Life and Style in Central Texas
Young Professionals From art to philanthropy, a new generation of leaders bring fresh ideas and traditions to the community.
OctOber 2013 tex AppeAl
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
City of Belton
First Texas Bank
Scott & White Medical Center
St. Vincent de Paul-Greater Temple
LENNA BARR At five feet ten inches tall Lenna Barr towers over most of her clients. She is the vice president of operations for her family’s business, Kidz Therapeze in Killeen, and is surrounded by dozens of children daily who receive therapeutic services at the clinic founded by her parents Kelly and Kim Barr. By CATHERINE HOSMAN
ANGELLIA POINTS Leaders ask great questions. The key to success is to work hard and be nice to people. Heels go best with a hard hat. These are the beliefs of Angellia Points, 30, Belton’s city engineer and director of public works. Points manages all of the city’s water, sewer, streets, drainage and construction projects. By SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE
DR. MARY GAINES IRISH CRYSTAL ORLANDO When Mary Gaines Irish was 5 years old she went to the pediatrician, then promptly informed her mother that she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. Twenty five years and a lot of hard work later, that dream is finally a reality. Irish specializes in internal medicine at Scott & White Medical Center — Temple. By SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE 4
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
Many people have a common thread running throughout the quilt of their lives. For one local artist, animals are the dominant motif. Crystal Orlando, of Moody, has nurtured a love of furry creatures her entire life, translating that affection into precise, realistic drawings. By EMILY HILLEY-SIERZCHULA
ASHLEY WHITWORTH Ashley Whitworth loves puzzles. As a vice president and loan officer of First Texas Bank she is responsible for sifting through the many pieces of information that come across her desk in the way of loan applications. “Every day is a puzzle,” said Whitworth, from the boardroom of the Killeen bank. By CATHERINE HOSMAN
CAITLIN WEST It’s a Thursday morning at St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple, and volunteers at the food pantry are filling orders for the 100 families that will arrive to pick up their bi-weekly groceries. Assistant Executive Director Caitlin West is in the middle of all the action, directing and helping, as volunteers buzz through the storeroom. By CATHERINE HOSMAN
TexTalk NEIGHBORS Lenna Barr of Kidz Therapeze
TexTalk FLAVOURS Good Life Bakery Cafe in Temple
TexTalk SCENE Harker Heights Food, Wine and Brew Fest
TexTalk CALENDAR Upcoming events in October
TexTalk WELL-FED HEAD “Jane of Austin” by Hillary Manton Lodge
Life & Style in Central Texas
Life and Style in Central Texas
Tex Appeal Magazine
Young Professionals From art to philanthropy, a new generation of leaders bring fresh ideas and traditions to the community.
ON the COVER 1
OctOber 2013 tex AppeAl
Clockwise from center front, Lenna Barr, Dr. Mary Gaines Irish, Crystal Orlando, Caitlin West, Ashley Whitworth and Angellia Points. Photograph by JULIE NABOURS 6
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
PROFILES Young professionals in Central Texas
TexVOLUNTEERS Caitlin West of St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple
TexADVENTURES Explore the San Marcos River and underwater springs
From the Editor
Tex Appeal Life & Style in Central Texas
This month, Tex Appeal writers had the privilege to interview some of the young professional women in our community. These accomplished women represent careers ranging from artist to social philanthropist. While a few blended into the career of their choice, others were detoured to positions that may not have aligned with their formal education, but were natural fits for their experience. Lenna Barr, vice president of operations for her family’s business Kidz Therapeze, in Killeen, wanted to work in corporate real estate. While studying for her master’s degree at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, she began working in her family’s business and never looked back. She is also an active Rotarian and social philanthropist on the board of the Killeen Free Clinic, Page 12. Civil engineer Angellia Points, didn’t grow up with the same opportunities as others and was resigning herself to a career in retail, until she entered a spaghetti bridge building contest in a high school geometry class. She won. Today she has crushed the glass ceiling with her meteoric rise to become the city engineer and director of public works for the City of Belton, Page 25. Ashley Whitworth wanted to be an FBI agent. She studied criminal justice in college and took some classes in accounting. When her dream of becoming an agent didn’t quite make it, she began a career in banking. Today she is the vice president of First Texas Bank in Killeen and Copperas Cove, Page 31. Art is magic and the artist is the magician. Crystal Orlando, an avid horsewoman, one day started sketching some of the animals she loves. She taught herself the technique of drawing with graphite and charcoal to create realistic interpretations of some of the animals that have crossed her path, each one with its own unique story, Page 47. Mary Gaines Irish, MD, knew she wanted to be a doctor when she was 5 years old. At first, becoming a pediatrician was at the top of her list. But kids can change their minds as they grow. Now Irish is a doctor specializing in internal medicine at Scott & White Medical Center — Temple, Page 43. Giving of self comes natural for Caitlin West, a rancher’s daughter. She said she was influenced by her late maternal grandmother to show love and compassion for all people she meets. She took that inspiration and volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple — A United Way Agency — and was offered a full-time job as the assistant executive director. Next year she will assume the position of executive director for the organization, Page 53. If you are looking for a new place to visit with family, friends or even a date, take a drive to San Marcos and visit the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment on the San Marcos River. Once known as Aquarena Springs, where pigs swam and glass bottom boats took tourists on rides over the clear river, it is now part of Texas State University and offers an educational look into the research and conservation of our waterways and the creatures that inhabit them, still seen through the floor of a glass bottom boat, Page 58. Wherever you are in your busy day, take a break, pour yourself a cup or glass of your favorite fall beverage and enjoy the inspirational stories about our Young Professionals.
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Contributors MIKE BARTOSZEK was born in Las Vegas, Nev., and traveled to various Army installations, including tours in Germany; his family finally settled in Killeen. Growing up, Mike had a passion for concert production working on such shows as ZZ Top, Korn and Ted Nugent. He pursues a career in video production and photography and has since worked for various entertainment companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and KNCT. He enjoys a life of travel, adventure and outdoor photography. SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE is a full-time freelance writer in Central Texas. A few of her favorite things include traveling, hiking, camping, reading, cats, classic rock music and cheese. As a kid, Sally Grace could never figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up — astronaut, Celtic dancer, entomologist, Egyptologist — everything was interesting and she couldn’t decide on just one world to immerse herself in and study, so she became a journalist. She learns new things every day. EMILY HILLEY- SIERZCHULA has not changed much since age 6. Whether turning over rocks or peering into bushes, she’s always been looking for something. As an archaeologist for 11 years she dug in the dirt looking for artifacts and learning about human prehistory. As a journalist and photographer she’s still learning about people, and finding the present is just as interesting as the past Emily has a degree in archaeology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a journalism degree from the University of Arkansas. She has a husband and two young sons, all of whom like getting dirty.
Tex Appeal is looking for Central Texas-based photographers and freelance writers with experience working for a newspaper or magazine. Candidates must be detail- and deadline-oriented and good storytellers, and must be familiar with AP style. Interested candidates may send their resumes and three to five recent stories and/or photographs for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
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Lenna Barr is the director of operations at Kidz Therapeze in Killeen. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Focus on family, business and community Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by MIKE BARTOSZEK and JULIE NABOURS and contributed by LENNA BARR
t five feet ten inches tall Lenna Barr towers over most of her clients. She is the vice president of operations for her family’s business, Kidz Therapeze in Killeen, and is surrounded by dozens of children daily who receive therapeutic services at the clinic founded by her parents Kelly and Kim Barr. Children receive variable degrees of therapy ranging from speech, occupational, physical and eating in custom designed rooms that fit the children’s specific needs in this 22,000 square foot facility. Children’s laughter and sometimes frustration blend together in a cacophony of sound as specialized therapists work with the children in group and individual sessions. There is even a timeout room for children who may need to escape the over stimulation they may absorb from the continuous activity in the clinic. “Mom wanted to be a physical therapist since she was 16,” said Barr, 30. “She was a director of rehab for a hospital and was a home health care worker and treated patients.” Today the business is a family affair with her mom at the helm of the therapists, her dad runs the operation and Barr is in charge of human resources, payroll, therapy production and researching industry trends in pediatric therapy. Barr was still in high school when she began working at the clinic, then a 1,500-square-foot facility with three therapists. She came in after school to answer phones, type reports on the only computer, and return in the evening to perform janitorial duties with her parents. She remembers watching her parents working hard to build their dream. But it wasn’t her dream. When she went off to college her intent was to work in the corporate world, primarily corporate real estate. But like so 12
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Lenna Barr and her daughter Pearl, 2, in one of the therapy rooms at Kidz Therapeze in Killeen where Barr is the director of operations. many young people, she found herself in a situation where she needed a job now. Her mom brought her into the business while she pursued her MBA at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. When she graduated, she stayed on. “It was the best decision I made,” said Barr, who has been with the company for 10 years. “I didn’t look back. There is a different joy that exists here. I’m happy with the choice I made.” Bringing in new young professionals, especially into her family’s business, takes an eye. Barr said she looks for someone who is detail-oriented, honest and has a good attitude. “I can teach you anything but the right attitude,” she said. “Working
with health care there is a lot of private information. Can I trust you with that? And be honest. If you make a mistake, we can fix it; we can figure it out together.”
