Huajilla Unit Retired Teachers begin a new year

President Irene Dubberly present William Bogart of Anytime Fitness with a jar of Huajilla honey for his presentation on Humana’s Silver Sneakers program.

The Huajilla Unit of Texas Retired Teachers held its first meeting of the year on September 25, 2017, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hondo. President Irene Dubberly welcomed the 81 members and guests present. Charles Carlson offered the opening prayer and blessing and after the Pledges to the American and State Flags, members sang “God Bless America.”
Dubberly called to mind the recent passing of Charles MacFarland from Sabinal and Gordon Mechler from Hondo. She then recognized Karen Moos, who with her husband, Rick, recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary; Gerry Bridges who celebrated her vows with Larry Stamps followed by a month in Hawaii, and Esther Johnson whose granddaughter, Shelby Gayre, has received numerous honors and awards as a successful softball player at D’Hanis High School and now as a Kansas Jayhawk.
New members welcomed to the Huajilla Unit are Frances Bippert from Castroville, Larry and Rosalie Hausenfluke, originally from Jarrell, and now living in Hondo, Roberta Lopez from LaCoste, Tim Montgomery from Pearsall, and Karla Salzman from LaCoste. Not present were new members Gary Patterson and Rita Vance from Hondo.
Following the introduction of officers, Diana Bush reviewed the summer planning meetings of the Executive Board.
Sam Dubberly presented the Treasurer’s Report and reviewed the Audit report, providing detailed information on the organization’s income and expenses during 2016-2017. Additionally, Sam Dubberly presented the proposed 2017-2018 budget. Bruce Simpson made a motion to change the amount of the Foundation contribution and the motion carried; Ruth Davis also proposed a change to the income from yearbook sales and the motion carried. Sam Dubberly then proposed accepting the budget with changes and the motion carried. A copy of the new budget will be provided at the October meeting.
Lola Hill, Book Project chair informed the members of the statewide Book Project. Members are asked to donate new or gently used books or make monetary contributions to purchase books for school-aged students. These books will be presented in December to select organizations which deal with children and their needs.
Hill also reviewed the suggestions and guidelines for the Community Volunteer Services whereby members participate in volunteer activities. Last year’s top volunteer for the unit tallied 2,000 volunteer hours, and several other members tallied over 1,500 volunteer hours. These volunteer hours are submitted to the state. In 2016, TRTA volunteers tallied over 6 million hours valued at $152,000,000.
Dubberly then introduced each committee chair and gave a brief description of their duties. Key to the success of this organization are the members of the Calling Committee, Bertha Benedetti from Castroville, Jean Sexton from D’Hanis, Dorothy Howard and Mary Jean Lillie from Sabinal, Kay Shultz and Linda Cole from Devine, Olivia Bernsen and Mary Jo Schweers from Hondo, and Gerry Bridges from Rio Frio. These callers contact members in their area and remind them of membership renewal, meeting dates and times and other timely information for retirees to know, and are instrumental in keeping the organization active.
Another key component is the information that Ken Hanson, the Legislative Chair, brings to the meetings. Hanson discussed the battle that members had to engage in during the Special Session, to assure that the health care component of retirees was not going to drain the retirees’ limited income. The changes that healthcare has undergone will be discussed and clarified in TRS informative meetings which started in mid-September. Locally, a morning and afternoon meeting is scheduled for October 31, 2017, in Castroville; members must register to attend. Other meetings are scheduled for San Antonio and Kerrville. Hanson also touched on the importance of knowing who our “friends” are in the Legislature and the importance of constant contact with these members of the legislature through mail, email, phone calls and personal contact. Current educators must also keep abreast of the issues because the defined benefits-defined contributions battle is not dead; it can reappear at the next Legislative Session.
Following Hanson’s presentation, William Bogert from Anytime Fitness informed members of the benefits of the Silver Sneakers Program under Humana Advantage. Members are given access to modern equipment and a variety of exercise programs and machines at no cost. It’s important to take advantage of the services available; the more participation there is, the more the opportunity there will be to expand services…and who can’t use some exercise time?
After his presentation, President Dubberly presented a gift of Huajilla honey to Mr. Bogert in appreciation for his informative program.
Prior to adjournment, President Dubberly reminded members of the District Fall Convention in Boerne on October 26 beginning at 9:30 AM. The next scheduled meeting will be at the D’Hanis Community Center on October 23, beginning at 10 AM.
Several names were drawn for door prizes and members enjoyed visiting time and lunch catered by Azteca Restaurant.