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HaysFreePress.com l00ress DUST CONTROL Buda quarry gets two million gallons of water - Page 1D December 18, 2013 Page 1C 'Duck Dynasty" winner of Bling-a-Tree contest BUDA nother Budafest goes own in our history s being cold, windy, and sunny- and over. After the week delay; the two-day event was held last Saturday and Sunday. The attendance was smaller than in past years, although the folks who did make it out seemed to enjoy their time downtown. Weather permitting, the next one will be Dec. 6 and 7, 2014. Thanks goes out to all the Budafest committee mem- bers who braved the weather and worked so hard making the event as successful as possible. Also thanks to all the people who supported the many craft and food booths, the carnival and lo- cal downtown merchants. The winner in the draw- ing for the queen-sized quilt made by the Buda Bees of the Onion Creek Senior Citizens was Mart_ha TsiUas. A quilter herself, Tsillas lives in northwest Austin and purchased her winning ticket at a Georgetown quil- ter's event. She attended the Buda Bees Christmas party on Tuesday at the senior center and was presented with the quilt. ilee Hays CISD and Take a Bow Productions will present "The Night Before Christmas" musical at the Hays PAC at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Satur- day, Dec. 21. Don't miss this fun, family-friendly Christmas production that gets everyone in the spirit of Christmas. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door for general admission. eel To brightenup the holidays for residents of Marbridge Foundation, Long Orthodontics in Buda hosted a "Bling-a-Tree" con- test in which referring doc- tors and surrounding busi- nesses could participate. Dr. Elizabeth Long and her staff delivered 27 uniquely deco- rated trees to Marbridge on Monday, Dec. 16. Each tree had a different theme and a tag to let the recipient know which office remembered them for the holidays. The first place nner was Main Street Dental in Buda with the theme Duck Dynasty with a very realistic "Si." They won lunch at Salt Lick and customized Christmas t-shirts by DizzyTees for the entire office. Winning second place was the office of Dr. Lew White of Lockhart. Their tree featured whimsical pepper- mints with candy canes and other colorful candies and ornaments. The prize for second place was breakfast for their office delivered by Long Orthodontics. All the entries were fabu- lous and Long Orthodontics thanks all who participated. The contest had entries from businesses in Austin, San Marcos, Buda, Kyle, Lockhart; Luling, Dripping Springs and Wlmberley. ilee Birthday wishes go out to Caleb Clark, Ciarra Lowden and JudiWolfe on Dec. 21; Teresa Lozano, Stanley Mar- tin and Betty Regan on Dec. 22; and Monty Nunneley on Dec. 23. eee Enjoy all the sights of Christmas and dont miss seeing the Trail of Lights in Stagecoach Park. PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK Sgt. Adria Garcia, a wounded veteran, hugs a friend in the driveway of her new home in Buda. She and her family received the house from the non- profit Operation Finally Home. More than 100 people turned out to welcome Garcia home, carrying tiny American flags with hand-written notes. Home for the holidays Buda welcomes wounded warrior with new house, gifts BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK The new home of Sgt. Adria Garcia, a wounded veteran who served in the U.S. Army National Guard, was donated through Operation Finally Home. It was built by Pulte Group in the Sunfield neighborhood of Buda. "1 said, my goodness, she's getting all this? I thought they were just going to hand her a key... I didn't know all this was going to happen." -Angel Garcia, father of Sgt. Adria Garcia Garcia's granddaughters' room featured new bedding and stuffed animals. Several times during the tour, Garcia stopped to wipe tears from her eyes. Her smile, huge and genuine, lit up the rooms as she encountered each new surprise. The entire event was captured on film for Operation Finally Home, the nonprofit founded by celebrity Queen Latifah. For more than 30 minutes, photographers and videographers followed Garcia around her new home. Garcia, who until Monday was living in Killeen but driving two hours each way to a job in south Austin, said the house and everything in it was all very unexpected. , Her father, Angel, whO lives in Puerto Rico and is also a veteran, said they didn't know the house would be ready to move in that day. When he pulled up in the minivan with Adria, he saw all the people and the 18-wheeler in front of the house. "I said, my goodness, she's getting all this? I thought they were just going to hand her a key," he said. "She knew they were giving her money for furniture and food, but this... I didn't know it was furnished already. I didn't know all this was going to happen." He looked around, tears brimming his eyes. "I'm real proud of my daughter,', he said, emotion choking off his sentence. Ericka Nicole, who will live with Garia, was also overwhelmed. Watching her young girls, Ivy (pronounced EV) and Glori, play on the bunkbed, she said, "i'm still in shock. I