COMMUNITY SERVICE Barr is a millennial. She comes from Generation Y that she said experienced a stunted adolescence. They grew up loaded down with a heavy curriculum of things to accomplish and do, she said. With parents most likely from the Baby Boomer generation, when most people took jobs right out of high school, and college was only for the privileged, she said her generation wanted to have everything. “The Baby Boomers wanted us to
have education. They provided for us so we could be what we wanted to be. The world was our oyster.” Because so much opportunity was afforded to her generation, Barr admits they didn’t have the time to grow in emotional maturity. “We came out of college and found out we are not special,” she said, referring to the “everyone-is-a-winner” mentality of her generation. Because of that initial attitude, Barr said young professionals were marginalized for their behavior. But the pendulum has shifted and the young we-deserve-everything generation has matured. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Lenna Barr, director of operations for Kidz Therapeze, in the big kids playground at the 22,000-square-foot facility. “Our generation is the most generous,” she said, referring to monetary donations and community philanthropy. Barr’s community philanthropy started in 2011 when she became the secretary for the Greater Killeen Free Clinic. Six years later she is the vice chair focused on board development, strategic planning and bylaw review. She also serves on the fundraising committee assisting with events, community relationships, and grants to support the clinic’s annual $500,000 budget. “Being the vice chair for the free clinic is the most valuable thing I do with my time,” she said. “It’s a huge need.” “Nonprofit boards in general have a lot of trouble recruiting young professionals, many don’t see the value of investing a lot of time in their community that way,” said Marlene DeLillo, executive director of the Killeen Free Clinic. “Lenna is an exception to that trend. She’s not afraid to ask the hard questions board members should ask in the role of governance. Also, she dedicates many hours of service to
ensure that the free clinic has long-term sustainability and continues to meet the health needs of the most vulnerable people in our community.” In 2013, she joined the Greater Killeen Young Professionals. She served as the professional development chair for two years, scheduling speakers for monthly development luncheons. In
weaknesses. We took away how you can reach out to young professionals.” Through this experience she became the chair of the Rotary Satellite Club and brought in young community leaders for fellowship and to help them make an easy transition into Rotary. “One of the things we at Rotary were faced with, as many service organizations, is aging population members,” said Robert Crouch, president, Killeen-Heights Rotary. “Lately we’ve seen an influx of younger professionals. Their enthusiasm and motivation energizes the rest of us to do what we do to serve the community and the world. “The Satellite Club is part of the Rotary Club of KilleenHeights, but is designed for young professionals 40 and younger. Most of the members are professional dual working couples with kids,” Crouch continued. “At 7 a.m. it’s difficult for one or more of them to attend. This gives them the opportunity to be a Rotarian and be involved with community service while being a member of our club. They are full members of the Killeen Heights Rotary. They just meet at different times.”
“Being the vice chair for the free clinic is the most valuable thing I do with my time. It’s a huge need.”
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— Lenna Barr
2014, while in her early 20s, she joined Rotary International and was selected one of 30 young professionals from around the United States to attend the first Rotary Young Professionals Summits in Chicago and Salt Lake City. “The application process was grueling,” she said. “We had to present a video and an essay. It was a 72 hour think tank. We focused on strengths and
Five young professionals, including Lenna Barr, second row, third from right, from the Young Professional Summit in Chicago created another Young Professionals Summit in Salt Lake City as a part of Rotary Institute for Zones 21 and 27B.
Monica Alexander, Ashley Whitworth, David Sorensen and Lenna Barr help with a food drive. “For example, instead of meeting at 7 A FAMILY AFFAIR In addition to Barr’s busy a.m. we meet at 5:30 p.m. at a local wine professional and philanthropic life, she is bar or anyplace where adult beverages are also mother to Pearl, 2, and wife to Jared served,” Barr said.
Foster, who also works in his family’s business. Barr and Foster met at a GKYP meeting. She took notice of the young man riding a motorcycle. After they met, he walked away from the 20-something woman, not to be rude, but because he had invited members of the group to come to his house to hang out. Barr wasn’t invited directly, but she made her presence known, showing up with her mom who escorted her to Jared’s house. “Jared was really cute. Mom wanted me to go to his house to hang out,” she recalled, smiling. “That was six years ago.” Despite how busy they both are, they always make time for family. Sometimes it’s a family outing with Pearl, like floating down the Frio River, and other times it’s date night Tuesday, when her mom babysits and the couple dine at their favorite Temple Italian restaurant. Not too long ago the couple was on their way to the Willie Nelson concert, but traffic issues delayed their arrival so they diverted to their favorite eatery, arriving just before closing. “We were the only two in the restaurant,” she said. “The staff played Willie Nelson for us the whole evening.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Good Life Bakery Café
Neighborhood eatery offers good food with a personal touch Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by RICHARD CREED
am Yarbrough, owner of the Good Life Bakery Café in Temple, has been in the restaurant business all his life. He grew up in Waco and worked at a neighborhood pizza restaurant during high school and on college breaks from Texas A&M College Station. After college he and his sister opened a bakery in College Station where he worked for eight years before joining the management staff of a national chain restaurant. Yarbrough spent 11 years managing restaurants in Austin, where he met his wife Dianne, a registered nurse, and Fort Worth native, on a party boat on Lake Travis. With family spread out across Central Texas they regularly visited relatives in Temple, Waco and further north in Fort Worth, but they wanted to be closer. They were looking for a central location that would keep them close to Austin and near family. “Temple is an up and coming market,” Yarbrough said. “I saw the growth potential on the west side of Temple and felt that West Adams would be the perfect location for his business, and also be convenient to sailing on Belton Lake. This past February, Good Life Café celebrated three years in business. “We have a little bit of a niche here. I get to offer my favorite foods other than seafood and pizzas. Sandwiches are made fresh every day on homemade bread.” Customers can choose from a variety of sandwiches, soups and salads. Yarbrough’s sandwich bread is light, airy with just the right amount of crisp when you bite into it. Tiny craters absorb the flavors of the ingredients. For example, when he makes his turkey provolone sandwich, one of his best sellers, the garlic butter and cheese melt together into the bread for a symphony of flavor. 16
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Sam Yarbrough owns the Good Life Bakery Café in Temple. Another one of his specialties is his chicken pot pie made fresh with cream cheese gravy. Nine inch pies are frozen and can be purchased to bake at home for dinner, or you can dine in and enjoy a whole pie with family or a slice for one.
For folks with a sweet tooth, watch for his daily select desserts. They can range from Italian cream cake to chocolate fudge pie and cookies. During the holidays he makes seasonal pies for his customers.
IF YOU GO Good Life Bakery Café 7348 W. Adams, #500, Temple Phone: 254-295-0610 Sam Yarbrough is trying out new seasonal soups in his café and shared his recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup with Tex Appeal Magazine, paired here with a turkey provolone sandwich.
CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ½ pound skinless chicken breast diced ½ cup diced yellow onion ¼ cup diced red bell pepper ½ cup diced or shredded carrots 1 teaspoon minced garlic Sauté the above ingredients over medium heat until evenly brown, stirring frequently. In a food processor combine the following ingredients for 3 minutes, until well blended: 1 cup chicken broth 3 cups diced tomatoes in juice ¼ cup medium picante sauce 1 teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon chili powder ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper Dash of Louisiana hot sauce Add the tomato mixture to the sautéed chicken and vegetables. Heat to boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with tri-blend tortilla strips when serving. Garnish with guacamole and shredded cheese to taste.
Food, Wine & Brew Fest draws crowd to Harker Heights 1. From left, Jessica Packard, Rose Clark, Helena Welch and Jason Welch attend the Harker Heights Food, Wine & Brew Fest on Sept. 9. The annual event is organized by the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce and gives attendees a chance to sample wine, beer and food while enjoying live music. 2. From left, Mike Donovan, Angie Fuller and Beth Fuller. 3. Jay and Danya Sowels 4. Jim and Katerine Getchell 5. Bo Haigood and Salina Williams 6. Karen Mynatt pours a sample of a red wine for a guest. 7. Bill and Anne Kennedy 8. Pat and Frankie Cones 9. Tina Gray and Deanna Cubert 10. Audrey Sheafknocker and her daughter Robin Sheafknocker. Photos by MIKE BARTOSZEK
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Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden Special Exhibit Now through Dec. 9 “Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden,” on loan from the Center for Railroad Photography and Art in Madison, Wisconsin, features 30 meticulously crafted black and white photographs all taken by Plowden who is widely acknowledged as one of America’s great landscape and industrial photographers. “Requiem for Steam” is his tribute to the end of the steam era on American and Canadian railroads. Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum 315 W. Avenue B, Temple Call 254-298-5172 or visit www.rrhm.org for more information. First Fridays: Stay Out Late Downtown 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. First Friday of every month historic downtown Temple is transformed into a giant party. Join us for street music and performances, great drinks, amazing food and after hours shopping. First Friday offers something special for everyone. Come explore downtown Temple. Main Street Call 254-298-5378 for more information. Harker Heights Annual National Night Out Harker Heights Police Department Oct. 3, 5:30 to 9 p.m. City wide in Harker Heights This annual community-building campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. It enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement and brings back a true sense of community. It provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Enjoy festivals, parades, cookouts, neighborhood block parties and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and more. To register your block party stop by the Harker Heights Police Department to fill out a registration form 20
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Central Vermont Railway Extra 464 North Meets Extra 472 South, Amherst, MA 1954. Photograph copyright David Plowden, courtesy of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art
or visit www.ci.harker-heights.tx.us/ to download the application. Contact the Harker Heights Community Services Department at 254-953-5410 or 254-953-5411 for more information.
throughout Harker Heights. Addresses, times, and big sale items are listed on the city’s website and inside city buildings. Call 254-953-5493 for more information or visit www.ci.harkerheights.tx.us.
Live Well Expo Oct. 4, 1 to 6 p.m. Live Well Temple is to develop a culture of wellness in Temple for citizens, visitors and newcomers. Mayborn Convention Center 3303 N. Third St., Temple For more information, call 254-298-5720.
Bark in the Park Oct. 7, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join us for hours of fun for you and your dog. Watch demonstrations, visit informational and vendor booths, take part in fun contests, and meet new fourlegged friends. All pets must be leashed and handlers must be at least 13. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Central Texas Bark Park 4320 Lions Park Road, Temple Call 254-298-5733 or visit TempleParks.com for more information.
7th Annual Harker Heights Community Garage Sale Oct. 7, sunrise to sunset Shop for new treasures at homes
Tablerock Amphitheater presents Our Salado Heritage Speaks Oct. 7, 5 to 6:30 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under Enjoy a walking tour of the historic Salado graveyard. As the afternoon shadows slip into the dimness of the evening the Salado pioneers who are buried in the Historic Old Salado Graveyard come to life to tell their stories. Salado Graveyard Baines Street Turn right on Baines Street from Royal Street. Call 254-947-9205 or visit saladohistoricalsociety.com for more information. The Mayor’s Fitness Council presents Temple Trail Blazers Walking Challenge Oct. 7, 10 a.m., Kick Off Event Free for all ages West Temple Park 121 S. Montpark Road, Temple Call 254-298-5403 or visit GetFitTemple.com for more information. Annual Herb & Art Festival “Jammin’ With Art In The Park” Lampasas Grapes and Grains Wine and Beer Garden Oct. 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s Annual Herb & Art Festival takes place at the Sculpture Garden in Campbell Park and offers a full day of fun for all ages. Enjoy fine arts, vendors, a food truck competition, Texas
Bell County Heart Walk 5K American Heart Association Oct. 14 8 a.m. check in 8:30 a.m. walk begins Join hundreds of Temple-area residents for the annual American Heart Association Heart Walk, a noncompetitive 5K walk that raises awareness of heart disease, the country’s No. 1 killer. Walkers may participate as individuals, join a team, or start a team. 700 Confederate Park Dr., Belton Email Nettie.Reynolds@heart.org or call 512-338-2478 for more information.
