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The Connection Magazine, Wylie Chamber of Commerce

Wylie Insurance Agency

A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication Online Version: www.wyliechamber.org

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Real estate life is a busy one, what do you do in your down time?

Chad and I both love to travel and go to the casino when we can. It’s just a great way to unwind. When we’re at home, it’s spending time with my teenage boys and enjoying time on the patio with our Westie, Jim Bo Cooter, and our rescue dog, Ginger. I also love to cook. I come from a large Italian family so food and time with family is at the heart of my every day life. Sunday dinners were a big deal when I was growing up so its been very important to me to carry on that tradition with my boys as they’ve grown up. It’s time that allows us to really enjoy each other.

The Realtor pool in the North Texas area is huge, what makes you different? With a background in business development, I’m very big on seller education. Your home is your largest investment and you should know and understand what’s going on during the entire sale process. Additionally, I have four amazing agents on my team that make it look easy and spend their time truly focused on what a client needs. We believe in honest advice, because our goal is long-term relationships. In addition to Chad, our seller concierge, Deena, ensures we are always responsive to our clients and helps them to get their home ready for market. I am blessed to have such an amazing team of loyal professionals and our business is about more than just selling houses. It’s about being real people serving those in our community.

Who is Chad? Chad and I met 11 years ago and he moved to Texas from Utah in 2009. He has a strong background in area management for the retail sector and is our transaction and listing specialist on the team. He is a licensed Realtor and manages all the paperwork to ensure accuracy with his attention to detail. He also works one on one with our clients when it comes to the transaction process to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible from contract to closing.

Fun Fact: When Marissa was younger she was obsessed with the television show Dallas and Southfork Ranch. Because of those memories, when Marissa relocated to Dallas in 1997, she set out to find her very own Southfork.

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Table of Contents August/September 2019 • Volume 14 - Issue 4

Cover PROFILE OF SUCCESS 8 Wylie Insurance Agency


Wylie Insurance owner, John Yeager, with his daughter Kylie Reising, and grandsons Bryson and Brady.

CONNECTION Features 10 12 14 21 24 26

Gladys Foster Raymond Cooper Anna Morris Community Calendar Nick & Tran Ngoc Lupe Kuharsky




HIGHER EDUCATION History Unveiled in SAIL Classes









Wylie ISD Seeks to Engage Senior Citizens



A Chaplain's Story Welcome New Members

What the SECURE Act could mean for Retirement Plans

24 A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication


Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. ~ Mark Twain www.wyliechamber.org • 5

Once again, we close the door on the summer and welcome the oncoming school year. This issue of The Connection, the August/September 2019 issue, marks the start of the 14th year of the magazine. We have enjoyed connecting the Southeast Collin County Corridor for all these years, and we think this is the perfect birthday issue because it represents the very reason we started The Connection in the first place. Back in 2006, the area was really starting to grow, and most of the traffic flowed out of Wylie/Sachse/Murphy every day to work in other cities. When the weekend came, many residents were leaving the area, maybe looking for leisure activities in the cities where they worked rather than their hometown. It was our goal that The Connection would spotlight the great family-friendly things to do in this area, as well as the people who make it so special, and give those folks some reasons to stay closer to home. In this issue we will honor just a few of the people in the Wylie/Sachse/Murphy area who long ago planted roots here, raised their families here, and used their spare time to have a positive impact on their towns. Most of them fall under the category of “seniors,” but maybe we should call them “pioneers” for coming to the area and “legends” because they stuck around to make it the best possible place to live and work. We benefit from their contributions in more ways than we could cover in one issue, but we are excited to share some of their stories, perhaps to inspire others to step up and take the baton. Ultimately, all the retail, restaurants, and parks in the area are great, but it is the personalities and passions of the people who live here that allow us to soar. They did – and continue to do – the things that elevate our cities from being just small towns to being big towns with hometown heart. Although we’ll never be able to thank them enough, we’re giving it a shot in the following pages. Hopefully, in the years to come, we will be the ones to step up and make things even better for those who come along after us. As always, we hope you enjoy the following pages as much as we have enjoyed bringing them to you -- for the last 13 years. Wylie Chamber President


Construction Manager





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6 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

Changing Lives, One Home At A Time

A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication 307 N. Ballard Ave. | Wylie, TX 75098 972-442-2804 • info@wyliechamber.org www.wyliechamber.org


Mike Agnew Jan Arrant Cynthia Wiseman Juli Richards Kylie Reising

Ian Halperin Craig Kelly Judy Truesdell Heather Darrow


Charlotte Merriam Anne Hiney Judy Truesdell Jan Arrant Ian Halperin Heather Darrow Craig Kelly

Donnita Fisher Judy Truesdell Donnita Fisher Deonna Osborn Anne Hiney


Call Today For A Free Consultation!

469-759-3899 Toll Free:


For information about advertising in The CONNECTION Magazine please contact the Wylie Chamber at 972-442-2804 or adsales@wyliechamber.org. The “Profile of Success” cover photograph and feature article, as well as any “Professional Profiles” are paid advertisements. All are welcome to advertise, Chamber membership is not required.

Submit comments and story ideas to Anne Hiney at theconnection.anne@mac.com.

Digital version available online at www.wyliechamber.org The CONNECTION Magazine ©2019, Wylie Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. The CONNECTION is published bimonthly and mailed free of charge to over 45,000 households and businesses with an estimated readership of over 125,000 in the Wylie/Sachse/Murphy/ Lavon/Parker/St. Paul/Lucas/Richardson/Garland area. An additional 1,200 copies are distributed to our advertisers and local city offices. Contents of this magazine may not be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for content of all advertisements. Information published in The CONNECTION is the opinion of the sourced authors. The Wylie Chamber of Commerce does not necessarily share the editorial opinions expressed in The CONNECTION magazine. Personal decisions regarding health, finance and other matters should be made after consultation with the reader’s professional advisors. Just for fun, find the butterfly! Last issue we hid it on page 12 in the photo of the King family. Did you find it? NOTE: The first person to correctly locate the butterfly and send an email to magnew@wyliechamber.org wins a The CONNECTION T-shirt! (It's not this one!) Occasionally we make a mistake. Let us know if you find one so we can correct it. We love your feedback - send comments to info@wyliechamber.org. Story ideas are always welcome and appreciated. Thanks for “Connecting” with us! Wylie Chamber of Commerce 307 N. Ballard Ave. • Wylie, TX 75098 972-442-2804 • info@wyliechamber.org www.wyliechamber.org A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication




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Cindy Hampton, Cathy Jonson, John Yeager, Chelsea Paredes, Debbie Castillo and Kylie Reising



bout 121 years ago, Wylie Insurance Agency opened its doors. The company was founded in 1898 and its ownership reads like a “Who’s Who” of Wylie history with names like Housewright, Gallagher and Smith. Today’s owner, John Yeager, purchased the agency in 1973. “We’re the oldest business in Wylie,” Yeager said. “That’s special, I think. It means we’ve been doing something right, taking care of our customers.” The business has had several locations – from a homebased business to a hardware store to downtown storefront space to bank offices to its current stand-alone building at 201 Calloway. The company has been at the Calloway location since 1985. Wylie Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency. An independent insurance agency can offer its customers a choice when it comes to insurance companies and insurance options. “We represent our customer and not the insurance company,” Yeager said. “Many agents only represent a single company and cannot offer alternatives. We are not employees of the insurance company. You are our client and we will do what is in your best interest.” 8 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

Every type of insurance – from auto to life to business to homeowners – can be found at Wylie Insurance. The companies represented are all A rated for financial strength and service. Some of the property casualty companies represented include Travelers, Safeco, State Auto, Kemper, Progressive and Foremost. Life-health companies include Blue Cross, Aetna, United Healthcare, Humana and Cigna. Providing the best service possible to the people of the Wylie community and the surrounding area is important, Yeager said. Primarily serving Wylie and the surrounding area, Wylie Insurance Agency can also provide services for the DFW Metroplex and the entire state. “I like getting to know the customers and their families,” he said. “They aren’t just numbers, they are friends of mine. We develop personal relationships. They aren’t just policies.” Yeager holds the Certified Insurance Counselor professional designation. The agency staff is all licensed insurance professionals. They complete many hours of continuing education training to keep them “knowledgeable and current with ever-changing insurance rules and regulations,” Yeager said. The agency’s commitment to community is strong and ongoing.

