things for more than 14 years and is currently the news editor of the Fort Hood Sentinel. She enjoys writing stories that are important to people, stories people want to read. She looks for the beauty in everything, which she believes is vital in photography. SKEEBO REICHERT has over 25 years experience as a professional photographer and has expanded his services to include filmmaking. The Temple High School graduate has a BFA in photography and sculpture. He lives in Temple with his wife and two sons. PhotoBySkeebo.com AMY ROGNLIE is an author and middleschool teacher. Her newest series of cozy mystery novels, The Short Creek Mysteries, are set in Bell County. Amy's articles have been published in national magazines and websites. She blogs on encouragement, hope and faith on AmyRognlie.com. Amy and her family reside in Little River-Academy.

BECKY STINEHOUR is a portrait, commercial and event photographer, specializing in live music venues. Her work has been published in several regional magazines. She is a Killeen High School graduate who loves to highlight her treasured hometown connections through the lens of her camera. Find her on Instagram at ciphoto. CAREY STITES is a registered and licensed dietitian located in Harker Heights, Texas. Carey obtained her master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Texas Tech University has been a practicing dietitian since 2001. Carey is also an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer; Carey has promoted health and wellness through presentations, classes, writing and cooking demonstrations all over Texas. TONYA WARREN has been a registered nurse for 33 years with Ascension Providence Healthcare in Waco and a lifestyles writer for two years. She lives in Waco and enjoys reading, writing and taking her grouchy German Shepherd on walks. JANNA ZEPP is the editor of Tex Appeal. A native Texan, her career in mass communication includes writing for film, TV, radio, and print media. She spent four years writing for the Fort Hood Sentinel and two years as a III Corps Public Affairs television producer, anchor and writer for Fort Hood On Track.


You can read back issues of Tex Appeal Magazine online at TexAppealMag.com. Log on today.


Tex Appeal is looking for photographers and freelance writers with newspaper or magazine experience. We are seeking candidates from the Central Texas area. Candidates must be detail- and deadlineoriented and good storytellers. Send a resume and three to five recent published samples for consideration to editor@texappealmag.com.


Email editor@texappealmag.com. Please include your name and phone number for verification. You also can connect with us on Facebook. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




Room to Grow K


ristin Wright has a dream. “My vision is there will be a community garden within walking distance of every citizen in Killeen.” Wright is the board of directors chair at Killeen Creators, a year-old nonprofit that is plowing fertile ground in a city where many neighborhoods have been deemed a food desert. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a food desert is an area where many residents both live in poverty and reside more than one mile from the closest large grocery store. And because low-income residents who live across town from stores such as H-E-B have scant access to public transportation, they often opt for buying food at convenience stores that sell mostly processed foods packaged in cans and cardboard boxes. Killeen Creators response to the food desert status is already making a difference. Two community gardens on the city’s north side are now under cultivation. Volunteers who don’t mind a little dirt under their fingernails till the ground, pull weeds, shovel dirt and come home with a basket of onions, tomatoes, carrots, or whatever’s in season. Wright says the experience is transformational. Sharing a garden with neighbors and strangers brings people together. “Growing your food is up there with creating a work of art, or raising children, or starting a business. It’s a very empowering thing for a community that’s been depressed, oppressed, disenfranchised and end up feeling pretty powerless,” Wright said. “When you start with a seed, and you show your child that together you grew a tomato that tastes so much better than anything that you can buy at the store, it’s incredibly uplifting.” The Killeen Creators concept sprouted from a Facebook Live interview last May featuring Killeen resident Kelly Flading. Flading had volunteered at a community garden in Seguin and witnessed firsthand the joy and love that grew from the activity. She said community gardens would benefit Killeen as well.


Kristin Wright of Killeen Creators is working to end food deserts with community garden space. “The community gardens do a lot of things,” Flading said. “They decrease crime. They lighten up the area. They just bring joy. I think a lot of people who come to our workdays experience that, and that’s why they keep coming out. They can really get the feel of what it’s like to be part of community. And that’s what will make our city grow, to improve the quality of life here in Killeen. It shows that we have roots. It shows we nurture our neighborhoods.” Shortly after the Facebook Live interview aired, a local contractor, Louie Minor, donated the use of a vacant lot he owns on West Avenue J. Volunteers soon built about 20 raised beds, two with access for wheelchairs, and a shed for Continued

Kristin Wright and KC volunteers work to cultivate gardens for north Killeen neighborhoods that do not have a grocery store close by. Residents come together to take care of the plants and share in the bounty.



Killeen residents help plant raised beds in the community garden that will help feed themselves and their neighbors. Killeen Creators wants to expand the growing space in other city-owned properties. gardening supplies. With some tender nurturing, the garden has produced a veritable horn of plenty: corn, cantaloupes, watermelons, squash, tomatoes, onions, carrots, asparagus, kale and more. Anyone who wants to pay a small monthly fee, from $2.50 to $65, or just work a few hours on weekends, is welcome to share the bounty. (There are no personal plots.) At the end of the workday volunteers help themselves to a cornucopia of fresh groceries. Killeen Creators recently raised enough money to purchase a vacant lot on Bundrant Drive, also in North Killeen, which is now producing fresh veggies. With two locations now under cultivation, organizers are busy scouting more sites. City councilman Ken Wilkerson says there is ample open space owned by the city, typically in parks, that would make great community gardens. “There’s quite a bit of green space where we can put something there,” Wilkerson said. “It brings ownership to that park, too. You have a vested interest. I would really like to set up something that is local in the neighborhood area, and these parks are perfectly nested within those communities.” Volunteers who gather at the gardens on Sunday afternoons are a diverse cross-section of residents. Many struggle with special needs, while others may have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Wilkerson, a veteran who served 27 years in the Army, says gardening is especially helpful for veterans with PTSD. And seniors with rheumatoid arthritis 10 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

somehow manage their walkers and braces and kneel to tend the soil. Also, a 70-year-old man with obsessive-compulsive disorder has taken charge of watering. Twice a day, without fail, he’s on the job, ensuring the gardens don’t dry out. His caretaker says this activity has mitigated the effects of his disorder. Parolees needing to complete community service hours also work the gardens. Jonathan Hildner, a 2012 Killeen High School graduate, has canvassed neighborhoods, handing out fliers with information about the gardens. “In a city like ours, so diverse and transient, you get people from all over,” he said. “Giving people opportunities where they can get involved is just huge. Strategically where these gardens are placed is important because these are parts of our community that haven’t been touched in a long time. We’re putting the gardens in places where we hope to empower the people to invest of themselves.” Besides gardening, Killeen Creators is working on two additional initiatives: “The Art of Recovery” will use painting, drawing, journaling, to help people who have experienced trauma. The other initiative, “Civic Empowerment,” will encourage people to get involved locally through participating in elections and contacting local politicians. GET INVOLVED For more information about Killeen Creators: https://www.facebook.com/KilleenCreators.

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1. Rudy Pett brought his sons Griffin and Elon (not pictured) to see the model trains during a special event at the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum to mark National Train Day in May. 2. Robert “Hitchrock” Haas and Eric Boswell keep the model trains running. 3. Adrienne Thompson brought her son Jack Thompson to see the trains. 4. Theodore Wooley got an up-close look at the model trains. 5. Salma Mahmood, Attiya Mahmood, Musa Siddiqui and Jim Deekin watch a train roll by. Photos by BECKY STINEHOUR 12 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL









1. Jalen Cookson waits with Easter goodies to give to families driving through Killeen’s Easter Extravaganza at the Special Events Center. The city usually hosts an egg hunt, but wanted to maintain social distancing this year. 2. Catherine Castaneda holds flyers promoting Killeen Family Recreation Center activities to hop into fitness. 3. Ahlysha Hicks dressed as the Easter Bunny to welcome visitors. 4. Jeanette Free holds up Easter bags as she waits for the next car to come through her line. 5. Kay Robertson helps hand out bags. Photos by BECKY STINEHOUR TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



Family Influence Translates to

Bold and Tasty Dishes in Restaurant and Food Truck By TONYA WARREN | Photos courtesy of BROOKE MAY a Luncheonette and Hecho en Queso owner, Brooke May, remembers her grandma as being very territorial of her kitchen, always shooing family out as she tended her daily cooking duties. Brooke was a young teenager when her grandma granted her permission to finally help with the cutting, chopping and mixing that goes into memorable mealtimes. What Brooke really wanted to know was how to make her grandmas’ fluffy, melt-in-your mouth handmade tortillas. Thing is, Brooke’s abuela (Spanish for grandmother), didn’t have a formal, written recipe. She would add a little of this, a pinch of that and finally, the family ended up with a stack of warm, heaven-on-earth homemade tortillas, that were inspired by the heart. May tried to recreate the flavorful tortillas at home and never seemed to get the taste just right, so she would pepper her grandma with questions. “How much flour do you use?” May would ask. “I don’t know Brooke Amber. You just feel it.” Her unintended evasiveness to May’s cooking curiosity would serve May and a lot of future hungry customers very well. When one thinks of chicken pot pie, it’s easy to think of those little round frozen discs, encased in the little square box at the back of the freezer. A cooking memory for May, as a young adult, came when she took a basic pot pie recipe and flew with it, creating chicken pot pie soup for her uncle and his buddies. They devoured the whole kettle of soup down to the last drop. Anuar Ayecho, May’s husband, knew her knack for experimenting with flavors and creating and serving robust meals. He had an inventive idea of his own: they should open a food truck. Laughing, May admits she didn’t have a clue



about how to run a food truck, but she credits hard work and refusing to fail as a recipe for success. Small Business Saturday was their first showing, and the weather was anything but cooperative. In freezing cold rain, she cooked, while her husband and friend served pork and chicken tacos, quesadillas, veggie soup and ham/bacon/poblano soup. They sold out, and May described that time as such a “rewarding feeling.” Recently, Hecho en Queso, or what May refers to as the “HeQ,” served 350 tacos to hungry college students at the UMHB Spring Formal. May and her team are ready to assist customers in making their day truly memorable when they have the Hecho en Queso truck cater special events such as wedding receptions, graduations, bridal and baby showers, and reunions. Catering done by May in the truck is prepared on-site to ensure a fresh and authentic taste. In 2019, May was scouring the internet for a new recipe, when she came across a General Mills recipe contest. Curiosity sent her to the kitchen, where she cooked up a winner. Her recipe for black bean and corn biscuit empanadas with jalapeno yogurt sauce won her $5,000 and an extra $1,000 went to a nonprofit of her choice. She selected Foster Love of Bell County to receive the award. If you are tired of your own cooking after 15 months of pandemic living, and you aren’t lucky enough to score an invite to a HeQ catered event, stop by May’s brick-and-mortar restaurant, La Luncheonette. You won’t find the typical puff or flake cold cereal swimming in milk at La Luncheonette. Healthy bowl options include the Fresca, Breakfast and Granola and Fruit bowls. A breakfast taco can be nicely paired with vaquero Continued

Brooke May, Anuar Ayecho and their son, Drew Baker, dish up a variety of foods at La Luncheonette and Hecho en Queso, including tacos, salsas and Mexican street corn as well as breakfast favorites like pancakes, eggs and bacon.