Alvalin and Jim Woodul of Killeen will portray 1860 Salado settlers Margaret Aiken and Col. Hermon Aiken during the Historic Old Salado Graveyard Tour.
Halloween Splash Bash Oct. 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission $5 Sammons Indoor Pool 2220 W Avenue D, Temple Call 254-298-5930 for more information.
wines and craft beers, live music and a children’s area. $15 admission to wine and beer garden and includes a commemorative wine glass, tote bag, 10 tastings and snacks. Must be 21. $10 admission per person for food truck competition Hanna Springs Sculpture Garden at Campbell Park 501 E. North Ave., Lampasas Visit www.lampasaschamber.org or call 512-556-5172.
Haunted Hayride Oct. 28 3 to 6 p.m., Family friendly $5 in advance or at the gate (pick your own time) 6 to 10 p.m., Haunted Scary Rides $6 advance or (pick your own time) or $8 at the gate Bend of the River Park 7915 S. General Bruce Drive, Temple Call 254-298-5733 for more information. Continued
Belton Senior Center Country Western Dances Oct. 5, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Jus’ Country performs. Oct. 19, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Out of the Blue performs. Participants are encouraged to bring a snack dish to share. Potluck Supper Oct. 23, 5:30 p.m. Freddie Fuller, the Singing Cowboy, performs during dinner. 842 Mitchell St., Belton Call 254-939-1170 for more information.
contests and a large aisle to do your trick or treating, this event is sure to please everyone. City Park Complex 1206 W Avenue B, Copperas Cove
Main Street Market and Food Truck Frenzy Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy arts and crafts dealers, vintage finds, nursery and greenhouse booths, live music, food and free yoga on the lawn. 2 N. Main St., Temple Downtown behind the Municipal Building Call 254-298-5378 for more information.
7th Harker Heights Community Garage Sale Oct. 7, Sunrise to Sunset Visit www.ci.harker-heights.tx/parks for more information and locations, email email@example.com or call 254-953-5493. Tablerock’s Fright Trail Oct. 14, 21 and 28 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. $5 adults $3 children, age 12 and younger Tablerock’s one-half-mile walking trail presents thrills and chills. Enjoy author’s biographies and skits from classic tales. Drinks and snacks available at the concession stand. Arrive early and be prepared to wait. Tablerock Amphitheater Royal Street, Salado
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The Headless Horseman, portrayed by KCEN’s chief meteorologist Andy Andersen, greets visitors on Tablerock’s Fright Trail Oct. 14, 21 and 28 in Salado.
Call 254-947-9205 for more information or visit www.tablerock.org/ events.php.
Copperas Cove Fall-O-Ween Festival Oct. 21, 4 to 8 p.m. Come join us for our Fall-O-Ween Festival! Enjoy a wide variety of games and attractions as well as costume
12th Harker Heights Halloween Hoopla Harker Heights Parks & Recreation Oct. 31, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The City of Harker Heights hosts this fun-filled evening to provide the youth in the community with a fun, safe alternative to door-to-door Trick or Treating. Enjoy games, inflatables, candy, activities, and other forms of entertainment. Harker Heights Community Park, 1501 E. FM 2410, Harker Heights Call 254-953-5465 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Email information about upcoming events in Central Texas to email@example.com by the end of the month for next month’s issue.
well-fed head TexTalk
Austen would appreciate modern take on classic tale By M. CLARE HAEFNER
any authors draw inspiration from their favorite authors. Hillary Manton Lodge is no exception. Her latest novel, “Jane of Austin” (WaterBrook 2017), is an excellent modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.” In this retelling, the main narrator is Jane Woodward, a middle sister who is struggling to find her place in the world as life shatters around her for the second time. Inspired by Marianne Dashwood in “Sense and Sensibility,” Jane watches from the outside as her older sister Celia’s love life falls unexpectedly apart at the same time their business is abruptly forced to close, prompting the sisters’ to relocate from San Francisco to Austin. Starting over in an unknown place, Jane finds herself unmoored, questioning everything and struggling to fully live her life. Rather than write a story from the oldest sister’s perspective as in Jane Austen’s classic, Lodge offers a fresh take on the novel, exploring the trials and relationships from the person who grows and changes most as the plot unfolds. “Jane of Austin” is about self-discovery — for protagonist Jane Woodward and for her “hero” former Marine Capt. Callum Beckett, who returns to Texas after losing his career and part of his leg. Beckett co-narrates the book, and the dual-perspective gives the reader insights that add interest as the characters develop and change the way they see each other and themselves. Like Austen, Lodge focuses on relationships between characters as she deftly reveals their true natures. The book blends elements of “Sense and Sensibility” with “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma” while creating characters that are truly her own. Lodge says “the pleasures of life” are why fans, including herself, revisit Austen’s work. “Her books are populated with people we know,” Lodge said. “I’ve met Fanny Dashwoods and Mr. Eltons and Mary Musgroves — we all have. (Austen’s) stories resonate because they’re inhabited by our own neighbors, parents and co-workers.” Lodge manages the same feat in “Jane of Austin.” The Woodward sisters, their family and neighbors feel like old friends. We root for Callum Beckett and Jane Woodward because we know the struggles they navigate and understand their hopes of finding love and a place to call home. Another interesting aspect of the book is how the city itself serves as a minor character. Lodge brings Austin to life, taking her characters to iconic areas, including Hyde Park, the Driskill Hotel and Barton Creek, as the Woodward sisters experience some of the culture that keeps Austin weird.
Food and music also are integral parts of the narrative — the Woodward sisters run a tea shop, Callum Beckett inherits his father’s barbecue chain, and Jane’s other love interest, Sean Willis, is a lead guitarist and front man for a band. The city’s vibrant music scene, including stops at the Cedar Street Courtyard and South By Southwest, blend with some of Austin’s popular eateries, such as Torchy’s Tacos, Gourdough’s and Amy’s Ice Creams, to add details that bring the story to life. Lodge also includes recipes for some of the foods she mentions in the book, including Frito pie, Texas sheet cake and shrimp tacos. It’s a nice touch that allows the reader to share an experience with her characters. At its heart, “Jane of Austin” is about family — the one you’re born with and the one you make for yourself by discovering who matters most. Lodge makes it clear the discovery is the point, and Austen would be proud. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Staying on point Story by SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE | Photos by RICHARD CREED, JULIE NABOURS and contributed by ANGELLIA POINTS
Leaders ask great questions. The key to success is to work hard and be nice to people. Heels go best with a hard hat.
hese are the beliefs of Angellia Points, 30, Belton’s city engineer and director of public works. Points manages all of the city’s water, sewer, streets, drainage and construction projects and oversees about 40 staff members. She rose to her current position rapidly, but has not been deterred by the intense, additional responsibilities. She learned how to work hard and secure results a long time ago. Growing up in East Mountain, Texas, she was the first member of her family to attend college. Although she enjoyed school, college was not an option early on. Points said she’d picked out what department she wanted to work in for the rest of her life at a local store and was really excited about that choice, until ninth grade, when her geometry teacher conducted a spaghetti bridge building contest. “I won,” Points remembered. “My teacher said ‘you’re really good at this, maybe you should be a civil engineer.’ I started thinking about it. I loved math and science and thought it might actually be pretty cool to build something one day. Now I thank him every chance I get for changing my life.” She graduated valedictorian from Union Grove High School. After online research and seeking advice from school counselors, she selected the engineering program at Southern Methodist
Angellia Points is Belton’s city engineer and director of public works. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Angellia Points meets with Jeff Bolton, the city’s streets superintendent, and Jeremy Allamon, the assistant director of public works. University. Points said it was small and close to home, exactly what she was looking for. Being a female from a low income household with an interest in engineering made her a prime candidate for scholarships and grants. She paid for all remaining costs on her own, at one time working three jobs while in school. “I was very strategic about my jobs,” she said, acknowledging her constantly calculating, engineer’s brain. After Hurricane Katrina, she worked for an engineering corporation and helped analyze the levees in New Orleans. “My other job was tutoring,” she said. “I did that because I liked it, but also, if no student showed up I got to study and do my homework. My third job was working at the rock climbing gym. This was strategic because I wanted to stay active, and when nobody was rock climbing I got to work out.” 26
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Her desire to excel was intrinsic. She found satisfaction in getting As and excelling at school. “I just knew if I wanted something I had to work for it,” she said. “If I had my mind set on something I just went after it. Whatever I had to do, I did it.” Most engineering programs have more males than females, Points said. Southern Methodist University created an initiative to have 50 percent female and 50 percent male engineering students, and Points was excited to be a part of that goal, which has since been achieved. “They say girls aren’t as good at math and science, but I don’t think that’s true,” she said. “That’s some girls’ passion. It was my passion. Now it’s not odd for me to go to a meeting in my field and be the only female there. However, there are lots of programs
encouraging girls in STEM, and I think girls are getting more into the IT world with coding, computers and cell phones. It’s getting better.” Advice from Points to prospective engineers: If you want it, go get it. Educate yourself. Go find jobs where you work with your hands and don’t be afraid to get dirty. “But be willing to wear heels while you get dirty,” she added. “You don’t have to be one side or the other — a tomboy or a girly girl. You can be a girly girl and love talking about sewage.” After receiving her undergraduate degree in civil engineering, Points obtained a grant from the university to get her Masters in environmental engineering. In between degrees, she married the man she’d started dating four years earlier. Continued
A TWO-STEP ROMANCE Points met Alex on her 18th birthday. As a freshman in college away from home for the first time, she was quiet and introverted, but decided she wanted to celebrate, so she reached out to an old friend who invited her to a country western dance club, and Points agreed to go. “She ended up ditching me that night,” Points said. “It was the first time I’d been to a bar and I was out of my element. Then I saw this guy looking at me from across the dance floor and he mouthed, ‘Are you OK?’ and I said, ‘No, not really.’” Later, the couple realized the same girl who ditched Points had also invited Alex to the dance club on a date, but had left him on a whim as well. “He came over and asked me to dance,” Points said. “We ended up talking from there.” They’ve been married eight years. After obtaining her Masters, Points spent three years working at a consulting firm in Dallas, where she worked on a specialized type of wastewater treatment. Then Alex decided to join the Army and the couple was sent to their first duty station: Fort Hood. “When we came here I started working from home for the same company,” Points said. “But working from home was not good for me, I need to be working with people. I was lonely and I wasn’t connected, so I began looking around for a new job.” When the City of Belton hired her as the assistant director of public works, Points was thrilled, as her heart is in the public sector. She keeps a poster tacked to her office wall that reads “it all starts with water” and depicts the silhouette of a woman carrying a water jug atop her head. To Points, the print sums up why she goes to work every day. “I went on an Engineers Without Borders trip to Guatemala while in college,” she said. “That influenced me a lot. As a Christian, I believe that if you don’t provide people with their 28
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Angellia Points talks with Rick Hairston, construction inspector, about a Belton project. basic needs — water, food, and shelter — they won’t follow Jesus. If a woman is spending all of her day going to get water, she’s not in church or fellowship with people. I feel like if I provide for people’s basic needs, then they can live their life.” In November 2015, Points became city engineer, and in February 2017, Points also became director of public works and combined the two
departments. She said she feels she can help the most people by working in the public sector. The rapid upward mobility has been a roller coaster, Points said, adding that she could never have succeeded without her staff members. She explained that they do the heavy lifting, while she supports and enables them. “Leaders ask great questions” was the current quote Points had scrawled
Angellia Points with her husband, Alex. At left: Angellia Points with her cousin Allison and two of Angellia’s best friends, Sarah Donohoe and Nicole Stairs. across her large office white board. She said she strives to find out how she can best equip her staff for success. For example, one of the departments she oversees works on the city’s vehicles. “I don’t even know how to change oil in a car,” Points admitted. “But, I know how to ask great questions. I have to trust that the mechanics know how to do their job, but I can also ask them why a vehicle has been down so much instead of saying something like, ‘why don’t you fix it?’” Belton City Manager Sam Listi said Points performs her tasks and assignments with the professionalism of a seasoned veteran. “We have had two major reorganizations of the Public Works Department in 18 months, each time resulting in substantially increased responsibility for her,” he said. “Angellia accepted each challenge with an ever stronger commitment to serve the Belton community in each new role.”