VOTED WYLIE’S BEST INSURANCE AGENCY 8 YEARS IN A ROW! A charter member of the Wylie Economic Development Board formed in 1990, Yeager continues to serve on the WEDC board. He also serves on the Wylie Community Christian Care board. His daughter, Kylie Yeager Reising, works with him at the insurance agency and serves on the Wylie Chamber of Commerce board of directors. “Involvement is important for the community and for the business,” Yeager said. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.” Wylie Insurance customers recognize the company’s commitment to service and community. Members of the community have voted Wylie Insurance Wylie’s Best Insurance Agency for eight years in a row. They have also been recognized as a 4Most Community Business Partner by the Wylie Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp. Other than just his time with Wylie Insurance, Yeager, himself, has history in the area, too. He grew up in Nevada and graduated from Community High School. His father, A.P. Yeager, owned Wylie Locker

Plant, a meat processing plant that was located near the corner of Ballard Avenue and Marble Street, currently occupied by Wylie Eye Center. Yeager’s late wife, Patty, was born a Kreymer, another family that has been in Wylie for generations. After high school, Yeager graduated from the University of North Texas. He worked for five years in Dallas and four years in Houston for a major insurance company but said he “always wanted to get back to this area.” Both Kylie and her sister, Kamber, are graduates of Wylie High School and the University of North Texas. Kamber is a CPA with Rent-A-Center in Plano. Kylie has two sons, Brady, 14, and Bryson, 12, and they will be the fifth generation of their family to graduate from Wylie ISD. “Who knows,” Yeager said “They may become the third generation to work in the business.” Wylie Insurance Agency welcomes the opportunity to serve you and show you what exceptional service is all about. For auto, homeowners, business, life and health insurance, give them a try. •

Check with us for all your insurance needs.


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(972) 442-3505 Fax: (972) 442-3885

www.WylieInsurance.com www.wyliechamber.org • 9

Photos courtesy of Gladys Foster, and by Craig Kelly.


Gladys Foster

By Judy Truesdell


ladys Foster may not officially be the oldest person in Wylie, but at age 102, chances are pretty good she holds the title. Mayor Eric Hogue went to visit Gladys recently to discuss what the area was like in its early days. She had a ready reply for each question, many of which were edged with dry humor – like when she described her life as going from “the Poor house to a Foster home.” (Her maiden name was “Poor.”) Gladys was born in 1916 in a little village called Clear Lake, most of which is now under Lake Lavon, except for a small cemetery on the south end of the Lavon Lake Peninsula, south of Princeton. Walter and Elizabeth Hillis Poor, Gladys’ parents, owned 42 acres in Clear Lake, on which they grew cotton and corn. They lived there until moving to Copeville in 1932 when Gladys was 16. She remembers attending a one-room schoolhouse that accommodated grades one through 10; one year, she earned the title “Cotton Pickin’ Speller” by winning the spelling bee. The “big city” nearby, where folks sometimes went on a Saturday evening was Wylie, population about 200. “We came to get a cold drink or some candy, meet some of our girlfriends, and walk together up the street and 10 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue visiting with Gladys Foster.

back down, up the street and back down.” Her Grandpa Hillis eventually moved his little store from Clear Lake to downtown Wylie. His neighbors included C. M. Gallaghers’ Dry Goods, owned by Rita Gallagher Smith’s father, Claude Gallagher. Mayor Hogue knew Gladys had met her husband Carl at the Onion Shed’s dance hall in Clear Lake. He asked for more details. “They held dances at the Onion Shed, and the country men would take their violins and play their music. My brother could go to dances, but I couldn’t.” “What did you do?” the mayor asked. “I had to sit in the car! It wasn’t nice for girls to dance! So I didn’t dance.”

More questioning revealed how the courtship happened: Carl would come visit her in the car – every Saturday night. “Couldn’t get in no harm that way,” Gladys says with a small smile, revealing that subtle sense of humor once more. Gladys and Carl dated for a year and a half, and then he proposed. “He said ‘I think we’ve been going together long enough to get married, don’t you?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I believe so.’ ” Carl asked her father for Gladys’ hand in marriage. “He said, ‘Well, if she’s gonna get married, I’d just as soon she married you as anybody else.” The mayor teased Gladys that she had “quite a romantic family.” Carl didn’t have the $1 for the marriage license, Gladys in 1926 above, approx. 1919 at right, and 1946 below so Gladys paid for it and Carl went to Rockwall to get it. In 1934, they were married in Carl’s cousin’s store in Liberty Grove which he agreed to keep open after church. “He told me if we got married there we could have $10 worth of free groceries. So we took him up!” Gladys could now dance because she was a married lady, but she had to be Carl’s only partner. “Carl was good … now, he knew how to dance!” She would continue to be Carl’s only partner; they were married for 75 years until his passing in 2009. Some tough years were ahead for the newlyweds. After the harvest one year, Carl spent their last 50 cents on a set of dominoes. That same winter, a rabid skunk bit and killed one of their mules, and then went to their smokehouse and ruined their meat. “But we made it through it,” Gladys said. They bought their first furniture at “Sears and Roebuck,” spending $200 for a bedroom suite, cook stove, and other needs. “My mother said, ‘Lord! You kids! You’ll never pay for that!’” But they did; Gladys remembers only once asking her grandfather to help them with the monthly payment – of $12. Her daughter Wilma, with whom Gladys lives in Wylie, was born after a year and a half of marriage, but 17 years A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication

would pass before she had her son Ricky. At times, Wilma was mistaken for Ricky’s mom, causing one young man to ask Wilma’s husband-to-be, “Are you sure you want to go out with that girl? She’s got a baby!” The Fosters knew Truett Smith, who owned First State Bank and was instrumental in bringing the North Texas Municipal Water District to Wylie. One day Truett and Carl ran into each other at the bank. Truett asked him what he was doing for a living. “Still climbing light poles,” was the reply; Carl had been wiring houses for Rural Electric. Truett said, “If you get where you need to take care of yourself, why don’t you come down here and go to work?” Carl worked at the water district for 18 years until he retired. Gladys only worked one week outside the home. She drove Carl from house to house in Van Alstyne so he could read meters. “They said they’d give me $35 for doing it, but when I got through, all I had left after taxes was $15! I told them they could take that job and shove it!” Mayor Hogue asked about her secrets to longevity. “I never did smoke. I did look at people smoking and thought, ‘I’m gonna do that! That looks real neat.’ But I took one puff, and I got me a good ‘en, and I coughed for three hours. I said ‘I’m not gonna do that no more,’ and I quit smoking.” And then there was her adventure with beer. “When Wilma was 6 months old, I was having some trouble, and the doctor said I needed to drink a beer every day. I went and got me a case, got one bottle cooled off, took one swaller of it, and said, ‘If I have to drink this swill, I’ll just lay down and die!’ And that was my drinking.” She tells these tales with a chuckle, but she has some serious thoughts about living to be 102 – she’ll be 103 on Nov. 4 – which seem as pertinent today as when she was sitting in the car at the Onion Shed. “Have lots of friends. Try to do something for yourself. Love your family and enjoy being with them and neighbors also.” And maybe keep active. Gladys grew some okra and picked it herself until the age of 100. • www.wyliechamber.org • 11