Brooke May and her team are ready to assist customers in making their events truly memorable. Catering can be done on-site from the Hecho en Queso truck to ensure freshness and quality of food. beans and or papas rancheros. The El Mateo is a tasty combo of vaquero beans, chorizo, bacon, and sausage that’s topped with sunny side up eggs. Eggs, bacon, and pancakes are available for traditionalists. Breakfast is available all day. Lunch items are available all day, and there is something delicious for everyone. Craving something exotic? In a nod to May’s husband’s Lebanese background, the Chicken Shawarma Naan is Indian spiced chicken on warm Naan bread with lemon ricotta and topped with Harissa hot sauce and cilantro. Tired of boring burgers? Hailing between two Hawaiian buns is the Gunter Burger. It’s topped with honey-chipotle mayo, hatch pepper cheese, grilled onions and avocado. Tostado plates, catfish tacos, nachos, the HeQ taco salad and quesadilla plates are also available. The Penelope Wrap is a cool choice on a hot summer day, consisting of chicken salad, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese served on your choice of wrap. Bowls are a big deal at La Luncheonette, so treat yourself to a healthy square meal in a bowl. Tasty and bold options include the Bacon Poblano Fideo Bowl, Eagle Bowl, Austin Bowl, Acorn Squash Bowl, and the Brussels Sprouts Fideo Past Bowl. Family Style Craft Selections are larger portioned


meals that are terrific options for your next gathering. It’d be a picnic in the park to treat your family and friends to Cubano Sliders, Chicken Suiza Enchiladas, Carnitas or Cheese in Salsa Verde Enchiladas. A Taco Kit is also available for your mixing pleasure. Mouth-watering side options include, beans, rice, coleslaw, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower rice, and more. Craft selections change every two weeks. Enjoy the artwork in the Gunter Building which houses the La Luncheonette. Her late father-in-law, Nagib, painted several pictures throughout the building, and other local artists’ work is also shown in the hallway. Some artwork is for sale. If you aren’t a seasoned cook, or if you’re just looking to up your game in the kitchen, May will do private cooking lessons. So far this year, she’s done birthday parties and a ladies’ wine night. Using her own recipes, she said classes cook everything from Asian to Greek cuisine. Southern, Italian, Seafood cooking classes are also available. She plans to offer public classes in the summer. Her tamale classes are popular, so get a jump start on holiday cooking ideas. May lovingly creates dishes she says are from the head and heart, and after enjoying her wonderful cooking, you’ll taste the love in every bite.


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Grab These Beach Reads and Relax By M. CLARE HAEFNER


ith the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, hopefully, I’m looking forward to summer vacation and a little down time at the beach. It’s so relaxing to lounge on the sand listening to the waves, soaking up sunshine and breathing fresh air while reading a great book. I never travel anywhere without a novel or two or 20 — I’m a fast reader and my phone’s Kindle app is much easier to carry than a bag full of books — and there are quite a few fun reads I’m looking forward to this summer. While I often read nonfiction and love a good history, biography or memoir, my beach/vacation reads are almost always fiction — I want fantasy, entertainment, and fast-paced storytelling, with a little romance, mystery and/or suspense thrown in. They also need to be easy to put down and pick up between my real-life adventures with family and friends. The books below are on my mustread list this summer — I’ve already read the first three and started the fourth, but I’ll probably read them again once I’ve finished the rest. Outlawed by Anna North (Bloomsbury Publishing, January 2021) is a fresh take on the Wild West, following women who become outlaws and try to make their own way after failing to conform to societal expectations. It’s 1894, but in a United States torn apart by Civil War and a Great Flu that claimed many lives and led survivors to value children. In this alternate reality of city-states where people pray to Baby Jesus and the Holy Mother Mary, and tribal regions are still controlled and inhabited by Native Americans, women can be divorced and even accused of witchcraft if 22 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

they fail to become pregnant. Barren after nearly two years of marriage, Ava leaves her family behind, first for a safe haven in a convent, but later among a band of mysterious outlaws led by The Kid as she aims to discover what causes fertility issues. Outlawed, which is a Reese Witherspoon book club selection, is a cross between The Crucible, True Grit and Brave New World. At times jarring and graphic, it’s a riveting read as Ava learns to be comfortable in her own skin and strives to make her part of the world a better place. Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan (Anchor, June 2020) had me laughing out loud. As with his Crazy Rich Asians series, Kwan’s latest novel is a guilty pleasure. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded Knickerbocker father with ancestry dating back to the Mayflower, Lucie Churchill finds herself torn between two men and the cultures they represent. Sex and Vanity is witty and indulgent, transporting readers from the luxurious Italian island of Capri to New York. The pages are filled with vibrant descriptions of food and high fashion with Kwan’s trademark banter and lots of romance. It’s a modern love story and a tale of a young woman growing into herself. The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin (G.P. Putnam's Sons, January 2021) is a darker kind of Cinderella story, examining what happens when ”happily ever after“ doesn’t come true. Thirteen and a half years after she marries her Prince Charming, Cinderella goes looking for the Witch to procure a spell to kill her husband. This story is dark, magical,

and filled with surprises. Like Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, the twists and turns in The Charmed Wife are unexpected and inventive. It quickly drew me in and kept me guessing until the end. I’ve only read the first few chapters of The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Press, February 2021), but it’s already the best book I’ve read this year. Set amid the Great Depression, this epic American story of love, heroism and hope is a perfect reminder as we come out of the pandemic of how resilient we are. Nearly an old maid, Elsa Wolcott’s life seems bleak until she meets Rafe Martinelli. Taking her chance to build a better life, she’ll need all the strength and courage she can muster as she faces drought on the Great Plains and decides what matters most. My deep Southern roots are probably why Joshilyn Jackson is one of my favorite contemporary authors. Her stories are usually set in small Alabama and Georgia towns that remind me of visits with family and my college years in Mississippi. I’ve read every other book she’s written and can’t wait to start Mother May I (William Morrow, April 2021). Described as suspenseful, thoughtprovoking and haunting, it delves into how far a mother is willing to go to protect her child and the life she loves. Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly (Ballentine Books, March 2021) is inspired by true accounts and examines the Civil War through the eyes of a Union nurse,

a slave woman sold and conscripted into the Army and a Southern belle left to manage the plantation after her husband enlists. Sunflower Sisters is the third book in a series about members of the Woolsey-Ferriday family. I loved Lilac Girls, set in World War II, and Lost Roses, which delves into World War I, and am looking forward to reading about another remarkable woman in their family tree. The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins (St. Martin’s Press, January 2021) has been in my queue for a while after a friend recommended it. This one’s set in my mom’s hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, and is a modern twist on Jane Eyre. I’ve always enjoyed new takes on classics, and this one sounds promising, with forbidden romance and a wife who won’t stay buried. I wonder if either Mrs. Rochester will get a happy ending. In A Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo (Gallery Books, April 2021) is on the list because like the Army wives in this book, I’ve lived in lots of places and have old friends I’d drop anything for if they needed my help — even though I haven’t seen them in years. The jacket says this book honors “the immense power of female friendship and how love

can defy time, distance, and all old wounds.” This one will probably bring tears — from joy and sadness — but I’m ready to pour the wine, grab the tissues and dive in. I preordered That Summer by Jennifer Weiner (Atria Books, May 2021) as soon as I learned it was in the works. I’ve been a fan of Weiner’s since her debut, Good in Bed (Atria Books, April 2002). Her witty writing draws me in every time and leaves me wanting more. The premise of That Summer is intriguing: restless housewife Daisy starts getting emails meant for another woman, whose address is only one punctuation mark away from hers. An apology leads to an invitation, and the women become friends, then Daisy learns her meeting with Diana may not have been as accidental as it seemed. Just like Weiner’s Big Summer in 2020, That Summer seems like the perfect beach or poolside read. I’m saving What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing — Oprah’s collaboration with Bruce D. Perry (Flatiron Books, April 2021) — for when I get home. While I’m certain the best-seller will send me on a voyage of self-discovery, it can definitely wait until I’ve had my fill of sun and fun.




