Gillespie Life


FHS NJROTC cadet among top in nation, receives Legion of Valor Bronze Cross

CADET COMMANDING officer Austin Beals, a senior at Fredericksburg High School, shows his Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement, received from retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Don Mason in a ceremony held at the school on Sept. 18. Beals has applied for admission to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie— In his fourth and final year of the Fredericksburg High School Navy JROTC program, Cadet Commanding Officer Austin Beals has received the highest award a cadet can earn from an outside agency — the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement.

The honor was presented to Beals at the FHS gymnasium on Wednesday, Sept. 18, by retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Don Mason.

“It was great and fantastic to win,” said Beals, whose parents were in the audience. “It began as a smaller event, but other people found out about it, and it turned into big event with a whole bunch of people here.”

Beals began serving as the JROTC’s commanding officer, a year-long position, on May 1.


Goffs make theater a family affair

FOR THE GOFF FAMILY, which is Kerry (left), eight-month-old Logan (center) and Ashleigh, working in theater is a family affair. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie— The day before his freshman year at McMurry University in Abilene, Kerry Goff entered a Starbucks and met a young lady named Ashleigh Chisholm.

Kerry is a fifth-generation Fredericksburg resident while Ashleigh is from Abilene. But, they had one common interest: theater. Ashleigh was working in the MCMU theater department while Kerry was there to earn a degree in directing.

The two became friends, began dating and, shortly after Kerry graduated in 2010, became husband and wife.

And now, for the past three years, the two have worked at the Fredericksburg Theater Company. Kerry is the artistic and technical director while Ashleigh directs the Freddyburg Youth Theater. She currently is directing “The Miracle Worker,” which is in rehearsal.


Homegrown Fredericksburg: Blumenhandler Florist

WITH HIGH SCHOOL homecomings just around the corner, Blumenhandler Florist owner Dianne Blount, left, pins a corsage-and-ribbon arrangement on her daughter, Stacey York. —Standard-Radio Post/Danny Hirt

By Danny Hirt— From a lifelong affinity for flowers, Dianne Blount has turned her Blumenhandler Florist into a multi-faceted business that offers so much more than just pretty blossoms.

“I loved flowers when I was young,” she said. “I wanted a flower shop.”

Years ago, while her husband, Don, was serving in the military in the state of Washington, Dianne attended a local community college there to further study her interest in flowers.

She mentioned that while there, she was offered a temporary job at a flower shop on a military base “just for Mother’s Day.” But because Dianne’s work was so good, she was kept on well after the holiday rush.

“In four months’ time we turned that shop around,” she said. And it wasn’t long after that that she was offered the head position at the store.

“The shop was very, very productive,” Dianne said, adding that the business became “more visible” by moving to an on-base shopping center.


Korean War veteran reflects on 555 days as a POW


By Richard Zowie— “It was a hell of an ordeal.”

Those succinct seven words are how Fredericksburg’s Jack Ledford described the 555 days when he was forced to move across the Korean Peninsula with North Korean and Chinese forces.

An Army Airborne paratrooper and veteran of six battles in the Korean War, including the Inchon invasion and the Chosin Reservoir, Ledford spent February 1951 until about summer 1952 as a prisoner of war.

“There were incidents that happened, incidents of unbelievable cruelty,” said Ledford, an Oklahoma native who grew up in Llano County and, after the war, worked in real estate and insurance in Fredericksburg. “Nobody would believe it. You adapted and as I told everybody, you just kept a low profile and remembered: don’t be argumentative and don’t threaten anybody. In time, we hoped maybe it would get better.”


Habitat for Humanity 'raising the roof' - Donations still needed

Earlier this summer, Habitat for Humanity launched a “Raise the Roof” fund drive to raise money for Home #15.

To date, Habitat has raised over $16,000, but officials say they have a way to go before that roof can be put on.

“Since 1995, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Fredericksburg has helped 14 area families achieve the American dream of home ownership,” said board president Larry Berkman.  “It is truly wonderful when a community cares enough to help its own citizens’ dreams come true. Hopefully, that dream will become reality next February for another family.”

Next February is when the all-volunteer group of Habitat home builders, the Care-A-Vanners, will pull into Fredericksburg in their RV’s to bring Home #15 to the “dry-in” stage.

A building lot is ready and waiting for these snow-birds’ helping hands, Berkman said.

After that, local volunteer builders will finish the house for move-in by a local family by the end of the year. 