Photo from Collin College Recognition Book 2006-2007

Collin College and the Collin College Foundation honored Raymond B. Cooper, Wylie (at right); Helen Hall, McKinney; Fred and Mazzie Moses, Plano; Jean and Mike Newman, Plano, as the Living Legends in 2006.

Raymond Cooper By Donnita Fisher

Photos by Anne Hiney


12 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

lthough many people may dream of the day when they can retire, Raymond B. Cooper, 87, looks forward to working another day. The octogenarian has no plans to ever quit working. “I think if you ever stop doing anything and just sit down, you are not going to last very long,” Mr. Cooper said. He says a daily routine is important, and that “what you eat and what you do” are also important. Having a routine, being consistent, and eating healthier have helped him maintain his vitality, although he says his diet today is a little different than when he was growing up. “I don’t eat anything fried,” he said. “You have to eat different than a teenager.” Mr. Cooper’s daily diet consists of a “certain amount of nuts, an apple, half an orange and half a banana” along with sensible meals. The youngest of 12 children, Mr. Cooper admits he also inherited some good genetics. “My mother lived to be 95,” he said. “One brother lacked two months making 100, and a couple of my brothers and sisters made it up to around 90 – between 85 and 90.” Although living to his current age used to be a little bit less common, today more people are enjoying a longer life. “Fifty years ago,” he said, “there just weren’t many folks my (current) age. Now there are lots of people getting up toward 90.” Compared to other people in his age range, Mr. Cooper said, for whatever reason, he tends “to have more energy than most of them.”

Raymond and his wife Sue have been married since But he doesn’t offer advice to his contemporaries 1952; no doubt his successful marriage has contributed on lifestyle. to his success as well. “When you get my age, you talk. You don’t listen,” he Today, the Coopers’ three children, Jan Cooper said. “But I’ve found as long as you feel you can control Morgan, Christian Anderson Cooper, and Mark Edward something, then you can deal with it.” Cooper, own and run the business. Mr. Cooper manages He does have some advice for those a bit younger, Land-Tex, a real estate firm, and takes part in many civic however. He said from time to time he hears young groups and organizations. Topping that list is the Wylie people complaining that they are working too hard. He Community Christian Care Center, where he is president has a message for them. of the board. He donated the land and organized “Don’t worry about working hard,” Mr. Cooper said. volunteers to construct the center’s first building, “Hard work doesn’t hurt you. It toughens you and builds which was located on Ballard Avenue. In 2011, the care up your muscles against adversity. I’ve always worked as center opened a warehouse next to the original center. hard as I could. Hard work is not going to hurt you.” Through the years, the center has provided emergency As a matter of fact, Mr. Cooper has been working since aid to hundreds of local families, be it helping with bills, he was 11 years old. providing clothing, or giving food. He continues to be active His first job was with the A&P in fundraising for the center, Tea Company – the precursor to which includes an annual Month A&P Grocery Stores. of Compassion and food drive in “When I quit, I was 18 November. years old and had seven years “I told them up there longevity with the company. they need to be hunting a From that day to this day, I have replacement for me, because never in my life had one day when I hit 90, I’m quitting. That’s when I didn’t have a job.” the only thing I’m going to quit Although he finished school, though,” Mr. Cooper said. “I Mr. Cooper didn’t graduate. He won’t quit the rest of it, and I was one credit short – somehow won’t quit that either if they he missed taking sophomore need me.” English. “It just kind of came up The center and all of Wylie as a fluke at the end, ‘Hey, you WISD School Board Trustee Stacie Gooch presented Mr. Cooper with the Wylie Way award in 2012 with Dr. David Vinson, WISD Superintendent. may well still need him; Mr. can’t graduate.’ I said, ‘I tell you Cooper has made myriad what, let’s just all forget it.’ ” contributions to the city and its citizens. He has served The lack of an official diploma didn’t hinder his on committees and boards, including the Wylie Lions business instincts, however. Club and the Wylie Chamber of Commerce, which named him its Citizen of the Year not once but twice – in 1988 After he had spent more than a year at Texas and 2003. In 2006, he was named one of the Collin Instruments, he was offered a job as a shop foreman at a County Community College (now Collin College) Living transformer company in Garland. Legends. In addition to receiving one of the first-ever “I was all of about 21, but I was enthusiastic about Wylie Way awards from the Wylie Independent School doing that. I stayed with the job and it got big,” he said. “I District for his work with the Christian Care Center, the stayed with it. When I was 25 years old, I had right about district paid its highest tribute in 2006 when Raymond 300 women working for me. That will give you a lot of Cooper Junior High opened. experience in a big hurry. It was a marvelous experience.” Remembering his past, Mr. Cooper said although he The company owner would spend a few after-work often thought it might happen, he never went to bed hours a week teaching Mr. Cooper “the rudimentary hungry and his mother was always willing to share with elements of designing transformers. others. “That’s how I learned my trade.” “That impressed me. I guess I would say I got involved When the business was sold to a larger company, Mr. because of my mother’s attitude, more than anything Cooper asked a friend with a shop in Wylie to go into the else,” he said. “… This town has been very good to me and transformer business. He said he told his friend, “You’ve my family. All of my family, I think, gives back, including got a building and I’ve got $375. We ought to make it real me. You’re supposed to. That’s the rent you pay.” • easy. He said ‘OK.’ And we did. Believe it or not, we did.” That company – Universal Transformer – has been in The portion of this article dealing with Mr. Cooper’s background was taken from business 62 years. an interview he did for the Smith Public Library and Wylie Historical Society’s Oral History Project. More interviews are available at www.wylietexas.gov/adults/ (It moved from Wylie to Farmersville in 2002.) oralhistory.php A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication

www.wyliechamber.org • 13

Anna Norris

Anna Morris By Deonna Osborn


nsconced in game playing at the Sachse Senior Center, Ms. Anna Morris agreed to take a break from her winning streak and visit about her extraordinary life. She didn’t arrive in Sachse via a traditional family route but rather took a long journey to get here Anna was born in the small town of Periam, Romania, in 1932. Her peaceful childhood would come to an abrupt end in September of 1944, when her father learned of the urgency to evacuate. The Germans forced the family to pack wagons, which Anna said was done as a joint effort by several families. “One family might have a horse and another a wagon, so they had to work together to get out.” Anna was preparing to return to school at the time and was picked up on her bike by a truck containing priests and nuns, driven by a German soldier, to be reunited days later with her family where they had relocated. She said she feels fortunate for the outcome. Thinking back, 14 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