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1202 SOUTH 31ST STREET | TEMPLE | 254-773-5772






Karen Clos is the Director of Communications at Texas A&M University– 26 SUMMER Central Texas.2021 | TEX APPEAL



s a first-time college student at St. see me tomorrow. I looked inside the pack of Philip’s College in San Antonio, Karen gum and saw that he had given me $300 to help Clos wondered why her instructor, pay for my tuition. I was stunned,” Clos says. “I Dr. Tony Pitrizello, would take her composition applied that money to my education. He was one assignments out of a stack to be graded and place of many people who shaped the trajectory of my them at the bottom of the pile. Every possibility as life with a simple, loving gesture.” to why he would do that raced through her mind Since that time, Clos has had a passion for until she finally worked up the courage to ask him. helping others who are struggling to get access to “I read yours last, so I don’t want to kill myself higher education. Her particular interest evolved after grading,” Dr. Pitrizello replied. into an interest in adult education after being a His guidance and belief in her academic talent general education development (GED) instructor set Clos on a professional journey that has been as at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio’s East Side. much adventure as it has been Inspired by her students, she a career path, including helping went on to earn a Master of her get a job tutoring other Arts degree in Adult Education college students in English at from Incarnate Word University, the college’s writing center. a Master of Arts degree in She said it paid $2.40 an hour, Counseling Psychology from but it would become the first University of Texas at San in a long line of employment Antonio, and later a Doctor working in academia and mass of Education in Community communications, eventually College Leadership from the becoming Vice President University of Texas in Austin. of Educational Services at While her work in higher Temple College, President of education includes a number the Community College of of leadership roles, she prefers Denver and now Director of not to count the titles, but Communications at Texas A&Mthe accomplishments. As Central Texas. the president of Community “I wanted to go to college, College of Denver, she grew but it was hard. I applied for enrollment by nearly 40% financial aid, which back in the within four months of holding — Karen Clos 1970s took at least a month to the position, and sustained get,” Clos says, remembering that growth over three years, back to her time at St. Philip’s. Until the aid came building the college’s first 150,000-square-foot and even afterward, Clos saved money every way building. But it is her work with Texas A&Mshe could think of by living with the family of a Central Texas that brings an enthusiastic smile to friend and by taking public transportation to and her face. from school instead of owning a car and driving “We have a unique mission as a transfer-level herself there. She was befriended by an elderly university,” she said. “We are the place where man who would pick her up from the bus stop students who have begun but not completed their every day on her way home. undergraduate degrees can go to accomplish that “One day, he gave me a pack of gum during goal.” our ride. I thanked him, he dropped me off in Clos’ work with local, regional, and state media front of the house where I stayed, and said he’d Continued

“A person just never knows what that one, single gesture will do to launch a marvelous future for another. That’s what happened to me, so that is what I do for others.”



began as a result of originally writing news stories on the accomplishments of Texas A&M-Central Texas students, faculty, and staff which were immediately picked up by both the Temple Daily Telegram and the Killeen Daily Herald. As a result of that, local television media began showing interest, and Clos began working with assignment editors and reporters to feature those stories and contribute expertise of the faculty and staff to developing news stories. Clos recently earned a Master of Arts in English from Texas A&M University-Central Texas. “Earning that master’s degree in English was challenging but rewarding,” Clos says. “Of all the degrees I’ve earned, this one really intellectually challenged me. Not that the others were easy, but as much as I have loved writing, this degree gave me a chance to really take a deep dive into that subject. I also got to experience what our own (TAMUCT) students go through while pursuing a graduate degree. It was a fantastic experience.” Clos’ love for writing and journalism manifested much earlier in her career, as she became a ‘stringer’ for the San Antonio Express-News in the mid-1980s. It was her interest and experience in ballet that launched her as a professional writer. “I noticed that the San Antonio Express sent sports writers to cover Ballet San Antonio performances, so I sent a letter to the editor asking them to assign writers that knew and understood ballet to those stories rather than the sports guys,” Clos says. “Next thing I knew, I was covering them for the paper.” When the Kirov Ballet (now the Marinsky Ballet) came from Russia to perform in San Antonio as its first stop of its tour of the United States, Clos helped the San Antonio newspaper coordinate a promotion of the ballet company’s visit with H-E-B Grocery Co. to hold a picnic 28 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

Karen Clos and Jon Coffield discuss the TAMUCT Alumni Association in 2013.

on the Witte Museum lawn. Clos got to know some of the dancers personally and even asked Oleg Vingradov, Kirov’s director, why he chose to come to San Antonio first on their tour. “I wanted to see a real cowboy,” he responded enthusiastically. That response, Clos remembered, became the lead in a feature article. “I’ll never forget rushing to buy the paper, unfolding it over my Sunday breakfast, and seeing that story above the fold,” she remembered. “I thought, ‘Wow. The ideas were in my head, and they became words, and now those words are on this page. There’s something truly remarkable about thinking that something you’ve written can accomplish that.” Clos’ writing, her flair for promotion, her education, and her excellence in community communication has shaped her into an indispensable source for local

journalists needing subject matter experts to consult on their news stories. Texas A&M University– Central Texas has a wealth of faculty members doing groundbreaking research in their fields, and Clos saw an opportunity to help both the university and the local media meet each other and help to inform important news stories. At her last count, Clos says, there were almost 2,000. “What we are doing demonstrates that higher education is important. Of course, in the classroom, but also within the context of our larger community, our region, and the state.” “Our faculty take their knowledge in the respective subject areas, and they leverage that knowledge for the benefit of our students. That extends the traditional classroom and compliments the newsroom.” As a result of her work with local print and electronic news media,

Clos has had the opportunity to work with dozens of reporters on a daily basis who turn to the university for the knowledge and expertise of faculty and staff. “I have distinct memories of watching Cronkite on TV as a child,” she says. “I’m very proud that we have been able to be a part of the work that local media is doing. They’re my heroes,” she said. “Every single one of them.” Being on the front line of ambitious causes seems to be a significant part of who she is, as her work includes a book published by the American Association of Community Colleges in 2007 entitled, To Be Honest: Championing Academic Integrity in Community Colleges. At the time, it was the only book written for community colleges dealing with academic dishonesty and promoting a culture of integrity. Where did this drive to contribute come from? Clos remembers a

seminal moment when she was the fledging department chair of a GED program. “During my early experience as an adult educator, I noted that GED students were not considered ‘real students’ by the president. They were not permitted a student identification card or the opportunity to see the campus nurse when they needed medical attention. They were not allowed to check a book out of the library. These students paid a dollar for medical insurance through the school and were required to pay $5 for a parking pass, but not allowed to enjoy the benefits of being a ‘real’ student? That was horribly unfair,” Clos says, almost visibly seething. “A new interim president came in some months later and she listened to me about it. It was then that my students became REAL students for the first time.” What she has discovered over the years is that it is up to each of us, she says, to live up to the expectations of our respective professional standards, and when the opportunity to go above and beyond finds us, to leverage every talent we have and whatever we’ve learned for the benefit the place and the people we serve.” Clos’ mission, more than anything, seems to be simply paying forward the simple, kind assistance from almost perfect strangers that she got as a student navigating a community college for the first time. “A person just never knows what that one, single gesture will do to launch a marvelous future for another,” she says. “Not a day goes by that I don’t put my key in the front door of my home and remember the people like that English teacher I had as a student or all of the incredible mentors I have had,” she notes. “Those people made significant contributions to my life, and I owe it to them to do the same for others.”

Josh Knowles, D.D.S., M.S.D. Board Certified Orthodontist THE

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A better smile because you deserve it! 2027 S. 61st Ste. 111, Temple smileattheworld.com • 254-773-8028 TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



‘Roll with the Punches’ Story and photos by BRANDY CRUZ


he’s is a wife, a mother and runs a small business, but she’s also honest, diligent, has a witty sense-of-humor and is toughas-nails — as evidenced by beating Stage IV breast cancer. “I love business, I love working, I love being busy. That being said, I also learned from that lesson in life that you can’t take it with you,” Tonya Autry said about facing down cancer. “I learned that family is definitely more important.” Tonya is the vice president of Colonial Property Management, a family-owned property management company that takes care of people’s homes or investment properties when they cannot. She said the best part of her position is being able to work side-by-side with her entire family. Her husband Robert is in charge of maintenance, her oldest son Cullen is the head inspector, and her youngest son Ethan is the assistant property manager, while also serving as a real estate agent. She has the toughest job of all. As vice president, Tonya has to play the role of the “bad guy” when tenants are not taking care of the property they’re renting. “If it’s the hardest job in the building, it’s usually my job, and as a leader, that’s how it should be, at least in my opinion,” she said. “You have to be passionate about it and you have to love it to do it well or it will eat you alive.” Tonya said she feels good knowing that she’s helping average homeowners by ensuring their property is being properly cared for by renters. She said that renting a home out to strangers can be a scary situation, especially for a young couple who are leaving their home in the hopes it will still be in good condition when they Continued


At Colonial Property Management, Tonya Autry works with her husband and sons, from left, Ethan, Robert and Cullen.

“If it’s the hardest job in the building, it’s usually my job, and as a leader, that’s how it should be, at least in my opinion. You have to be passionate about it and you have to love it to do it well or it will eat you alive.” — Tonya Autry



return to the area. “I really, truly find a lot of pride in those situations — caring for the home, making sure I do the job and then hand it back to them in the condition they can turn around and sell it,” Tonya explained. “It’s terrifying when you take a beautiful 3-year-old house that you owe everything on, put a stranger in it and hope it’s going to be cared for in a way that you can sell it in a couple of years.” A fifth-generation entrepreneur, Tonya worked most of her life as a high-end wedding photographer, before retiring and moving back home to Central Texas with her husband of nearly 30 years. Shortly after returning home to Killeen four years ago, her mother-in-law, who owns Colonial Property Management, asked her to come on board. As a small-business owner herself, she learned quickly that she has to be able to handle any situation, no matter what a person throws at them. “At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people and that doesn’t come with a recipe,” she added. “You have to be able to handle whomever you have in front of you. There are people you have to be firm with and there are people you have to handle with kid gloves.” Being able to read people and figure out those situations comes easily to Tonya, who has to vet every person who steps through their doors looking for a place to rent. Sometimes a person can look good on paper, but she said

if her gut is sending up a red flag, she listens, because in the end, she is working for the homeowner. Even after someone starts renting, her job isn’t over. She said she ensures the renters are taking care of the home by doing a walkthrough at least every 90 days. Sometimes, she explained, if the lawn is overgrown or she sees damaged blinds while driving by a home, she conducts an inspection before the 90 days. Unfortunately, she also has to deliver the bad news when a tenant is to be evicted. Sometimes it is for tenants not taking care of the homes, but more than likely, the homeowner has decided to sell the home and needs it empty. “Our job is to make sure we take care of that house,” she explained. “We hate to lose them (homeowners), but at the end of the day, when they are ready to sell, they have something worth selling.” Tonya strives for perfection in everything she does. As a Hispanic woman working in the business world, she said she’s been called every name in the book, but sometimes “you just gotta roll with the punches,” … and have a thick skin. While her career is not always fun, she said it is never boring. “I really feel that all we are in this world is walking through one big lesson and your job is to be a good student,” she added. “You’re either a good student or you’ll repeat the lesson.” ®


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Tonya Autry sometimes brings Vinny to the office.

