July 2021

JULY • 2021

TEXARKANA MAGAZINE July | 2021 | Volume 2 | Issue 7

40. S T Y L E Living on Lake Time 46. L I F E

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10. B U S I N E S S You Are My Sunshine 14. c o v e r/ P O L I T I C S A Seat in the People’s House

Things We Might Actually Miss About the Pandemic

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36. E N T E R TA I NME N T Good Evening TXK 38. L I F E We Be Trippin’

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48. S T Y L E Backyard Pool Fun 50. T X K R O O T S Jarrion Lawson

20. C OMMUN I T Y/ C U L T U R E American by Choice 30. S P O R T S Living Ultra

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I’m proud to be an American because…

CASSY MEISENHEIMER …of the freedoms built by the brave sacrif ices of those who came before us. God Bless the USA!

TERRI SANDEFUR …we have the ability to right our past wrongs as a nation.

KARA HUMPHREY …I can worship God without being afraid, and owning a Bible is a protected right. I’ll never take that for granted.

LEAH ORR …it’s the greatest country in the world!

MEGAN GRIFFIN …of the endless

MATT CORNELIUS …I can be who God created me to be.

BRITT EARNEST …TEXAS FOREVER!

LINDSEY CLARK …of the immense freedoms we are blessed with thanks to the sacrif ices of all of those who have served and currently serve our great nation.

opportunities we have as citizens! You truly can “dream big.”

BAILEY GRAVITT …I’m free to get a honey butter chicken biscuit at midnight if I want one. #capitalism

TERRI GRAVITT …I can pray anywhere I want to.

TIFFANY HORTON …I can raise my kids as Christians.

BRIAN JONES …of the diverse landscape and cultures. Oh, and Texas!

PATSY MORRISS …when I think about

CAROLINE PURTLE …it is my right to participate in the democratic election process by voting on electors for federal, state and local

EMILY SARINE …freedom is not only my privilege, it is my right.

LIBBY WHITE …the sacrif ice of so many has achieved the freedoms and rights our children and future generations will experience.

how I feel about being an American, the f irst word that comes to mind isn’t proud. It’s lucky.

governments. (Thank you, 19th Amendment.)

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C O N T R I B U T O R S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

2801 Richmond Road • Suite 38 Texarkana, Texas 75503 903.949.1460 letstalk@txkmag.com txkmag.com Publisher C A R D I N A L P U B L I S H I N G Staff C A S S Y M E I S E N H E I M E R cassy@txkmag.com T E R R I S A N D E F U R terri@txkmag.com K A R A H U M P H R E Y kara@txkmag.com L E A H O R R leah@txkmag.com M E G A N G R I F F I N megan@txkmag.com M AT T C O R N E L I U S matt@txkmag.com B R I T T E A R N E S T britt@txkmag.com Local Sources C L A R E A N G I E R J O H N L U K E A N G I E R M A R Y C A R O L I N E A N G I E R P H I L I P A N G I E R J O S E P H G U E R N S E Y J AY C E K E I L

Our goal was to wake before Alaina and her friends so we could claim the three- wheeler because the early bird got the three-wheeler for the day. One day we all woke up close to the same time and Jess and I, with our lovingly competitive natures, made a B-Line for the three-wheeler even though it meant we spent the entire day in our pajamas so we would not forfeit our claim. I believe the same day Alaina rolled Jessica’s room in toilet paper and painted on her unicorn poster, which lead to a devastated eleven-year-old! Six Flags Over Texas was also a regular summer-time adventure for us. Back then our parents would let us wander off alone without a cell phone (because no one had such a thing). Parting with a meet-up time and location was the simple way it went down. I feel pretty certain we wore matching puff paint or airbrush t-shirts, and we thought we were the best things since sliced bread. On one of our trips to Six Flags, somehow Jess got lost. I remember frantically searching for her, but I do not really remember how she went missing in the first place. We were probably competing to get back to the meeting spot first and took different routes. Thankfully, she was soon found, and I think it is obvious I won that one since she was temporarily MIA. Jess and I have spent a lot of summers and lived a lot of life together. Alaina’s husband, Ryan, was Fred’s roommate in Mt. Pleasant, and they actually ended up being our neighbors when Fred and I first married. I love how God has kept our lives so closely intertwined throughout the years. Friendships are unique because, unlike family relationships, they are a choice. The summer months for me are nostalgic because they remind me of all those summers long ago when we chose each other. I am so thankful for our friendship and all the precious moments that helped us build its foundation. And lucky for us, it was born in the days of landlines when there was no internet evidence to expose all our secrets! Some things are better kept safely stored in the shared childhood memories of special friends.

Jessica Rich, Cassy Meisenheimer, Alaina Hamilton

W hen I was seven years old, my family went to meet the Roraback family to explore the possibility of Mrs. Roraback watching my sister and me while our parents were at work. They were a big family with four kids, and they lived on a lot of land with an assortment of animals. I remember that day because they had a daughter my age and I instantly connected with her. We have remained close throughout the years and Jessica (Roraback) Rich has become my lifelong friend. During my first encounter with Jessica, she asked if I wanted to jump on her trampoline. That invitation turned into a showdown of tricks and an all-out flipping contest. I laugh, reflecting on this moment, knowing how competitive we both are today. Although we never attended the same school, we have birthdays that are nine days apart, we married within 20 days of each other, and had babies at relatively the same times (two of them having birthdays just ten days apart). Together, she and I have maintained a lasting friendship, even through the days of landlines. This is because genuine friendship is born from shared experiences, and we have had a lot of those cherished moments! As we are in the dead heat of summer, I think about the fun times with Jessica and how we filled our summer with sleepovers and the torment of her big sister, Alaina.

