Devine will celebrate homecoming this Friday and Saturday, and nobody has more school spirit than Devine High School Custodian Troy Tuttle! Tuttle has worked for Devine Independent School District for more than 23 years and counting! We wanted to honor Troy during Nataional Custodians Week, and we did a short interview about why he loves working at Devine ISD so much. “I like working to get a pay check, watching the football games, and helping other people,” Tuttle said. His colleagues and students are always happy to see Troy’s smiling face come around the corner. “Troy is a joy to have around because he always comes in with something on his mind…and he’s going to share it with you!” Athletic Director Jim Sessions stated, “He’s always enthusiastic and happy about it as well. He loves to joke around and he really cares how the kids did in their sporting events! Of course, Troy will do anything you ask of him as well! He’s a great help around campus and in the office. I’m blessed to work with him, but I’m even more blessed to call him my friend!!” Head Football Coach Paul Gomez added, “Troy is awesome around the team. On Thursdays when we watch film at the school Troy always comes in and gives them a peptalk! He always tells the boys to win and play hard!” Coach Sessions also shared one of his favorite stories about Troy and how great he is. “Well one great story with Troy and I was back when I was coaching softball 20 years ago…Troy always helped us set up the field and batting cages for practice…So one day, Coach Navarro could not get the key to open a lock on the building that had the pitching machine in. After a short time of Coach Navarro trying, and not being successful, and of course Troy and I giving him some grief, I said I would open it….Well I tried and tried to open the lock and couldn’t get it to work either. At that time, Troy stepped up, looked at the lock, walked off and came back and sprayed the lock with some WD-40 (where he got it, I have no idea), and Troy opened the lock right up! And, of course, he kept joking with us for the rest of the season about the day he opened the lock when we couldn’t!”
The Current Events Club met in the lovely home of Judy Eaddy on September 13th for their first meeting of a new season. After delicious refreshments, Kathleen Calame, publisher of the Devine News, presented the program entitled, “125 Years of the Devine News”. The newspaper is not only the official newspaper of Devine, but also the official newspaper of Natalia, Lytle, and LaCoste. The Devine News was first published by George B. Holcombe for three months before W.L. DuBose purchased the paper in 1897 (traded a brand new horse and buggy) and the newspaper remains in the DuBose family to this day. K.K. DuBose Calame’s parents (Pat and Kitty DuBose) turned the paper over to her in 1999. KK’s daughter Kayleen Holder is the current editor of the paper, and fifth generation. KK shared many memories about the newspaper and brought some antiques from publishing past. The upcoming drawing was discussed by club members. Tickets will be available at Walmart on September 17 and 24th, and in October on the first and 22nd. Items for the drawing are: 1,000 pounds of deer corn, 500 pounds of deer corn, and a $300 gift card. Ticket cost is $5.00 or 5 tickets for $20. Tickets will be available and the drawing held at the Fall Festival on November 5th. Funds raised from the drawing will go to local causes, charities, and organizations and for two Devine High School scholarships. Another item of business was the National Wreaths Across America Day. One may sponsor a wreath for $15 to be placed on a veteran’s grave this December 17th at the Devine Evergreen and St. Joseph Catholic Cemeteries. A ceremony will be held at cemeteries from Arlington, Virginia across the nation and then wreaths places on the graves of veterans. To sponsor a wreath honoring a veteran, you may go online to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/TX1147P. Posters across town have QR codes so donations may be made online. Current Events Club members will be at the October 1st Market Day in Devine to assist with orders. The next club meeting on October 11th will be lunch and a trip to the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Antonio.
Local boy competes on NCS World Series 9u championship. Hunter Alston, of Devine, played in the National Championship Sports World Series in Florida this past weekend with his team Alamo City WolfPack. Hunter also competed in the skills challenge against 48 kids from Texas, Alabama, and Florida, winning the Home Run Derby with 4 total homeruns.