engineering experience, but is always willing to learn, to evaluate and to recommend an approach based on her findings, he said, adding that Points is also very conscientious and respectful of residents, employees and other professionals she encounters in the workplace. Everyone wants to feel like they have ownership of their tasks, jobs and
their eighth wedding anniversary, she and Alex welcomed a 12-year-old into their home. Her cousin, Allison, was in a bad situation, so Points agreed to take her in and obtained official custody at the end of August. Points said Allison is an amazing girl and has been excelling in school since she moved, adding that most of her own time outside of work is now spent learning how to raise a 12-year-old. “I’ve been helping her with school, introducing her to the community, being involved with whatever she wants to be involved with, and learning how to be a parent,” Points said. “That’s been different, but I have a lot of good role models here.” Together they play video games, watch Netflix and cook dinner. Points said she believes the world can be positively changed through the encouragement of a child. “Tell them you believe in them,” she said. “That’s all it took for me, so that’s what I’m hoping to do with Allison, to just show her somebody in this world believes in her. That’s all someone needs to launch and succeed.”
“They say girls aren’t as good at math and science, but I don’t think that’s true. That’s some girls’ passion. It was my passion.”
SERVANT LEADER Listi said Points exhibits the characteristics of a servant leader. She relies on her public and private
— Angellia Points
lives, Points explained. “We feel good when we can take something and run with it and make it our own,” she said. “We all like to be creative in our own way. So if I have a construction inspector, I want to equip him and support him. If he’s the best he can be, then that makes my job easier and it builds trust.” Points has recently stepped into a leadership role at home, as well. On
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
Banker by default
Criminal justice degree transfers into banking career Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by MIKE BARTOSZEK and JULIE NABOURS and contributed by JENNIFER HETZEL and ASHLEY WHITWORTH
shley Whitworth loves puzzles. As a vice president and loan officer of First Texas Bank she is responsible for sifting through the many pieces of information that come across her desk in the way of loan applications. “Every day is a puzzle,” said Whitworth, from the boardroom of the Killeen bank. “I can be given a stack of papers in the morning and in the afternoon, make sense of it all, assess the loan information and determine if we can or cannot move forward.” Whitworth, 31, is striking in her professional Navy blue outfit, accented by the string of pearls around her neck. She is one of the young, rising professionals who is on the path to becoming a future community leader. She is the immediate past president of the Greater Killeen Young Professionals and last month, she was named Young Professional of the Year by the GKYP. Whitworth splits her professional career between the Killeen and Copperas Cove bank branches, while also spearheading a new young professionals group in Coppers Cove, and staying active with the GKYP. In her personal life she is an Army wife to husband, Mathew, and mom to 4-yearold Connor. A banking career was not Whitworth’s first choice. She earned a degree in criminal justice with a minor
Ashley Whitworth is a vice president and loan officer of First Texas Bank and the immediate past president of the Greater Killeen Young Professionals. in accounting from Sam Houston State the evidence of, or investigating a crime University with the goal of becoming an scene, pulling together the pieces that FBI agent. What greater puzzle is there might complete a picture. But fate had Continued than working in the field, unraveling TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Ashley Whitworth, 2014-2016 president of the Greater Killeen Young Professionals presents outgoing board member Shawn Trainum with a certificate of appreciation for his service.
Call us today to advertise: 254-778-4444 in Temple or 254-501-7500 in Killeen 32
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different plans for her. A medical issue kept her from performing essential duties of the job and she had to find another path. “I wanted to be an FBI agent. I didn’t know I was a numbers person,” said Whitworth. Her criminal justice degree and minor in accounting led her to a position with the BSA (Banking Secrecy Act) and MLA (Money Laundering Act). “I feel like this helped me get my foot into the door of banking,” she said. “I took classes on white collar crime. But I wasn’t feeling challenged. My millennial self wanted faster results.” She felt like her peers were advancing quicker, so she decided to go for a master’s degree in business. In 2010, she graduated from Texas A&M University, Central Texas, with her MBA. “As millennials we want to
be informed, to have the plan communicated to us,” she said. “Now being older and wiser, I can observe the plan, figure it out and know what I need to do to get myself on track.” The banking industry has been around for centuries and is ever changing, which sometimes can cause headaches, Whitworth said. “Just because you see something every day doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same next week or next month.” BLENDED FAMILY Whitworth was born in Virginia, and was 7 years old when her stepfather, George Sargent, received his PCS to Fort Hood. This turned out to be his last PCS, and the family settled in Copperas Cove, where Whitworth graduated from Copperas Cove High School. She attended Sam Houston State University and came home to
Ashley and Mathew Whitworth with their son, Connor. Bell County after graduation to make support me.” leaders of the community. Killeen her home. She was just 22 and attending GKYP is open to young “I moved here after college. I grew graduate school when she joined the professionals under 40; however, up in the Killeen area and if I was going Greater Killeen Young Professionals. nonmembers of any age are welcome to to work somewhere, this was a good way The organization was originally visit and attend a meeting that may have to meet community leaders, a speaker of interest for them, find out what was available she said. in the community.” When Whitworth became Growing up in a tight president in 2014 she said knit, blended family, the group had been around Whitworth said it was her for five or six years. One of paternal grandmother who the first things she did was to encouraged her to become an observe and reflect on what independent woman was working, and what wasn’t. “Grandmother raised “I had done work with — Ashley Whitworth three kids on her own. She other young professional understood the struggles groups and looked to some of on the Greater Killeen Young Professionals that came from being a their ideas and programs,” she woman in the world, especially the nurtured by the Greater Killeen said. One of the ideas she borrowed, business world,” Whitworth said. “She Chamber of Commerce to unite area and took the lead on, is the Morning encouraged me to interpret that in young professionals to engage, learn Ambition Group. The group meets whatever manner fit me. She wanted me what is in community, and give them quarterly at 7:15 a.m. in different Continued to achieve the one good job that would the potential to become the future
“It gave me so many opportunities to connect and engage with community leaders. I served on the board of other nonprofits and along the way, made some friends.”
ABOVE: Ashley Whitworth is a big fan of The Pioneer Woman, a.k.a., Ree Drummond. Here she gets a cookbook signed by the TV personality. BELOW: From left, Shante Jones, Lenna Barr and Ashley Whitworth at Rock the Foundation Casino Night at the GKYP Membership Table in March.