M O L LY K E N D R I C K V I C K I M C M A H O N

J O E R E G A N T O M M Y T Y E

C R A F T E D I N T E X A R K A N A . E M P L OY E E OWN E D A N D L O C A L LY S O U R C E D .

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Texarkana Magazine is a multimedia publication showcasing the Texarkana area and is designed and published by Cardinal Publishing, LLC. Articles in Texarkana Magazine should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Ideaology, products and services promoted in the publication are not necessarily endorsed by Texarkana Magazine .

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Brittney Quinn, owner of Salubrious Sun, has created her own self tanning mousse.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE BY TERRI GRAVITT PHOTOS BY MAT T CORNEL IUS A ccording to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five American adults will have a skin cancer diagnosis by the time they reach the age of 70. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a major factor in the development of skin cancer. Repeated exposure can also lead to wrinkles, discoloration or noticeable spots. Yet, we all still want that healthy, golden bronze skin. Not only do we crave that glow, but a tan can make stretch marks, spider veins, scars and cellulite less obvious. We want to feel more youthful and attractive, and let’s face it, in the 100% humidity, heat-filled days of Texas and southwest Arkansas summers, long pants and turtlenecks are just not an option! If you feel the same way and are raising your hand high to all the above, Brittney Quinn, owner of Salubrious Sun—Texarkana Airbrush Tanning & Products, is your girl!

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Brittney is a Texarkana native. She has been married to her husband, Derrick Quinn, for 14 years and they have two beautiful children, Brady (14) and Demi (11). Inspired by her grandmother, who was a drug and alcohol counselor, coupled with her own strong desire to help others, Brittney began college intending to become a counselor as well. After some time, she decided it was not a good fit for her. She did, however, still have an intense and driving desire to help people and knew whatever she did, she “wanted to make people feel better about themselves.” In 2012, Brittney found herself wrapped up in the hopping busy life of being the mother of two. One thing she always loved was having a tan, but she realized quickly that she had no time to lie out or even run to the tanning salon. She also became much more health conscious and began searching for alternatives that would not be damaging to her skin. She

after my tan so that I get the most out of each session. Brittney always makes me feel right at home! She’s definitely one of a kind.” When COVID-19 reared its ugly head in 2020, Brittney was heartbroken watching her clients miss proms and graduations, or even having to postpone their wedding dates. “Naturally I panicked,” she recalled. “I decided I had to make the best of it.” She spent more time with her family, worked on herself and spent a lot of time with God. “I had a chance to really sit back and take a good look at what I wanted,” she continued. “I always wanted my own sunless tanning brand.” With the world changing, she knew it was time to make it happen. “It’s amazing what happens when your faith gets stronger, and you actually take chances.” With courage and tenacity, along with years of experience in the self-tanning industry, listening to her clients’ wants and needs and likes and dislikes about products they had previously used, Brittney formulated

Brittney and her mobile tanning tent.

came across spray tanning and decided it was the perfect route for her. In her true “go-getter” fashion, she opened a mobile spray tanning service. This would be a luxury service for busy working women or stay-at-home moms who would allow her to come into their homes or offices, wherever they are most comfortable, set up a spray tan tent, and conveniently and privately provide them with an instant golden glow with none of that dreaded and dangerous sun exposure. As an entrepreneur, Brittney bravely stepped out into the sometimes-scary world of business ownership. She has shown a natural flare for building something from the ground up and has found the truth of “being your own boss” isn’t exactly what she expected. “When you own your own business,” she said, “you actually have a ton of bosses (your clients) who tell you when you’re working, and eventually they become really good friends!” Over time, Brittney’s passion grew as she began building genuine relationships with her clients. “It didn’t take long to notice that I really enjoyed it and wanted to keep pushing forward,” she said. The rapport between a client and technician is important. There is an intimacy and vulnerability that can accompany an appointment, but even the most modest of clients will step out of his/her comfort zone for the healthy glow of a spray tan, and Brittney has a knack for putting everyone at ease. “Because it can be very vulnerable for a client, this is where those counseling classes really help! I talk to them and try to get their focus on other things rather than what is going on. Most of the time, people will start the tan off a little nervous, but by the time I am drying them, we are talking about the latest Handmaid’s Tale episode or sharing laughs.” Brittney’s technique certainly works! Client Morgan Cowling shared, “I’ve tanned with Brittney since the beginning days of Salubrious Sun and wouldn’t trust anyone else to tan my fair skin. She’s so knowledgeable in her industry. She makes sure that I know exactly what to do before and