Upcoming OMEEVEnts 2019 C ! Fun for Early Learners - Summer EE9-12US SJuly

Upcoming Exhibits 2020 June 15 - August 11- backstage pass: Early Days of Rolling Stone magazine

July - Junior Historians Camp Call or16-19 visit the Explore our newest permanent exhibit... • Free admission year-round September 1 - October 20 - American museum website. July 23-26 - STEAM CAMP (pre-registration required) Farmer “Discover Bell County”!

• Become a “Friend of the Museum” today!

July 20- backstage pass

November 8, 2019 - January 18, 2020 201 North Main Belton, TX 76513 • 254-933-5243 • www.bellcountymuseum.org

July 27 - Weird science!

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Denise Ayers is the career and technical education director at Temple High School. 34 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL



By FRED AFFLERBACH | Photos CHRIS HERNANDEZ and courtesy of Temple ISD

ather than a traditional classroom with four walls, desks and a teacher lecturing, Temple High School senior Kayleb Grant is earning credit toward graduation at the Scott & White Hospital emergency room. During one particular work shift, paramedics rolled in the victim of a recent automobile accident suffering a fractured tibia, a fibula broken in two places, and wearing a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Grant says this type experience, although rather harrowing at first, is one reason why he’s enrolled in the Career and Technical Education program at Temple High. “There’s a lot of people who do not have this opportunity,” Grant said. “It’s put me ahead of a lot of people who are into their 30s. A lot of other people in the field say they wish they would’ve done this and they would’ve been better off earlier.” Grant is enrolled in the Health Science career cluster, one of 13 different choices available to Temple ISD students. He’s already CPR certified and plans to attend Temple College where he will work toward a career as a paramedic and firefighter. Back at Temple High School, CTE director Denise Ayers says a team of instructors, administrators and business partners are busy building bridges to the future while shattering stereotypes. Career and technical education, she says, is not an easy alternative to the traditional academic pathway to a diploma. It’s a rigorous, challenging and rewarding opportunity for students who don’t fit into traditional academic molds. Ayers said that the CTE model answers the age-

Manufacturing/Logistics students learn to weld.

Health Science students practice with a furry patient. old question that every generation of disgruntled students ask: “Why do I have to learn this?” “We can have knowledge, but if we don’t know what to do with that knowledge then it’s just kind of rolling around in our head. When we give students the opportunity to apply that knowledge, we’re preparing them for life after high school and we’re setting them up for success. I think that’s one of the reasons that career and technical education is becoming more respected. People are realizing that not everybody needs to go to college to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a teacher,” Ayers said. “All work is respectable work. Every individual has a talent to give. We just need to be able to let that talent shine.” In fall 2020, Temple Independent School District reported that 86% of Temple High School students took at least one CTE course. Students can select from a menu of 79 different courses, from audio visual to business and finance, to agriculture, to law. And two middle schools in Temple ISD, Bonham and Lamar, have 43% of eighth graders participating in CTE. According to the U.S. Department of Education, eight years after expected graduation, students enrolled in Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


The CTE Culinary Arts program kitchen at Temple High School. CTE earned higher median annual incomes than students who did not. In 2018, the Temple CTE program cut the ribbon on a state-of-the-art, 113,000-square-foot facility with an adjacent, remodeled 20,000-square-foot automotive technology center. On a recent spring afternoon, automotive students were restoring and repairing vehicles of various ages and styles: a ’55 Chevrolet, a heavy-duty Ford work truck, and a Lexus sedan. Back in the main building, culinary students operate a coffee shop, a café, and a kitchen worthy of a “Top Chef” episode. Upstairs in the health sciences wing, with mannequins occupying mock hospital beds, a visitor could think they just walked into a health clinic or an emergency room. And students in the logistics and manufacturing facility, and the architecture and construction rooms, use modern, computer-assisted machinery to build cabinets and sheet metal products. At least two dozen local businesses and institutions have contributed to the CTE program’s success. Students often leave campus and work on-site at manufacturing or healthcare facilities. And some businesses have matched contributions for tools and high-tech machinery. “One of the greatest strengths of our career and technical programs is our business partners,” Ayers said. “And I think that is where I’ve seen it grow the most. I really believe in the value of connecting education to business. Our job is to prepare them for life after high school and we do that best through collaboration.” One 2019 Temple High graduate of the law 36 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

career pathway, Jakayla Hollie, was a certified 911 dispatcher upon graduation. She’s now a sophomore studying law at Texas Southern University in Houston. While a student at Temple High, local judges would sometimes stand in as guest speakers. “For anyone who wants to be in criminal justice, they have so many different classes and so many different levels,” Hollie said. “We had one class where we were doing crime scenes, and another class where we were going outside and passing out parking tickets. It’s really just fun. I had more law classes than regular classes. With the teachers I had, they helped us every step of the way.” Isaac Salinas, a junior studying architecture and building, has been in the CTE program since his freshman year. He recently helped build an obstacle course for Temple Police Academy. And he toured the annual Parade of Homes, held by the Temple Area Builders Association. “It was a really good experience,” Salinas said. “We got to see more in depth how people build houses.” A few years ago, while visiting the automotive tech facility, Ayers heard a passing car screech. “The brakes made a horrendous sound, which obviously meant they needed a brake job. A student said they need to remember Newton’s law of motion, which says that when something’s in motion it’s going to continue until something is there to make it stop. That statement from the student gave such validity to the science that was learned in a core classroom. That’s what it’s all about.” Students enrolled in Edwards Academy in Temple ISD are also eligible to take CTE courses.

The art of the perfect pie

1217 S 1st Street, Suite A • Temple






Women in Business



W OOD S F L OW E R S As a fourth generation florist, Carol Hajda has been featured in bridal magazines and is a member of both the Texas State Florists and the Society of American Florists. Carol Hajda established her own business as a florist in 1992, having grown up on both sides of the retail and wholesale floral industry.

Carol Hajda

Woods Flowers first opened its doors in 1950.The owner then was Verba Rose Woods, Carol's maternal grandmother. Her dad and her dad's father owned and managed several acres of greenhouses where the family grew plants to furnish local florists. Carol's bassinet was constantly in the flower shop when she was a baby, and by age ten, she had designed and sold her first arrangement. She was delivering plants from the wholesale greenhouse already by that time. Given a lifetime of experience in the floral industry, Carol Hajda of Woods Flowers remains one of Temple's premiere florists. 1415 W. Avenue H,Temple Phone 254-778-8506 www.woodsbloomingfields.com

Perry Office Plus

Lynnsay Macey, Shelli Hellinghausen, Jessica Speer, Debbie Macey, Stacy Haugeberg, Bonnie Johnson

1401 North 3rd Street,Temple Phone 254-778-4755 www.perryop.com

The women of Perry Office Plus have a mission - to empower businesses and organizations in the local community to do their best work. Perry Office Plus offers office products, furniture, janitorial supplies, and promotional products to businesses.The Perry team works tirelessly to understand and meet customers needs. Being locally and independently-owned means they answer only to their customers and they can be faster and more flexible than a national chain or an e-commerce giant. Perry isn’t a large company so customers are often surprised by the wide range of their capabilities. Perry is known for knowledge, friendly service, and dedication to creating happy customers. In addition, they are constantly expanding and fine-tuning the products and services they provide to truly be a convenient one-stop-shop for their clients. Perry has always strived to hire great people, and lead them with compassion and accountability if needed.They are always looking toward the future and this has helped them grow, make key acquisitions, and pivot when needed. In addition to employing 40 Central Texans, Perry Office Plus has always been a supporter of local causes, especially of area schools and charities.They believe in supporting the community that has supported them since 1920.



Bonnie Ratcliffe

Kristi Lowry

Jessica Kwan

F U Z Z Y' S TACO S H O P When Kristi Lowry realized that west Temple had a lack of family-friendly establishments with outdoor seating, she decided to open her own. That’s how Fuzzy’s Taco Shop came to Temple almost five years ago. Fuzzy’s is a bright spot on West Adams, offering fresh, handmade Baja-style Mexican food. Guests are greeted with a fun, energetic atmosphere, fabulous food, and great prices. Either inside the brightly-colored restaurant or out on the patio, Fuzzy’s guests can enjoy cocktails or ice-cold beer from the fully-stocked bar, along with local favorites such as fish tacos, burritos, nachos and queso. Kristi runs Fuzzy’s with her own special flair, while balancing her life as a busy wife and mother. A huge help and inspiration, her managers Jessica Kwan and Bonnie Ratcliffe (pictured) help run the show, as well. 7425 W. Adams Ave, Suite 100-120,Temple Phone 254-742-7747 www.fuzzystacoshop.com


Armed with a very loyal staff, Kristi is extremely grateful for the employees that have stuck by her side through the pandemic. Fuzzy’s staff strives to make every guest feel at home, as soon as they walk in the door. Like any worthy establishment, Fuzzy’s has regulars that have been coming in since day one, adding to the fun, welcoming aura. Not only does Kristi provide the community with a fun establishment for the entire family but she also gives back to the community by donating to schools and local sports programs. Whether you’re after some delicious eats, drinks with friends or even live music, Fuzzy’s is the hot spot to be!