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
locations and is geared toward the young professionals who are unable to attend other meetings. Members start phasing out of GKYP around age 40, but she has a way to go. “I’m on the back half of the age group and I want to inspire and mentor true young professionals to help them find a place for themselves in the community,” she said, In the meantime, she continues to implement new programs and reorganize membership. She is also the driving force behind the creation of the Copperas Cove Young Professionals. “Ashley has been invaluable to the group both in terms of helping it to grow and in terms of embodying what a successful young professional looks like,” said Jennifer Hetzel, director, strategic communications for the Killeen Chamber of Commerce. “During her term as president from 2014 to 2016, the group has developed into an organization known for making a difference, and has become a force in the community.” Whitworth said becoming a member of the GKYP provided her a “wonderful way to meet like-minded people in Killeen.” “It gave me so many opportunities to connect and engage with community leaders,” she said. “I served on the board of other nonprofits and along the way, made some friends.” “Ashley values being involved in the community and doing more than her 9 to 5 job,” Hetzel said. “She goes above and beyond. When she says ‘like-minded people’ she is looking for people who will be involved and make a difference.” Membership has remained steady over the last couple of years, and Hetzel said it has grown in diversity. “We are bringing in people with different backgrounds, jobs, walks of life,” she said. “With that you get more ideas and different programs. Things fall into place when you get a variety of
Presentation to Central Texas College Board of Trustees for 2017 Rock the Foundation funds, July 2017. Back row, from left: Members of the CTC Board of Trustees: Don Armstrong, retired Brig. Gen. Charles Rex Weaver, Mari Meyer, Chancellor Jim Yeonopolus, Elwood “Woody” Shemwell, Bill Beebe and Scott Isdale. Front row, from left: Ally Torres, Bianca Accomando, Rev. Jimmy Towers, Ashley Whitworth, Dr. James Anderson, Jennifer Hetzel, CJ Brown and Shante Jones. people in a group like that.” A FAMILY LIFE When Whitworth isn’t at her job, attending a meeting or function, or helping other young professionals navigate their way around the community, she’s at home with her family. She spends time with her son, Connor, who just entered preschool, her husband, Mathew, and her three dogs, “Most people have one dog that weighs more than my three combined,” she said, and finding a new recipe in the Pioneer Woman’s Cookbook to create for her family. “I’m a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman,” she said. “She makes food that reminds me of home cooking — just plain good, although she spices things up a bit.” However, she confessed, most of the time she’s boiling pasta to satisfy the cravings of her 4-year-old son, and simplify the family meal after a busy day at work. “I learned how to pick my battles,” she said. “There are days when I want to make a beautiful roasted lamb shank, but we get pasta with jar sauce instead.” She tries to keep things as normal for her son as she can, despite the fact
Ashley Whitworth with her son Connor on a beach vacation. that his young life is changing with the beginning of preschool, which he calls, “The Big Kids School.” As far as balancing home life and work, she said she learned how to say no.
“People understand, if I’m given a two day notice for an event, I can’t make it,” she said. “As a mom, wife and career woman, I need to find balance and I’m lucky to work with people who understand that.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
LOCAL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
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COOK Cook Residential Design, located at 371 Mill Creek Dr, Salado Tx., opened in 1989. They specialize in custom home design and have built their reputation designing elegant homes for clients with discriminating taste. Andrew Cook, Associate Designer, joined the firm in 2012. His dedication and attention to detail have been invaluable. In addition to his design work he is in charge of our web site and social media. Cook Residential Design can be found on Facebook and Houzz.com. This has allowed us to expand our builder and custom client base to anywhere in Texas. Though we specialize in custom home design Cook Residential Design also has stock plans for purchase. Andrew has developed a stock plan portfolio on our web site, curtiscookdesigns.com New plans are added every few months. They range from 1200 to 6000 square feet living area. Once chosen plans can be modified for your specific needs. We have a hard copy portfolio in the office as well. Cook Residential Design is open Monday thru Friday 9:00 to 5:00. Call 254-947-3800 for a custom home appointment or stop by to review stock plans during business hours.
371 MILL CREEK DR., SALADO CURTISCOOKDESIGNS.COM 254-947-3800
After 32 years in the Central Texas community, Gabrielle’s Dynamics Plus has changed hands to continue the long-standing tradition of excellence to one that knows the traditions all too well. Cara studied at Gabrielle’s in both dance and gymnastics for 16 years. While in high school she received two summer scholarships to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, with Encore Performing Arts, where she danced on their Elite team. Cara went on to continue her education at the University of North Texas where she completed her BFA in Dance and was placed with honors on the Presidents List. Upon graduation, Cara began her career in teaching at Arlington ISD where she had the pleasure of directing both the Martin High School Sundancers and James Bowie HS Belles. After relocation brought her back to Temple, she soon took over as the director of the Temple High School Kittens for two years. During Cara’s years in public education, she was awarded numerous Grand Champion titles, choreography and judge’s awards, and 1st place standings in Jazz, Hip Hop, Novelty, Military, Production and Kick. Her most awarding moment was receiving a National Title while directing the Temple HS Kittens in 2013. Throughout her career, Cara has had the opportunity to study under Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Rhonda Miller, Shane Sparks and Savion Glover, and has performed in main stage productions/shows with Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Studios and MGM. Cara also had the privilege of being a finalist in Season 1 of Nashville Star. P!vot Performance Arts is the new name that hangs on the outside of the studio. The colors may no longer be the red and white that she once wore but all of the foundations that were implanted into her are still very apparent throughout the studio. P!VOT PERFORMANCE ARTS 5311 205 LOOP, TEMPLE 254-774-8929 PIVOTPERFORMANCEARTS.COM TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
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CROTTY SCHONEWOLF Jarrah Crotty Schonewolf opened Crotty funeral Home & Cremation Services along with her Mother, Debra Crotty in Belton in 2011. Being a lifetime resident of Bell County Jarrah chose her profession to be able to serve her community and to make a real difference. She has been changing the way families are cared for by providing many personalized options to set a higher standard in death care. Jarrah and her mother’s mission was to provide Central Texas with beautiful personalized services at an affordable price. “What we are doing can’t be recreated—it’s a bond we create, we’re a family with real compassion, and love of what we do.” She was awarded by the Fort Hood U.S. Military Base for her actions in caring for all the fallen soldiers in the mass shooting tragedy in 2014. The community has taken a real notice in the compassion the Crotty women have and you will often see them assisting in community events. She is currently certifying her Goldendoodle, Libby to become a certified grief therapy dog to assist her families in times of loss. Jarrah is an up and coming young professional in our community that we know will achieve great things. CROTTY FUNERAL HOME 5431 US-190, BELTON 254-933-0900 • CROTTYFH.COM 38
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Rene Velasquez, the owner of Bell County Flooring, is committed to keeping its promises to customers. “We show up and do exactly as promised,” Rene said. Opened in 2005, Bell County Flooring sells and installs the highest quality flooring products in Central Texas. It also specializes in bathroom remodels, granite countertops, and backsplashes. A Bell County native, Rene was graduated from Belton High School and attended Lubbock Christian University, where he studied design and visual communications. “With a background in art and design, I believe I can take any space and turn it into something special and customized to the consumer’s preferences,” he said. Rene has been the project manager since 2008 but involved with the flooring industry since 2000, with experience in both residential and commercial flooring applications. “Coming from a family owned and operated business, I take great pride in the work this company does on a daily basis,” Rene said. “I have always had a passion for maximizing potential in both the people that surround me as well as the projects I take on.” BEll CouNty FlooRiNg 120 N. MuElhousE, BEltoN 254-933-1313 BEllCouNtyFlooRiNg.CoM
Amy Young is a wife, mother of three and a partner in one of Salado’s growing and most unique businesses – The Shoppes on Main in Salado. “Our shoppe is a boutique marketplace which leases space to individual small businesses,” Amy said. “We offer these businesses an opportunity to be able to sell their products in a brick and mortar store. Also, by doing this we are able to offer our customers a variety of hand-chosen vendors, making the product mix diverse and unique. We offer a little bit of everything – from clothing and gifts to gourmet food, home décor, future and more,” Amy said. Amy, her mother (Nancy Isakson) and sister (Lara Tracy) started the business in June 2013. Initially, Amy ran the business on the side while working as a full-time dental assistant at Fort Hood. By May 2016, the Shoppes had grown and Amy decided to “take the plunge and go full-time.” She went back to school for digital marketing to bring something more to the business. “Our goal has been to always make each customer feel like family and friends,” Amy said. “We try to give each person we come into contact with a personable, and memorable experience. The ShoppeS on MAin in SAlAdo 254-947-0888 • 22 n. MAin ST.
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Brautigan Heidi Brautigan is a real estate professional who is “Client Driven! Client Focused!” It is the slogan for Brautigan Realty, which she opened in August with her husband Tom. After having a team for over two years they decided to become their own brokerage. “My husband and I set forth to provide integrity and value to a service-based business,” Heidi said. “Our mission is to be a reputable group of professionals that provide outstanding customer service.” Heidi has always strived to be the best in her field, and real estate is no different. After teaching school for nine years, she chose to stay home and raise their two children. As soon as the youngest started school, Heidi pursued her Texas Realtors® license. She quickly became a recognizable name in the community through volunteer work, chairing and being active in various committees, and being involved with the Chamber of Commerce. The Temple Belton Board of Realtors named Heidi as Rookie of the Year at the end of her first full year in real
We stay dedicated to the client regardless of their needs before, during and after the transaction. -Heidi Brautigan
estate. She has gone on to get a designation as an Accredited Buyer's Representative, Military Relocation Specialist, and New Construction Specialist. Heidi has been a multi-million dollar producer every year since her first year in real estate, which comes from repeat referrals from the many raving fans she has worked with. “Customers love that we are passionate about what we do, leaders in our community, dependable and determined to help with their real estate needs,” Heidi said. “We stay dedicated to the client regardless of their needs before, during and after the transaction.” Keeping clients updated throughout the process is important, Heidi said. “Our level of communication is unsurpassable. We train our agents to provide information to their clients before our clients even think to ask the questions.” A key to the success is having a team that works together “instead of being competitive amongst each other,” Heidi said. In addition to Heidi and Tom, the Brautigan Realty team includes Cindy Humphries, Sarah Majors, Paula Peel and Josie Figueroa. Brautigan realty 11725 W. adams, suite d, temple 254-221-1811 • WegoBeyondthesale.com TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
THE PROS AT
CENTRALAND TITLE At CentraLand, our staff is committed to simplifying the closing process, saving you time and money. We have the pleasure of sitting at the table with countless clients on one of the most exciting days of their lives. President Charlene Burk states, “The future is bright at CentraLand!” As Bell County grows and continues to be a great place to live and work, we enjoy showcasing our young talent and the expertise they bring to our company. Sarah S. is an Escrow Assistant at our West Adams location. She is a member of Belton Young Professionals and participates in productions at Temple Civic Theatre. She enjoys singing, theatre, watching classic movies and hanging out with her friends. Cameron is our in-house IT guru. He has seven years of experience in the computer technology field with a focus on security, business automation, analytics, web content management and solution design. He has a CIS degree from McLennan Community College. He enjoys video games, snow skiing, and playing guitar. Brenda, a graduate of the University of Phoenix, has been with us as an Escrow Assistant for about a year. She has a decade of Relationship banking to her credit and has been in the title industry since 2014. When she isn’t busy raising her three beautiful children, she volunteers at her local church and shelters.
