Author Archives: Athena Garcia

A PLACE TO CALL HOME – HEARTHSTONE APARTMENTS

Susana Cole Property Manager Have you ever gone looking for an apartment to live in? Maybe back in college days? Maybe yesterday? An apartment complex can be many things to the variety of people who live there. However, the one thing that is most important is that it feels like home. That is exactly how it feels to many of the residents who live at Hearthstone Apartments. When you are first looking for that new apartment to turn into a home, taking in the lay of the land, surveying the landscaping, and inspecting the care of the buildings might first garner your attention. The warm, inviting colors of this well-kept complex will easily catch the eye of an apartment hunter. The meticulously maintained landscape of Hearthstone could possibly make your car pull directly into the office located in the center of the 308-unit complex. “This property was built in 1996,”…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – CAPABLE KIDS FOUNDATION

We have all been through some sort of trying time during this pandemic, from staying home, staying six feet apart from each other, washing our hands consistently, following city and state COVID-19 guidelines, making sure our kids and families remain safe – not to mention the families who know firsthand the devastating conditions this pandemic can bring. But I never stopped to think about the special people in our communities who, from the instant they were born, go through trying moments every day of their lives. Getting to know the Capable Kids Foundation and recognizing what it achieves was quite inspiring. Co-founder and physical therapist Melanie Watson and Executive Director Sofia Peña both spoke about the program and what they do to motivate the kids they help throughout the year. The organization’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children with all types of disabilities. The idea first…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – JOHNNY RODRIGUEZ

Johnny Rodriguez Public Relations Bert Ogden Auto Group Johnny Rodriguez, a happy, enthusiastic fisherman, golfer, gardener, and Public Relations Director for the Bert Ogden Auto Group, had two significant family role models, whom he said, shaped his life. “My dad was a World War II hero. He had his face blown off and survived to the age of 91,” Rodriguez said. “He could have lived off the government but instead worked for 50 years before retiring. He was a humble and great man. My mother was a cafeteria worker. They both showed me the way, making me a better person.” After 22 years supplying Bert Ogden with employees and where he developed a close business and personal relationship with Janet and Bob Vackar, he sold his business. His life then got even better. “Mr. Vackar asked me to come to Bert Ogden and do PR for them. I feel extremely…

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FROM TEASPOONS TO TRENCHERS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN – RENTAL WORLD LLC

In the quake of the global pandemic, there is some good news. For many, by staying at home there is now time to do all those projects that have been on the honey-do list for years. Getting ready, however, might take a bit more equipment than is around the house. Need a backhoe? Need an airless paint sprayer, an air chipping hammer for demoing a tile floor? How about a tent when it is time to celebrate joining the world again? The list could go on and on.  There is one place you can go for all these items and much more.  Rental World, LLC has retail outlets in McAllen, Weslaco, Harlingen, Brownsville, and Corpus Christi, and a warehouse complex of four acres and 60,000 square feet of warehouse space. That warehouse is the size of over 12½ NBA basketball courts or almost an acre and a half, mostly all…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – GABRIELA GARCIA

Gabriela Garcia Business Specialist Wells Fargo Bank   Banking must have been in her blood because when it came time to choose a career path Gabriela Garcia, Business Specialist for Wells Fargo Bank, chose banking and never looked back. That was 15 years ago, and this proud mom of a 17-year-old is glad she did. “I help business customers with their financial needs,” Garcia said. “It could be to establish an account or help them register or help them grow their business. I can also help them in all areas of their business logistics such as payroll, vendors, or getting credit.” Getting involved with the community, another part of her job, led her to become an Ambassador. Incorporating the Ambassador’s network within her client base is a win-win for everyone. “We have a network we know we can call for help or refer our clients to receive other guidance,” Garcia…

