This weekend my dog and I moved back into our first home in Kerrville alongside some of the best neighbors our community has to offer.

They’re the kind of people who notice and help when you’ve locked yourself out of your house, they gladly water plants when you’re away, and routinely share from the abundance at their tables — pie and tamales in good supply. Over the years, they helped carry my burdens and shared the overflow of their own blessings. 

When I moved in 10 years ago, that meant sharing their little ones.

My home was one of only a few uninhabited by elementary-school-aged kids, but it was no less full of the laughter of family. 

Their kids helped me plant my first vegetable garden — a tangle of squash and peppers and strawberries that quickly grew so out of control I was afraid to harvest for fear of what might be lurking within. It was the result of a very haphazard trip to the Plant Haus. Not accustomed to shopping with kids, there was no monitoring what got tossed into the cart nor order in how those seedlings were planted. 

Those kids joined me at my church’s AWANA program and made a habit of running up my drive to knock on my door in the afternoons and yell for my pup and I to come out and play.

They shared life with me, and they and their parents made me feel at home.

It’s been almost five years since I lived there. In that time, my flower garden has gone mostly untended, but I’m sure the rose bushes and mountain laurels I planted and the friends I left behind all have grown. I’m excited to see what they’ve become.

It’s fun living among young families and their kiddos. They bring such joy and optimism.

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A luncheon hosted Wednesday by the Rotary Club of Kerrville offered similar reason to celebrate our community’s young people and hope in our collective future.

The club, with the help of Schreiner University, The Kerrville Daily Times, and other organizations, recognized 16 Kerr County students for their character through the annual Rotary Youth Citizenship Awards.

The students are selected by teachers as examples of the Rotary Club’s motto of “Service Above Self” and for possessing qualities of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and integrity. 

The students each were awarded $20,000 scholarships redeemable in seven years when they graduate from high school.

In presenting the awards Wednesday, Dr. Charlie McCormick, president of Schreiner University, said the university expects its students to be good citizens and leaders who own their values and commitments, so these students are exactly the sort the school hopes to invest in and recruit. 

He encouraged the students to live up to the potential they have shown so far and become the future neighbors and friends we all need.

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Fortunately, the students have wonderful role models in our community, including the five outstanding men and women The Kerrville Daily Times has selected as its 2019 Life’s Treasures Award recipients, presented annually in partnership with The Dietert Center. 

We received numerous letters of nomination about good people in our community who display the selflessness and commitment to volunteerism these awards represent.

The five recipients we chose epitomize what it means to be good neighbors, leaders and friends.

They include Jeff and Barbara Anderson, Mary Jewett, Scotty Schmerber and Clifton Fifer. 

Two of these recipients — the Andersons — were responsible for the very ceremony that honored those fifth-graders last week. 

Jeff is the chairman of the Rotary Youth Citizenship Awards, and with the help of his wife, Barbara, coordinated Wednesday’s event. The couple also is involved with SERV Kerrville and Read 2 Win, which were crucial to the skills training and collaboration that made the awards program possible. The ways this couple serves our community is too lengthy to mention here.

But we will share more about them and our other worthy recipients in a special section coming later this month. 

We’re excited to share their inspiring stories of service and commitment to our community. We also invite our readers to join us in honoring these special people at a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, at The Dietert Center. 

We also welcome those who know them to send notes of congratulations and well wishes to news@dailytimes.com. Those notes may be used in the special section.

Carlina Villalpando is the Editor and Publisher of The Kerrville Daily Times. She may be reached at carlina.

 

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