her own self-tanning mousse, Salubrious Sun. Salubrious means “favorable to or promoting health or well-being.” Salubrious Sun is a vegan-approved, argan oil, vitamin E infused tanner that comes with a color guide, smells good, is streak free and a professional grade which can be used for both face and body. It has no orange, is not sticky, is lightweight and has a 12-month shelf life. Brittney has found a way, even through this challenging time, to keep her customers smiling. Jamye DeHaan shared, “Brittney has a special talent in getting the color of your tan just right for your skin tone. If you follow her instructions, you will love your tan! She is reliable, consistent, accommodating and very thorough.” Brittney is blessed with a very supportive family. She laughingly shared, “My son’s interest in my business is really cute. He likes to ask me how many bottles of self-tanner or spray tans I have sold in the past week or how many views I have had on my Shopify site. It makes my heart smile.” While enjoying success and fulfillment in her growing business, Brittney would like to “be able to let go a little more and hire people to help with the extras that come with running your own business.” This would also benefit her personal goals of spending time with her kids more and cooking more for her family. “I’m a one woman show,” she adds, “and at times it can get a little crazy.” Brittney’s desire to help others, tenacity and flexibility through challenging times, and her determination to make her dreams come true have truly led her to a happy place both in business and her personal life. Brittney’s wise grandmother always told her, “You can pray and pray for something, but you need to show God you’re trying and put one foot in front of the other.” With God as her guide, her family holding one hand and her clients holding the other, Brittney continues to spray her way to success!

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On January 6, 2021, Congressman Pat Fallon was at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., just three days into his newly elected office representing the Fourth Congressional District of Texas. What began as a normal day on the Chamber floor ended historically as the Capitol was stormed by a rioting mob. “We were sitting in the Chamber at the Capitol when somebody whispered in Nancy Pelosi’s ear, and she left,” recalled Congressman Fallon. “The Capitol police came on the microphone and said there had been a breach in the Capitol, and we were in lockdown. Nobody knew what was going on. Ten minutes later, they tell us there is a gas mask under every chair. We had to rip it out and get it ready to use. The police started getting us ready to evacuate, and I looked back and saw very few Capitol police officers. They were frantic. There were not even enough of them to get one on each door because there are so many doors in the Chamber. I felt compelled to help, and my military training kicked in. Five Republicans from Texas stayed, and we didn’t know what was on the other side of those doors. One guy had this club in his hands. It was a hand sanitizer station pole he had ripped off, and he had it like a Braveheart pike. I found a sanitizer station, and with all that adrenaline, I ripped the club right off the hand sanitizer station like a hot knife through butter. We had our ties on and I screamed to the other guys to get their ties off. If you’re in a street fight, you don’t fight with a tie on because they can drag you down and choke you. So, we all got our ties off and put them in our pockets. We were ready to defend the Chamber because it is the People’s House. You don’t just barge in uninvited. Then someone was shot right outside the Chamber, and we heard ‘shots fired!’ Then, someone from the outside busted through the Chamber glass with a flagpole right where we were standing. It shattered the glass and looked like a bullet hole. We thought they were shooting. That’s when we left, and they took us to an undisclosed location. After one of the other Congressmen found out I had only been in office three days, he assured me this wasn’t a normal day in Congress. It was harrowing for sure.”

A Seat in the People’s House BY L IBBY WHITE

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(ABOVE) Chris Chamblee and Congressman Fallon touring Red River Army Depot on June 3, 2021. (TOP LEFT) Joe Johnson, James Bass, Michael Lockard, RRAD Deputy Commander Patton Tidwell, Congressman Pat Fallon

I was a second lieutenant in the Air Force and making $18,500 base pay.” Growing up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Fallon learned the value of a dollar and of hard work. “But after I graduated college and was in the military, I was tired of being poor,” Fallon said. “So here I was with four twenty dollar bills to my name, and I decided I needed to try something entrepreneurial on the side. I started a little T-shirt business, and the first two times I tried, it failed. But the third time, it took off. After two years, I started making more money on the outside (of the military) than I did on the inside, so I finished my four-year military commitment and got out. In 1993, a fellow by the name of Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger called me out of the blue. They had just filmed the movie Rudy about him on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, and he was going around the country making speeches. He called me and asked if I could make T- shirts for him. I became his business manager and saw almost every major city in the United States and Canada in those two years. I did pretty well financially for a 25-year-old kid who started with $80.” Fallon’s grassroots side business was only the beginning of his decades-long entrepreneurial career. “In 2009, I noticed young kids were wearing shirts that had really negative messaging. So, we started making really hip, edgy-looking shirts with a positive and patriotic message. We named our company VIRTUS because it meant ‘courage’ in Latin. We sold 6,000 garments in the first weekend. It exploded. The company went from ten employees to 100, and the rest is history. Hard work and perseverance paid off.”

Fallon was elected in November 2020 as the Congressman for Texas’ Fourth Congressional District. He represents 18 counties in Northeast Texas and its 700,000 residents, which includes Bowie County. “It has been an honor so far, and there is a learning curve. I’m a professional freshman because I’ve done this four times now in 11 years, learning something new.” Fallon has moved quickly up the chain in his political career over the last decade. From City Council in Frisco, Texas, to the Texas Senate and House, this entrepreneur- turned politician is a fierce competitor who is not afraid to fail and will put in the effort to achieve his goals. His tenacious spirit was ignited during his college football career at the University of Notre Dame under the legendary Coach Lou Holtz. “He’d say that you’re going to have imperfections. You have to take joy in life and seize it. Every day is an opportunity. Sometimes you win your days and sometimes you lose your days, just like in games. You have to be willing to put in the work. I really took that to heart and after football was over, I knew I could apply that to my life,” said Fallon. The Cold War ended while Fallon was in college, and after graduation, he joined the Air Force. “I wanted to go into the military because I felt you should pay the debt that you owe to this country. My father was in the military, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

