Huajilla Unit holds first meeting of the year

Sam Dubberly and Irene Dubberly, Treasurer and President, respectively, of the Huajilla Retired Teachers Association, present retired FDNY Captain William Gronemann III (center) with an appreciation gift after his presentation in which he related his experiences and actions before, during and after September 11, 2001.

About 65 members and guests were present at St. Paul’s Lutheran Activity Center for the Huajilla Unit’s Retired Teachers first meeting of the year on September 24, 2018. Lewis Stroud offered the opening prayer and blessing, followed by the pledges and the singing of “God Bless America.”
Current officers are President Irene R. Dubberly, 1st Vice Preseident Betsy Polgue, 2nd Vice President Jim Rigby, Secretary Brenda Prestage, Treasurer Sam Dubberly and Parliamentarian Tom Fillinger.
Minutes from the previous meeting were made available as was Sam Dubberly’s Treasurer’s Report and both reports were approved for filing. Sam Dubberly reported that Huajilla Unit was one of 7 winners of TRTA’s Ready, Set, Blitz membership drive and will receive a $500 award for their hard work
Each committee presented a report on their summer activities and responsibilities for the year.
Public Relations Chair, Betsy Polgue, sent cards to several members who have experienced health challenges and other family issues during the summer.
Membership Chair, Jim Rigby, reported that, according to the state TRTA, our unit has 211 members. Of that number, 189 are members in good standing, however, there are some members who have not renewed membership to date, and others have not joined the Huajilla Unit. Rigby encouraged members to recruit and inviteretirees to join our group.
Book Project representative Kathy Carskadden described the Book Project that provided 700 books last December to four different groups in Medina County. This project depends on monetary contributions from members as well as the donation of gently used books.
The Community Volunteer Services Committee requests that members log their volunteer hours for the calendar year. Most retirees don’t realize that many of their activities are those which, if not for them volunteering, someone would have to pay for the service: babysitting, driving others to medical appointments, visiting nursing homes, helping with church and community activities. Volunteering is a viable part of a community’s existence.
Due to the absence of Scholarship Chair Charles Carlson, Irene Dubberly reported that Huajilla Unit awarded two scholarships last year and will be seeking donations beginning in the spring.
TRTA Foundation Chair, Bruce Simpson, reported that Huajilla Unit contributed to TRTA Foundation fund last year, alldedicated to Hurricane Harvey relief. Huajilla Unit will again be involved in contributing to the TRTA Foundation.
Informative and Protective Services Committee and Healthy Living Committee handouts on Senior Scams and Emergency Preparedness were available for the members. These will also be posted on the unit website.
Callers from the different towns were introduced and members are asked to provide updated contact information.
Legislative and Retirement Chairperson, Ken Hanson,attended a TRTA committee meeting in Austin in July and participated in a conference call in September. Our area experienced a good voter turn-out for the recent special election and members are again encouraged to vote. October 9 is voter registration deadline to be able to vote in the November 2018 election. Ken reported that 6,835 potential voters live in District 20 and 5,435 are registered to vote. He also encouraged members to call and email their elected political representatives after the general election.
Summer planning meetings were reviewed by Brenda Prestage. Most of the activiti at those two meetings dealt with membership updates, and planning activities/meetings for the coming year. Officers and committee members also attended the district leadership meeting in Floresville in June 2018.
Sam Dubberly, Bruce Simpson, Deborah Zerr, and Bertha Benadetti completed an audit of Huajilla Unit, sent the report to Austin and had copies for the members. Additionally, Dubberly presented the proposed budget. Both were approved by the membership.
Special guest Suann Agold, District 20 President of TRTA, congratulated the Huajilla unit for winning the $500 for the membership drive. She noted the detailed reports presented and invited all members to attend the District 20 Fall Conference which will be held October 25 in Boerne where the $500 award will be presented to Huajilla Unit. She reviewed the 100,000-membership goal set by state TRTA and encouraged the unit to meet the challenge with the new “Bring a Friend to Homecoming” membership drive, and spoke about the state convention in April. Ms. Agold reported that in 2016 there were 1,040 TRS annuitants in Medina County, which brings in about $23.8 million annually to the county. She encouraged the members to stay politically informed and active, and to make sure to report volunteer hours, which helps politicians see our value in the local community. Suann, a Hondo native, retired from Boerne, recognized her mom, Vivian Zinsmeyer, and her sister Renae McNeil, both of whom are active Huajilla Unit members.
The Program “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” was presented by author William Groneman III, who spoke about his experience as a New York City firefighter on September 11, 2001. He was a NYCFD Captain at that time and relayed his emotional and traumatic experiences of that day, during which 343 of his fellow-firefighters lost their lives. He was one of 16,000 firefighters who were called to duty that day and also worked during the next year cleaning up the 16-acre site of mountains of debris. Mr. Groneman retired from the NYCFD in 2002, and now resides in Kerrville, Texas, where he continues his writing and speaking activities. Irene Dubberly presented Groneman with Huajilla honey at the conclusion of his riveting presentation.
The next meeting will be October 22, 2018, in D’Hanis; a tour of the brick yard before the meeting is on the program. More details will come in early October.
Meeting adjourned andas members enjoyed a lunch catered by Azteca Restaurant, there was a drawing for door prizes.