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Around Town November 2015

(L-R): Nicole Robinson-Gauthier, David Argueta and Julie Martineau.

(L-R): Nicole Robinson-Gauthier, David Argueta and Julie Martineau.


The House of Blues tent at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion was rocked one last time on Oct.6 with the annual Montgomery County United Way Campaign Kick-Off and Pacesetter Celebration.

Marking its 60th diamond anniversary of improving lives in Montgomery County, board members, corporate representatives, Montgomery County residents, staff members, as well as members of the media gathered in the House of Blues tent for breakfast, networking, reminiscing and celebrating. Judge Craig Doyle also attended and showed his support.

Former MCUW board chair and current 60th anniversary chair, Roz Dauzat, opened the ceremony with remarks regarding the wonderful contributions Montgomery County United Way has made in the community for the last six decades. Next, 2015 campaign chair, David Argueta with CHI St, Luke’s Health, spoke to the crowd about beginning the next 60 years with an even greater commitment to improving Mont­gomery County lives and creating a positive, lasting change in our local community.

Then the time came for celebration. 2015 pacesetter chair, Dave Baker with SWBC Mortgage, made the early campaign reports from the Pacesetter companies. This year, 11 companies boast the title of Pacesetter including Anderson Ford, CB&I, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, CHI St. Luke’s Health, Dillards – The Woodlands, H-E-B, Montgomery County United Way, Memorial Hermann Hospital, San Jacinto River Authority, SWBC Mortgage and The Woodlands Development Company.

This year’s Montgomery County United Way campaign goal is ambitious at a whopping $6 million, but the board and investor strategies team are confident that with their loyal donors, the goal should be well within reach. Baker was able to announce that the 11 Pacesetter companies have already set a solid pace for their target by raising just over $2 million, which was a definite cause for celebration. Moreover, CB&I was able to increase employee giving $1,116,000 this campaign year ­– a 47 percent increase from last year.


Carrying the torch during the opening ceremony of the 2015 Senior Games is Margaret Nemic, with Dr. Ann Snyder.

Carrying the torch during the opening ceremony of the 2015 Senior Games is Margaret Nemic, with Dr. Ann Snyder.


Over 150 community seniors from 12 local senior communities and long-term care facilities flexed their muscles both mentally and physically at the 14th annual Senior Community Games hosted by Interfaith of The Woodlands.

The event took place on Sept. 26 at McCullough Junior High School, with more than 150 seniors ready to compete.

Working closely with Silverado Senior Living, Interfaith developed challenging but attainable goals for each activity. The games included a bean bag toss, bowling, golf hole-in-one, spelling bee, basketball toss, talent show and a ring toss. All participants received breakfast, lunch and an event T-shirt. Each senior also received a ribbon or won a bronze, silver or gold medal. More than 100 volunteers from local organizations assisted in the overall success of the event.

“The Senior Community Games gives each participant a wonderful opportunity to interact with other seniors and strengthen their minds and spirits,” shared Dr. Ann Snyder, president and CEO of Interfaith of The Woodlands.

Interfaith of The Woodlands is a nonprofit social service agency providing numerous programs and services to meet the needs of The Woodlands and the surrounding area. For more information on Interfaith’s programs and services, or to become a volunteer, visit woodlandsinterfaith.org or call 281-367-1230.


Eric and Lori Johnson.

Eric and Lori Johnson.


Meals on Wheels Montgomery County recently underwent a complete rebranding, which has begun to substantially pay off. After decades of being known as “The Friendship Center,” staff realized that too many residents didn’t know the services offered, so a new name was chosen that quickly and accurately reflected the mission.

In early June, Lori and Eric Johnson of The Woodlands became the first major gifts donors of the 2014-2015 Annual Campaign for Meals on Wheels Montgomery County with a donation of $60,000 to the organization. The Johnsons have been longtime supporters of the organization’s annual MOW Campaign, but this year, they decided to donate more to ensure a better quality of life for homebound seniors in the community.