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“ Serving in

Congress is a huge honor and privilege, and I’msoaking it in every day. ” Congressman Pat Fallon

The Congressman took this energy and work ethic with him on the campaign trail and crushed every election he encountered. “I wanted to become the candidate that I wanted to vote for. I knocked on a thousand doors. I wrote thank-you notes, made connections, and called as many as I could

Congressman Fallon with Merlin, Patriot Paws trained service dog and team mate in the Congressman’s Rockwall office.

for follow-ups, and I won my first election without a runoff for Frisco City Council. After that term was up, I ran for the State House and served six years. Before each election, I was warned I might lose. But we have won, largely I believe, because we go directly to the people and ask questions and listen. There will be nay-sayers and people who say, ‘Don’t try it. It won’t work out. You might lose.’ But follow your gut!” Fallon enjoyed a successful run in the Senate for two years when a seat became open for Texas Fourth Congressional District. “President Trump had asked my dear friend John Ratcliffe to become the Director of National Intelligence. There wasn’t going to be a special election; it was a selection process where 154 people were going to be deciding, and I didn’t like that. I was worried whether the candidate who won the seat could defend it moving forward. I had proven that I could. I’ve never lost an election, and I’m somebody who has a proven, conservative voting record. I had a discussion with my wife and my sons, and after much prayer, I decided to run. On August 8, 2020, we got 82 of the 154 votes, and we became the nominee for the party. I say ‘we’ because it’s my wife holding down the home front and my team supporting me. We’re all in this together.” Already in his brief time in office, the Congressman led 13 House colleagues in pushing for a life-saving upgrade to High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV or “Humvees”). “What many people don’t know is that we have lost 150 military personnel domestically due to rollovers with Humvees. When

they’re on terrain that’s not nice and flat like I-30 highways, it can be dangerous. There is technology where they can retrofit all the existing 54,000 Humvees in our military. But there are manufacturers and other lobbyists in other districts who want to purchase 40,000 new Humvees instead that will already have this anti-rollover technology installed. But we can save the American taxpayer $12.9 billion by upgrading our current Humvees. A lot of that retrofitting will be done here at Red River Army Depot. When I took office, I promised I would try with every fiber of my being to get on the Armed Services Committee because of Red River Army Depot and what it means to this area.” In addition to the Armed Services Committee, Fallon currently serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Military Personnel Subcommittee, and the Cyber Subcommittee. “Serving in Congress is a huge honor and privilege, and I’m soaking it in every day,” said Congressman Fallon. “It’s real work. If you do it the right way, you’re going to work your tail off.” Fallon has instilled that same hard work and perseverance that he learned from Coach Holtz in his sons Thomas (14) and Mac (11). “I want my boys to have confidence in their abilities so they can live their lives to the fullest potential. I tell them what I tell any younger audience I speak to: ‘You’re going to fail in life. Not everything you want to have happened in your life will. But some of it will, provided you try. And don’t be discouraged by the first roadblock or obstacle. You have to learn to overcome. In the end, hard work, persistence and perseverance will pay off.”

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HEIKE SCHEMMEL-CRUZ GERMANY

INTRODUCTION BY KARA HUMPHREY PHOTOS BY MOLLY KENDR ICK

MEL WALSH IRELAND

LAYLA HAZIN CANADA

ROTIMI IYUN NIGERIA

FERNANDA HERNANDEZ MEXICO

JESSICA PASTAKIA VENEZUELA

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WHAT DO ALBERT EINSTEIN, SAMMY SOSA, DAVE MATTHEWS, HENRY KISSINGER, MARTINA NAVRATILOVA, ALEX TREBEK, MILA KUNIS AND JACKIE CHAN ALL HAVE IN COMMON?

The answer is, they were all born in other countries and immigrated to the United States. Their contributions to academia, education, sports, music and television have made them household names and the idols of the generations that follow them. As this Fourth of July is upon us, and we plan family barbeques and firework shows, these celebrations can sometimes be even more meaningful to the men and women who had to leave behind the homes and people they knew and risk everything to celebrate with us.

Texarkana has mixed within its crowds our very own examples of great contributors who first arrived as immigrants. Last year, Texarkana Magazine spent the month of July introducing you to some of them and allowing them to tell their stories through our Talk Tuesday digital platform. Each one is unique and beautiful, but the one thing each story has in common is a declaration of love and appreciation for the United States. Patriotism is not limited to those of us who were lucky enough to be born with the freedoms and opportunities that the

United States offers. It is felt in each word written by these great men and women who are Americans by choice. They are our neighbors and friends and just like Einstein, Sosa and countless others whose names are not so well known, they make this country and community better in countless ways. We are happy to take this opportunity, one year later, to retell these stories in print, and hope it will serve as a great reminder to us all that we truly live in the greatest nation on Earth.

