Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on H-E-B: Hall of Fame inducts 2016 honorees

The Hurst Euless Bedford school district hosted its annual Hall of Fame Awards dinner at the Buinger Tech Center.
The Hurst Euless Bedford school district hosted its annual Hall of Fame Awards dinner at the Buinger Tech Center. Courtesy photo

Attorney, judge, animator, elected official, nonprofit owner, former coach and community volunteer — these are the professions represented by the most recent inductees into the H-E-B school district Hall of Fame.

Six honorees joined another 55 Hall of Famers as they were introduced at the annual Hall of Fame banquet earlier this year. Established by the school district in 2008, the program aims to shine a light on former Bell and Trinity graduates along with former school employees, school board members, local leaders and volunteers for giving exceptional support to the H-E-B school system.

“Recognizing these remarkable individuals is a way H-E-B ISD continues to tell the story of our amazing school district and at the same time seek enduring relationships with our stakeholders,” said district spokeswoman Deanne Hullender.

Around 250 people were on hand for the awards luncheon where each honoree spoke to the crowd of well-wishers as they were introduced. L.D. Bell Principal Jim Bannister handled the master of ceremonies duties. “Jim Bannister was the perfect choice given his history with the district and many of the inductees,” Hullender said.

Congratulations to all the newest Hall of Fame members: Ray Oujesky, Distinguished L.D. Bell Graduate, is corporate and former municipal judge. Roger Vizard, Distinguished Trinity Graduate, is an artist and animator for movie, television and interactive productions. Linda Eilenfeldt was named Distinguished Community Leader. She is on the City Council and avidly supports school-related programs.

Anthony Hardy received the Distinguished Volunteer honors. He is the founder of mentoring organization that supports teenage boys with strong role models. The Distinguished Former District Employee honors went to Steve Lineweaver who was Trinity’s football coach for 15 seasons and led the team to win three state titles. Kay Miller was named Distinguished Former Board of Trustees Member. She served on the board for nearly a decade and was very active in other community projects.

Nominations for the 2017 Hall of Fame will open in the spring. Nominations are reviewed by a committee comprised of the board of trustees, cabinet and superintendent to determine each year’s inductees. Visit www.hebisd.edu to see all Hall of Fame members and to learn more about the criteria and the nomination process.

“Community engagement is paramount to our success as a school district. So many community members pour time and energy into our schools, and this event allows us to showcase those who have truly made a difference,” Hullender said.

H-E-B Chamber Awards Luncheon set for Jan. 13

The reflected brilliance of the more than 60 individuals and businesses from Hurst, Euless and Bedford recently nominated for community awards might call for a pair of Ray Bans when they are introduced at the upcoming H-E-B Chamber banquet on Jan. 13.

The chamber annually invites the public to nominate companies and people that are notably serving the community and exceptionally committed to helping the business environment. Awards in 14 categories such as large, small and mid-size business of the year are presented at the celebratory soiree.

“The chamber is fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers,” said chamber CEO and President Mary Frazior. “The luncheon is an opportunity for us to recognize some of our member businesses, organizations and individuals for their outstanding efforts this year — not only in support of the chamber, but also in support of our three cities.”

More accolades will be given to recipients of the Gertrude Tarpley Memorial Spirit Award, the H-E-B Community Service Award, the Bill Ridgway Spirit of Enterprise Award and the chamber’s highest honor, the Clyde Mooney Award.

Keeping the festivities on track will be emcee Robert Earley, president and CEO of JPS Health Network.

“The awards luncheon really tells the story of what it means to be a member of the chamber,” Frazior said. “It’s an important event for our members. And for anyone who is interested in learning more about the chamber, it’s a great opportunity to find out how we fulfill our mission of ‘Advancing Business, Strengthening Community.’ 

Individual tickets are $25, and a variety of sponsorships are available. Call the chamber at 817-283-1521 or visit www.heb.org for details and to learn everyone nominated for an award.

