Amid Bobby socks, cuffed jeans and decor reminiscent of the 50s, the Jourdanton Chamber of Commerce honored twelve citizens at their annual banquet August 21. After the social hour – sponsored by VTX Telecom, LLC – Chamber President Rhonda Lem welcomed the attendees, introduced the area dignitaries and offered the invocation before the meal of a diner inspired menu of hamburgers with all the trimmings. Officers for 2012-2013 are: President – Rhonda Lem, Vice President – Susan Netardus, Secretary – Joyce Steinle and Treasurer – Annie DeLaO. Directors are: Jane Andrus, Jim Andrus, Marcella Dornak, Jack Harrison, Jeanette Harrison, Debbie Kalisek, Gary Kalisek, Dorothy Manning, Henry Netardus, Larry Pryor, Marty Pryor, Karen Rakowitz, Bill Schuchman, Katie Schuchman, Shane Sillivent and Sandy Steinle.
The following citizens were honored:
Joyce Bowen Steinle Woman of the Year
Joyce Bowen Steinle was born and raised in Jourdanton. After college she lived away from Jourdanton for a number of years. She and husband Sandy returned to Jourdanton in 1983. So, she has currently resided in Jourdan- ton for 29 years.
Joyce is a retired school teacher. She belongs to the Jourdanton Chamber of Commerce and serves as director and is the secretary. Joyce is very involved with the Annual Chamber of Commerce Barbecue and Auction, Christmas Lighting Project and Santa Program. As a member of the Friends of Jourdanton Library, she helps with their Annual Salad Luncheon and Silent Auction.
She is also a member of the Friends of the Jourdanton Rotary where she has served as secretary and now as substitute secretary when needed. She coordinates the Annual Jourdanton Scholarship Committee which gives several scholarships to Jourdanton students every year.
She is a member of the Jourdanton Garden Club, Jourdanton Alumni Association, Atascosa County Hospital Auxiliary, serving in the past as secretary. She is the newly elected President of the Hospital Auxiliary.
Joyce is a hardworking member of our community. She is always willing to do anything that she can to help out with a project or a need in our community.
She is certainly deserving of the Woman of the Year Award.
Submitted by: Jourdanton Garden Club, Friends of the Jourdanton Library and Jourdanton Chamber of Commerce
David Soward Man of the Year
David Soward is a face and personality well known throughout Jourdanton as well as the entire Atascosa County. David, a lifetime resident, and with a career spanning 35 years, has risen through the ranks of Sheriff Tommy Williams Sheriff’s Department from patrol deputy to the high position of Chief Investigator. Besides being a familiar law enforcement face, David has volunteered many hundreds of hours as a coach, a sports sponsor, a little league board director, a promoter of a community sports complex and a plethora of other volunteer child, community, and church related activities. David Soward has and will always be there when the bugle blows. His expertise in civic and government management has been very beneficial to the citizens of Jourdanton assisting in the development of programs and providing expertise and direction in the infrastructure of church and sports management. He has distinguished himself again and again in community matters. Despite the long hours and erratic demands of law enforcement, David has always made time to help with a little league game, a church benefit, coach a baseball practice, umpire a game (who tells a sheriff’s deputy he needs glasses?) or help introduce the boys and girls of this community to safe organized activities that keep these young happy and impressionable faces away from bad choices. He has always avoided accolades and contributes his time and energy solely for the pure purpose of benefiting the children of the Jourdanton community. David Soward is indeed a deserving candidate for this special award.
Mary Mahoney Gardener of the Year
The Jourdanton Garden Club has selected a woman this year that has kept her yard in pristine shape while experimenting with many different kinds of plants, spices and vegetables.
Even though her lot is not exceptionally large, she has a delightful variety of leafy and blossoming plants. She gets seeds from friends, purchases and collects some while walking down alleys. She definitely has the magic touch, the proverbial green thumb.
If you go by the home of Mary Mahoney, you can’t help but admire her yard. She knows the names of every plant and has a story behind each one. You can feel her excitement as she talks about her yard.