BHAVIN PASTAKIA INDIA

CHRIS GAVRIEL GREECE

JOANNA & RALPH GARLITOS PHILIPPINES

MANJULA CARTER SRI LANKA

MARSHALL ALAM INDONESIA

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MARSHALL ALAM

MANJULA CARTER

CHRIS GAVRIEL

I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. While the economy of Indonesia is steadily growing, my family was still barely getting by. My mother made the difficult decision to create change for my sister and me. She sponsored our green cards, and we moved here soon after I graduated at 18 years old. Shortly after arriving in the United States, I enlisted with the U.S. Air Force. I graduated from basic training and began my service and was excited about my future as an airman. It was a life-changing experience. By becoming a member of the U.S. military, I also became a naturalized citizen. Fast- tracking the citizenship process is an opportunity I am very grateful for, and I have the Air Force to thank. I enrolled in Texarkana College and earned my associate degree with a major in computer technology and information systems. That , with training and experience, has given me opportunities for a career that I wouldn’t have had. For what my mother did for us, I will always be grateful. She took an enormous risk so we could have a different life. I want to show her that her efforts were not fruitless and to always make her proud of me.

I was born in Sri Lanka, an island nation literally as far from the United States as you can get. When I was five years old, my parents emigrated to London, England, where I lived until I was 21. When given the opportunity to study abroad for a year, I jumped at the chance to spend it at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. I was 19, in a new country with no friends or family and I was scared to death, but it ended up being the best year of my life! I fell in love with the country and the people, so I returned to Fayetteville for my master’s degree. I applied for a green card, and after that for citizenship. It was a long and arduous process, but finally, in 2003, I received my citizenship. It was a really proud moment to pledge my allegiance to the flag for the first time. I would not have had the same career opportunities, or met my husband had I not moved to the United States. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to live and vote here.

I was born in Cyprus, Greece, to a large typical Greek family that is extremely close. When I was only one, the war between Turkey and Greece broke out. My family was forced to move and chose Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where they opened a restaurant. In 1994, I moved to Texarkana with a scholarship to play baseball for Texarkana College. I met my wife Britany on my first day in Texarkana, and we were married ten months later. I lived in Texarkana while attending TC, and then we returned as a family in 2006. Life is much faster here than in Greece and it is much more conservative than it was in Canada. My boys have had so many opportunities that they would not have had in my native countries. I appreciate the fact that we had a praying coach while the boys were in school, and who would still pray at football games. That is not allowed in Canada, and it is a freedom we take for granted in the United States. I have my permanent residency and am pursuing my citizenship. As Christians, we have to do what we can to fight for our beliefs and fight to protect them, so now more than ever I look forward to having the right to vote in United States elections.

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WELCOMES BRITT EARNEST TO THE TEAM!

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LAYLA HAZIN

RALPH GARLITOS

JOANNA GARLITOS

I am the first person from my family to come to the United States. I was born in Manila, Philippines, but spent my teenage years in Cebu, Philippines. When I was young, I saw America as the land of opportunity, wealth, and prosperity. Following my father’s advice, I became a physical therapist, and came to the United States with a work visa. My first year in the U.S. was hard. Imagine being 22 years old, fresh out of college, and living in a foreign country. I was lonely and culture shocked. I was unsure of the future and alone, but in the midst of it all, I knew God was in control!

I lived a simple, provincial life in Bacolod, Philippines, with my three older sisters and a younger brother. My goal was to study hard, be able to come to the United States, earn money, and eventually, as good Asian children do, send it back to bless my parents, as they have done for me. I became a physical therapist. I was the fourth in my family among the five siblings to come to the United States. Even though my siblings were in the U.S., they were in other states. I still felt lonely. However, my faith grew, and I learned that if you rely on God, He will direct your path. I also realized that if you work hard in the United States, you can be successful.

By origin I am a Palestinian, born in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with no written constitution; everything is under complete and total control of the royal family. As all parents do, mine wanted their children to have the best education and future. So, they emigrated in the 1990s to Canada. I moved to New York and married the love of my life in 2006. New York taught me how important freedom of religion is to America. In my place of origin, Jerusalem, which is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, people slaughter each other and destroy each other’s homes in the name of their faith. In New York, communities of Jews, Palestinians and Christians live and work in total harmony because their government represents them all equally. My favorite memories in the U.S. include getting married, having each of my beautiful children, and becoming an American citizen in 2018. Learning about the Constitution, and all the rights and liberties it provides, makes me feel deep gratitude for the intelligent shaping of this country. Any person who can imagine the life they want and will work hard for it, can live their dream in America.

JOANNA AND RALPH GARLITOS

After both moving to the United States, somehow, God allowed our paths to cross again. We traveled together to different parts of Texas to work. We later settled in Texarkana, USA. We gained our citizenship status after completing all the legal requirements. We are thankful that we can enjoy the freedoms and opportunities available to us as U.S. citizens. Being able to vote and be heard, and the freedom to worship God and be with other believers, are opportunities to cherish. We have assimilated and mingled our own native Filipino heritage with the American culture. We are proud to have a daughter that is both American and Filipino at heart. We are proud to live in a country where the ideals are of Christian origin. We still believe in this country. God bless America!