KREDIT KLEANSE I am the co-owner/co-founder of Kredit Kleanse. We decided to open this company to help improve the community's credit by removing inaccurate and unverifiable items that hold back their credit scores. We understand that this isn't something taught in the majority of our homes, schools and communities. By helping with business credit and building credit, we also educate and help our clients to achieve their goals. After cleansing credit and building profiles, our clients have been able to buy that house, car, dream vacation, surgery, college, or even start that business/real-estate venture they were dreaming of. We offer credit repair and credit counseling. By using consumer protection laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, we dispute items that our clients believe are inaccurate. With over a decade of experience, we assist real estate and mortgage professionals to position our clients to get ready for the home buying process. No matter what your reason for repairing your credit, we are here to help! Just know you can maximize your efforts with an asset that’s readily at your disposal…Credit.

(254) 313-9900 support@kreditkleanse.com www.kreditkleanse.com



SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION CareAge HomeCare was founded in 2006 in Temple,Texas by Vickie Smith and JoAnn Walter. Their experience in caring for JoAnn’s mother and seeing the challenges our elders experience inspired Vickie and JoAnn to help other seniors. Vickie and JoAnn’s passion is shared by Care Liason and Coordinator, Brandi Williams and all of our caregivers. CareAge HomeCare provides non medical home care in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties. With over 45 years combined experience, we are committed to providing assistance while allowing our clients to remain independent.


254.780.9864 • 877.888.9864 • 4016 S. 31 Street, Ste 100,Temple • careagehomecare.com st

Paperdoodles is the stationery store with so much more.The only one of its kind in Central Texas, Susie Winkler runs a successful shop in Pecan Plaza in Temple. Paperdoodles is a one-stop-shop for personalized invitations and paper goods. Susie specializes in custom wedding, shower and save-the date invitations. She carries classic brands like Crane and PSA personalized stamps, and offers signature lines such as Jon Hart customizable bags, Coton Colors ceramics, s.a.l.t sisters soups and seasoning, and an assortment of collegiate and “Greek” merchandise. Susie truly believes in keeping things personal.“There are very few things that are more personal than a hand-written note.” says Susie.“It’s a permanent, palpable sign of thoughtfulness. Whether you are the writer or the receiver.”


1401 S. 31st Street, Ste C, Temple in Pecan Plaza • www.paperdoodles.com • 254-773-8331

As a locally owned and operated business since 1998,The Gallery Design Center has become the one stop destination for all your home improvement needs. Brenda Esparza, co-owner is there to help guide you in selecting the perfect window covering for your home or business such as blinds, shades, shutters, drapery, upholstery, motorized products and solar screens. Brenda can design your kitchen/bath remodeling project from start to finish, by coordinating and supplying all the products such as flooring, cabinets, cabinet hardware, countertops, backsplash, wallpaper, paint selections, plumbing fixtures and light fixtures; as well as managing your project.

G ALLE RY DE S IG N CE NTE R 254.773.9890 • www.gdctexas.com 3103 SW HK Dodgen Loop,Temple



Kim Langston

You won’t find many vineyards owned and operated by a mother and her daughters, but Central Texas offers just that! Kim Langston, along with her two daughters, was determined to start a successful vineyard and winery - and that’s exactly what she did. 3 Texans Winery and Vineyard provides a relaxing place to gather and enjoy wine made exclusively with Texas grapes. With a gorgeous backdrop of vines and sunsets, 3 Texans has become a premier gathering place in Central Texas. Guests can gather around the bar or out on the patio, play corn hole or enjoy live music. Soft, twinkly lights complete the atmosphere and there isn’t another place quite like it. 3 Texans hosts many events with vendors and food trucks, a gathering of local businesses supporting one another.The staff at 3 Texans strives to get to know their clientele, learning their names and their favorites. 3 Texans is also a venue for fundraising and other events. Just a short drive away in West Temple, it’s a place you don’t want to miss out on! 7536 FM Road 2409, Temple Phone 254) 277-0024 www.3texanswinery.com

The staff at AFC Urgent Care in Temple treats patients just like family – after all, AFC stands for American Family Care.True healthcare heroes, the caregivers at AFC have battled tirelessly on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic since the beginning, providing rapid, accurate testing and thoroughly sanitizing the entire clinic daily.The medical staff ensures that every precaution is taken to treat patients in a safe environment. Since 2009, Vicki Kennedy has settled for nothing less than providing a safe and convenient alternative to Emergency Room visits. Armed with a team of experienced medical professionals and board certified physicians, AFC has earned a reputation for being affordable, accessible and economical.The variety of services offered here is extensive – personal healthcare, urgent care, occupational medicine, workers compensation care, and even remote Covid testing.The dedicated team always goes above and beyond to provide a kind and caring environment while respecting the rights of all patients and their families.The clinic is conveniently located on the loop in Temple – right next to Cracker Barrel. Open seven days a week and with physicians on site at all times, AFC Urgent Care continues to set the bar high for all healthcare clinics.

Vicki Kennedy

3614 SW HK Dodgen Loop,Temple 254-791-5376 • www.afcurgentcare.com




When Elaine Montalbo decided to open a restaurant in Central Texas, she knew she wanted it to be different.That’s how Suzy Q’s came to be. Located in Pecan Plaza on 31st Street, Suzy Q’s IS different – from the retro décor to the menu items that aren’t offered anywhere else in Central Texas.You can find beignets, lox and cream cheese, boudin balls and unique burgers sandwiches at Suzy Q’s, along with hand-cut fries that are to die for. Guests are greeted by Elaine and staff as if they are family – and family is important to the Montalbo’s. The food at Suzy Q’s is made fresh daily – including the famous chicken salad. There isn’t much that this home away from home doesn’t offer – it’s a must-visit!

S UZ Y Q ’ S

1401 S. 31st Street, Ste E in Pecan Plaza,Temple • www.facebook.com/Suzy-Qs • (254) 228-1555



Seleese Thompson and her talented staff love to Turn Your Feeling Into Flowers and work hard to create a destination for customers to experience floral artistry, plants,Texas Made Tyler Candles, Starfire Designs, home and holiday decor, Soapberry Potpourri alongside novelty gifts for every occasion. Seleese has owned Precious Memories since 2003, Winning National Retail Florist in 2007 and in 2017 added Hallmark Cards and Gifts to the products offered. Expanding services to include being open seven days a week to serve customers, introducing a Bouquet of the Month Program, Holiday decorating for homes and offices. She is proud of being an active part of the business community and has served as Temple Chamber of Commerce Chairman of The Board of Directors. Currently serving as a Member of The United Way of Central Texas and Temple Children’s Museum Board of Directors and believes in being an active part of our growing community.

Seleese Thompson

1404 S. 31st St.,Temple Phone 254-778-2242 www.preciousmemoriesflorist.com




I offer personalized service to my customers and also have several lines of accessories from purses to caps. I have in-stock frames from luxury Bottega Veneta to budget frames. So, something for any budget. Personal attention for each customer is what I offer unlike the big chains.


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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Gunter Financial Services utilizes a team approach to financial advising, offering clients a broader scope of expertise. Alongside Matt Gunter, Francesca GervascioFranzen offers a vast wealth of knowledge with over 18 years of industry experience. With a passion for financial planning, Francesca dedicates herself to helping clients achieve their dreams, especially assisting women, business owners, and military. Most recently, she and Matt Gunter published a book, Lifestyle Metamorphosis Enhance Your Financial Fitness in 40 Days.


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Cherished Memories

Woman continues son’s legacy with sister-in-law Story and photos by BRANDY CRUZ


early eight years after the tragic death of her son, Royce Crawford is keeping his memory alive by fulfilling one of his last requests — to make memory beads in honor of departed pets. Royce and her husband David own Cherished Memories Pet Cremation Service, LLC. By working with veterinary offices throughout Central Texas, they help bring comfort to grieving pet owners through the services they provide. After Aaron’s untimely death in 2013, his parents put away his bead-making tools and supplies, but felt strongly the desire to fulfill his vision of creating the memory beads. They realized they needed to carry on his legacy by helping pet owners work through the grieving process after losing a beloved pet. Four years later, Royce’s sister-in-law Valerie retired from teaching third grade and moved back home to Central Texas. After a rewarding life as a teacher, Valerie was looking for something to keep her creative juices flowing. They recently asked if she would like to become the main creator of the memory beads. “I loved it so much, it’s what I was doing all the time,” Valerie explained about finding her new passion in life. Valerie read through all of Aaron’s books on glass bead-making — known as lampworking — watched YouTube videos and practiced until she


“We get a lot of cards from people saying, ‘What you’ve done means so much. Thank you for the after care package. We didn’t know what to expect, but we can see the respect you put into the urns and such.’ I get cards from people who say, ‘It’s more than we ever expected.’ That’s why I do it.” — Royce Crawford

found her own unique style. After successfully making her first glass bead, Valerie said she was so excited, she was showing everyone. She also keeps that first glass bead on a bracelet she wears everywhere. “She told me once, ‘When I’m making these, I always end up thinking about the owners and their families. What was the bond like between them and their pet? Did they get him or her as a newborn or rescue?’” Royce shared about Valerie. “Not only is there cremains going into the bead, but a lot of emotion too.” Some memory beads have been made for a few pet owners already, but they will formally start offering them through vet clinics who use Cherished Memories, beginning June 1. The intricate process includes using a torch to melt the colored glass. While at the vet clinic, pet owners choose from one of eight colors for their chosen memory bead. Pet ashes are cataloged, and even the smallest amount is tracked. Royce and Valerie said they are very meticulous about Continued

Royce Crawford and her sister-in-law, Valerie Crawford, work together to preserve precious memories for pet parents after their loved ones have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Valerie taught herself how to make the beads after reading Aaron Crawford‘s lampworking books and watching YouTube videos. The intricate process includes using a torch to melt the colored glass.



