President’s Blog (July 2023)
My apologies in advance for the length of this blog, but we have had a very active first half of the year, which of course is a very good thing. I will try to cover all of it as succinctly as possible, so I hope you stay with me!
We started a new program this year, offering a $1,500 first year post secondary school scholarship for one high school senior whose parent or guardian is employed by the HCSO. We received five applications for this scholarship and our Scholarship Committee members awarded this scholarship to Peyton Hipolito, Deputy Anthony Hipolito’s daughter. They were extremely surprised to discover this, as all names, addresses, and possible identifying information was redacted from each of the scholarship applicants paperwork, so no favoritism could be alleged. We presented Peyton with a 2’ x 4’ BIG check at our May 9th meeting and mailed the actual scholarship check to Texas Tech for her fall enrollment.
This year we have also added a Social Committee to our Association, composed of Jane O’Rourke, Goldie Kruger, Janice Snitkin, Mary Capps, and Mary Earls. They have done the planning and arranging of the snacks being served at our monthly meetings, supplied decorations and food or our Academy Graduation Party, will help with our annual Holiday Social, and other social events we may have or host each year. If you are willing and able to supply the meeting snacks one month, be sure to let one of these ladies know as they are always looking for snack donations.
At our February meeting, Jack Diamond, Marketing and Fundraising Chairman, announced that our fundraising goal for 2023 was $25,000 – $28,000. Our first two events of the year got us off to a fabulous start on this goal. The Cheeseburger Plate Fundraiser was held at St. Mary Catholic Church in Wimberley on April 21st, where we sold 400 plates. Our second Cheeseburger Plate Fundraiser was held at the Government Center in San Marcos on May 15th, where we once again sold out of cheeseburgers (500 this year) and our total net profit for both events was approximately $9,500. Best year yet selling and delivering our famous Cheeseburgers!
A few Alumni volunteered to help serve lunch at the taco/nacho bar for the 10th Capital of Texas Police Motorcycle Chute Out in Buda on March 2nd. It was a great sunny day, filled with lots of LEOs showing off their motorcycling talents, but unless another organization steps up to continue this event, this will be the last year it is held.
In March, some of our volunteers boxed lunches of hot dogs, chips, water, and cupcakes for 90 students, plus teachers and chaperones, from Rodriguez Elementary School. Our Community Outreach Officers and other HCSO personnel gave this group a guided tour through the PSB in the morning, while our volunteers put together the lunch boxes.
The Sheriff’s Golf Tournament was held on May 5th at Kissing Tree. A number of Alumni volunteers helped on the course, serving lunch, and assisted with the raffle prizes and silent auction. The golfers preferred this course over the past few years when this tournament was held at Quick Sand in Wimberley, so we shall see where it will be in 2024.
From June 5th till the 11th, The Sunshine Kids were here for their annual Texas Hill Country Adventure. This year there were 26 Kids and 8 medical personnel in attendance and as usual it was an awesome week for all involved. Tuesday was spent at Sea World, followed by dinner at Clear Springs Restaurant. Wednesday, I got to experience the awesome car ride with police escort up I-35 to tour the Texas State Capitol with lunch at the Capitol Grill where the Kids could order anything they wanted and the Alumni paid the bill. I’m 5’10” and the paper receipt was as long as I am tall! Then the group changed into their swimsuits to tube the river, followed by a BBQ and pool party at Rio Vista Park, complete with DJ. Definitely a favorite and fun filled day for these special teens. Thursday the group was at Schlitterbahn Water Park and that evening was the Alumni’s night to shine with the Bingo and Ice Cream Party. Ten games of Bingo were played and each game had both a male and female winner, with prizes ranging from power banks and small boom speakers, to Apple Watches and iPads.
Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Alumni, we were able to fund all these gifts. Friday morning was a horseback riding experience, followed by lunch back at the hotel from Jersey Mikes funded by the Alumni, before the Kids headed to EVO’s to bowl and play arcades, and then to a ranch and pool party at T Bar M. Saturday, they met with a local motorcycle group for a ride through our Hill Country, had lunch at San Marcos BBQ, and that evening was the TexMex Dinner and Totally 80’s Final Night Party at the hotel, where everyone dressed “totally 80’s” and danced the night away to old tunes spun by the DJ while balloons fell from the ceiling. It was a phenomenal week for me,our Alumni volunteers, and Community Outreach personnel, to get to know these special Kids and their zest for life, despite all that they have been through and may continue to battle.
Our June meeting was two days after The Sunshine Kids left and instead of holding the typical monthly meeting, we opted for a social night at Hays City Store to celebrate the successes we have had over the past few months. It was a nice turnout, especially for some of our newer members to get to mix and mingle over good food and drink.
July 9th – 12th, Gary Anderson, Jack Diamond, and myself attended the Texas Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (TCPAAA) Convention in College Station. It was a fun few days meeting other police and sheriff’s alumni members, listening to some awesome presentations, and high profile sessions. The convention is June 23rd – 26th next year at South Shore Harbor Resort, League City. I am hopeful that Hays County Alumni will have a bigger representation at this convention in 2024.
I appreciate all the support I have received since becoming your President in January. As a team, we have accomplished so much, and there is still much to be done as we move into the latter half of this year. Our membership continues to grow, thanks to the Citizens Academy filling all the available seats in the classroom and then those graduates joining the Alumni. If you have family, friends, or neighbors that are interested in attending the next class which begins on September 7th, tell them to go to https://hayscountytx.com/law-enforcement/sheriff/ for more information and to download the application.
Ruth Diamond, President
Hays County Citizens Sheriff’s Academy Alumni Association