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I was born in Querétaro, Mexico, in 1991. For me and my family, the American dream was neatly packed inside two suitcases as we boarded a bus to the United States. That decision was a sacrifice that demanded everything [my parents] owned and knew be left behind to pursue a better life. At the time, I was nine years old. I didn’t understand the extent of what [they] were giving up, and I wasn’t aware that leaving their life behind would mean my future would be drastically different. I began fourth grade only knowing a handful of English words, which were poorly pronounced. There were days I felt like giving up, but I kept going and in just over a year, I was fluently bilingual. That’s the thing about the American dream, it allows you to dream past the country you were born in and achieve the unimaginable. The price you pay is not cheap and the sacrifice my parents made could never be accurately measured. I thank my mom and dad for changing the course of my life. I live the American dream daily, and for me it’s about making my family and Mexico proud. FERNANDA HERNANDEZ

ROTIMI IYUN

I was born and raised in communist East Germany. I attended ten years of school and then attended the university where I earned a degree in electrical engineering. In 1989, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, I moved to Munich. I met my husband, an American soldier, in 2006. We married and moved to the United States where I became a permanent resident. Ultimately, I earned my license in esthetics and massage therapy. This enabled me to open my own a business, which is something I never dreamed of in Germany. There are no words that truly express how positive my life in the United States has been. After a rough start, that included self-learning the English language and understanding the social norms of America, I am happy. My husband’s military assignment to Red River Army Depot brought me to Texarkana. What I really appreciate about life in Texarkana is that hard work pays off and people honor that. Everyone in this country has the opportunity to do the same. The bottom line is, I realize there are endless possibilities and opportunities when it comes to fulfilling your dreams here in the U.S.A. HEIKE SCHEMMEL-CRUZ

I was born in the hilly city of Ibadan in Oyo State, Nigeria—a large sprawling university city that was once the most populous city in the country. I spent most of my formative years in Ibadan, through high school and college and culminating in my first degree in industrial engineering. For many years, I planned to come to the United States to pursue a dual Master of Industrial Engineering and Business and was admitted to the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester, New York. After five years in New York, I made the decision to move to Texarkana where my sister had gotten a job. The beautiful reserve of Texarkana was a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of New York. The beauty of living in a close-knit town like Texarkana is that you never know when you will run into someone you know. I have learned to say hello to everyone even if I don’t recognize them. It has been twelve years since I left my home country and adopted the United States as my new home. I can truly say that God has been good to me. God bless the United States of America!

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JESSICA PASTAKIA

BHAVIN PASTAKIA

MEL WALSH

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela to parents originally from Perú. We immigrated to the United States in the late 1990s, seeking a safe environment, education and financial stability through job opportunities. Venezuela was going through controversial presidential elections. Many lost their jobs, including my parents. I recall crying myself to sleep when I could not do my homework because I couldn’t read English, but I overcame the language barrier. Now I am a Registered Nurse at C HRISTUS St. Michael Hospital. I am beyond blessed to have had the tools America offers. However, it also takes perseverance and tenacity to grab hold of those tools and pave the road toward making the American dream a reality.

I was born in India and immigrated with my parents and family in the early 1990s. My parents moved to the United States seeking a better education for me and my two siblings and greater opportunities for a brighter future. India is considered a third world country in which financial stability and access to education are a struggle for most of its citizens. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and had to overcome the language barrier. It was hard, but I did it with the help of outstanding teachers. I ended up doing well, and I got a Bachelor of Business Administration. After years of serving as an accountant, I pursued teaching. It’s my turn to give back to those children I represent, who also seek the American dream, because I am living it.

I was born in Ireland on a small dairy farm near the village of Redcross. From a young age, I realized country living was not for me, so after high school graduation, I took a job as a Nurse’s Aide. I was accepted into nursing school at Whipps Cross University Hospital in London. Upon finishing, I spent the next five years working in London before I decided I wanted a change. When I saw an ad advertising available positions for nurses in Texarkana, Texas, I replied to the ad. I landed in Texarkana in April 1979. I worked the night shift at Wadley for 18 months before joining Medical Arts Hospital. [A friend] set me up on a blind date with Ray, who became my husband six months later. Our son, Field, was born in 1983. To make it all official, I passed the state boards for my Registered Nurse’s license in Texas and also became a United States citizen. The political turmoil in Ireland when I was growing up made me realize the importance of voting and being aware of politics. I always voted in the European Union and now I vote in the United States. This is an amazing place, and I’m so glad it’s my home.

JESSICA AND BHAVIN PASTAKIA

The United States of America has given us both many blessings: each other, our children, our education and our freedom. Our love transcends the boundaries of landmasses and seas. It has overcome language barriers, nationalities and skin-deep differences. Serving in our community and trying to be proud and exemplary citizens, is how we want our children and future generations to live, and they can do that with freedom.

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BY CAROL INE PURTLE LIVING ULTRA

The sun sinks behind a curtain of trees as your heart pounds along with your feet battling the rugged terrain. You know there’s someone behind you, so you’ve got to stay ahead. You can’t stop. Time seems exponential and your vision is muddled. “Will I make it?” For most people, this nightmare is a fleeting dream, but for local father of three, Brad Taylor, it’s his reality and hobby. Taylor is what’s known as a “trail ultra- runner,” running distances of over marathon length (26.2 miles) in a single outing. He began the sport three years ago to manage his physical and mental health. Now, at 41 years old, he has competed in over 20 ultra marathons and garnered several accolades. “I’ve run 22 ultra marathons since I started running, including the Arkansas Traveler 100 miler, Walnut Grove Last Person Standing [I went 104 miles and won], LOViT 100 miler, Running the Rose 108k [66 miles] and many others,” said Taylor. “I took a brief respite from the trail in early 2020 and took to road running. I ran the Houston Marathon in two hours and 58 minutes which qualified me for the Boston Marathon.”