Andrew has been in our Policy Preparation Department since February 2015. He has assisted in various community service activities, including annual fundraisers for Make-AWish Foundation. Andrew is currently learning American Sign Language, and wants to pursue opportunities to volunteer within that community. Jessica is our Out of Office Coordinator. She is a Temple/Belton native and loves Central Texas because of the wonderful people and mild climate. Jessica is the proud mom to three teenagers, and spends a good deal of her time shuttling them to various activities. Sarah D. is an Escrow Officer at CentraLand. She is a Baylor University graduate and enjoys working out at Crossfit Sprag and spending time with family and friends. She currently serves as the President of Belton Young Professionals, serves on the Board of Directors for the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce, was the co-chairman of the Belton 4th of July Parade, and is a graduate of the Leadership Belton Class of 2014. Christi works in our Escrow Department in the PostClosing/Funding area. Prior to coming to CentraLand, she worked in the hospitality industry for six years. She loves the great outdoors, including camping, fishing, hunting, and is currently working on her handgun license.
CENTRALAND TITLE COMPANY � TEMPLE, TX � CENTRALANDTITLE.COM ANDREW GONZALES
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Priscila DeMaris balances family, career and business financial statements. She’s a wife, mother and accountant. She works at Ludwick, Templin, Montgomery & Stapp with a focus on audit and tax work. Priscila moved to Temple with her husband, Darryl, in 2016. Darryl is a resident at Scott & White Medical Center. They have three children, aged 10, 8 and 6. To some extent, accounting is a second – maybe third career if you include raising children – for Priscila. She first earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from LeTourneau University in Longview. Later she decided to go back to school for a second degree – this time in accounting from Liberty University, taking online courses to learn the trade. She’s excited about the opportunity to work for Ludwick, Templin, Montgomery & Stapp (LTMS) – a premier Temple accounting firm. Founded in 1982, LTMS is a full service accounting firm that also offers investment advisory services. Firm partners are Jeff Ludwick, Larry Templin, Andy Montgomery and Blake Stapp. “Our mission is to be the most trusted resource for individuals and small businesses seeking comprehensive accounting and financial planning services,” the partners said. Customers appreciate how accessible the owners and employees are as well as the firm’s down to earth approach to business. “We feel that our success has been a partnership between our community and our wonderful employees and partners working as a team.” Priscila DeMaris is now part of that team, building on the LTMS expertise and customer service. ludwick, TemPlin, monTgomery & sTaPP, P.c. 1949 scoTT Boulevard, TemPle 254-771-0061 lTms-cPa.com
Kevin Ogg is a young professional who is building a career, leading his team and helping his customers – brickby-brick. Literally. Kevin is the district sales manager for Acme Brick, which has locations in Temple and Waco. “I enjoy the responsibility of being a leader,” Kevin says. “I get to inspire and motivate others to be their best and help prepare them to be successful. Every time you encounter a difficult situation, remember the best see it as an opportunity to get better and gain more experience.” “Brick” is Acme’s middle name, but the company also sells tile, stone and other building materials and supplies. Kevin’s mission is to continually improve the value of Acme Brick Co. by offering high quality products and exceptional service. He wants to provide an ethical, safe and rewarding workplace, operate in an environmentally responsible manner and serve as a positive influence in the community. Kevin has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management with a minor in marketing. He started his career in retail with a sporting goods chain where he was a store manager and then district team leader. He always makes decisions with customers and employees in mind. Acme Brick Company has played an important role in the growth of Central Texas, providing the bricks, stone and other materials used in the construction of homes and businesses. When you see brick being laid on a new home, there’s a good chance that it came from Acme and that Kevin Ogg was involved in the project.
ACME BRICK COMPANY TEMPLE & WACO 254-778-8088 BRICK.COM TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
Becoming Dr. Irish
Childhood dream leads to career in medicine
Story by SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE Photos by JULIE NABOURS and contributed by DEKE JONES
hen Mary Gaines Irish was 5 years old she went to the pediatrician, then promptly informed her mother that she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. Twenty five years and a lot of hard work later, that dream is finally a reality. Irish specializes in internal medicine at Scott & White Medical Center — Temple and has a constant rotation of patients admitted to the hospital for a variety of organ system issues. She diagnosis patients and prescribes treatment, checks lab and imaging reports and tracks the progress of those admitted for longer terms. “It’s such a broad specialty that it’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly what I do each day because it changes every day,” Irish said. “People come in from all walks of life having a hundred different problems. But I like that it’s always different. It’s challenging to me — I’ve had so much fun doing my job so far.” Irish, born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, said she has always loved math and science and was obsessed with bugs and collecting things outdoors as a child. She remembers being introduced to algebra in seventh grade, the moment she discovered she loved solving problems. Through her early pursuit of Continued
Dr. Mary Gaines Irish is an internist at Scott & White Medical Center – Temple. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Dr. Mary Gaines Irish and certified nursing assistant Brenda Sanchez review a patient’s chart at Scott & White Medical Center – Temple. science, Irish realized the human body was fascinating and was always excited to learn more about it. A MEDICAL MATCH When she started college at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, Irish considered pursuing a couple other medical fields, but said she ultimately always envisioned herself as a doctor. She majored in biochemistry and biology at the small university and said she received a lot of guidance from her professors. “No one has been a doctor before in my family,” Irish said. “So I would meet up with people in different walks of life that had accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, and I’d say, ‘What did you do to get there?’ and then tried to make my own way through it all.” 44
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After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Irish went to medical school at East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine. During her third year of medical school, Irish began dating another med student named Nolan. Shortly after, it was time to begin the rigorous matching process for residency placement. “A few months into dating, Nolan and I decided to do something called couples matching — it’s kind of the doctor equivalent of saying you’re going to get doctor engaged,” Irish said with a laugh. “Basically we devoted to try and go to the same place for our residency.” The couple interviewed together at hospitals all over the country. Both of them enjoyed everyone they came in contact with at Scott & White on their
interview day and saw a future there more so than at any other place they visited. Choosing where to do a residency is stressful to begin with, Irish said. Yet even as a couple interested in different medical paths — Nolan is in a radiology program — Scott & White was a place they could both agree upon. “They were very welcoming to us knowing that we were a couple trying to match together here,” Irish remembered. “It’s a very family-oriented hospital and entire institution. I felt encouraged to come here with Nolan — they were happy we were doing this together.” The couple began their residencies at Scott & White together in July 2014. The big step in a new relationship worked out — they married in May 2015.
RESIDENT CHALLENGES Night shift is what the majority of residents dread deep down in their soul, Irish said with a good natured laugh. “You’re put through the ringer on nights,” she said. “It can be short staffed and you’re put in positions where you really have to step up to the plate, compared to during the day when everyone is here.” On night shift Irish’s skills and knowledge were challenged, and she loved it. Working at the hospital or Veterans Association on 12- to 14-hour shifts gave her intense, real training. Working in the ICU was also a challenge due to long hours, extremely ill patients and tough situations. Irish often had to tell families that their loved ones were seriously ill, going to die or that they’d already passed away. “I often sat with people while they died,” Irish remembered of her ICU shifts. “That’s another difficult position to be put in and learn, working through all that emotional part of residency, knowing it was a part of my job to comfort people in their time to go and comfort family members.” The knowledge comes with the territory, but that’s to be expected, Irish said, adding that the real challenge of residency is mastering the art of medicine and honing in on one’s clinical skills and how they interact with other people on the job. You can read all day about the best approach to certain conversations and memorize little ways to tackle difficult topics with people, and that’s important, according to Irish. But, she said, you don’t really know how to do it until you’re placed in that situation where it’s up to you to determine how a conversation will go — how a family
accepts that someone is dying or just had a devastating life event such as a stroke or heart attack. Irish is still placed in that situation frequently, but it was in her residency that she learned how to handle that tough truth of being a doctor. “Mary Irish is very good from a communications standpoint,” said Curtis Mirkes, MD, program director for internal medicine residency and Irish’s former supervisor. “She’s really good at making sure patients understand their overall condition and treatment plans. Her communication skills are one of the first strengths I started to realize when she was an intern. Her ability to break down
after completing seven years of postgraduate training is also gratifying to Irish. “I’m 30 years old now and I have an excellent job,” she said. “To me, that is rewarding. I’m thankful to be where I’m at and proud of myself for all the hard work I did.” When going through medical school and residency, it’s difficult to stop and be proud of what you’ve done so far, Irish said, because you’re just constantly trying to get to the next step. But she finally feels like she’s at a point where she can rest. “I got to my job,” she said. “I’m able to practice medicine the way that I dreamed of practicing medicine 10 and 20 years ago. It’s been a long journey, and to rest and feel that satisfaction that I worked hard to get here is an important thing to do — especially as a doctor. We get stuck in thinking about the next challenge and the next thing, because our minds work that way.” When not at work, Irish enjoys exploring and “eating her way through” Austin with her husband. The couple also enjoys working on their Lake Belton home together and watching movies. One of Irish’s favorite ways to relax is to simply take her dog Ares on walks around the lake. Regarding advice for anyone interested in pursuing a career as a doctor, Irish said perseverance and hard work are the most important things. Perfection is impossible, she added, one should never strive to be perfect and remember that if they don’t get it the first time, that doesn’t mean they won’t get it at all. “You should expect to fail if you’re doing really hard things,” she said. “You have to learn to move forward after that. If you don’t move forward, you won’t get there.”