Viva Texicana fiesta, concert on tap Sept. 28

The first annual “Viva Texicana” Hill Country Fiesta, celebrating Hispanic heritage in the Texas Hill Country, will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, from 4-9 p.m. at Pioneer Museum, located at 325 West Main Street.

The event will be an evening of family-friendly fun hosted by Stephanie Urbina Jones, a third generation Hispanic-American country singer-songwriter and featured artist on the TV show “Troubadour Texas.”

Festivities will kick off at 4 p.m. with an hour-long performance by Mariachi Nuevo Estilo ADM, recent “America’s Got Talent” performers whose style mixes traditional Mexican music with some of today’s top hits.

A special “Fiesta Fun Zone” with free children’s activities will take place from 4-6 p.m. featuring educational and cultural arts, crafts and games, including piñatas, mariachi musical chairs, a tortilla toss, fiesta rubber ducks, storytelling in English and Spanish and more.


'Love sick' with Fredericksburg: Filmmakers bring day-long shoot to Hangar Hotel

SETTING UP his shot, director of photography Jeffery Buras (right) prepares to film a scene at the bar with actresses (from left) Shina Sterns, Dani Bell and Kelsey Pribilski Sunday afternoon at the Hangar Hotel Officers' Club for the upcoming short film "Love Sick Lonnie." —Standard-Radio Post/Matt Ward

By Matt Ward—  Film crews shut down the Hangar Hotel Officers’ Club Sunday as the Hill Country Film Society (HCFS) shot a large portion of their second short film “Love Sick Lonnie.”

A non-profit organization that hosts the annual Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg, the society finished principal photography on their second short film after the success of “Detention,” shot at St. Mary’s Catholic School last summer and shown at the 2013 Hill Country Film Festival.

“We just wanted to shoot another short film and involve the city of Fredericksburg,” HCFS executive director Chad Mathews, who also wrote, directed and acted in “Love Sick Lonnie,” said.

Mathews said the inspiration for “Love Sick Lonnie” came from friend Michael Morales, who stars as Lonnie, and his obsession with boy bands.


'Art of glass' comes shining through in work

The 'Glass on Glass' style allows light to shine through it. —Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie— Two artists with two very different mosaic styles sat at the same table, chatting as they worked with glass and glue.

One likes working with blues and greens and creating stained glass-style work that represents Texas-based themes.

Another prefers a colorful, ceramic exploration of the fantasy world.

The two artists, Kathy Dalrymple and Patricia Karr, worked on their latest pieces Friday, Sept. 6 at the Artisans at Rocky Hill during Fredericksburg’s First Friday Art Walk.

Eleven of the city’s art galleries had displays and artists to celebrate art and to educate visitors on the creative side of life.

Dalrymple’s latest work involved a twining vine with hummingbirds. As she talked, she cut glass pieces and carefully glued them onto a glass “canvas” in what could perhaps be described as a “glass on glass” technique.


Ready, set, shop...

The 10th Annual Shopping for a Cause FUNdraiser will visit Fredericksburg Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13-14.

Friday will be the preview parties at participating stores with the stores open until about 7-8 p.m.

Saturday will be the tournament day with an 8:30 a.m. Tee Time Breakfast at the Nimitz Ballroom, located on Main Street.

Then, at 10 a.m. Saturday, the shopping begins with a shotgun start at participating stores.

There will be three drop-off stations downtown.

The event supports the Boys & Girls Club of Fredericksburg, whereby teams of up to four shoppers shop at participating stores on Main Street and receive prizes based on the amount of money spent, team spirit/costumes (costumes are encouraged) and the amount directly donated to the Boys & Girls Club.

The club provides a safe environment for kids and teens of both genders to learn and grow while having fun.


Food Pantry needs help to fill shelves

Food, food, food.

“That’s what we need,” said Tommy Moose, president of the board of directors of the Fredericksburg Food Pantry.

Moose said that last Wednesday, Sept. 4, the Fredericksburg Food Pantry helped a record 80 families that day.

“That is something that hasn’t happened before,” he said.

Because the Food Pantry continues to assist large numbers of families each week, food is needed to fill the shelves.

“Let’s fill the shelves back up,” Moose said.

Especially needed, he said are sugar, flour, peanut butter, canned meat (chicken, tuna, ravioli), soup, cereal, canned vegetables and canned fruit.

“We accept all food items as long as they are not expired and are unopened with the original packaging and labeling,” Moose said.

The Food Pantry also accepts donations of meat items, but the meat must be processed by a USDA inspected facility or purchased at a retail facility.


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