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photos by Matt Cornelius

He says another personal achievement he is proud of is winning the Skull Crusher Challenge on the Eagle Rock Loop and setting the “Fastest Known Time” for anyone who has ever run the course. “I also competed in ‘Run the Line’ here in Texarkana,” said Taylor, “and ran a one hour, 21-minute half-marathon and was the top Texarkana finisher.” Ultra trail running is a different beast, and Taylor considers it as the most extreme of the endurance sports out there. “Imagine running for three days straight with maybe two hours of sleep across an entire 72-hour period covering distances of 250 miles [or more],” said Taylor. “It takes mental fortitude and body training unparalleled by any other sport. There are much shorter distances, “ Bringle Park has an excellent systemof trails. You can get upwards of 18miles on the trails if you run themproperly. ” Brad Taylor

but the 100-mile [or more] events are really the ones that test your ability to keep pushing when you feel there’s nothing left.” Races take place on lengthy, and often hazardous, courses. The danger comes from uneven and unpaved terrain on these trails. Any misstep is possibly devastating, and since the sport is not seasonal, running in unfavorable weather is normal. Snow, rain, heat or cold do not stop them. “I’ve run on mountain sides that could end in death with one false foot placement,” said Taylor. “We run in extreme conditions and come face-to-face with threats of heat stroke and frostbite. Not to mention, we always have to be mindful of wildlife such as snakes, bears and big cats. We are constantly jumping over rocks and logs, and tripping is a real threat. Several runners have broken bones, knocked out teeth and received lacerations that need stitches. Fortunately, I’ve never had a serious injury.” It is a somewhat solitary sport; once the race begins, cheering fans dissipate. It is also less popular. Taylor says competitions range from as many as 1,000 competitors, to some as few as ten. “In training, it’s usually just you and nature. A race is much different,” said Taylor. “At the start line of a race, there will be many people there cheering you on. Once you get out on the trail, you most likely won’t see many people cheering until you come to an aid station, which could be four to ten miles later. Because of the distances we

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run in most of these races, the aid stations will be stocked with all kinds of food to keep our calorie supply up while we are running extremely long miles.” Stamina is key for all sports, but endurance tests more than your lungs; it requires a powerful body and mind that isn’t achieved on a treadmill. “I have a very detailed running and fitness plan that leads up to a race,” said Taylor. “I balance out trail running with road running, mixing in slow, longer runs and fast, shorter runs. I’ll run as much as 100 miles a week to be ready. The whole time I’ll be dialing

the ‘Texarkana Runners,’” said Taylor. “There are a few of us in the group who run both trails and roads. Multiple times a year, 5k races for charities will be held all over town and we try to make it out to run in them. Outside of that, many trail runners spend days where we will go out and maintain the trails,” such as picking up litter and trimming overgrowth. Ultra trail running competitions are held all over. Taylor has traveled to Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma to run. Right now, he is training for more races, like the Habanero Hundred, a 100-mile race in August in the extreme South Texas

in my nutrition to make sure that my stomach can handle what I’m feeding it when I’m running long events. The digestive system can have a lot of trouble when put through that kind of trauma, so I need to know what works during a run and what doesn’t.” It does not take a

heat, and the Texas BMF, a last-person-standing event near Houston. “Next year, I’ll be doing a race called Jackalope Jam, which will be a 100-hour event on a small trail, where the goal is to run it as many times as you can in the 100-hour time frame,” said Taylor. “I would like to get close to 300 miles.” Due to being a working family man, Taylor has not been able to venture too far. He says that’s about to change in 2022. “Aside from Jackalope Jam, I have two huge events happening next year,” said Taylor. “I will be entering the Moab 240, which is a gigantic loop around the Moab desert of Utah. I’m also in the early planning stages of something I like to call ‘The Run Across Arkansas.’

superhero to have the courage to confront a superhuman amount of miles. For Taylor, the sport allowed him to take control, and conversely, f ree himself. “I was overweight and battling depression,” said Taylor. “I loved hiking in the mountains of Arkansas and decided to try to run those trails. It caused me to lose 60 pounds and gave me a form of therapy I couldn’t get anywhere else that helped keep depression at bay; running in nature cleared my head. I also found that I was good at it and soon began racing.” Most ultra-runners have regular careers and compete recreationally. Taylor is no different, working as a driver for Coca-Cola in Texarkana. What began as an extreme hobby for self care morphed into a vital outlet and passion. “There are not many better feelings than the ones I get when I’m running next to a river, listening to its flow and not having a care in the world,” said Taylor. “When I’m through, despite being physically tired, my brain feels renewed and fresh. It keeps me sane.” For those considering joining the sport or getting in shape, Bringle Park has an excellent system of trails and Taylor says, “you can get upwards of 18 miles on the trails if you run them properly.” He also enjoys a mountain bike trail in Atlanta, Texas, “that is very hilly and is a great place to go to work on building your hill running strength.” On the weekends, he drives to Albert Pike and hits the Eagle Rock Loop. There are plenty of local opportunities to get started and promote community involvement. “We have a group in town called

Brad has run ultra trails all around the country.

