Veteran’s Day: ‘What is a hero?’

Lake Highlands Espree with Ret. Colonel Tony Wood and Exchange Club President Patrick Brown

Retired Marine Corps Colonel Tony Wood shifted from Exchange Club member to honored speaker Friday as the group celebrated Veterans Day. All over the country, November is recognized as “One Nation Under God” month each year.

After the Color Guard of Lake Highlands’ Boy Scout Troop 890 led the pledge and LHHS’ Espree sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” Wood posed the question, “What is a hero?”

“Someone who is scared but goes ahead and does what needs to be done,” said the colonel, winner of numerous honors, including two Distinguished Service Medals, a Bronze Star and a Meritorious Service Medal. “I never met a Marine who wasn’t scared.”i

Wood spoke to the members and students on the need for moral courage, which he defined as “doing or saying what is right or needed, knowing it could be unpopular or even damaging to you.”

“Others sense moral courage in leaders, in parents and in comrades,” said Wood. “Courage is the centerpiece of leadership.”

Also on Friday, Mark Holmes reported on the club’s Packs 4 LH project, a collaboration with 100 Women of Lake Highlands and Knights of Columbus, which raised more than $41,000 – enough to buy a backpack full of healthy food for every student at Skyview Elementary. The groups will assemble more than 800 packs on Nov. 14th and deliver them to the school’s multicultural carnival on Nov. 16th.i

“We’re going to put some smiles on children’s faces,” said Holmes.


Students of the Month

Exchange Club VP Robert Walne, Zhanirina Hall, Matthew Hughes and LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich

Exchange Club of Lake Highlands members recognized four outstanding Lake Highlands High School students Friday for their accomplishments and actions both inside and outside of the classroom.

Zhanirina Hall and Matthew Hughes received Character Counts Awards, and Katie Gray and Jacob Seddelmeyer were named Students of the Month.

Zhanirina is the daughter of Shalon Hall, and Matthew is the son of David and Beverly Hughes. Both students received high praise from LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich.

Katie, daughter of Dawn and Andy Gray, serves as drum major for the Wildcat marching band. Seddelmeyer, son of Jonathon and Michelle Seddelmeyer, swims on the Wildcat swim team.

Exchange Club VP Robert Walne, Katie Gray, Jacob Seddelmeyer and LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich

The Exchange Club recognizes four high-achieving students each month, culminating in their annual scholarship presentation each May. This year’s Oktoberfest fundraiser earned more than $100,000, resulting in more money for scholarships and other community projects by the club.


Youth-of-the-Month and Character Counts for October

Exchange Club of Lake Highlands members recognized outstanding students from Lake Highlands High School at their weekly meeting Friday.

Robert Walne, VP of Youth for the Club, presented Tamdan Khuu and Preston Eggert with Character Counts Awards.

Tamdan came to America from Vietnam 4 years ago with her parents, Thuyguynh Ngo and Tan Khuu. She hopes to study nursing at Texas Women University. Tamdan is interested in photography and says she’d love to travel the world. If she could go back in time, she would advise her freshman self “not to be lazy,” and says she’s looking forward to finishing her senior year and beginning the next chapter.

Preston Eggert, the son of Mark and Linda, is a member of the Wildcat gymnastics team and Espree show choir. He enjoys writing songs and making films and is considering Belmont University, OU or UNT to study film or media arts. “I love to tell a story,” says Preston. “Visual storytelling is a passion of mine, and I love to create music videos or short films for my songs.”

Rachel Obenhaus and Luca Gisellu were named Youth of the Month for October.

Rachel, the daughter of Stacy and Rebecca Obenhaus, serves as stage manager for LHHS performances including plays, musicals and Dette shows. She considers leadership and helping others her strongest traits and hopes to attend UT. She enjoys theater and cooking and says the best advice she’s received is “take the initiative.” She would advise her freshman self to “be more confident in who you are.”

Luca, son of Jeanne-Marie and Salvatore Gisellu, plays on the Wildcat football team and dances with the Wranglers. He hopes to study business at OU or UT then go on to medical school to become a radiologist. Japan is on his travel bucket list, and the best advice he’s received is to “take pride in everything he does.” He would tell his freshman self to “hit the weight room and stay on his grades.”

LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich, Preston Eggert, Tamdan Khuu, Rachel Obenhaus, Luca Gisellu and Exchange Club’s Robert Walne


City of Dallas Bond Proposals Overview

September 20, at the KayCee Club, we welcomed Denise McGovern, Vice President of Communications, and Debi Pena, Vice President of People and Facilities, of the Dallas Symphony to discuss the City of Dallas Bond and specifically the proposal that directly impacts them at the Meyerson Symphony Center (Prop F, $14M for repair and improvement of existing cultural & fine arts spaces).

Patti Clapp  also gave a short overview of the Dallas Bond Proposal (10 Proposals totaling $1.05B).  Patti Clapp of Dallas is owner and managing director of Patti Clapp Consulting, and currently serves as the VP of the Texas Nursing Board. She is also former vice president of talent, workforce and education for the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce. She is a board member of the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, and past chair of the American Cancer Society of Dallas and Texas Business and Education Coalition, a member and past president of the Women’s Council of Greater Dallas County, and a member and past vice president of the Lake Highlands Women’s League.


Police & Firefighter of the Quarter

Exchange Club of Lake Highlands members paused Friday to present their quarterly awards to first responders who keep citizens of Lake Highlands safe.

Firefighter Lorenzo Herrera, who works out of Station 37 at Park Lane and Greenville Avenue, was praised by Chief Michael Meador for his commitment to service. The father of six is “the epitome of a good firefighter,” said Meador, “always quick with a smile and a positive attitude, even when that isn’t easy.”

“Herrera has a commitment to his country,” added Meador, “and all he wants to do is serve others.”

Police Sgt. Vincent Lee was recognized by longtime colleague and friend Lt. Ricky Lewis, who said the department’s Crime Reduction Team (CRT) could not have recruited a more highly motivated or talented individual.i

“Vee Lee, as we call him, is very positive and he makes us laugh. We enjoy our job and we enjoy each other, and we enjoy helping the citizens of Dallas.”

Lee, who has worked in several departments including Criminal Intelligence and Dignitary Protection, was grateful, saying, “It seems corny, but I just want to do good and help people.”

“Everybody talks about morale,” he added. “I’ve always said you are your own morale.”


Unsung Hero Award

The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands presented an Unsung Hero Award to Carol Toler at its meeting on September 22nd.  This award is given by the club to Lake Highlands residents who go out of their way to provide a valuable community service.

For the past 10 years, Carol has written various articles about activities in Lake Highlands which are emailed to the community thorough her blog.  These go  to hundreds of residents and she also partners with the Lake Highlands Advocate in some cases to distribute her articles.  These are usually written several times a week. Although she receives no salary or compensation for this, she spends numerous hours attending meetings, meeting with business leaders, interviewing residents, etc to keep Lake Highlands residents  informed. She says she does this simply because she loves Lake Highlands. She and husband, Toby, have four children who are Lake Highlands High School graduates. Carol has an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and an MBA from SMU.

Picture–L to R- Club Member Don Lee, Carol Toler, and John Torres, club Community Service Director.


September Character Counts & Youth-of-the-Month

Exchange Club of Lake Highlands presented awards to LHHS students Friday. Shown are: LHHS Principal Dr. Josh Delich, Dominique Conway, Imani Johnson, Colt Brock and Exchange Club VP Robert Walne. Not pictured: Victor Maya.

Thank you all that showed up last Friday at Lake Highlands High School to honor our Character Counts and Youth of the Month awards.



Diocesan Council of Dallas

Our speaker Friday, August 18, was Michael Pazzaglini, Executive Director for the Diocesan Council of Dallas, Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Michael was a program director with the IBM Corporation in Austin, Texas, and recently retired after a successful career spanning 35 years.  He brought with him extensive experiences in hi-tech development, project, process, and people management.


US Congressman, Jeb Hensarling

On August 25, our speaker was U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling.  First elected to Congress in 2002, Jeb Hensarling is a recognized conservative leader in Congress and an outspoken advocate for economic opportunity, individual liberty, and religious freedom.

As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Jeb is a leader in promoting consumer choice, competitive markets, and smart regulation in our financial markets.  He was the only member of Congress to have introduced comprehensive reform legislation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the credit crisis, lauded in the media as “a concrete plan for fixing Fannie and Freddie.” Jeb was recognized by The New York Times for “leading the GOP Vanguard against the Bailout,” and was the only member of Congress to have introduced a legislative alternative to TARP during the heart of the credit crisis, which would have minimized taxpayer exposure and the politicization of the market. A lifelong conservative dedicated to advancing the principals of faith, family, free enterprise, and freedom, Jeb was chosen by his congressional colleagues during the 112th Congress to chair the House Republican Conference—the fourth ranking leadership position in the House.