“that could have gone so bad,” she said. Anna’s mother lost two brothers in the raid, as they did not escape with their families in time. After crossing the Theiss River, the family made the rest of the journey by train. Anna said her mother documented everything, and she’s gone back to read her account. One thing that struck her was her mother’s notation that there were about 30 box cars, with approximately 50 people in each car. The train would stop at different points, hiding in wooded areas, because the conductor knew the bombing patterns of the war and wanted to keep the passengers safe. The trip to Austria took about three days in total. Once they arrived, shelter was available for all of them in a school. The war officially ended in January of 1945, but the families were told they could not return home. A few years later, in 1949, they attempted to migrate to France but were turned away at the border, because “they were full.” ~ continued


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Anna said her mother was the hero in the situation. When they left Romania, she remembered to grab family papers, and some of those detailed addresses of family members in the United States. At that time the United States military was fostering partnerships if family members or sponsors were involved. Through her mother’s aunt in Ohio, they were able to migrate to the United States in March of 1951. Anna vividly recalls arriving by ship into Ellis Island. “It was rough and everyone was sick. I had some education and English training, so they put me down in the sick bay.” She said she didn’t get sick until the last day of the trip. In New York, they were met by some members of the Catholic charities who sponsored them. “They took us to a grocery store to get us food. We didn’t know what to think.” She remembers being so thankful for their kindness, and her gratitude shone through even as she retold the story. A train ride took them the remainder of the way into Cincinnati, where the family resided in a two-room home for several years until being able to purchase a house of their own. She was 18 years old when she came to the U.S. Anna said looking for work was tough in the United States, especially for her father, a factory worker, due to the language barrier. She worked as a seamstress, and her brother was trained as a shoemaker. Soon, they all found work. Anna was employed by a few different seamstress shops before landing a job at Palmer Instruments. This is ultimately where she met her hus-

band, Roy Morris, whom she married in 1957. The job called for him to move to Odessa and, following a heart surgery, he wanted to move to a warmer climate. They chose the Dallas area to be close to one of their sons. “When we moved to Sachse, I remember thinking, ‘I thought Odessa was small!’ ” Anna is not just a resident of Sachse. She has immersed herself into the community. Over the years, she has served on countless committees, volunteered in the schools, and been active with the Chamber of Commerce. She is certainly one of the most visible members of the Sachse Senior Center, helping coordinate and participate in activities. She stresses the importance of friends. “You’ve got to be around people. They keep you going. Everybody needs friends,” she said. She credits her late husband with emphasizing this point to her, as he helped her stay involved. Anna also credits her mother with so many things, including her love of volunteerism, giving back, and making people feel valued. She says when she was small, her mom would always cook for the neighborhood. However, she’d perpetually allow poor children to do small jobs for her in return for coins. She didn’t look at is as charity; she viewed it as teaching them how to be proud of something earned. These are principles certainly ringing true in the life of Anna Morris today. As others embrace her and she shares smiles, her life is a blessing. It touches everyone, not just for her extraordinary past journey but for her future story yet to be written. •

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www.wyliechamber.org • 17

Is it Time to DOWNSIZE?

By Jeanie Marten

MANY OF OUR CLIENTS are entering a phase

of their lives where downsizing their home and belongings is a priority. Even if you aren’t downsizing, purging is currently on trend and will make the future move easier … so why wait until spring or a life event? While downsizing a lifetime of belongings – often sentimental – can be daunting, here are some tips to help. • Start as early as you can to avoid feeling crunched for time and stressed. It’s never too soon to begin! • Managing this process into smaller projects will help considerably. Break your items into four categories: keep, sell, donate/give away and trash. Make a decision and only handle items one time to prevent getting bogged down. Use clearly marked boxes or tarps and begin room by room to sort. -- If you have a large collection of items, try to only keep the most prized and cherished of the items. -- Books? These are very heavy and can be expensive to move. Try donating to the library or selling to Half Price Books. -- Pay attention also to your appliances. Will the new place have a washer and dryer? Is the refrigerator provided? -- Exercise equipment is another expensive item to move and often sits unused.

-- When cleaning out your office, a shredder may be your best friend. Remember what to keep: seven years of back tax records; medical records; current receipts for this year’s taxes, and warranty information and owner’s manuals for appliances and electronics you currently own. • You don’t have to do this alone. Time to have friends, family or professionals help. Think of hosting a garage sale, utilizing a local consignment store or just giving to family and friends. Having help can make the time fly and you’ll get so much more done than what you could do on your own. I recently had a friend help me clear out my storm shelter of all the art we had from my mother-in-law. We had a blast! • Measure and use some creativity! Measure your furniture and the areas at the new space to see what will fit well. Maybe it’s time for new furniture that is a better fit. Make use of creative storage that performs double-duty. Maximizing your personal space is hugely popular right now as the Marie Kondo trend shows. Decluttering and careful editing of your possessions can provide you with more peace and joy with your surroundings. Selling your current home and finding your new perfect space requires the expertise of a professional real estate team! Call Jeanie Marten Real Estate today for some expert advice!

Jeanie Marten Jeanie@MartenRE.com 972-588-8363 6406 Highway 78, Suite 212 • Sachse, TX 75048

www.MartenRE.com 18 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019




Introducing Dr. Suzanne Ferenczhalmy Dr. Suzanne Ferenczhalmy joined our growing practice in 2018. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Grand Valley State University and her doctorate from Illinois College of Optometry. Upon graduation Dr. Suzi served six years in the United States Air Force, serving at the Pentagon and Andrews Air Force Base. During that time she had a special assignment as the White House optometrist for the George W. Bush administration. While serving at the Pentagon, Dr. Suzi met her husband Fred, a fellow Air Force veteran. They have two sons and a daughter who attend Boggess Elementary, Murphy Middle, and McMillen High School. Dr. Suzi has served as a PTA board member for years and as a leader in Girl Scouts. She has been practicing in Plano since moving to Texas and is very excited to join the Murphy & Wylie Eye Centers team.

Growing to Meet the Needs of Our Communities

Eyewear Gallery Comprehensive Eye Examinations Therapeutic Glaucoma Specialists Eye Infections & Disease Treatment Contact Lens Specialists Vision Therapy A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication

972.429.9011 213 N. Murphy Rd., Suite 100 Murphy, TX 75094 www.murphy-eye.com

972.429.9090 130 N. Ballard Ave. Wylie, TX 75098 www.wylie-eye.com www.wyliechamber.org • 19

Fri: 9/6 & Sat: 9/7

h al t 27 nu n A

★ FAMILY FUN! ★ ★ 40+ Vendors ★

A two-night UPRA sanctioned Rodeo held at the Wylie ISD Agriculture Center in Wylie, that brings the sounds, the lights, and the competition of western culture to the community. A family friendly event that has fun for all ages!

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Sponsorship Levels Available to Promote Your Business

Visit www.wyliechamber.org for more information.