It won’t be a trail run, but my goal is to run from the Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee to the downtown post office in Texarkana in under four days. It’ll be a huge undertaking that will require a good crew to help me.” The inspiration for Taylor’s project formed from an impact of a close friend. “My plan is to pick up sponsorships and generate money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation that searches for effective treatments for [neurofibromatosis]. One of my good running friends was diagnosed with NF and has since used running as a way to help him get his life back, so I really feel compelled to do what I can there,” said Taylor. Life has its challenges. Although ultra trail running is his passion, that doesn’t mean he’s impenetrable. “Its conditions make most people want to give up, including myself,” said Taylor, “and at some point, we all give up in a race. It happens. Just sometimes your body can’t handle what you’re asking it to do. So, I’ve pulled the plug on a few races, knowing I just don’t have what it takes that day. But most times you power through. You don’t want to give up. You want the finish line, and you want the satisfaction from crossing it.”

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GOOD EVENING TXK COLUMN BY BAI LEY GRAVITT

LIVE MUSIC OPPORTUNITIES!

sounds quite as fun as this church camp. The 4 States of Freedom Cowboy Camp targets young Christian cowboys and cowgirls who want to take part in a fun cowboy-themed entertainment while also praising the Lord! Pre-teens, join camp pastor, Chase Pope, and worship band, Alvarado Road Show on July 4 through July 6, and teen camp will be held July 7 through July 9. For more information, head to the Circle J Cowboy Church Facebook page or call 903-277-1499! WinShape Camps for Communities, Red Lick ISD—July 5-9 If you are a parent looking to distance yourself from your child for a few hours (I’m kidding of course. Why would you ever want space from the precious children you’re responsible for 24/7), WinShape Camps for Communities might be of some service to you! “WinShape Camps for Communities brings the ultimate day camp right to your neighborhood, combining fun, faith and friendship into an action-packed week. Campers completing grades K5-8 cultivate their God-given skills and talents in a mix of indoor and outdoor moments, physical activity and creative play, with epic adventures at camp all day and sleeping soundly back at home each night. At the end of the week, we serve up a day of fun for the whole family—complete with a yummy lunch from Chick-fil-A.” (They explained everything better than I would have, so I just went with that thorough summary from their website. Thank you WinShape.) Texarkana’s WinShape Camp will take place at Red Lick ISD from July 5-9 from 8 am-5 pm and will be for children who have completed Kindergarten-8th grade. To register, all you have to do is log onto WinShape.org! Prices and time information can be found there as well.

Freedom Fest, T&P Trailhead Park—July 4 AHHHH! It is time for fireworks again and I could not be more thrilled! No, seriously, I couldn’t be more thrilled! There is not another ounce of thrill I could muster up in this moment. I have always had such a strange fascination with fireworks. I also can’t even think about fireworks now without the Katy Perry song replaying endlessly in my head for hours after. Iconic. Fourth of July celebrations are always lots of fun for the entire family, and this event is no exception! The New Boston Freedom Fest is an annual event, and each year it gets better and better. You just cannot beat food, live entertainment, and yes, fireworks, all in one night. Food, fun and entertainment will kick off at 6 pm, and the fireworks show begins at 9 pm! All this excitement is taking place at T&P Trail Head Park Pavilion and Festival Grounds! So come on out and let’s celebrate the red, white and blue! For more information call 903-628-2581. 4 States of Freedom Cowboy Camp, Circle J Cowboy Church—July 4-6 & 7-9 Summer is in full swing, which means bring on the camps! I spent most of my childhood summers at church camp, and it most definitely helped mold me into the human I have become. However, I very regretfully have to admit I’ve never been to anything that July 2—Bad Rona at 67 Landing July 10—The Steel Woods and Ethan Kuntz at Crossties July 10—Billie Jo at Redbone July 10—Curtis Grimes at 67 Landing July 17—Tailgate Poets at Crossties July 17 & 24—Relentless Unplugged at Redbone

In the always true words of my good friend Ali Deal, “I thrive in the summertime.” Summer is my jam. Summer is MY season. Summer is the feeling you get staring at a sunset while listening to the crickets chirp and watching the passing fireflies. I love nostalgically submerging myself back into my blissfully naive middle school days where I would run the streets on hot summer nights with my friends, then stay up with them until 4 am listening to our favorite summer songs playing on the tiny radio I had in my room. Gosh, I am making myself sound OLD! The point I am trying to make is that even now as a working-class adult (I use the term “adult” very loosely), I still feel like school just got let out for three months and I’m ever so determined to soak up every moment of this “freedom” before I have to go back. Only, I do not have to go back. If you’re a teenager in high school reading this, feel very lucky that you DO have to go back. You think sitting at a desk all day is hard until you are out in the real world. Good grief, I am making myself sound old again. Whether you’re a child, a teen, or a clearly ancient feeling 23-year-old like myself, there are plenty of fun events happening in Texarkana this month to help you enjoy that wonderful summer sunshine! Here are some of them…

TechKNOW Camps, St. James Day School—July 12-16, 19-23, 26-30

Summer at St. James Day School sounds super fun for the kiddos this year! The school will host TechKNOW Camps

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