“I’m able to practice medicine the way that I dreamed of practicing medicine 10 and 20 years ago. It’s been a long journey, and to rest and feel that satisfaction that I worked hard to get here is an important thing to do — especially as a doctor.” — Dr. Mary Gaines Irish complex medical jargon to ensure patients and family members understand what’s going on is one of the things I really liked.” Mirkes said Irish would always identify her weaker areas and then focus on improving herself. She also would constantly seek feedback on patient care and medical knowledge. HARD WORK REWARDS The little, meaningful, day-to-day interactions with patients and their families, that’s the first thing Irish thinks of when she considers the most rewarding parts of her job. She said it’s also incredibly rewarding when people are thankful. The feeling of accomplishment
Artist Crystal Orlando with one of her buffalo drawings. 46
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
Central Texas artist stays
rooted in nature
Story by EMILY HILLEY-SIERZCHULA Photos by JULIE NABOURS and contributed by CRYSTAL ORLANDO
any people have a common thread running throughout the quilt of their lives. For one local artist, animals are the dominant motif. Crystal Orlando, of Moody, has nurtured a love of furry creatures her entire life, translating that affection into precise, realistic drawings. Orlando’s renderings of animals like horses, longhorns and buffalo are inspired by her experiences and often rooted in true stories. “I always have had strange encounters with animals,” Orlando said. As a young girl Orlando beckoned an entire flock of wild turkeys into her yard with a box caller, in the middle of the day, an occurrence astounding to any wild turkey hunter who has spent entire exhausting mornings trying to get one shy, wary tom to answer a call. “There’s a picture of me with my arms around a wild turkey.” The unique experiences continued into adulthood. She met Freddy Fox in an RV by the lake. “It startled me a little to see him sitting in the living room, watching me. He was so curious and followed me around the rest of the day, returning to see me for about a year,” Orlando recalled. “One day he brought his girlfriend to meet me and I never saw him again.” Other animal encounters were more intense. Orlando found a group of baby squirrels in a garage, their eyes barely Continued
A wall showcases Crystal Orlando’s work in her studio.. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
open to the world. “I waited for their mother to return but it became clear they’d been abandoned. They climbed into my hands and later scarfed down kitten formula.” No one wants baby squirrels running around the house, no matter how cute they are, so Orlando put them in a cage. After being gone for a few hours, Orlando returned to find a huge rat snake in the cage. “It had already eaten the two brothers and was reared back ready to eat the sister,” Orlando said. “I grabbed her out of there and she climbed into my hoodie where she stayed. I had to wear it everywhere, and she was a good little friend for a long time. It didn’t occur to me until later that I didn’t even know what kind of snake it was before sticking my hand in there!” FIRST LOVES: ART AND HORSES Orlando is a self-taught artist who started scribbling away when she was quite young. “My mom was a commercial artist so she showed me the ropes and encouraged me,” Orlando said. “I had no formal drawing classes so I learned through experimentation. I always have felt experimentation through play was important.” She admitted to being hardheaded, not entirely absorbing techniques her mom was trying to teach. All she knew is drawing made her happy so she kept doing it. “It was challenging and I enjoyed having control over my work when nothing else was in control. Early on I learned sometimes you just have to give it up to God.” As a home-schooled kid with a flexible schedule, Orlando had opportunities to draw horses as she was learning to ride, and they became a mainstay in her life. The results of early art competitions increased her confidence as she racked up first place ribbons and Best of Show awards. Still, animals kept tugging away at her heart and led her to earn her 48
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Crystal Orlando, above, begins a sketch from a photograph submitted to her. Orlando rescued the baby squirrel, sketched below, from danger and it adopted her for more than a year. It lived inside her hoodie. One of the artist’s horse drawings is seen below.
“I like to work free and fast, but I have to be mentally ready. I often have already been dwelling on it for a few days before getting started. You can’t rush it or push it.” — Crystal Orlando
associate degree in equine science and to become a horse trainer with a goal of continuing in veterinary medicine. “I would have been a good vet, but I wanted to travel, to see the world, and vets often are married to their offices,” Orlando said. She draws and paints what she loves, what is inspirational, and what she admires, she said. A familiar subject
for Orlando is the always-elegant horse. As a horse trainer, Orlando learned to look into the deep dark brown of horses’ eyes, a mirror to their personalities just as in people. “I once had an Arabian mare who put her head in my lap and drank half my coke; from then on, she had to have it. She wanted to understand me as much as I wanted to understand her.”
Another steady subject in her drawings are buffalo, which she became enamored with while visiting Wyoming and finding herself in the midst of a herd of thousands. Amazed, Orlando crawled out onto the hood of her Jeep, camera in hand, when one turned and looked her directly in the eye. “I froze like a hood ornament; but that moment Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
inspired ‘Dance with Me.’ They have this enormous power, and a magical essence about them. Of course, I don’t recommend such close encounters because bison can kill you easily.” Anyone who knows Orlando understands the role animals have in her life and artwork. Kay Griffith, owner of Griffith Fine Art Gallery in Salado, has sold Orlando’s original graphite drawings for 12 years, seeing firsthand the reactions from art aficionados. “Customers always remark about the beauty of the drawing and the skill of the artist,” Griffith said. One of the attention-getters is Orlando’s knack for interpreting the emotions of wild animals. “Crystal has a deep and abiding connection with nature and wildlife in particular,” Griffith said, adding that Orlando is known for observing and studying animals. “She’s passionate about excelling in art and giving the viewer glimpses into a particular animal’s mood.”
The artist at work in her home studio, above, with the tools of her trade, below.
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A UNIQUE TECHNIQUE Artists sometimes keep irregular hours because creative juices can flow at any time, but this mom of two is generally a day artist. Orlando has a workspace in her Moody home, but she often works at her studio in Temple in the early morning hours before work. “I need to be able to work without my baby girl saying, ‘Mommy, mommy, mommy...’” she said, laughing. Mothers are masters of multitasking, and Orlando is no different. “Daycare is a real blessing,” she said. One reason she found ways to speed up her work was to be able to have those special times when it’s all about her kids. Another reason was to respond to demand. As a rookie artist, she said she took “way too long to complete a drawing.” “Hundreds of hours sometimes, and you can’t make a good living that way,” she said. With her toddler close by, Orlando experimented day and night to develop
Crystal Orlando’s works include Undefeated, at left, Chief in Yellow, above, and Chief Flag.
her signature technique of combining powdered graphite and charcoal, which enabled her to make more drawings. “It was a huge learning curve to figure it out,” she said. The charcoal adds depth to graphite, which tends to be shiny at the darkest tones. Blending the two media can be tricky but she thinks it leads to a more balanced composition. Orlando has two totally different types of clients for her two disparate styles: black-and-white wildlife renderings in graphite and charcoal, and ultra-colorful, vivid paintings with Native American motifs like chiefs in profile with long headdresses. “My paintings are pure play, pure imagination,” Orlando said. “I lie awake in bed thinking about color and design.” Her ink-and-acrylic paintings are more spontaneous than her drawings. “I like to work free and fast, but I have to
be mentally ready. I often have already been dwelling on it for a few days before getting started. You can’t rush it or push it,” she said, adding that she can work on drawings in any mood, day or night.” Orlando often has multiple drawings in progress at once. “I’m always moving forward, even if it’s just by one stroke.” For Orlando drawing is akin to breathing. “I’m so comfortable with my skill that it’s like riding a bike. It comes without having to think about it now,” she said. “I have to be constantly creative or I feel stressed and unbalanced. I could be doing laundry while ideas are swirling around in my brain.” What is the most challenging part of her life as an artist? “Figuring out what to draw or paint next,” Orlando said. “I can never finish them all in a lifetime, but it’s exciting to be able to do what I love.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
A grandmother’s legacy
Creating a community at St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by JULIE NABOURS
t’s a Thursday morning at St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple, a United Way Agency, and volunteers at the food pantry are filling orders for the 100 families that will arrive to pick up their bi-weekly groceries. Assistant Executive Director Caitlin West is in the middle of all the action, directing and helping, as volunteers buzz through the storeroom and pantry choosing items to fill the bags and boxes. As volunteers continue to fill the special orders inside, another group is setting up tables outside, displaying boxes of produce and other food items for the “free choice table.” West explained that clients can pick up those things they may have missed on their order, or for folks just wandering into the area, hoping to find some food to take with them. Some of the families who come to fill their coffers are struggling with unemployment, or are the working poor, trying to keep food in their children’s tummies. Others are the homeless who come in for assistance, but who often return to volunteer. But the homeless are not the volunteers. They work side-by-side with senior citizens and retired workers from all walks of life, including doctors and business executives. St. Vincent’s goes beyond providing food for the needy and homeless in our community. It is also a thrift store with repurposed, usable clothing, furniture,
Caitlin West is the assistant executive director at St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple. knickknacks, and the occasional antique. West, along with her assistant, Skylar Miller, welcome each person who walks through the door of St. Vincent’s with compassion and humanity. There
are no questions asked and West makes sure all people feel valued, regardless of their socioeconomic background or living situation. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Caitlin West, back row center, is flanked by volunteers who show up on a Food Pantry Thursday at St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple. West works in partnership with many other homeless shelters and organizations in Temple. Sometimes they pool their resources, other times she is asking their directors if they have anyone who would like to volunteer at St. Vincent’s. One of her volunteers is Ms. Gray, a resident of the Kyle Hotel who went into the shop to look for new clothing. After meeting West, she said she wanted to come back to volunteer. “When I got the clothes from here, Caitlin offered me water. She came across as a sincere person. If you don’t have what you are looking for, she will find the resources,” said Ms. Gray, 56.
Gray volunteers every afternoon for two hours, and sometimes longer if she is not in one of her classes at Temple
we are doing. It’s like a big family. A RANCHER’S DAUGHTER West is a cowgirl. She is one of two siblings (she has a younger brother, Garrett), to parents Glen and Saundra West. Her family owned working cattle ranches in Bartlett, Rosebud, Salado, and Deridder, Louisiana, about 50 miles north from where she was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. West, 31, said she had a privileged life growing up a rancher’s daughter, but she wasn’t spoiled. She and her brother had to earn their way and her parents kept them grounded with the myriad chores needed to run a ranch.
“The people here are my friends and my family. Many of my volunteers are homeless, or live at the Salvation Army center. We make them feel like a part of a family. Some people say I’m adopting the underserved community, but they adopted me.”
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— Caitlin West
College. “I like helping people,” she said. “My boss is super nice. She asks me how
Volunteers just seem to appear on Food Pantry Thursdays at St. Vincent de Paul of Temple. Workers stock and fill orders in preparation for the people who come to fill their cupboards.