It is with great pride and appreciation that the Jourdanton Garden Club honors Mary Mahoney for her hard work and gorgeous vegetation. She is an excellent candidate for the 2012 Gardener of the Year.
Rena Simmons Senior Citizen of the Year
Rena Simmons is a long time resident of the Jourdanton area. Together with her husband, Buddy, they have collectively contributed thousands of hours benefiting this community. Rena has been foremost in senior programs and outreach programs. She has assisted in the management and operations of the Jourdanton Methodist Church Soup Kitchen, an organization that provides weekly free meals to the elderly and families having tough times.
She has helped with salad luncheons, auctions fish fries and numerous other community fund raisers and is an active member of the Jourdanton Garden Club. Rena always greets people with a cheerful smile, a warm hug, a melodic hello and exudes a special charisma of fellowship and friendship. She has been and continues to be a very active member of the Jourdanton Methodist Church. Having four children and a number of smiling grandchildren, she has always been a strong supporter of JISD sports activities and sports teams. Rena has funneled their tireless energies into many, many endeavors that have directly and indirectly made the community of Jourdanton a better place to live and raise a family. Embarrassed by singular recognition, Rena Simmons, a very special person and friend to all of Jourdanton, is very deserving of this distinguished award.
Meri Lem Moore Young Citizen of the Year
A young Jourdanton resident who has been helping behind the curtains for many years, Meri Lem Moore, is a tireless woman who, despite family and work demands, has always made the time to pitch in and help with many of the local fund raisers and events. Meri is a very unassuming person with an instant smile. She is a very familiar face at the Jourdanton Chamber of Commerce Children’s Christmas Party and can always be counted on to take the photos of the kids in Santa’s lap who are either reading from long want lists or screaming at the top of their voices in terror of a bearded old man in a funny red suit. She has helped with many of the benefit luncheons and salad bars. Meri has helped do the setups and cleanups. For many years Meri has helped do the Jourdanton silent auction. She has always been unselfish with her time and when asked, always makes the effort. Meri Lem Moore is a very special young lady and a young ladyvery deserving of this award.
Cherie Stiefer Teacher of the Year
Ms. Cherie Stiefer teaches seventh grade Language Arts at Jourdanton Junior High School (JJHS). She supports UIL Academics as a coach for two speaking events, Modern Oratory and Oral Reading, as well as the seventh grade Ready Writing Program. Ms. Stiefer is the JJHS homebound teacher, providing instruction to students unable to participate in mainstream education. She teaches the Advanced English class and is a certified Gifted and Talented Teacher. The overall passing rate of Ms. Stiefer’s students for the past two years has been 99% for the State’s TAKS test.
Ms. Stiefer is a class sponsor for seventh grade, encouraging students to participate in their local community through service. Her students participated in the Adopt a Child Program for three years and raise money to purchase Christmas items for children at the Atascosa Family Crisis Center.
Ms. Stiefer promotes good citizenship through the use of the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars patriotic essay contest, the Patriot’s Pen program. The students establish and explore relationships with veterans they know and learn to appreciate the freedoms that are protected by their service. Her students have continued to shine at the regional, state and national levels of competition, earning over $11,000.00 in scholarships.
Chase Harrison Teenager of the Year
Chase Harrison is a young man who has been and continues to willingly contribute his help to the Community of Jourdanton. Chase will be a 2012 junior in the JISD. He has been very active in both church and school activities that go well beyond attendance requirements. He is bright, very friendly, respectful, and is always a part of a growing community. Chase is a self starter, and rarely needs to be asked twice or supervised to complete a project or job. He is a familiar face at most youth activities and well liked by peers. He has helped with many, many after school projects, summer camps, and church youth group activities. Chase has been active in the JISD sports program. He has volunteered and helped with many community fund raisers. During the Centennial Celebration, Chase gained celebrity with his excellent portrayal of the historic local legend Haf Coward. He has been chosen by peers to be the lead in a number of special endeavors. He has worked tirelessly to push his projects to a successful climax. For a young person, Chase has worn many hats: football, baseball, basketball, youth preacher, musician, actor, budding architect, class president, and the list keeps rolling and growing. Chase Harrison is indeed , a very special young person deserving of the honor of this special recognition award.