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STORAGE UNITS HAVE STORIES TO TELL – STOR-GALORE

Barbara Parry Co-owner   If storage unit walls could talk, oh, the stories they would tell. Take for example the maroon Mercedes. It sat in a unit month-after-month for years. When the storage unit rent had not been paid after so long and it was time for the unit to be opened, there she sat in all her beautiful glory. Why would anyone leave such a beautiful car behind? “My daughter was an Aggie and she really wanted that car,” laughed Barbara Parry, co-owner of Stor-Galore along with husband Bob, and brother Ben Chilcutt. “When we looked into selling it, we found out it had been stolen off the floor of a dealership in Houston! The company had already collected its insurance years earlier, so it was up to us to dispose of it.” Then there was the time 40 years ago, when their own home was broken into. Through…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – McALLEN CRIME STOPPERS

In this time of COVID-19, the thought of Crime Stoppers takes on a whole new meaning. Yet, this 501(c)(3) non-profit, free-standing independent organization, plays its role like one might imagine, with just a little twist here and there. Staying anonymous, this group’s members work with individuals who have a secret to tell, a tip to share, which will lead our police force to apprehend those who choose not to follow the law. McAllen Crime Stoppers began in 1984 as a partnership with the McAllen Police Department. However, over the years, organizers learned they needed the organization to be a stand-alone entity in order to reach the success level they wished to achieve. Today there are 16 volunteer members with two ultimate tasks. The first is to fundraise to pay individuals for the anonymous tips that lead police to a suspect arrest. The second is to pay the tip. Without a…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – W. SILVER RECYCLING, INC.

Joe Foytek REGIONAL SALES MANAGER   When the word recycling is discussed, green is a closely associated term. In the case of W. Silver Recycling, Inc., that would be right-on target. “Being green is one of the most important things we always keep in mind when we’re talking to our clients,” said Joe Foytek, regional sales manager for W. Silver Recycling, Inc. “That’s why we focus a lot on working with maquiladoras.  The scrap products we get from them can go into a mill and come back to be utilized sooner than expected. We work with all our clients to take a green approach, always trying to see if we can identify more revenue from what they’re considering industrial waste.” Founded in 1920 by William Silver, the company has stayed in the family, first to a son-in-law and now to Lane Gaddy, Silver’s grandson, who holds the reins as CEO.…

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STRONG VALUES AND A CULTURE OF CARING – ROYAL TECHNOLOGIES

Trung Nguyen Plant Manager A man who decided not to take “No” as an answer when he was told he didn’t have enough education to become a manager did what many wish they could but never had the guts to do. Jim Vander Kolk started Royal Technologies with the help of his silent partner and he never looked back. Building the company on great customer service, solid working knowledge of the industry, and excellent products coming off his first used press and sampling molds, Vander Kolk’s company has evolved to utilizing over 1,000 employees in Michigan, Alabama, and Texas, and over 400 presses. Royal Technologies has built its company to support other major companies such as Steelcase, Stanley Black & Decker, Panasonic, Toyota, and DeWalt. Plant Manager to the Mission facility is mechanical engineer Trung Nguyen (pronounced Winn), a McAllen resident for 20 years. “I came to the Valley to…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – DORA BROWN

Dora Brown is retired. That could be simply all that needs to be said. However, Dora Brown’s story is not a one sentence article. She is one of those community leaders who puts her heart, soul, and faith into everything she does. Her leadership will be missed. But, then, Dora Brown is not the kind of person to fade away, either. This year she will be recognized as a 50-Year Banker. Starting in the banking industry with her smile and superior customer service skills, this former Senior Vice President and Marketing Manager for IBC Bank said that banking chose her, not the other way around. “Customer service has always been my job,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed it.” After she immersed herself in banking, learning everything she possibly could, she turned outward to her community, looking for the next way she could be of service. In 1996, when Sam Houston…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – 2F AKAUSHI BEEF