”When I’m making these, I always end up thinking about the owners and their families. What was the bond like between them and their pet? Did they get him or her as a newborn or rescue?” — Valerie Crawford

Royce Crawford places the stainless steel inserts inside the bead, adds the finishing touches and prepares the presentation for return back to the pet’s family. 52 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

everything during the process. After forming the memory bead and placing the cremains within the glass, the labeled bead must sit in an annealer, which allows the glass to gradually cool down over 24 hours. Valerie explained that if the glass cools down too fast, it could crack and shatter. After the bead has completely cooled down, Royce places the stainless steel inserts inside the bead, adds the finishing touches and prepares the presentation for return back to the pet’s family. Royce and Valerie met after David and Royce literally crashed into one another while attending Central Texas College in 1970. After 46 years of marriage, Royce said she’s lucky because she married into a great family and gained such a caring sister-in-law. The two even share the same birthday, three years apart. The two loving souls also share a common goal — to carry on Aaron’s legacy by honoring the memory of beloved family pets. “We get a lot of cards from people saying, ‘What you’ve done means so much. Thank you for the after care package. We didn’t know what to expect, but we can see the respect you put into the urns and such,’” Royce explained. “I get cards from people who say, ‘It’s more than we ever expected.’ That’s why I do it.”

women of the

Donna Sypion Operations Manager

Renee Blue Marketing Manager

Judy Rivera Business Office Coordinator

Akita Eversley Media Account Executive

Alexandria Jeter Media Account Executive

Christina Pace Graphic Designer

Peggy Gabbard Call Center Manager

Lesley Rodriguez Special Sections Coordinator

Thank You! Ana Tavai Customer Service Rep

Edna Beth Elliot Customer Service Rep

Lauren Dodd Education Reporter

Caitlin Sherrill Newsroom Page Designer

Kristen Meriwether City Hall Editor/Reporter

Wanda Mailroom Inserter

All of these women play a visible and vital role in every step of the production of the Killeen Daily Herald, Tex Appeal Magazine and other FME publications. From the front office to the newsroom, business office, advertising, production and post-production departments, these women help serve the readers, advertisers and the community.

A Little TLC

Angela Jourdain helps people find meaningful relationships By AMY ROGNLIE | Photos by SKEEBO


hatever your reaction to the term “matchmaking,” throw it out the window. Angela Jourdain and her newly formed company, Therapeutic Loving Connections, are on a mission to change the face of dating in Bell County. TLC’s services are a far cry from an online dating service. Rather, Angela and her staff have a passion to educate. “Matchmaking provides a better, safer, more effective, stress-free way to date in a world that has become very complicated. But TLC is so much more than just being matched with someone,” Angela explains. “We want folks to know that there are people available to mentor, guide and teach them how to have meaningful, lasting relationships, and we hope to create a structure in which the community can join us in this mission.” A licensed counselor, Angela has spent years in various roles including private practice, foster parenting, Fort Hood Youth MFLC, Williamson county juveniles, and most recently working counseling services through private practice with the military and with the Department of Family Protective Services. Throughout her career, she saw many people who struggled in relationships and — Angela in finding their ideal partner. Observing this struggle, coupled with her desire for community advocacy, drove her to create TLC. “With my time in all of these areas, there were common themes of deep hurt from broken relationships and family systems. This was indiscriminate to any demographic and deeply impactful in multiple areas of people’s lives,” she says. “This is how I ended up in my exact spot and I love that I have an opportunity and ability to advocate change.” Located in Killeen, TLC provides a safe, local, fun place for clients to meet others in person. “Singles Mingles,” including game nights, karaoke, cooking and painting classes and wine tastings are hosted regularly so clients can practice their newly acquired communication skills and have fun meeting new

people. A speed-dating night complete with live music is in the works, along with various small groups and classes, including the popular “Decoding Men” and “Decoding Women” classes. “Because we are local and not online, we get to know each of our clients personally,” Angela explains. “We want to help people make the move back to safe, committed, sustainable relationships that are supported by the community and eliminate the ability for predators and scammers to hide behind a keyboard.” In light of this, all of TLC’s dating “coaches” are college educated and licensed in the field of social work and psychology. In addition, they employ a variety of background checks and an abbreviated psychological evaluation to screen clients to enhance dating safety. The TLC staff also works with married couples, providing coaching for relationship repair and ‘re-sparking.’ Angela and her staff teach couples to utilize apps, games and other creative ways to get to know one another again. They will even help plan romantic getaways. In addition, Angela and her staff are working with the local youth center and area singles groups in their quest to teach teens and college-aged people how to Jourdain healthily negotiate relationships. “I would like the youth of our community to learn early on about safe dating and healthy connection so that families develop happier healthier ways for generations. Relationships are important to the community and they are an investment,” she said. Whether you’re looking for that special someone or need some help with an existing relationship, TLC offers a variety of packages to meet everyone’s needs. Or take advantage of a multitude of a la carte services and classes such as teen-dating etiquette, amicable resolution of an existing relationship, and family blending.

“The beauty of a strong relationship is the strength it provides for a single individual by enhancing love, respect, and a sense of belonging.”


MAKE A CONNECTION https://tlconnections.com/ Call or text: 254-258-2234

Angela Jourdain hopes to change the face of dating with Therapeutic Loving Connections.





A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE WOMEN AT EXTRACO BANKS FOR ALL THEY DO. Raquel Alejo Audra Allen Julieta Aluiso Julie Beltz Antoinette Bess Cynthia Blundell Diana Breazeale Sabrina Brightwell Christine Brinkmann Tammy Brown Amanda Camp Sara Campbell Ashlee Cantrell Alison Caproni Barbara Carter Casey Clark Carol Clements Sheila Cunningham Zuly Del Valle Amy Dickerson Haleigh Disher Stacie Edwards Linda Ellis Rachel Fitzgerald Ashley Flores Oz Gant Stacee Gillians Gemma Gomez-Rarangol Gina Gonzales Vanessa Gonzalez Lisa Goodwin Helen Green Sue Groves Brieanna Guevara Tinesha Harris Natalie Hetzel Tiffany Holley Joanna Melton

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Allison Finney runs the family business, Finney Insurance Agency. 58 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL


Knowledge, Success By JANNA ZEPP | Photos by JUSTIN BORJA and contributed


llison Finney’s professional career began, literally, hip-deep in blood. “I worked at a beef packing house in the Friona-Amarillo area after earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Production from Texas Tech University,” she says. “My brother (Corbett) came out to see where I worked and was not prepared for what he saw when I showed him the kill floor and the blood pit. But he learned the truth about where our grocery store beef comes from.” Finney said she used her job at the beef packing house to help collect research data for one of her former professors at Texas Tech. She was deeply interested in working with livestock, from beginning to end. But eventually, the call to come home was too strong, especially when her parents, Woody and Jeanette Finney asked her to come back to Central Texas and learn the family insurance business. It was then that she discovered her love of helping people navigate the world of insurance coverage. Woody passed away in 2002 and eventually, Finney and her brother, Corbett, bought Finney Insurance Agency in Belton from their father’s estate in 2005. She worked Corbett until his death in 2016. Now, she, Kathy Fritsche, Montie Elkins and Adam Foulton work together to keep Central Texans and their property protected. “I love helping people understand the true value of what they have and how they need to protect it,” Finney says. “I sit down with my customers and explain to them what they have for coverage, what they should have and what they are comfortable with as far as coverage goes.” She adds that there may be cheaper insurance policies available to them, but it might also be the most expensive policy a person can buy in the long run, especially if it does not offer the kind of protection they actually need.

The Finney Insurance Team, from left: Adam Foulton, Montie Elkins, Allison Finney and Kathy Fritsche. When asked what some of the more interesting cases she handled during her career were, she quickly told the tale of the rogue bleach bottle and a brand new carpet. “One of our customers carried a bleach bottle in her laundry basket, not realizing the top was not secure. It left a trail of bleach across her relatively new carpet. Because she had an “all peril” policy, it covered the rather unusual situation completely. Not all do, but this one did, and we were able to help her out,” Finney says. She also mentioned other odd cases, such as the air conditioning unit that was literally burned up by fire ants and raccoons that ate holes in a home’s air conditioning ducts. “The insurance business is never boring,” Finney Continued

“I love helping people understand the true value of what they have and how they need to protect it.” — Allison Finney TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Monday mornings at Finney Insurance: Allison Finney and Adam Foulton review the previous month‘s goals and set goals for the current month. says. Because of that, she says she stays current on the latest developments in the business with continuing education. “I am among the agents that were ‘grandfathered in’ as not being required to take CE courses under a recent insurance regulation, but I still take them because that’s the smart thing to do for any agent. It’s the right thing to do for customers,” she adds. Finney believes in setting short- and long-term goals to achieve. She says she’s always growing and learning, an example she sets daily for her children. When it came time for them to go off to college,

they chose trade schools. Her son chose to become a welder and her daughter chose to pursue a career in cosmetology. “All a college degree really does is show that you have the initiative to persevere and a trade school shows that too. I started my career at a beef packing house and switched to selling insurance. I’ve enjoyed both. It doesn’t matter where you go to get your education or what your major is as long as you go for it,” Finney says. “The important thing is go do something you love so that it does not seem like work. That’s one of the real marks of success.”

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Call today 254-899-9400 www.visitingangels.com/temple/ 60 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

n e m o W of the

m a r g e l Te

Women are an important part of the Temple Daily Telegram family. They are in essential positions in every department at the newspaper – from the publisher’s office to the news department, advertising department, business office, creative

services, circulation department and distribution department. The Telegram is dedicated to providing readers with fair and accurate reporting, being good business partners with our advertisers and serving our community.