Lanessa Harlan Business Person of the Year
Lanessa Harlan is one of the most dynamic and far sighted business persons to ever be nominated for this honor. Lanessa, always an energetic and upbeat individual, had a vision of a local health and fitness center. Despite negative opinions of a low market potential in the Jourdanton/Pleasanton area, Lanessa forged ahead relying on her savvy marketing, aggressive management, and people skills to open her new business. Her vision immediately translated into a wildfire of professional success, with the fitness service becoming a premium business in the Jourdanton community. Her personal success and background in the physical and mental means and regime that helps the everyday person undertake the road towards a healthy body and better life is profound. The presence of her business, trademarked “The Gym” complete with a chop mark, has created and supports many full time jobs. The Gym, a runaway success, has substantially increased the number of visitors trafficking through Jourdanton, creating ancillary revenue sources for many of the other Jourdanton merchants. With this huge daily flow of people, comes gasoline purchases, hardware purchases, grocery purchases, restaurant business, and many other convenience purchases that would have been made elsewhere, had it not been for membership in the Gym. She is also very active, supportive and contributes to Jourdanton community fund raisers and events. Lanessa ensures that the fitness program menu continually changes and offers programs for the social pace counter as well as for the most dedicated purist. Lanessa has created a Jourdanton landmark in less than 5 years that continues to grow and with that growth, introduces more jobs, more revenue opportunities and more revenue streams for this community. Lanessa always smiles, is always cheerful, and always makes the time to listen, whether it be a personal story or the suggestion of a new physical torture for her menu of tears. Lanessa is truly an exceptional person and exceptional candidate for this award.
Mike Collins Fireman of the Year
Mike Collins joined the Jourdanton Volunteer Fire Department in 2006.
He has spent countless hours maintaining the fire trucks, many times spending late nights at the station. Mike has also volunteered his weekends, and after working hours to go to required training, and besides all this Mike responds to fires. Mike also makes time for his wife, Karen, and children and he is very involved with the Boy Scouts, attending Boy Scout camp every year. As you can see Mike is a very active person, and I am thankful that he volunteers as much time as he does.
Henry Netardus Lifetime Achievement Award
Henry was born about 2.5 miles west of Jourdanton on December 29, 1939 to John and Elizabeth Netardus. He was the seventh of eight children. He grew up in typical farm life, enjoying the outdoors as a child. As he grew older he probably didn’t enjoy it as much since that meant working in the fields in the heat of the summer or milking cows in freezing weather.
He attained his education, from first grade until graduation, in the Jourdanton schools. After that he helped his dad out on the farm until his Uncle Sam called him into service. He spent two years in the Army. While he was in the Army his father became very ill and Henry got leave to come home. He got home just before his father died.
After he got out of the Army, he came home and he and his brother, Blaise, took over the farm. They farmed in partnership for several years. You all know how dry Atascosa County can be so they put in irrigation. He worked very hard moving irrigation pipes. After a few years his mother decided to sell the farm and she moved to town.
Henry got a job with the Highway Department, a job he held for many years. In the meantime he married and he and his wife, Florence, had three children-two boys and one girl, Henry, Jr., Kenneth and Annette.
Henry has been very active in many organizations. He held offices in the local KJT, a Texas Catholic Fraternal, and also served as a State Director for many years. He also was Secretary of the local Knights of Columbus and is very active in his church, St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. He sings in one of the church choirs with his wife and two nieces. He sings beautiful harmony.
He has been a Chamber of Commerce Director for many years in which he held the office of President as well as serving on many committees. He served as Vice President of the Jourdanton EMS Facility Foundation, helping to raise funds for the EMS facility that was built in Jourdanton. He has worked very hard on many projects including the courthouse lighting, working with the Highway Department on beautification and in general, just trying to promote Jourdanton.
He was elected “Man of the Year” in 2007. This year we are proud to present him this “Special Award” for all his achievements.
