New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 10, 1991, New Braunfels, Texas
Wednesday, April IO, 199. _ Herald-Ze/funfl, New Braunfels, Texas Page 7A
Watson ‘king of volunteers9 at Seniors9 Center project
By TRAVIS TULLOS Seniors' Cantar of Comal County
It sounded like no big challenge for a man who had done it all, logging more than one million miles on Texas highways troubleshooting the complex telecommunications network of Valero Energy’s pipeline transmission system. Handling the electrical work to renovate “one big room,” as it was facetiously described by a fellow volunteer, didn’t sound like a very tall order at all.
When he showed up for his first day as “volunteer electrician,” Tom Watston learned that the “big room” of the Seniors’ Center would be partitioned extensively and also expanded from 13,000 to 16,000 square feet. That was more than 1,200 manhours of tiring work and lots of perspiration ago, and he is still there with his electricians tool pouch strapped on for about 35 hours each week.
The fact that he’s still there doesn’t surprise his friends or family. Tom Watson seems to cmerse himself in whatever he takes on. Les Thorn, president of the Seniors’ Center Foundation, says ‘Tom is the perfect volunteer for our project: he really knows his stuff, gives unstintingly of his time and when he says he has the job covered, you can forget about it, because it will be covered. Our contractors just love working with Tom because he’s so darned competent.”
Twenty-three years ago, Watson’s employer asked him to transfer from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and be based in the San Antonio area to supervise and maintain an evolving and complicated telecommunications system which monitored a natural gas pipeline system with control stations all
over Texas. Tom’s first response to the New Braunfelers he met while checking out a new locations was so overwhelmingly positive, he made the commitment to raise his family here and to “stay put, whatever it took. I told my company ‘I’m going to stay in New Braunfels’.” And stay he has. He’s been through the calamity of the 1972 flood and seen up close the strides the community has made in coping with the growth of the last decade. He contends “it’s the only place in the world I would want to live. There are no better people on earth than the citizens of New Braunfels.”
Because he puts so much of himself into it, Watson finds the Seniors’ Center renovation work rewarding, pointing out how much he has had to relearn to catch up on new electrical codes, materials and wiring techniques which evolved while he learned the new telecommunications technology that was at
the heart of his career. Says he: “From the time I started, I saw our company go from manned pump stations to centrally dispatched station to computer-controlled stations, and now they’re going into so-called smart systems using computers.”
Watson is a winning volunteer combination with his wife of 45 years, Iva Jean, whom Tom describes as “a real go-getter and terrific lady.” She regularly serves as volunteer in the administrative offices at the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Wurstfcst, and also for the Red Cross at McKenna Memorial Hospital. Recently the Watsons were feted by the New Braunfels Rotary Club as Senior Citizen Couple of the Quarter for their joing community volunteer activities.
Meanwhile, the Seniors’ Center renovation finds Watson starting out his days with yet another assignment. “Next week,” he notes, “we start rewiring those swimming pool pumps and I haven’t touched one in 15 vears.”
Tom Bluntzer, the Seniors* Center Fund Raising Chairman, says contributions of all amounts, large and small, are greatly needed now from individuals and businesses. He’s especially anxious to see an improved response from individual contributors. Those wishing to participate should mail pledges or taxdeductible contribution checks to Fund Drive, Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation, P.O. Box 312085, New Braunfels, Texas 78131-2085. For further details, call Walter Oaks at 620-5315 or Les Thorn at 629-4711.
Is it time for kindergarten?
By IDA SING
I never went to kindergarten — there Was no such thing in our smalltown school. In fact, my parents had to pay tuition to start me in first grade at age six. Everything moved more slowly in those days, but in first grade we got the things one expects to be taught in kindergarten, plus first grade — and plus the fact that we could legally answer roll call with a Bible verse. I vividly recall one girl whose family didn’t go to church, perhaps didn’t even own a Bible. Or maybe she was just too lazy to memorize anything new, but each day she answered with her own version of Matthew 11:15: “Who has years let ’im hyear.” I remember, too, that John 11:35, “Jesus wept” was a popular shortcut.
“All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” a short credo by Robert Fulghum, has been published across the country, first in his church newsletter, then in the Congressional Record, Dear Abby, and Readers Digest. I have a lovely copy in color offered a few years ago by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. It reads:
Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday school. These are the things I learned:
• Share everything.
• Play fair.
• Don’t hit people.
• Put things back where you found
• Clean up your own mess.
• Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
• Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
• Wash your hands before you eat.
• Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
• Live a balanced life — learn some said think some and draw and paint
and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
• Take a nap every afternoon.
• When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
• Be aware of wonder.
“I don’t care what people do with it as long as they think about it,” Fulghum says. “We’re talking about fundamentals of civilization that don’t belong to anybody.”
The thought-provoking piece found its way into the home of a literary agent, who telephoned Fulghum and his book on the subject bagan to take shape. It has been at the top of the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list and is being published in paperback.
And who is this Robert Fulghum. anyway? He is a painter as well as a writer, holding two part-time jobs, as minister of the Edmonds, Washington Unitarian Church and an director of a school. In his studio he keeps a gorilla suit his wife gave him to remind him to “keep loose and wild and funny.”
Bom in Waco, Texas, he’s been a singing cowboy, an IBM salesman.
By IDA SING
and a bartender — where he learned “more about human sadness and sorrow and resiliency than I ever would have learned in the classroom.” He uses Cheer because he likes the idea of a happy wash, and says, “What gives my life movement ... is laughter."
SENIOR SAVVY: A child is a person who can’t understand why anyone would give away a perfectly good kitten. — Doug Larson
Ida Sing if a freelance enter residing in New Braunfels.
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It is with our sincerest gratitude that the Ramon C. Perez Sr Family would like to thank ail our dear friends for their support through our difficult time of sorrow with * their kind words of encouragement, their prayers, gifts of flowers, plants, cards and food. God Bless you all for your kindness. Special thanks to Tony De Luna. Dr. Campos, Dr. Hickman, Dr Whitaker, McKenna Memorial Hospital and staff, also Nurse Jackie Vichek from Caremark.
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