The Women of the Telegram make it happen. Editor and Publisher Sue Mayborn Administration/Business Office Rose Bretado Sherry McWhirter Rosie Reyna Edla Wilde Teri Zamora Editorial Department Patricia Benoit Debra Saltsman Tex Appeal Magazine Janna Zepp

Advertising Department Lauren Ballard Suzzy Caldwell Susan Craig Bobbie Jo King Jane Moon Lisa White Circulation Department Delia Eicke Carmen Leese Sandra Pratt

Creative Services Alberta Munk Leesa Wilson Fort Hood Sentinel Brandy Cruz Blair Dupre Tori Hancock Elena Rodriguez Stephanie Salmon

Distribution/Mailroom Barbara Ann Booth Miriaha Caddie

L i f e & S t y l e i n C e n t r a l Te x a s




Staff Sgt. Samantha Escamilla is a dental assistant and a parachute rigger in the Army.

CALLED TO SERVE Samantha Escamilla fulfills dream by joining the Army

Story and photo by JANNA ZEPP

“I work to make sure there are no bad days for any of us,” she says, sighing. erman philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche When asked what keeps her passionate about stated, “That which does not kill us, makes us being a soldier herself, Escamilla is effusive. stronger,” and it is often true. Adversity breaks “I love what I do and I love the people I some people and motivates others. For Staff Sgt. work with,” says Escamilla. “The discipline and Samantha Escamilla, 502nd Dental Company Area camaraderie in the Army is what I love the most Support, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Expeditionary about being in the military. The discipline that Sustainment Command, Fort Hood, a series of comes with the physical demand of being a tactical terrible tragedies challenged her to finally and athlete combined with the ‘tactful’ professionalism successfully pursue the career and service to our nation is of her dreams: serving in the one part. The other is the U.S. Army. camaraderie because the Army As a child in Covina, teaches you to care for the California, Escamilla wanted to person to your left and to your be a soldier. She loved military right, regardless of where they movies, especially ones that come from or who they are. featured women overcoming All of this makes you a more adversity and going on to intelligent leader and person.” victory as warriors. A particular That esprit d’corps was a career day hosted at her school challenge to keep up during solidified her desire to join the the COVID-19 pandemic, but U.S. Army. But it was not until she and her fellow soldiers a divorce, a job loss and losing found a way to maintain it in her home set her on a course painting a mural on the wall for that turned her life around for their office. Escamilla and her the better when she enlisted battle buddies discovered a into active duty on April 24, mutual love of art and working 2012. together on the unit’s wall art “If all those terrible things was the perfect way to keep could not tear my spirit apart, their morale up. I figured the Army would be “Sometimes I think about an excellent choice for me as a becoming a tattoo artist,” she career,” Escamilla says. “It was says. “Art is a great way to — Samantha Escamilla a perfect opportunity for me express yourself when words to do what I always wanted to just aren’t enough.” do.” Escamilla’s other accomplishments include her Now, Escamilla’s MOS, or military occupational family. specialty (a J-O-B in civilian speak) is primarily as a “I have two children: Presley is six and she loves dental specialist and secondarily a parachute rigger. unicorns. Cash is three and he is all about SpiderShe’s a dental assistant and she packs parachutes Man and throwing things,” she says, laughing. for airborne operations. She readily admits that, Balancing family and career for a single mother even though she works in dentistry, she does not is not easy, Escamilla cautions. She advises taking enjoy going to the dentist and recognizes when negativity and making it positive for a better other soldiers are tense about getting dental work outcome for yourself as much as possible. done. She credits her ability to commiserate about “Don’t expect it to be easy or painless. Being that painful common ground with other soldiers with a single mom in the Army is one of the hardest helping them feel at ease in the dentist’s chair. challenges, but challenges come and go. Current Packing parachutes for soldiers keeps her attention hardships will pass. Tomorrow is another day to be on the details, as a bad day at work for her means great and do your best by embracing the challenges somebody gets hurt...or worse. life gives.”


“Don’t expect it to be easy or painless. Being a single mom in the Army is one of the hardest challenges, but challenges come and go. Current hardships will pass. Tomorrow is another day to be great and do your best by embracing the challenges life gives.”



Expanding into Success



hat does the woman who has everything do? She expands her business, and that is exactly what Leah McHorse did and might well do again. Four years ago, McHorse moved her business, Darling Décor & More, from a little house on West Adams in Temple to 100 North Main Street – a building in the heart of downtown with about 4,000 square feet of space. She’s looking to expand again. “I’m full. I didn’t think I could fill this building, but I have, and I’m already thinking about how to expand again,” McHorse says, gesturing to her inventory of vintage furniture, curios and hard-tofind hardware. “I am constantly shopping for things I know people will enjoy. The trick is finding what my demographic really wants.” When she started in the estate sales business years ago, she never really thought it would get this big. Now, in addition to her estate sale business, she has Darling Décor & More as well as A Darling Thrift Store at 608 South First St. in Temple.


“I really am in the business of recycling. It is hard to watch someone throw a great piece of furniture away that could be repurposed or updated,” says McHorse. “Some things just need a coat of paint or a rebuild into something else, like a twin bed headboard and footboard into a bench. Almost anything can have new life breathed into it.” When McHorse handled her grandmother’s estate sale (her first), she says she made about a thousand mistakes. She has since learned a whole lot more about antiques over the last 30 years and credits the Internet for making her continuing education much easier than when she first started. “Before the Internet, I had to look through books to find out whether or not a piece I had was a true antique. Now, I can upload a photo of the item and do an online search. It’s much faster and easier now,” she says. McHorse has a painter, carpenter and florist on hand to help her out with displays and reworking furniture items that need updating or a complete Continued

Leah McHorse expanded Darling Décor & More with the opening of the Darling Thrift Store. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


overhaul. She also rents booth space at the main shop on Main Street to independent vendors. Some of her original vendors are still with her. But the acquisition of inventory for both stores remains the most intense part of her job and she says it is interesting every day. Doing estate sales offers McHorse the opportunity to see different houses and how they have been decorated, what styles were or are still popular, and ideas to help her customers figure out the endless possibilities reclaimed merchandise might hold. “It’s like Christmas morning every Monday when I come back from a sale. It’s always a surprise,” she says. McHorse doubles as her own delivery person for those who have purchased from her and need their treasures brought to their doorsteps. She is in and out of the store more now as a result, and hoping to find someone soon to take on the task. Of the curious things Darling Décor & More carries, Swanky Swigs are McHorse’s favorite collectible item. More than 80 years ago, Kraft Foods began offering their processed cheese spreads in reusable glass containers they dubbed “Swanky Swigs.” It was a marketing strategy to entice people to purchase Kraft’s products during the Great Depression. Once the jars were empty, they could be washed out and used as beverage 66 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

glasses. The glass jars were produced by Hazel Atlas Glass Co. The first Swanky Swigs were hand painted with different designs including flowers, fruit, stars, animals and solid stripes. The popularity of Swanky Swigs led other food companies to produce their own version of a decorated reusable glass container, but among glass collectors, the term “Swanky Swig” belongs solely to the little glasses made by Kraft. “I really do my homework on what something is worth before I put a price tag on it because my biggest fear is seeing something I found and sold for $20 end up on the PBS Antiques Roadshow being worth about a thousand times that amount,” McHorse laughs. “It really is the thrill of the hunt that keeps me doing what I do. I absolutely love it.”


Darling Décor & More 100 N. Main St., Temple www.darlingdecorandmore.com Estate sale information: www. darlingdecorandmore.com/estate-sales A Darling Thrift Store 608 S. First St., Temple www.facebook.com/adarlingthriftstore Call 817-726-9612 for both businesses.


A Place to Grow and Make a Difference


came to Killeen in the summer of 2000 a resentful 15-year-old frustrated at the prospect of starting over in a new town (again). My family moved every year or two growing up, so I had a serious case of teenage angst for having been uprooted only a year into high school. Despite my trepidation, I soon learned that my new community was very welcoming and there was no shortage of opportunities to get involved and make a difference. Upon arriving in Killeen, I attended the recently completed Shoemaker High School. After graduating in 2003, I worked full time for a few years while attending Central Texas College. After a few years, I decided it was time to finish my degree, so I quit my job in 2008 (as I would later learn, in the middle of a recession) to attend CTC and JENNIFER HETZEL Texas A&M University-Central Texas full time for the next two years. During this time I worked at CTC as a Student Ambassador. In 2010, the grant funding my department was ending and the college was looking for creative ways to continue funding these positions. After brainstorming with other staff at the college we came up with a novel idea: hold a mini comic-con style event at the college’s Planetarium. We called it Geekfest, a “celebration of all things geek.” A lifelong geek myself, I was particularly excited to help create a space for others who shared common interests. The event was a hit and grew over the years, adding programming (and often celebrities), attracting more attendees and raising thousands of dollars for scholarships. The name changed to Epically Geeky Expo in 2019 and the event will resume after the pandemic. It is gratifying to know I was part of creating such an impactful event while raising money for college students. Upon completion of my bachelor’s in 2010, I started work full time at CTC in the Continuing Education Department. During this time I continued serving on the “Jedi Council” for Geekfest; became a commissioner for the Killeen Arts Commission; volunteered with the USO as a costume character at family events; helped plan

and run robotics competitions; volunteered as an ambassador at the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce; and became a founding member of the Greater Killeen Young Professionals. The opportunity to engage in such a wide range of causes taught me a lot, and helped me grow personally and professionally. I was hired as the Director of Strategic Communications at the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce in 2014. In 2017, I transitioned to economic development as the Director of Research for the newly created 14 Forward campaign. Both positions have allowed me work on projects and with local leaders that have had a profound impact on the community. Environmental sustainability has always been a passion for me, and in 2017 I started a group called the Centex Planeteers to help educate the community on this topic. The group meets monthly to hear from a speaker and talk with others who are interested in learning about sustainability. I also started a podcast called Sustainably Geeky in 2018 to reach a wider audience. It has been extremely rewarding for me to help and meet others who share my passion through these outlets. If you want the opportunity to grow as a person and make a difference in the world around you, Central Texas is the place to be. This community inspired me to reach higher and try things I am not sure I would have had the courage to try otherwise. The encouragement and support I have received over the years gave me the tools I needed to create two of the things I am most proud of, Geekfest and the Centex Planeteers. Central Texas has a special place in my heart. This is where I became an adult, bought my first home and made friendships that will last a lifetime. This place gave me the courage to try new things and be bold. These lessons have given me the courage to start a new chapter in my life and pursue my dream of attending graduate school overseas to study sustainability. I begin that pursuit this summer. This is a bittersweet time for me, leaving the place that has been home for my entire adult life, for something entirely (and literally) foreign. While I will miss this place-and more importantly, the people — I can leave knowing I left my mark on the community that has given so much to me. I believe I will always be a “Central Texan.”