“My grandfather, who has since passed away, was homebound and received a meal through Meals on Wheels every day,” said Eric Johnson. “He appreciated the meals, and he appreciated the Meals on Wheels volunteers, who he called ‘the ladies,’ that delivered his meals just as much because they offered him companionship. It was the bright point of his day.”

Part of the rebranding is a new focus on growth and revenue stream. In the past, MOWMC has generated about 80 percent of its revenue from federal, state and local grants and only 20 percent from private unrestricted donations. The executive director, Allison Hulett, and the organization’s new director of development, Bonnie Pfrenger, have plans to increase the number of Montgomery County donors to better balance the organization’s assets.

Currently, Meals on Wheels Montgomery County has a waiting list of 280 homebound seniors who want to begin meal service. Unfortunately, the organization does not have enough resources to meet this need, which is why reaching out to the community and developing relationships with donors is so important.

“Lori and I hope that our donation to Meals on Wheels Montgomery County will not only help serve more homebound seniors, but also will illustrate our belief that Meals on Wheels is an organization worth donating to. We hope it will generate more donations and resources for the organization.” said Johnson.

Half of the $60,000 donation from the Johnsons will be used to buy a new Meals on Wheels van so that meals can be delivered to volunteer delivery sites serving homebound seniors throughout Montgomery County. The remaining funds will be used to support the organization’s infrastructure and ability to begin moving seniors off of the waitlist.

Meals on Wheels Montgomery County is located at 1202 Callahan Avenue, Conroe. For information on becoming a donor, visit mowmc.org or contact Bonnie Pfrenger at 936-756-5828, X102 or bonnie@mowmc.org.


Furry family members recently received a blessing at Lord of Life Lutheran Church.

Furry family members recently received a blessing at Lord of Life Lutheran Church.


On a recent lovely autumn afternoon in The Woodlands, beloved non-human family members of every shape and size gathered for The Blessing of the Pets at Lord of Life Lutheran Church. The service, interrupted by the occasional bark, meow and hiss, honored the example of St. Francis of Assisi, recognized the special place animals have in our hearts and affirmed our mysterious connection with all living creatures. Word on the street is that Gus, a freshly-blessed 8-pound Maltipoo, still chases squirrels.


last singer standing


The Last Singer Standing, a fun vocal contest for women 12-112 was held by The Woodlands Show Chorus (TWSC) on Sept. 26 at the Dosey Doe Music Café on FM 1488 at I-45. Thirteen-year-old Hannah Eichinger took home a $250 prize for first place with her beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Sandra Laird came out of retirement to win second place ($100 prize) singing “Close to You.” Laird’s future plans include singing duets with her husband of 52 years. Third place prize of $50 was won by Felicia Adams with her interpretation of “Lay Me Down.” Eric Bruner (local voice coach), Keith Brumfield (director of theater, McCullough Jr. High) and Janie Macchiaroli (world-renowned Sweet Adelines Interna­tional sound judge) were the contest judges. Karla Calloway, an assistant director for TWSC, and Kathy Parker were panel judge and emcee, respectively. On Sept.28, the chorus opened the TWSC rehearsal hall for a very successful combined open house and performance of “A Chorus Affair” featuring their broad repertoire and allowing visitors to join in the singing on the risers with the chorus members.

On Oct. 24, TWSC conducted an all-day Youth Harmony Festival for girls and women ages 10 to 25 at their rehearsal hall in the Atrium of Grace Crossing Church. During the session, participants received education in vocal production from accredited instructors and chorus members and learned to harmonize. The day culminated with a performance for friends and family members.

Since their inception a little over three years ago, TWSC has performed at venues in and around The Woodlands, including annual preconcert activities for The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion; side show performances at The Woodlands Waterway Art Festival, monthly meetings of the 105 Veterans and Lone Star Honor Flight; Bernhardt Winery; Lighting of the Pink and Lighting of the Doves in Market Square; Arts In The Park at Rob Fleming Park; as well as for many women’s groups. A variety of performances are planned through the end of the year. visit thewoodlandsshowchorus.org for more information.

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