Walking and driving tours offered at Prairie Lights

What do Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have in common with the Prairie Lights Christmas show in Grand Prairie? Each of these celebs chose clever circumstances to reveal their baby’s gender, but none holds a candle to the baby reveal that happened recently at this local holiday attraction.

On a recent night, an expectant couple from the Dallas-Fort Worth area gathered friends and family in the amazing Holiday Magic Walk-through Forest at Prairie Lights for a party centered around their much anticipated announcement.

In the magical setting of the lighted winter wonderland, the couple opened a gigantic Christmas gift that released a flood of blue balloons to announce that a baby boy would soon join the family.

Mae Smith, the coordinator behind the Prairie Lights park show, said it was the first baby reveal event at the park. “There’s no place more unique than the wonderful meandering path in our walk-through section for special occasions,” Smith said. “During the past 11 years, we’ve had 24 marriage proposals — three of them this year. And couples even come back here for their anniversaries.”

The main event is the 2-mile drive through at the park featuring 4 million lights. It attracted nearly 200,000 visitors last year, and similar results are expected with the all-new displays that Josh Barnett Productions from Bakersfield, Calif., has created this year.

Smith said guests are dazzled by the clever new themes like the Steampunk Christmas and the Space Christmas themed areas that feature “Star Wars” displays and even a Yeti village.

An new laser show inside the Holiday Village Theater (where it snows on the audience) is easily the second-most-popular attraction at this year’s Prairie Lights.

“We have theater-style and bleacher seating for the laser phenomenon that features a story about Santa searching for an alien to fulfill a little boy’s Christmas wish,” Smith said.

In order to bring an entirely new experience each year, Smith said partnerships with similar parks in Round Rock and Sugar Land, and in Costa Mesa, Calif., were formed. The Grand Prairie displays move on to these cities after their debut at Prairie Lights.

In addition to the Walk-through Forest where enchanting lighted scenes depict how the holiday season is celebrated around the world (don’t miss Gumdrop Alley), other out-of-car experiences in the Holiday Village include a chance to visit Santa and rides on a twirling Dumbo or a carousel— all at no charge beyond the admission fee.

The Grand Prairie Chamber is offering photos with Santa for a small charge to raise money for local charities. Concessions are also available.

When asked her favorite, Smith said: “For me it’s the segment just before you reach the incredible tunnel of lights near the end of the tour.

“It’s called Poinsettia Land and has the most vibrant, spectacular poinsettia displays. There is a magnificent deer at the end of the road with his antlers all covered in poinsettias. Right after this, we have our beautiful Happy New Year display, and the very last thing is our display that honors our folks in military service.”

Prairie Lights definitely offers an epic holiday experience, and the best way to get the maximum pleasure is to visit on Monday through Thursday early in the evening when lines are much shorter than on weekends.

Visit www.PrairieLights.org to get directions and admission prices. Be sure to search for discount coupons on Facebook and Twitter before you go. The park is on the shores of Joe Pool Lake in Lynn Creek Park, 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, and it is open through New Year’s Day.

Briefly

Northeast Tarrant Lions Club will meet Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Spring Creek Barbeque, 1509 Airport Freeway in Bedford. Guest speaker is musical therapist Amy Rogers. Guests are welcome to attend. Contact Jerome Davis at 817-266-1480 to inquire.

Mid Cities Genealogy Society will meet Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mary Lib Saleh Euless Public Library. Guest speaker is club president Bernard Meisner who will talk about “Tracing a Woman Named Smith by Researching a Collateral Line.” Visitors are welcome. Contact Evelynn Kelly at 817-988-2055 with questions.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you for reading Eyes on H-E-B during 2016, and I look forward to getting your news tips during 2017 so that local charity events and programs can get the attention they so richly deserve.

Please send your Eyes on H-E-B news tips to freeder@star-telegram.com. Keep up with even more community news by liking our page on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SocialEyes.ST. Twitter: @FayeReeder

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