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Annual MLPS Buoy Awards return to Lakehills

By Carol L. Smith Contributor

In the spirit of the giving season, the third annual Buoy Awards were presented by the Medina Lake Preservation Society (MLPS) Board of Directors, taking place in November at the Lakehills Civic Center. Over 120 people attended the gala.

The MLPS vision of bringing the LakePlex communities together incorporates alternating venues in both Bandera and Medina Counties.

Last year's awards banquet was held at The Bedrock Resort, adjacent to the historic Medina Dam and this year the event returned to the Lakehills Civic Center, where it began.

The Buoy Awards recognize members of lake community for their exceptional volunteer efforts and community service. These people, who make positive contributions to keep the community "afloat," are naturally considered "buoys."

Keynote speakers for this year were Adam Reed and Nathan Perez of the architectural firm of Ford, Powell and Carson in San Antonio. Reed and Perez gave a detailed presentation and spoke of the need for both future planning and historical preservation.

Major sponsors for the event included Hi Energy Realty of Lakehills, the San Antonio River Authority, Turks Deli, the Medina County Environmental Action Association and the Bandera County Historical Commission.

Additional sponsors included Village Insurance Company of Helotes, Lakehills Dental Center, J & D Barbeque, Bandera Family Practice Clinic, Bandera County Chief Deputy Richard Smith, SeaWorld of San Antonio and Wally's Watersports and FlyHangar13, both of Mico.

Ten Buoy Awardees

Bandera County residents Sam and Shirley Granberry were recognized by MLPS Vice President Barbara Arrendondo as "Volunteers Emeritus" for their over 20 years of service to the community. Shirley is a longtime member of the Medina Lake Betterment Association (MLBA), the EMS Support Team and the Lakehills Library boards. Sam is often found working at the Lakehills Civic Center making repairs and improvements.

Genevieve Modarelli was recognized for her contributions on the Bandera County ISD board of trustees. During her tenure, voters passed a bond issue that allowed for the historic preservation of the Bandera Middle School and other school buildings.

The Medina Lake Damsels, a very popular networking group, was the brainchild of Modarelli and the St. Victors Catholic Church also benefits from her volunteerism.

MLPS board member Bob Caswell presented Sandee Bowman with a Buoy, recognizing her volunteer efforts within the animal rights community.

Bowman's Animal Welfare Society sanctuary is called "the best little cathouse in Texas." They rescue not only abandoned and neglected felines, but those whose owners can no longer care for them. The "cathouse" also spays and neuters and provides educational programs to schoolchildren and the general public.

Doug and Helen Franks were honored with a Buoy and in their absence, it was accepted by Dr. Rise' Martin. The Franks' community involvement includes raising seed money for a local Boys and Girls Club, donating both money and time to the Lakehills United Methodist community garden and being enthusiastic supporters of the Lakehills VFD. MLPS Board member Sandra Snavely said, "They have been known to donate numerous items to the auction and then bid to get them back!" Helen is a director on the MLBA board and Doug has donated much time to the electrical needs of the Community Center.

Carol L. Smith, MLPS Executive Director, presented Bill and Shirley Smith of Mico with a Buoy and in their absence it was accepted by fellow Micoian, Roberto Pachecano.

The Smith's were honored for their tireless devotion at the Lakehills United Methodist Church, serving and cooking for the Bread of Life feeding ministry and the annual fish fry fundraiser. Bill is well known for his handiwork with construction projects not just at the church, but for elderly area residents as well.

Bill and Shirley also volunteer at the barbeque fundraisers for the VFD's on both sides of the lake.

Chris and Debbie Heyen of Mico were recognized for their work at the Mico VFD and in their absence their Buoy was accepted by Chris' mother, Cappy Phillips. Chris is credited with building the original chicken barbeque pit, with cooking the chicken and for their donation of drinks for the annual fundraiser.

Chris also contributed to the building of the ambulance barn located next to the main fire station in Mico.

Additional awards

Before the Buoy ceremony began, the Medina Community Hospital District awarded Mico resident, Davis Deppe, with a $6,500 check to assist him with his Eagle Scout project, creating a new Emergency Staging Area for the Mico VFD. The concrete pad is located directly across the street from ambulance barn and will be utilized for air and land transport vehicles.

Another surprise awaited attendees at the Buoy Awards with the 2012 Medina Lake Centennial Official Poster Contest winner being named and the artwork unveiled. Emilee Mason of Pipe Creek, a Bandera Middle School student was named the grand prize winner and was awarded a $300 savings bond donated by the Hondo National Bank. Her amazingly creative and colorful poster will be displayed, along with the other winning posters, at various local libraries beginning in January. The first run of the poster will be 500, with the first 100 being signed by the artist.

The MLPS is a nonprofit organization founded in 1987.

It has been recognized as the official sponsor for the Medina Dam Centennial Celebration in 2012.

Their office is located at 6821 CR 271 in Mico.

Their telephone number is 210-400-0331 and the website address is