Jourdine Dornak Tymrak Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is for a woman who has been around a long time. She was born on a farm on June 29, 1922. Her parents had moved here from Lavaca County. She was the youngest of five children; three boys and two girls. The Dornaks were one of the first families in St. Matthew Catholic Church. Being of Czech descent she did not know any other language. Since they lived several miles out in the country with no school bus her parents sent her to Christine to stay with her oldest brother and his wife because they lived close to the school. Her brother had a business in Christine, so that’s where she started her schooling. She says that she did not speak English, neither did her Hispanic playmates but they somehow managed to get along and play together. It wasn’t long before she learned English.
When she was older she came back home and attended Jourdanton schools. She graduated from Jourdanton High School where she had been a cheerleader. She can tell you many stories about her school days-but you better be prepared to listen for a while. She never meets a stranger, she will strike up a conversation with anyone near her.
You may be wondering where she got the name Jourdine. Her father worked for Jourdan Campbell, and since the Dornaks had come from Lavaca County, he was instrumental in bringing many families from that area to Jourdanton when the town was being settled. Her dad wanted to name her after our town’s founder.
Jourdine married Joe Tymrak when she was 18 years old. They had several businesses over the years, most of them were cafes, pool halls or beer joints. She worked right along with her husband in all of these ventures. When her husband was drafted, even though she had a little baby, she ran the business by herself until he returned from the Army. They raised a family of four girls and two boys. The children were put to work as soon as they were old enough so they all learned the work ethic of their parents. Over the years they helped a lot of people. They gave credit and many times the people couldn’t or wouldn’t pay up. They lost a lot of money because so much of it was just written off. Jourdine says they could have put all their children through college on the money lost. The last business they had was Joe’s Place which was a grocery store, but they also made hamburgers. Oh, those Joe’s Place hamburgers! My children always wanted to go there for those hamburgers, even after they were grown and came back for a visit.
They used to blow the fire whistle whenever there was a fire. If Joe was gone then she had to do it. They had to stay on line until someone got to the firehouse to inform the men where the fire was. Over the years the whole family was involved because if Joe and Jourdine were gone the children had to do it.
Jourdine always knew what was going on in town thanks to her police scanner. Many times when I’d be talking to her on the phone she would say “Just a minute. Let me see what the scanner is saying.” If the EMS was picking up someone who was sick she would ask if I knew the person or who lives at that address.
Jourdine made the best chicken noodle soup in town. I don’t think I am offending anyone by saying that. For years the family would gather at her house after Midnight Mass for a bowl of her chicken soup and chicken salad sandwiches. In later years we met at Janice and Leslie’s house but we still had the chicken soup.
She is also a champion letter-writer. She loves to get and write letters. If you send her a card or letter you can be sure you will get one back. If she writes something funny in the letter she always adds, “Hah”. She loves cards or letters that have scratchoff tickets enclosed-that’s another thing she loves to do.
Jourdine and Joe used to go to dances where he played his accordion. They played at all the little towns around Atascosa County and as far away as Los Angeles- Texas, that is. They also were sought out many times to lead the Grand March at weddings.
Jourdine celebrated her 90th birthday this year. Her children gave a big party with a Hawaiian theme which was celebrated in the old store building. A lot of family and friends were there to help her celebrate. We hope she is able to celebrate many more.
Sara Darby Lifetime Achievement Award
Sara Darby has lived in Jourdanton most of her life. She has always been very involved in the community.
Fifty years ago, in 1962, she was selected as Woman of the Year. And she hasn’t quit working in her community yet, even though she turned 90 years young in July of this year!
Sarah served as treasurer for the Jourdanton United Methodist Church for many years.
She is a member of the Jourdanton Eastern Star, served as their treasurer for many years.
Sara has been actively involved with the Friends of the Jourdanton Library since the library was started. She has worked tirelessly on fund raisers for the library. And of course since she is the best at handling money, she is the treasurer for the Friends! She has served in this position for over 14 years.
She was a member of the Jourdanton Library & Community Center Foundation, serving as secretary. Actively involved in the fund raising to build the library and community center.
Sara is an active library advocate and to this day prompts her love of reading and the Jourdanton Library at her new home at Argent Court.
She is most deserving of this Lifetime Achievement Award!
Sara is married to Marshall Darby and they have two children and numerous grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.