Stay Hydrated During Summer


exas temperatures are on the rise, preparing us for the hot summer months ahead and there is nothing better than spending a beautiful day soaking up the sunshine outdoors. Whether you head outside for a leisurely day or work obligations, staying hydrated is essential for everyone. Our body is comprised mostly of water; the average person’s body is estimated to be about 60% water. Since water makes up a significant amount of the body, ensuring fluid balance can keep the body in homeostasis. Countless essential bodily functions involve water include transporting nutrients, oxygen and CAREY STITES waste from cells and organs and MS, RD, LD, CPT regulating body temperature. The risk of dehydration is considerable during the summer months and anticipating an increase in fluid intake is crucial to preventing the onset of dehydration. Signs of dehydration can include rapid heart rate, fatigue, muscle cramping, headaches, dark yellow urine and dizziness. Chronic dehydration can result from ongoing dehydration-this can be very serious as occasionally the body becomes accustomed to less water and compensates, thus masking the signs and symptoms. Signs of chronic dehydration can include dry/flaky skin, constipation, ongoing fatigue, extreme muscle weakness and frequent headaches. With all the talk about water, sometimes it can feel overwhelming with the amount required during the heat of the summer for outdoor activities. Luckily there are many water rich foods to help you stay hydrated, plus they are loaded with nutrients to keep you healthy this summer.


Fruits and certain vegetables contain ample amounts of water and provide hydrated while in the sun. Watermelon, grapes, peaches and other fruits and non-starchy veggies such as lettuce and cucumbers are excellent choices for keeping dehydration at bay this summer. Eat more of these foods every day while also drinking plenty of fluids to keep your hydration at an optimum level.



Watermelon: A nostalgic summertime favorite, eating watermelon is a fun way to stay hydrated on those hot, humid days. With its 92% water content, watermelon is one of the most hydrating, refreshing foods you can eat. Peaches: These nutrient rich fruits which can help with hydration as 90% of their weight is water. Peaches also provide ample vitamins and minerals and are low in calories (about 60 calories for a medium peach). Strawberries: Strawberries provide disease fighting antioxidants including vitamin C, folate and manganese and they also have a high water content of about 91%. Fresh strawberries can be a great addition to a summer smoothie or eaten fresh on a hot summer day. Cantaloupe: This beautiful fruit, roughly 90% water, delivers more than ½ cup of water per ¾ cup serving. Delicious and nutritious, cantaloupe helps keep you hydrated and full. Star fruit: While not a “mainstream” fruit, this tropical gem boasts approximately 90% water. Available in tart and sweet varieties, toss slices of star fruit with other tropical fruits to create a colorful blend or incorporate star fruit into leafy green salads.


Lettuce: Low in calories and high in vitamins A and K, lettuce contains about 96% water. Consuming greens can enhance digestive health and lettuce can be the star of a summer dish, such as lettuce wraps or salads or shredded and sprinkled as a garnish. Cucumber: The cucumber is about 95% water and contains only about 16 calories per cup. Cucumbers are rich in vitamin C and K, magnesium, potassium, manganese and fiber and are delicious when consumed as a crunchy snack or even in a chilled soup. Zucchini: Similar to cucumbers, zucchini is between 94-95% water and is a nutritious vegetable low in calories and abundant in fiber. There are many ways to enjoy zucchini including raw, roasted or cooked. Grilling zucchini is an excellent choice as this vegetable is at its peak during the summer months.

Celery: Crunchy, crispy celery is plentiful in water-almost 95% of this convenient on the go snack is comprised of water. Not only can celery be the star in a crudité platter, try this veggie roasted, stuffed, braised or in a delicious salad! Bell peppers: Fresh, raw bell peppers are composed of 92% water with the rest being carbs and small amounts of protein and fat. Bell peppers are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available and are a good source of a large number of nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin K, thiamine, folic acid and vitamin B6.


You can get water without always having to drink

it from a bottle; this summer, avoid allowing the Texas heat to dry you up! Grab a few of your favorite hydrating ingredients and make a summer smoothie, a new seasonal recipe or a fruit and vegetable tray which will not only quench your thirst, but also nourish your body in the process. Whether for work or plan, enjoy the Texas summer sun! Carey Stites is a registered and licensed dietitian located in Harker Heights. She obtained a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Texas Tech University has been a practicing dietitian since 2001. Carey is also an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer; she has promoted health and wellness through presentations, classes, writing and cooking demonstrations all over Texas.

Serving Central Texas patients one at a time for 25 years

Personal attention to your needs is more important now than ever. We are caring for new and existing patients during COVID-19 and providing prevention and therapeutic Hydroxychloroquine and other effective treatments as needed. We are also open for all other wellness needs. Detox, weight loss, bio-identical pellets, and ozone. My Staff and I have always known who the most important person in the practice is, you! “I am…committed to your health”, Dr. Shelley

Marina Wilkins, Dr. Shelley, Dolores Underwood

Join Dr. Shelley on Logic Nation KTEM 1400 AM every other Wednesday at 9am! Health and the science behind it, and always the truth.

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By AMY ROGNLIE | Courtesy photos


any area residents may not know Central Texas is home to an important, internationally known archaeological site. The Gault Archaeological Site, located just outside of Florence at the edge of the Hill Country, is a valuable piece of Texas history and culture. Monthly tours are scheduled, giving visitors a glimpse of local history dating to 20,000 years ago. The tours are about two and a half hours long and cover technology, archaeological science, and the reasons people were continually living in this area. “Studying who we are and where we came from is an exercise in looking to the future. We need to learn from the past so we know where we’re going,” says Dr. Clark Wernecke, executive director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research (GSAR). “Archaeologists are interested in human behavior—think of us as CSI Prehistoric. We look at clues (artifacts) in context to figure out what happened.” The entire Gault site covers an area of about 20 acres. The Gault Site has been known by archaeologists for at least 78 years. In 1929, the first anthropologist at the University of Texas, J.E. Pearce, had a crew excavating at the site for six weeks. Over the years the land changed hands several times but was the focus for a great deal of collecting and looting. One of Pearce's colleagues looked at the site in 1930 and commented on the young


men digging for artifacts there. Some of these collectors worked on a grand scale with large crews and even heavy machinery. Eventually a commercial pay-to-dig operation allowed collectors the opportunity to dig at the nowfamous Gault Site for a mere $2 a day (later $25). The land changed ownership in 1998 and a group from the University of Texas at Austin, led by paleontologist Dr. Ernie Lundelius and archaeologist Dr. Michael Collins, were asked by the new owners to look at something they'd exposed at the site. It turned out to be the lower jaw of a juvenile mammoth and some ancient horse bones surrounded by a large number of Clovis artifacts. Between 1999 and 2002 more than 1.4 million artifacts were recovered — about half of them of Clovis age, which is approximately 13,000 years. A unique Clovis feature, a stone floor, was discovered as well as more than one hundred engraved or “incised” stones — among the earliest art in the Americas. To date, an estimated 2.6 million artifacts, including 130,000 artifacts from below the Clovis layer, have been recovered from approximately 3% of the site. While the GSAR's focus is on science that is international in nature, they also provide opportunities for people interested in archaeology to do volunteer Continued

Visitors look at an area where artifacts are excavated at the Gault Archaeological Site near Florence. Volunteers eat barbecue after a long day of work on the grounds. Bones and many artifacts date back more than 13,000 years to the Clovis area, making the site one of the oldest inhabited areas in North America. Items found below the Clovis layer are 20,000 years old. The Bell County and Williamson County museums arrange tours. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Many volunteers help keep things running at the Gault Site near Florence, including leading tours for visitors. work in the field or lab, which is located at Pickle Research Campus at UT. Over the years, more than 2,300 volunteers, ranging from schoolchildren to graduate students to retirees, have worked on GSAR projects. Though no digging is currently going on at the Gault Site, GSAR’s archaeologists continue to work on 12-15 different sites in Texas as well as other sites around the hemisphere. They currently have a list of 1500 volunteers who are on call to work in various capacities as needed. In addition, GSAR offers speakers, demonstrations and other educational opportunities such as school field trips. They also work closely with the nearby communities to foster awareness of the cultural resources in the area, expand understanding of the earliest peoples in the western hemisphere, and help folks benefit from the presence of the Gault Site. “The ground itself is a big book,” says Dr. Wernecke. “Archaeologists, paleontologists, and geologists can turn the pages back to help us learn from the past so we know how to do the future.”


You can schedule a walking tour of the Gault Site through the Bell County Museum or the Williamson County Museum, or if scheduling a group of 10 or more, through the Gault School of Archaeological Research’s website. The tours are walking and the round-trip distance is 72 SUMMER 2021 | TEX APPEAL

approximately 1.5 miles (a little bit at a time). The tour is not wheelchair accessible but they do have a golf cart with two bench seats to ferry around anyone who can’t make the walk. Website: https://www.gaultschool.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gaultschool/ Phone: 512-232-4912

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