Caitlin West has a prayer table in the middle of the thrift store at St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple. When someone sits in the chair, she knows it’s time for a prayer. “We baled hay, raised cow dogs (Australian shepherds), took care of the horses, chickens, cows and goats,” she said. West also mended fences with her dad, cleaned stalls and did other chores associated with ranching. For fun, she rode dirt bikes and four-wheelers with her brother and horses with her dad. She spent a lot of time on
Gunsmoke, her white palomino, riding and barrel racing, but she wanted more. She wanted a career. So she packed her bags for Littleton, Colorado, to be near her paternal grandparents in Evergreen, Colorado, and earned her degree in cosmetology at the Littleton Academy of Hair Design in 2006. In 2008, the family’s ranches were
hit hard by the drought and they were forced to close their business. Her parents retired to Abiquiu, New Mexico, and now live on a 50-acre horse ranch. While her parents kept her grounded, she credits her maternal grandmother for instilling in her the compassion to give to others. “My grandmother was from Honduras and was of Spanish culture,” she said. “She had an unconditional love and understanding for all people and would give the shirt off her back. She taught me to see outside the box. She was always positive, humble.” Caitlin was at her grandmother’s bedside when she passed away in 2013 at the age of 84. Her grandmother left her a living legacy to help others. That same year she volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul, sorting clothes, arranging the store to make it look better. “She was my best friend,” West said. “She taught me so many things. She gave me a better understanding of the Lord’s will; how she was raised, they Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
The Wall of Love displays letters of appreciation to Caitlin West for the help and love she extends at St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple. didn’t have a lot and they saw people differently to how I was raised. She opened up my eyes to see the plight of the homeless and other people.” MOVING FORWARD Caitlin started volunteering at St. Vincent’s three years ago and was hired as a full-time employee in February. This coming January, nearly one year after she came on board, she will assume the position of executive director, currently occupied by Ken Valka, a partner with a Temple law firm. “The board of directors recognized in Caitlin a deep passion and humility to serve the poor and the needy,” said Valka, who recommended West for the position. “Caitlin has demonstrated strong organizational skills and has a very good relationship in the community among other food pantries, which permits collaboration between the social agencies in the community.” 56
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A volunteer prepares the free table for anyone who needs to get some food. St. Vincent de Paul of Greater and is funded by store sales, private Temple is not associated with the donations, corporate grants, church national organization of the same name contributions and the United Way.
Caitlin West said volunteers just show up on Food Pantry Thursdays to serve St. Vincent de Paul and its clients. “St. Vincent’s is also a member of the Bell County Community Coalition,” Valka said. “It also provides financial assistance for rent or utilities from funds received from the United Way for anyone who meets the requisite criteria.” It takes a special person to run an organization whose volunteers and clients are mostly homeless. Caitlin’s workday begins at 8:30 a.m. One of the first things she does is pray with her staff on duty. Then she goes over the team skills, sets the agenda for the day, and leaves the operation in the hands of her assistant, as she and volunteers go out into the streets seeking out homeless people living in obscure places to pass out snacks and water. Afterward,
she picks up donations, hands out fliers, and trades with other shelters. “The underserved community knows about us (the store),” she said. “Now we are trying to bring in a more diverse clientele base here. Some people come in to buy the antiques for resale. By bringing in a diverse clientele, it helps our community.” Because the prices at St. Vincent’s are so low, a family needing to furnish their apartment can find deals on furniture and other household goods. “This helps lower income families,” West said. In a room behind the cash register, between the store and the pantry, is Lucy’s Closet, named for one of St. Vincent’s founders. Toys are stacked
on shelves from floor to ceiling and it’s not unusual to hear Caitlin invite children into the room to select an item, at no cost to the parents. In addition, this year St. Vincent’s donated 25 backpacks stuffed with school supplies to the Back Pack Buddies program of Temple for children of lower income families. “The people here are my friends and my family,” West said. “Many of my volunteers are homeless, or live at the Salvation Army center. We make them feel like a part of a family. Some people say I’m adopting the underserved community, but they adopted me. Not one thing could move me from here. These are happy spirits.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
Two glass-bottom boats filled with tourists leave the dock to see life under the San Marcos River. An underwater gardener keeps an eye on any invasive flora that grows on the bottom of the river. Inset photo by
OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
A crystalline San Marcos River reveals a
glimpse of the past Story by SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE |Contributed photos TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
he Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, located in San Marcos, is full of natural discoveries ideal for a fall day trip. Formerly the amusement park Aquarena Springs, the site is now owned by Texas State University and dedicated to water research and conservation. Begin your day with a tour of Spring Lake via a glass bottom boat for an overview of local ecology and history. The boat tours began in the 1940s, and though the boats have been refurbished over the years, they maintain their original wood and glass. Visitors sit on benches surrounding the glass floor of the boat while a guide provides commentary on surrounding sites. Spring Lake is so clear that visitors can see clearly to the bottom — There are a lot of things to see in the underwater springs. Photo by Jennifer Idol.
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The San Marcos Blind Salamander calls the river home. Photo by Erich Schlegel. 30 feet in some areas. The boat passes over a high pressure spring first. “The water coming out of it can be compared to a fire hydrant with the top off,” said Tour Guide Christopher
Crain, pointing out the adjacent strip of bare sand due to the constant blast of water. Originally from Beaumont, Crain said he’d never seen water with more
than three feet of visibility until he came to San Marcos for the first time. He walked up to the San Marcos River, which is fed by Spring Lake, took one look at it and said, “I have to go to school here.” Crain is studying geography at Texas State University and enjoys teaching people about the unique habitat at The Meadows Center. “My grandfather was actually a boat driver here in the 1960s,” Crain shared as he steered his glass bottom boat farther onto the lake. “My grandmother was a bookkeeper at the Spring Lake Park Hotel here. My grandpa tells stories about working on the boats back in the day, it’s cool that they are the same boats.” About 5,300 species of turtles live in Spring Lake, Crain said. “That’s one of the most dense populations in
North America.” It’s easy to lose track of how many turtles you can spot from the boat — they pile onto logs poking out of the lake and line the bank. Species include Texas river cooters, red-eared sliders, musk turtles, softshell turtles and the common snapping turtle. Crain pointed out where a submarine theater existed from 1946 to 1994. Visitors could go into the submerged submarine, eat lunch and look out the windows at the lake and spot more than just the native turtles and fish. The amusement park hired people to dress up as mermaids and swim around the submarine. “Ralph the swimming pig” was also a crowd favorite. The piglet was trained to swim using a baby bottle and would paddle around the lake. There were actually multiple Ralphs, Crain said, so that
a steady rotation of pig performances could be kept without exhausting any of the animals. Pointing at a cluster of low pressure springs beneath the boat, Crain said they called that spot Cream of Wheat, “because it looks like boiling oatmeal. Those are more like a water faucet that’s been left on,” he said of the intensity. “There are tons of those throughout the lake, bubbling up in the sand.” The area wasn’t always a lake. It used to be a stretch of the San Marcos River, until a dam was built to power a nearby grist mill in 1849 and the lake was formed. An underwater archaeological dig was conducted in 1977, Crain said after pointing out a large pipe in the lake. Continued
The Discovery Center’s aquariums show some of the marine life visitors will see in the San Marcos River and Spring Lake. “They would scuba dive down and dig,” he explained. “They used the pipe to pull up water whenever it would get murky so they could still see.” SECRETS FROM THE RIVER The dig produced about 100 thousand artifacts dating to more than 10,000 years ago, Crain said. Examples include a mammoth tooth and Clovis spearhead. The purpose of the dig was to create a timeline to see when people lived in the area and when they didn’t. “They found there were no breaks at all, proving people have always lived here since they started living on this continent,” Crain said. “The natural spring would have been here all that time, providing clean drinking water and ensuring lots of wildlife in the area.” Other fun tidbits include the fact the movie Piranha was made at Spring Lake in 1978 because the clear 62
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water made filming easy, and that the Balcones Fault runs through the middle of the lake. Look to one side of the water and notice the land is extremely flat, Crain said from the middle of the lake. If you look to the other side, you’ll see the opposite — the land begins climbing vertically right out of the water. That’s because the Balcones Fault line divides the lake, marking Blackland Prairie on one side and the Texas Hill Country on the other. It’s fascinating to observe the obvious differences from the neutral point in the center of the lake. Can’t get enough of the pristine water after your glass bottom boat tour? The Meadows Center partners with REI to offer kayak and stand up paddle board tours that can be booked in advance. Next, stretch your legs with a walk around the Wetlands Boardwalk. The floating trail wraps through a wetland habitat thick with unique vegetation and of course, more turtles. Floods in 2015 caused the area to be inaccessible for a couple years, Communications Specialist Anna Huff said. It reopened to the public this January. EDUCATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT There is no food for purchase at The Meadows Center, but there are plenty of picnic tables if you want to pack a lunch or snacks. Visitors can also relax on the rooftop of the old hotel, which overlooks Spring Lake and the river beyond. Built in 1929, the former hotel now houses offices on one side and the Discovery Center on the other. The conference room on the office side maintains the original hotel floors and facilities can be rented for parties and events. The nonprofit Meadows Center began in 1994 when the University bought the site, Huff said of what goes on in the office portion of the building. The organization is dedicated to research, education, service and leadership.
The Wetlands Boardwalk gives visitors an up close view of vegetation and wildlife. IF YOU GO 201 San Marcos Springs Drive, San Marcos • Take Interstate 35 S to exit 206. • Continue on the I-35 frontage road and take a slight right onto Aquarena Springs Drive. • Turn Left at Post Road. • Turn right onto W Laurel Street/San Marcos Springs Drive. • The destination will be on the left.
“We have some specialized, highly knowledgeable staff members that are experts in environmental flows and watershed services,” Huff said. “We work with communities and partners across Texas to help find sustainable water solutions for a variety of issues.” The service component is achieved through the Center’s citizen science team, also known as the Texas stream team. About 8,000 people have been trained through the program. Once a month, each member will select a body of water and monitor the quality. All of
the data is given to the Meadows Center and put into a database that is accessible to the public and the government. The project helps prevent problems such as E. coli, and staff members travel across the state conducting the trainings. The Discovery Center is open to the public and houses large aquariums and exhibits to offer further insight and close up views of the wildlife in Spring Lake. Visitors can see the endangered Texas blind salamander and the San Marcos salamander along with various fish species and even more turtles. An augmented reality sandbox invites the curious to create their own topographical map, and a nearby, new exhibit documents artifacts found on site — those from the underwater dig and newer pieces. It includes everything from bear and bison teeth to a variety of arrowheads. As Huff said, The Meadows Center offers engaging information and experiences pertaining to nature, history, archeology, geology and more. It’s impossible to decide what aspect is the most interesting and best to just dive into it all. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM
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OCTOBER 2017 | TEX APPEAL
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