TICKET PRICES: General Admission

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Gates Open: 6:30pm ★ Grand Entry: 7:45pm ★ Rodeo Begins: 8pm CHECK THE WEBSITE FOR LATEST DETAILS!

wyliechamber.org 20 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019


Aug. 2, 3, 4, 9 & 10: Mary Poppins – presented by the Wylie Acting Group (youth cast). Location: 205 Industrial Ct. #200b, Wylie. Info: www.wylieactinggroup.org Aug. 10: Plano Family Expo At The Ranch – 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Come and enjoy interactive family activities, family services near you, community networking, competitions and entertainment, parent pampering and more! Live music and dance performances, bounce houses, local vendors, artisans, community and educational based businesses, wild west costume contest, raffles and kid zone featuring ranch inspired crafts, activities and games! Location: Southfork Ranch, 3700 Hogge Dr., Parker. Info: www.eventbrite.com/e/ plano-family-expo-at-the-ranch-tickets-63684842077 Aug. 17: Pancake Breakfast – at In-Sync Exotics, benefiting the big cat rescue sanctuary. 7 - 10 a.m. Location: 3430 Skyview Dr., Wylie. Info: www.insyncexotics.org/events/ Aug. 17: Wylie Clear the Shelters – Find your furry friend and help Clear the Shelters starting at 9:30 a.m. till all pets are adopted. All adoption fees waived, all animals spayed/neutered, vaccines up to date, microchipped, dewormed, and treated for fleas and ticks. Stop by and join Channel 5, Telemundo 39, and shelters across the country, and help Wylie clear our shelter for the sixth year in a row. Location: Wylie Animal Shelter, 949 Hensley Ln., Wylie. Contact: 972-442-5268 Info: www.facebook.com/ City-of-Wylie-Animal-Control-715999055077330/ Aug. 24: Back the Future – Hosted by the Wylie ISD Council of PTAs from 5 - 8 p.m. Come and enjoy bounce houses, food trucks, Kona Ice, vendor booths, carnival games and visit with your school's PTA and become a member! Location: Olde City Park, 112 N. Ballard Ave., Wylie. Info: www.facebook.com/WylieIsdCouncilofPTAs/ Aug. 31: 14th Annual Dinosaurs Live! at The Heard Museum – Let your imagination run wild as you travel back in time along a half-mile nature trail with 10 life-size animatronic dinosaurs that move and roar, providing an experience sure to captivate visitors. This exhibit will also offer interesting facts about both herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs. Location: 1 Nature Pl. McKinney. Contact: 972-562-5566 Info: www.heardmuseum.org


Sept. 6: Lions Club Golf Tournament – Join the Lions Club Zone 2 (Mesquite, Sachse, Wylie) to play golf for a good cause! Location: Firewheel Golf Park - Lakes Course, 600 W. Campbell Rd., Garland. To register your team contact: Lion Terry Tosch at 214-803-9927 or zone2lionsclubs@gmail.com Sept. 6 & 7: 27th Annual Wylie Championship Rodeo, presented by the Wylie Chamber of Commerce. Pull on your boots and dust off your hats and meet us out at the Wylie ISD Birmingham Ag Arena for a fun-filled, family friendly, great time! Lots of vendors and kids' activities for all to enjoy. Watch exciting bull riding, bronc riding, barrel racing, calf roping, and more! See ad on page 20 for ticket and time details. Info: www.wyliechamber.org Sept. 7: 18th Annual Guns & Hoses Boxing Tournament, presented by the Guns & Hoses Foundation of North Texas. 7 - 10 p.m. Team Police vs. Team Fire square off to raise funds benefiting the families of fallen First Responders. Location: Allen Event Center, 200 E. Stacy Rd., Allen. Info: www.gunsandhosesnorthtx.org Sept. 7-8: 10th Annual Dallas Chocolate Festival, featuring lectures, demos, food trucks, a kids area, tasting workshops, and can't miss chocolate treats from the most talented and creative people working in chocolate today. There will be local favorites and industry innovators from around the world. Guests will be able to sample and shop! Location: Fashion Industry Gallery (F.I.G.), 1807 Ross Ave., Dallas. Info: dallaschocolate.org/ dallas-chocolate-festival-main-event-2019/ A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication

Sept. 14: Second Chance Gala – 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. Join us in celebration of Blackland Prairie Raptor Center’s bird of prey rehabilitation mission. Begin the evening at our reception with some raptor-inspired custom cocktails while bidding on items at our wonderful silent auction. Dinner will follow and during dessert, you will hear inspiring stories from volunteers and supporters impacted by the work done at BPRC. Please consider sponsoring – every dollar we raise this evening goes towards the work we do to give Texas raptors a Second Chance. Location: Cross Creek Ranch, 3406 Dublin Rd., Parker. Contact: 469-964-9696 Info: bpraptorcenter.org/a-second-chance-gala/ Sept. 20, 21, 27 & 28: Legend of Sammy's Swamp, presented by the Wylie Acting Group (youth & adult cast). Location: 205 Industrial Ct. #200b, Wylie. Info: www.wylieactinggroup.org Sept. 20-22: Plano Balloon Festival – Celebrating 40 years of ballooning in Plano with entertainment, fireworks, kids activities, sky divers, and a variety of food, merchandise and handmade products; and of course the incredible hot air balloons. The balloons will launch Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 7 a.m. & 6 p.m., and Sunday at 7 a.m. & 6 p.m. (weather permitting). Location: Oak Point Park located at 2801 E. Spring Creek Pkwy., Plano. Info: www.planoballoonfest.org Sept. 21: WCPAAA Cops and Robbers Chase 5K and Fun Run – Run for it! Hosted by the Wylie Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association. The Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m., and the 5K at 9 a.m. Participants receive a race T-shirt and medal. Pick up your packet at 7:30 a.m. on race day. Must register in advance! Races are untimed and will take place rain or shine. The event will include bounce houses, face painting, cotton candy and popcorn. Location: Founders Park, 851 Hensley Ln., Wylie. Contact: 972-516-6017 Info: secure. getmeregistered.com/get_information.php?event_id=132574 Sept. 28: 11th Annual Murphy Maize Days – 10 a.m. - 9:45 p.m. Come on out and join for tons of fun! There will be a Petting Zoo, Punkin Chuckin, local artists, Pet Adoption Spot, Kid’s Zone, Fireworks, Vegas Stars, Mustang Sally Productions Car Show, Market Place, Touch a Truck, and last but not least… The Rocket Man Show by Elton!!! So don’t miss out on this year’s Maize Days!! Location: 205 N. Murphy Rd., Murphy. Contact: 972-468-4444 Info: maizedays.com


Aug. 3: Wylie Coffee with Cops! – 9 - 11 a.m. Join us at Starbucks and grab a cup of coffee with your favorite Wylie Cops. Be a part of your community and get to know the men and women in blue! Location: Starbucks, 410 S. Hwy. 78, Wylie. Contact: 972-429-8019 Aug. 12: Club Sign-Up Begins – Sign-ups for our youth clubs begin on Aug. 12. If you are interested in participating in any of our kids, tween or teen clubs, visit the Library Youth Services Help Desk or visit our website at wylietexas.gov/library. Aug. 16: Teen Volunteer Applications Posted – Volunteer applications will be posted to the library website on Friday, Aug. 16. Applications are due in the Teen Room by Friday Aug. 30. Please visit www.wylietexas.gov/teens/teenevents for details. Aug. 29: Beginning Genealogy – 6:30 p.m. Ages 18 & up. Want to delve into your family history, but aren’t sure how to start? Research has come a long way, but there’s more to know beyond pop-up leaves or DNA tests. Learn, or get a refresher, on good basic practices of genealogy. Registration required. Sept. 9: Anime Meet-Up – at 6 p.m. Age 17 and up invited to join this group for adult fans of anime, manga and Asian pop culture. Sept. 10: A Royal Visit to Downton – 6:30 p.m. Ages 18 & up. The king and queen’s arrival sets the stage for the new Downton Abbey film. Explore with author Lorraine Heath what such an occasion would mean for the noble household, its servants, and the local community in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Registration required. Sept. 10 & 12: LEGO League – 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Kids in grades 1-4 are invited to show off creativity and build around a different theme. Registration required at Children’s Desk. ~ continued