Felo & Stephanie Martinez Owners Have you heard of healthy beef? Through a neighbor’s friendly suggestion, Felo and Stephanie Martinez, third generation owners of 2F Rancho Sante Fe, found their way to the Wagyu beef breed, specifically the Akaushi breed (pronounced ah-ka-oo-she), meaning red cow. Akaushi is highly prized for its tenderness and butter-soft flavor, but they are a feisty breed. “They’re hard to work,” Stephanie said. “You cannot get in a corral with them or they’ll run you over. They’re intimidated by people, so we do all our work on horseback.” Their ranch is an intriguing commingling of Old West and contemporary. Their ranch home is decorated straight out of historical lore with branding irons adorning the walls, cypress pickle-barrel wood lining the ceiling, and historic family saddles embellishing the main room. Outside, cows and calves roam the range, some sticking their heads under the backyard fence to get…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – SELENA MARTINEZ

Selena Martinez, owner of RGV Payroll, has always liked numbers. Obtaining her degree in accounting from UTRGV allowed her to fulfill a lifelong dream of working in a family business with her dad. Managing his firm, Fred Martinez LLC, and opening her RGV Payroll have brought a new world to life for her and uses her love for numbers. “My favorite part of accounting is payroll,” Martinez said. “I truly enjoy helping people who don’t understand payroll. Now I have my own company as well as working for my dad’s.” Following in her father’s footsteps in another area as well, Martinez decided to become an Ambassador. “I like socializing and building relationships with the other Ambassadors. I believe when they are looking for payroll help, they’ll call me because we may have already established a relationship.” A cheerleader from high school through college, this Ambassador loves to travel, attend concerts…

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CITY OF McALLEN LEADERS SHARE THEIR STORIES ABOUT McALLEN, AND THEIR TRIUMPHS & GOALS

Mayor Jim Darling Mayor Darling graduated high school in Rochester, New York, went into the Air Force, completed two tours in Vietnam, flew 133 missions in C47s, and acquired a psychology degree before graduating from law school at Baylor. He held various jobs from high school on before becoming an attorney working in a lumber yard, a dock for a carbon paper factory, as a mason’s helper, at a VA facility, and was part of a roofing crew. He served as McAllen Assistant City Attorney, McAllen City Attorney, attorney for Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, and for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, then McAllen City Commissioner and McAllen Mayor. Mayor Darling would like to make sure the city is providing quality jobs to match the quality education students are receiving. He would also like to provide our community with a great quality of life. “We’re really concentrating on ‘Let’s Ramp It…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – TEHUACÁN BRILLANTÉ WATER

A. Jimmy Garza CEO Flowing in springs from the 18,491-foot-tall Orizaba, North America’s third highest mountain, is a delicious, pure mineral water made from rain and snowmelt that filters through the volcanic strata. Learning about the widespread consumption of Puebla, Mexico’s Tehuacán region mineral water, A. Jimmy Garza, CEO of Tehuacán Brillanté Water realized the taste was clean and fresh with no aftertaste. He knew he wanted to be a part of introducing it to the world. While researching the field of mineral waters, Garza found the overall growing trend in beverages is towards health and wellness. “People want to drink something that is good for them. They know sweet sodas are not, which explains the big boom towards mineral waters,” Garza explained. “Tehuacán Brillanté Sparkling Natural Mineral Water is naturally sourced and provides beneficial minerals. It’s a great natural beverage alternative for the public.” He believes the American people…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – DAVID PEREZ

David Perez, Executive Director of Comfort House, an end-of-life establishment, has found his niche. It took years. Initially he spent years as a teacher, then years first in outpatient rehabilitation administration and then in healthcare administration. Along the way he completed his graduate studies in guidance and counseling, working as a family counselor. Such background gave him the ability to beat 52 other applicants when applying for his current position. But Perez was sure he had other help. “I think God led me where He wants me to be,” Perez said. “I wanted a place where I could pray openly and freely, and I get to do that every morning with our residents.” Preparing for Comfort House’s largest annual fundraiser, Pretty in Pearls, scheduled for April 2, he exhibits a few more of his talents. Having a theater background and a hobby of wedding planning, he loves pulling out the…

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