can't believe this happened. I was taken back by the crowd." Out in the main room of the house, Adria said, "I feel like I can breath better now. Having this home is a security for my girls," she said. She was also happy about getting back four hours of her day because of not having to commute in from Killeen. Walking back outside, Adria again wiped tears from her eyes. She took a moment to thank Cassaundra St. John, executive director of the Austin-based F7 Foundation, who nominated Adria to Operation Finally Home. F7 provides resources, support, training and mentoring to female veterans and women in military families. "She is amazing," Adria said of Cassaundra. Stephen Teodecki, Central Texas division president for PulteGroup, thanked Adria for her service. "The thing that impressed us when we met you was your courage, your humility and your selflessness," he said. "Not only did you represent our country with honor, but you continue to... dedicate your time and resources to many charities throughout the community. You are truly an example of courage and selflessness." fter nearly ten years of ersonal and financial roubles, including not having a place to live for a while, Adria Garcia finally has a place to call home. The best part? It was flee. Garcia, a former U.S. Army National Guard sergeant, was wounded in an attack in Iraq on Sept. 11, 2004, four years after she enlisted in the military. That blast left her wounded, both physically and emotionally. It took years for her to come to grips with what she experienced in combat. To this day, she still occasionally has to retreat inside herself and get away from people - even her own family- just to clear her head. The Purple Heart recipient, who earned an honorable discharge, received a new house through the Operation Finally Home organization. Its building partner for this project, Pulte Homes, has so far built seven homes in Texas for deserving veterans. Garcia's is the first in Hays County. She and her daughter, Ericka Nicole, knew about the house, but Monday's reveal offered several new surprises. It began with an emotional arrival to a street lined with about 100 people waving tiny American flags. Each flag bore a hand-written message from a friend, family member or one of many employees from the various organizations and companies involved in making the new house possible for Garcia. Members of one of those groups, Fabulous Working Ladies of Austin, were there to support Adria, a member of the networking organization for two years. The group's founder, Sherri Arnold, held her American flag as she awaited Adria's arrival. "We brought toys and presents," she said. '_nd a bottle of wine." Sgt. Garcia cut the red ribbon, then, along with her father, Angel, her daughter, and her granddaughters, walked into their new house to find a Christmas tree decorated with presents underneath, a fully stocked pantry courtesy of H-E-B and furniture in every room. Mt. City announces Christmas decoration winners MT, CITY hcMat a "Loving ountain City hristmas De- cor" contest! Cast ballots quintupled in quantity, compared to last year. The simple ballot produced through the work of the 'dvance Judging Team", made feasible the Moun- tain City household-con- ducted vote. The voting produced a route for the hayride for the children and grandchil- dren of Mountain City dur- ing Tour de Lights at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. Congratulations to the winners of the "Citywide Awards": Grand Prize 213 Live Oak Court, filled with d6cor front and back People's Favorite 317 Live Oak Drive, "JOY" and stars Sparkle 116 Pin Oak Drive, colored lights and "every- thing" theme (patriotic, winter wonderland, et al) Creativity 209 Maple, Santa skiing Workshop 114 Cedar, dalmatians CHRISTmas 304 Juniper, "Merry CHRISTmas" Santa 315 Live Oak Drive, Santa hanging from garage roof Theme 211 Maple, white lights, blue lake, penguins Elegance 318 Juniper, white lights with red accents Look here next week to see "Best of Street" and "Best of Section" award winners. Years ago, judging was conducted by adults from other neighborhoods. At least one year, teenage vol- unteers from the outside judged. Last year, Loving Moun- tain City decided on an internal vote, with each household voting for each award. With every house in Mountain City eligible for every award, it took hours of work. So, very few votes were cast. Initial feedback says that this year's contest worked well. If you have sugges- tions for a new category for consideration, please send word to me. I'm desig- nated again next year as the "Lead Person" for the Christmas D6cor Contest. Amy Hikon seeks a "Lead Person" for the 2014 City Hall decorating. This year, a little bit of d6cor got added as an afterthought. If someone will step forward now, that person can give word on what's needed, in order to secure donations from Moun- tain Cityians during after Christmas sales. Wizard Academy's Welcome Center (on a hilltop perch overlook- ing FM 1826, a bit north of Salt Lick) will have hot cider and cookies waiting for you from 6 to 9 p.m. again this Saturday and Sunday evening. Just come through the gates and fol- MONTAGE, 3A