Sept. 12: Japanimation Club – 6 - 7 p.m. Kids in grades 6-12 are invited to come geek out about all things anime and manga. No registration required. Sept. 21: DIY Spa Day – 2 p.m. Ages 18 & up. Make your own bath bombs and facial mask in this hands-on workshop, and create relaxing “me time” in your own home. Presented and materials provided by Sweet Home Bath and Body. Registration required. Sept. 25: Family LEGO Build – 3:30 - 4:45 p.m. Come show off your creativity by building with the Library’s LEGO and DUPLO. All ages welcome – no registration required. Children ages 9 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.


Aug. 2 & Sept. 6:: Model Masters – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Cost: FREE. Aug. 7 & 21, Sept. 4 & 18: Gardening – 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. Cost: $3. Aug. 8: Museum of MADI and Geometric Art – 12:45 to 4:15 p.m. Cost: $9. Aug. 19 & Sept. 16: Third Monday Book Bunch – 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Cost: FREE. Aug. 22: Painting with a Twist – 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost: $39. Sept. 19: Downtown Waxahachie – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost: $9 •

Now Accepting New Members Wylie Evening Lions Club

Help support scholarships, the High School Leo Club, and other community outreach programs. Contact Pamela Baker for membership or additional information at 972-765-8882 or Lionpamela2020@gmail.com



WYLIE! OLD FASHIONED ICE CREAM, Root Beer Floats, Hot Fudge Sundaes, Shakes, Banana Splits, Soft Serve & More!

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www 22


CONNECTION • August/September 2019

WYLIE: www.wyliechamber.org


Monthly Luncheon: 4th Tuesday of the month at 11:30 a.m.

Check the chamber website for details on location. Make reservations at www.wyliechamber.org. Aug. 1: WISD New Teacher Luncheon – 12 - 2 p.m. at the Wylie East High School cafeteria. Sept. 24: Networking Luncheon - Check website for details. Every Wednesday Business Card Exchange: Network and promote your business from 8 - 9 a.m. at the Smith Public Library, 300 Country Club Rd., #300, Wylie. Chamber members and nonmembers welcome. $1 donation requested.

SACHSE: www.sachsechamber.com


Monthly Luncheon: 2nd Tuesday of the month, 11:30 a.m. 1 p.m. at Woodbridge Golf Club, 7400 Country Club Dr., Wylie. Register and pay at www.sachsechamber.com. $15 Chamber Members with RSVP/$20 Non-Members and walk-ins. Aug. 13: Networking Luncheon - Check website for details. Sept. 10: Networking Luncheon - Check website for details. Every Tuesday Business Card Exchange: Meet at North Pointe Church of Christ, 7030 Hwy. 78, in Sachse, from 8 - 9 a.m. Everyone welcome, Free.

MURPHY: murphychamber.org


Monthly Luncheon: 3rd Tuesday of the month, 11:30 a.m. 1 p.m. at the Murphy Road Baptist Church, 411 S. Murphy Rd., Murphy. Go to www.murphychamber.org for info or to prepay or call 972-805-3749 for reservations. Aug. 15: Tri-Chamber Mixer - Join us at BoomerJack's Grill & Bar, 158 W. FM 544, Murphy. 5 - 7 p.m. Aug. 20: Networking Luncheon - Check website for details. Sept. 17: Networking Luncheon - Check website for details. Every Thursday Business Card Exchange: Join the Murphy Chamber of Commerce for a networking Business Card Exchange from 8 - 9 a.m. at the Murphy Activity Center, 201 N. Murphy Rd. Open to members and non-members - suggested $1 donation.

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Submit Your Event to the Calendar!

To submit a non-profit community event to the October/November 2019 calendar send an e-mail to theconnection.anne@mac.com no later than Sept. 15. Please include contact name, date(s), time(s), location, a publishable phone number, e-mail and/ or web site for information. Only non-profit events that are open to the public (no “members only” events) are eligible, as space permits. THANKS!

Photo by Melissa Mancini

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www.wyliechamber.org • 23

Nick & Tran Ngoc add color to Wylie Senior Rec Center By Judy Truesdell


ou might say Nguyen “Nick” and Tran Ngoc have rocked the Wylie Senior Recreation Center; after already being accomplished cooks, carpenters, and quilters, they discovered they have quite a flare for rock painting. They were born in Vietnam; Nick came to America in 1968 and Tran in 1971. Nick attended San Diego State College on scholarship, but transferred to the University of Texas in Austin to study petroleum engineering – and to meet his future wife. They met in Austin and were married in 1974. Tran opened a Vietnamese restaurant, Tam Deli & Café, with her sister Tam. Both Nick and Tran shared cooking duties, but Nick also built cabinetry, designed the neon sign, and did a bit of everything else. “I even unstopped the sink,” he said. The restaurant was quite well known in Austin, even garnering newspaper coverage. The Austin American-Statesman wrote about them when a customer asked them to make a heartshaped cake. “I did two hearts with an arrow through them,” Nick remembers. “He proposed to her, and now they have two kids!” It was their own kids who brought them to the Wylie area when they sold the restaurant and retired in 2016. They have two children, one of whom lives in Carrollton with two sons, and one of whom lives in Wylie. Nick said his son recommended the community to them, and the Ngocs found a home in a quiet Wylie neighborhood with a large yard, which they enjoy. They were also impressed with Wylie’s ranking as the #4 Best Place to Raise a Family in the U.S. by Money Magazine. Regarding the community, Nick said Wylie is “a nice town, small if you want it to be, big if you want it to be, and not much problem with bars.” It was Tran who found her way to the Senior Rec Center first; Nick said she enjoys the center and likes the personnel there. Already a craftswoman, making upcycled handmade art for the garden, she loved the Rock On class in which seniors paint designs on rocks and hide 24 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

them around town for kids of all ages to find and re-hide. When Nick saw Tran painting the rocks with their grandson, who had gotten a set of brushes and paints for his birthday, he gave it a try himself. “I like to paint somewhat in detail, as well as from imagination, while Tran likes to paint colorful abstract shapes,” he said. They also put their painted rocks together to form other shapes, such as a flower, for the garden. Nick said they both support the efforts at the Senior Rec Center and that he “gets into encouraging participants to bring out their ‘inert’ talents.” As for their 45-year marriage, Nick said, “We understand each other … and stand each other.” • Photos courtesy Ngoc family, Wylie Recreation Center, and by Craig Kelly.