Case Finto (on right) and her mom Candy after getting Case fitted for a new wheelchair and special crutches. Case was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis this year, and the family appreciates anything you can do to help. Her daddy, Waylon, is also battling MS and was diagnosed just one year before her. You can drop off a donation at The Devine News. Please make out any checks directly to Candy Finto. If you would be interested in hosting a benefit or plate sale for the Finto family, please let us know. There is also a Go Fund Me which can be found on Candy Finto’s facebook page.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Theresa
This weekend family, friends and community will celebrate the life of a remarkable man who impacted thousands of lives in Medina County and the surrounding area. Every year, the late John Southwell, 89, helped provide hundreds of foster children with Christmas gifts. Every week, he went to the store and bought beds, playpens, strollers, anything a foster child needed that the State wouldn’t provide. Every day, he advocated for these kids, building up a homegrown non-profit organization named HANK, Inc., which he co-founded with his beautiful wife, Debbie, who will carry on the mission. I went to visit Mr. Southwell at his home just a few days before he passed away, and even as he struggled so, he was still advocating for these children. He was excited to let me know that HANK will be opening their third community foster home very soon. One of the last things he said to me was “Children are the most precious thing”. I know there will be a special place in Heaven for Mr. John Southwell, of Hondo, Texas. What a legacy he leaves behind. Three community foster homes with 18 warm beds for local foster children in Devine and Hondo. A little love and joy in the hearts of thousands of foster children who received a gift and were touched by HANK over the years, and will continue to be touched for many years to come. A memorial service for William “John” Southwell, III will take place on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at New Fountain United Methodist Church at 1:00 p.m. Please wear bright colors; John wanted this to be a joyous celebration of his life. Full obituary inside. I first met Mr. John Southwell when I was covering County Court as a reporter for the local newspaper. That Monday, the county was donating surplus funds to a non-profit organization named HANK, which stands for Helping Abused and Neglected Kids. We met for an interview shortly afterward. The first thing he explained is that there were 100–200 foster children in our little three-county area at any given time. From that first meeting, I knew right then and there that this was the best charity in Medina County. One of the Mr. Southwell’s goals was to raise enough money to build “community foster homes” in local towns because finding a warm bed for a foster child is so difficult. At that time, a local judge explained that they often have to send kids to foster homes four hours away or even farther because there is simply no available bed for them in our area. With so much hard work, dedication and sincerity, Mr. Southwell’s dream to build community foster homes soon came true. In 2016 they built their first community foster home in Devine. In 2017, they were able to build a second home in the neighboring town of Hondo, Texas, which is where the Southwells live and where HANK, Inc. began. And this year, they will open their 3rd community foster home. Their “little” organization, run out of their home office, has purchased some 15,000 Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and sets of school supplies. That’s not to mention the thousands of other things HANK has purchased for kids in need over the past ten years. Mr. Southwell was an inspiration to everyone who met him. To see this awesome husband-and-wife team working side by side and everything they have accomplished just blows me away. He became somewhat of a grandfather figure to me over the years, as he did to hundreds upon hundreds of children who recieved a little comfort from HANK at a time when they needed it most. Mr. Southwell was a good business man and an excellent speaker. When he retired, he used those talents to build up HANK, alongside his wife Debbie and many volunteers. He was a man who was quick to tell you when you did a good job and that always motivated you to do more. He was inspirational by his actions and absolutely sincere in everything he did. John and Debbie saw big needs of foster children that weren’t being met while volunteering for another organization, and instead of accepting it, they took into thier own hands and hearts to answer that call, fulfill those needs that aren’t covered by the State for local foster children. What an impact a man can make.
By Lindy Teetsel Foster care has always been near and dear to our hearts. As an educator of 9 years, I have had many students who were directly affected by foster care and my husband actually aged out of the foster care system in Ohio. When we began trying to grow our family, we were faced with years of infertility. At the time, I was angry and resentful. Ever since I was little, all I wanted to be was a mom. I couldn’t understand at the time why God wasn’t answering my prayers. I now know it was because He had another plan in store for us. We began the licensing process in October of 2019. After a lot of classes, paperwork, and interviews, we were finally licensed as a foster-to-adopt family, meaning we understood that the primary goal of foster care is reunification, however, in the event that reunification is not possible, we were willing to adopt. After we received our license we waited for the call. We were ready to help for however long was needed, whether the child would be with us for 3 days, 3 months, or forever. After several days we had not received any calls. It seemed odd because we knew there had to be kids out there that needed us. During this time, my grandmother’s health had severally declined. All the medical staff kept saying she would be passing any day but she hung on. No one understood why. On March 16th, I received the call saying my grandmother had passed away. We knew it was her time and found joy in knowing she was no longer in pain. Everyone was so surprised she had hung on so long. Less than an hour later we got the call about our daughters. I like to think that my grandmother helped bring these sweet girls to me. Over the next month, we were able to meet the girls and provide respite for their current placement. At the time, the girls had just turned 2, 3, and 4. It was overwhelming but my husband and I loved them already. Shortly after that, they were placed us. The first week was a huge adjustment for everyone. We went from having zero children, a spotless house, a completely free schedule and sleeping through the night, to juggling 3 kids, a house that looked like a zoo, running back and forth to appointments and living on caffeine and prayers. My husband would often joke and remind me that every girl in the house (including me the dog and I) had cried that day. But the days got easier. We bonded as a family more and more each day. We worked through big feelings, explored new places, practiced giving grace, and so much more. We learned it truly does take a village to raise children and we cannot thank our village enough for all the love and support you have shown us. If you are interested in “Being the Village” for youth in foster care, there are many ways you can help. First and foremost, I highly suggest educating yourself in Trauma Informed Care practices. These wonderful kiddos have experienced so much trauma in their little lives that their brains now process differently. It’s our job to be the calm to their storm. You can also become a licensed foster parent, respite provider, or baby sitter. You can contact local foster organizations and see what donations are needed, sponsor their back-to-school shopping, or even donate gift cards. If you know a foster family and would like to provide help to them, offer to drop off dinner or a gift card for a family outing so they can bond with new placements and make memories together. Have a gently used suitcase? Donate it to a local foster closet. No child deserves to carry their belongings in a trash bag. For more ways to help youth in foster care, contact your local foster care agencies and foster closets.
The Natalia Mustang Band spent Memorial Day remembering the sacrifices made for our country as many Natalia residents watched band members march down Constitution Avenue in Washington DC. Our Mustang Band represented Natalia with such pride. They also wore ribbons to show our deepest support for all of those in Uvalde.
Over $100,000 was raised by this amazing community during the 1st Annual Audrey Jane’s Light event held at Devine Acres this past Saturday, May 14. The event was held in honor of Audrey Capps, 4 years old, as she battles a very rare and devastating disease called A-T (or Ataxia Telangiectasia). The Capps and Calame crew are doing everything they can to raise money for research to find the cure. The AT Children’s Project was started by two other A-T parents and works tirelessly to find that cure. If you didn’t get a chance, you can make a donation at www.atcp.org/Audrey