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www.WylieKarate.com A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication

www.wyliechamber.org • 25


Lupe Kuharsky

upe Kuharsky teaches Wreath Making at the Wylie Senior Rec Center, but that is just the tip of her talent iceberg. She is also the published author of “Inspiring Migrant Memoirs,” a book based on her experiences growing up as “the daughter of two courageous hard-working parents” who moved the family from Mexico to Carrizo Springs when Lupe was 7. Lupe also positively impacted the lives of migrant children in the Mesquite ISD before moving to Wylie. Her story begins with her father and mother – Benito and Esperanza Valdez – who, though both U.S. citizens, were raised in Mexico. Lupe and her siblings were also born in Mexico, so they had double citizenship in the two countries. Just before she turned 7, the family decided to stay in the U.S. and give up their Mexican citizenship. “December 1956 our new life started in Carrizo Springs, Texas,” she said. Lupe and her husband Bob met in San Antonio and were married May 2, 1970, in Corpus Christi. She is certified in elementary education, bilingual education, English as a Second Language, Spanish, and mid-level administration. She holds a master’s degree in Spanish Literature. Lupe worked for the MISD for 19 years. She began as an elementary classroom teacher in a class where everyone spoke English. The district’s new bilingual program provided the perfect opportunity for her skills, and she transferred to that program. She soon became the English as a Second Language teacher and then the District Language Tester. During the 2005-’06 school year, the Bilingual/ESL Enrollment Services Center, or BEES Center, opened, with Lupe in charge. 26 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

Photos courtesy of Lupe Kuharsky, and by Craig Kelly.

Lupe at age 3.

By Judy Truesdell

The BEES Center provides language testing for all students coming into the district with a home language other than English. After they’re tested, recommendations are made regarding the best placement for the student: a bilingual classroom, ESL classroom, or mainstream English. Prior to the opening of the center, Lupe was the only language tester for the entire district, and, as Mesquite was growing every year, it became difficult for her to test all students within the 20-day time limit. The district decided the center was needed. “I was very instrumental in working with the administrative officer to find a place for the center,” she recalls. She organized the center, hired the necessary personnel, and ran it. She embraced her work with the migrant children, finding it a job she “felt very close to, since growing up, I was a migrant student myself.” Lupe and Bob have two sons: George Kuharsky is a digital/I&C systems engineer for Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant at Glen Rose. Their daughter Kimberlee Buchanan, currently a stay-at-home mom, was a PHR recruiter for human resources at Medical City Dallas. The Kuharskys’ “marvelous grandson” Jacob, 7, will be in second grade at Cox Elementary, and their “amazing granddaughter” Brynlee, 5, will start kindergarten at Cox. In addition to making wreaths, writing, and advocating for migrant children, Lupe also sews one-of-a-kind blue jean purses and enjoys cross stitching. When she retired from Mesquite ISD, one of her coworkers wrote in a keepsake book that Lupe is a testament to a Mexican/American proverb that states, “Everyone in the world smiles in the same language.” •

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This is not a commitment to make a loan. Loans are subject to borrower qualifications, including income, property evaluation, sufficient equity in the home to meet LTV requirements for refinances, and final credit approval. Not all applicants will qualify. Approvals are subject to underwriting guidelines, interest rates, and program guidelines, and are subject to change without notice based on applicant’s eligibility and market conditions. Geneva Financial LLC is not acting on behalf of or at the direction of HUD/FHA or the Federal Government. Geneva Financial LLC is approved to participate in FHA programs but the products and services performed by Geneva Financial LLC are not coming directly from HUD or FHA. Geneva Financial LLC NMLS #42056 is an Equal Opportunity Lender and Equal Housing Lender. 3155 S. Price Rd Chandler, AZ 85248. 1-888-889-0009. AZ BK #0910215 **These materials are not from HUD or FHA and were not approved by HUD or a government agency. Reverse mortgage borrowers are required to obtain an eligibility certificate by receiving counseling sessions with a HUD-approved agency. The youngest borrower must be at least 62 years old. Monthly reverse mortgage advances may affect eligibility for some other programs. This is not an offer to enter into an agreement. Not all customers will qualify. Information, rates and programs are subject to change without notice. All products are subject to credit and property approval. Other restrictions and limitations may apply. Taxes and insurance still apply.

A Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication

www.wyliechamber.org • 27

Higher Education

History Unveiled in SAIL Classes By Heather Darrow

28 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

Photo by Nick Young, Collin College photographer.


f you ask Mike Howard about the conspiracy theories regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he will smile and tell you about the night before the assassination when the president and the first lady arrived at midnight in the rain. He’ll regale you with tales of Lee Harvey Oswald and his childhood, and if you’re lucky, he’ll follow it up with a few anecdotes about President Lyndon B. Johnson and his family. Howard knows the details that aren’t in the history books because he was a Secret Service agent who served and protected four presidents. “I worked two weeks almost all the time to get ready for the president and the first lady,” said Howard, describing the night before JFK’s assassination. “I didn’t sleep the day and night before they got there. The first lady hung her head out the window and waved to people on both sides of the street. It was a nightmare for us because we couldn’t see. It was pouring down rain.” You can find out the rest of the story if you take Howard’s three-day class, “The Secret Service and The Presidents’ Families,” but you have to be 55 years old or older and a member of the Collin College Seniors Active In Learning (SAIL) program. A lifelong learning program, SAIL offered more than 80 classes to more than 600 members in spring 2019. For the fall semester, members can select up to seven courses, in a variety of topics, for $100. Wylie residents Patsy Celman, 74, and her husband, Vic, 81, took one of Howard’s classes. “We both enjoyed it immensely,” Patsy said. “We got an insider’s view. We learned facts about Lee Harvey Oswald that weren’t told at the time. He gave a great explanation of what led up to the assassination. You are never too old to learn something new, and SAIL offers classes in a variety of topics with no homework or tests.” If you take Howard’s class, don’t ask him when he joined the Secret Service. He’ll look you right in the eye and set you straight by explaining, “You don’t join the Secret Service. You are recruited,” and then he’ll laugh

Retired Secret Service agent Mike Howard in front of framed Christmas cards he received from President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ). The photograph he is holding was taken on the day of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s (JFK) assassination and features Howard in the forefront with the president and vice president in the center of the image.

and tell you the story of when he was chief of police in Saginaw and received a call from a man who said he was a special agent who wanted him to come for a visit. Positive it was a prank, Howard told the man he would call him back. He dialed the number later that day, just to be sure. “A lady answered and said, ‘U.S. Treasury, Secret Service,’” Howard said. “I asked for Forrest Sorrels, and she said, ‘Oh yes, he is the special agent in charge, SAIC, and he is expecting your call.’” The rest is history. Howard served in the Secret Service from 1961-1974. Of course, he became an SAIC before it was all said and done. To become a SAIL member and sign up for classes, visit www.collin.edu/sail or call 972-985-3789. For more information about Collin College, visit www. collin.edu. •


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Wylie ISD Seeks to Engage Senior Citizens By Ian Halperin

t is said that wisdom is passed down from one generation to the next. With that in mind, Wylie ISD has created a new program designed to keep senior citizens involved and engaged in our schools. The Senior Class held its inaugural meeting this past spring, with more than 40 Wylie senior citizens taking part. The group is open to any Wylie ISD resident who considers him- or herself a senior citizen. “Our goal is simple. We want to connect our senior citizens with the Wylie ISD,” said Dr. David Vinson, Wylie ISD superintendent. “We value them, and their experiences and stories are an important part of who we are. They are a living history lesson for our staff and students.” During the meeting, representatives from the district shared some of the many ways seniors can be involved in the district. These include mentoring programs and the Wylie Way Awards. Dr. Vinson also presented the “State of the ISD.” The district plans to hold more meetings and keep in touch with members. They will all be receiving special shirts to identify them when they are in our schools. “It is wonderful that the Wylie ISD remembers us senior citizens,” said William Martin, a member of the Senior Class program and a 1953 graduate of Wylie High School. “My wife and I look forward to using our Senior Gold Card to attend football games and school plays.” According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, research suggests that remaining socially engaged improves the quality of life for older adults and is associated with better health. In addition, older adults who are socially engaged in their communiA Wylie Chamber of Commerce Publication

ties can share their knowledge, talent, skills, experience and wisdom, allowing them to contribute with a positive and powerful impact. Honoring seniors is not new to Wylie ISD. For more than four decades, Wylie ISD has offered the Gold Card Club as a way of giving something back to residents who have supported the district, its teachers and its students throughout the years. The program is open to those age 65 and older. Participants complete a brief application form in the district’s administration building. The Gold Card is free and is good for a lifetime. With the card, members enjoy free general admission to all Wylie ISD home athletic events. This is a huge benefit especially for those who are living on fixed incomes. “One of the district’s core values is Gratitude and Celebration,” said Vinson. “We are honored to provide this program which shows our gratitude to this vital segment of our community while at the same allows them to join in celebrating our students. Photos by Ian Halperin We hope all Wylie seniors will take advantage of this program.” Another Gold Card feature is discounted admission to fine art events. With three junior highs and two high schools, the opportunities to watch student performances including concerts, plays, musicals or dance shows have greatly increased. The next Senior Class meeting will be in August at Wylie Stadium where a special seating section for seniors will be unveiled. For more information on Wylie ISD’s Senior Class, contact Rhonda Tracy at 972-429-3005. • www.wyliechamber.org • 31


A Chaplain’s Story

How a minimally invasive heart procedure is keeping Lewis Burton 92 years young


By Jan Arrant

t’s not every day you hear about a 92-year-old who has almost walked the distance of the Earth’s circumference – 24,901 miles. World War II veteran Lewis Burton has been logging his distances since the day he started jogging in 1968. That enthusiasm for fitness shows up in his work as a volunteer chaplain at Methodist Richardson Medical Center, where Lewis has a reputation for taking the stairs two at a time. So when he noticed that his energy wasn’t what it used to be, Lewis knew something wasn’t right. A heart in the right place After a decades-long career as an aircraft engineer, Lewis and his wife, Ann, retired to Richardson to be near their two children and five grandchildren. The Burtons are family focused and devoted to their faith. So, when he was asked to become a volunteer chaplain, he jumped at the chance. “I’ve been a chaplain for 13 years at Methodist Richardson, and I still enjoy it as much as I ever have,” Lewis said. “I always try to visit all 25 rooms on my list before I leave for the day.” Lewis’ lagging energy was making it harder to serve. Then a couple of months after he noticed the fatigue, Lewis was admitted to the Methodist Richardson emergency department with shortness of breath and chest pains. “I was told I’d had a mild heart attack,” Lewis said. “When the doctors did the echocardiogram, they discovered I had severe aortic stenosis, which is when the valve narrows and restricts blood flow.” Two times the trouble Lewis came under the care of Nhan Nguyen, MD, interventional cardiologist on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson. Dr. Nguyen performed further tests and discovered that Lewis also had a severely blocked artery. “Lewis had two separate issues with his heart,” Dr. Nguyen explained. “The blocked artery needed to be addressed by implanting stents, while the failing valve needed to be replaced. “Complicating matters was Lewis’ age and that he had quadruple bypass surgery 20 years ago. Ultimately these factors made him a poor candidate for open heart surgery to replace the valve.” 32 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

Ann & Lewis Burton enjoying a walk together.

Dr. Nguyen was able to successfully implant stents in Lewis’ blocked artery, restoring proper blood flow. With one problem solved, it was time to find a way to replace his failing aortic valve. TAVR offers hope Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has changed the way high-risk patients, like Lewis, are treated. “Years ago, patients like Lewis didn’t have any surgical options,” said Derek Williams, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson. “With TAVR, we can offer valve replacement to those who cannot have open heart surgery. It has a much lower risk of bleeding and mortality because unlike during open heart surgery, it does not require stopping the heart and using a heart and lung machine.” The valve implant is guided through the blood vessels to the aortic valve. The replacement valve expands into the damaged valve’s space and takes over. Lewis had the minimally invasive TAVR on a Thursday and went home the very next day. By comparison, open heart surgery patients typically must remain in the hospital for five to six days. By the next Wednesday, his usual day at the hospital as a volunteer chaplain, he was back at his rounds. “I felt great after my surgery,” Lewis said. “They had me up and walking the same day. I was thrilled to get back to my duties as a chaplain. It’s what I love most.” • Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System.

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What The SECURE Act Could Mean For Retirement Plans

If passed, it would change some long-established retirement account rules.


Provided by Trace Dennis

f you follow national news, you may have heard of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. Although the SECURE Act has yet to clear the Senate, it has broad, bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. This legislation could make Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) a more attractive component of retirement strategies and create a path for more annuities to be offered in retirement plans – which could mean a lifetime income stream for retirees. However, it would also change the withdrawal rules on inherited “stretch IRAs,” which may impact retirement and estate strategies, nationwide.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look at the SECURE Act. The SECURE Act’s potential consequences. Currently, traditional IRA owners must take annual withdrawals from their IRAs after age 70½. Once reaching that age, they can no longer contribute to these accounts. These mandatory age-linked withdrawals can make saving especially difficult for an older worker. However, if the SECURE Act passes the Senate and is signed into law, that cutoff will vanish, allowing people of any age to keep making contributions to traditional IRAs, provided they continue to earn income. (A traditional IRA differs from a Roth IRA, which allows contributions at any age if your income is below a certain level: at present, less than $122,000 for singlefiler households and less than $193,000 for married joint filers.) If the SECURE Act becomes law, you won’t have to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from a traditional IRA until age 72. You could take an RMD from your 36 • The CONNECTION • August/September 2019

traditional IRA and contribute to it in the same year after reaching age 70½. The SECURE Act would also effectively close the door on “stretch” IRAs. Currently, non-spouse beneficiaries of IRAs and retirement plans may elect to “stretch” the required withdrawals from an inherited IRA or retirement plan – that is, instead of withdrawing the whole account balance at once, they can take gradual withdrawals over a period of time or even their entire lifetime. This strategy may help them manage the taxes linked to the inherited assets. If the SECURE Act becomes law, it would set a 10-year deadline for such asset distributions. What’s next? The SECURE Act has now reached the Senate. This means it could move into committee for debate or it could end up attached to the next budget bill, as a way to circumvent further delays. Regardless, if the SECURE Act becomes law, it could change retirement goals for many, making this a great time to talk to a financial professional. • Trace Dennis may be reached at 972-429-0603 or tracedennis@jaldennis.com.

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Profile for Anne Hiney

Wylie CONNECTION Magazine Aug/Sept 2019  

Wylie Chamber of Commerce community magazine, published bimonthly and direct mailed to homes and businesses in Wylie, Sachse, Murphy, St. Pa...

Wylie CONNECTION Magazine Aug/Sept 2019  

Wylie Chamber of Commerce community magazine, published bimonthly and direct mailed to homes and businesses in Wylie, Sachse, Murphy, St. Pa...