2015 Texas Star Awards

Unit 172 - Nell Morgan

Unit 172 is proud to recognize Nell Morgan as the 2015 Texas Star Award winner. Nell’s contributions to bridge in Unit 172 and particularly New Braunfels span four decades. The New Braunfels Bridge Club began in 1983 with Nell as its first director. She continued for 40 years until her retirement in 2012. During that time, the club held games at various locations , including several years in Nell’s home.

Nell also served as the guiding light for the New Braunfels sectionals. As the tournament chair, she recruited a great group of volunteers to provide the hospitality for which New Braunfels is famous. Nell was the co-chair for the tournament in its first year and had sole responsibility as Tournament Chair until her retirement in 2010. In recognition of her leadership and commitment, Unit 172 named the concluding event the Nell Morgan Swiss Teams.

Nell is a Diamond Life Master and continues to play actively, including serving as a mentor. Unit 172 extends a big “Thank You” to Nell for all her hard work and “Congratulations” for a well deserved honor.


Unit 174 - Paul Cuneo

Paul Cuneo retired from Shell Oil Company in 2002 after a 33 year career. In Paul’s last position, he was Chief Information Officer for Shell Oil Products Company. In this posi tion he was responsible for all Information Technology for the company and reported to the CEO. Paul holds a Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineer degree from Colorado School of Mines. Paul has lived in Houston since 1990.

Paul was elected to the Unit 174 ACBL Board in April, 2008 and served as President twice during his 6 year term. He began co - chairing the Lone Star Regional in 2010 where the attendance passed 3000 tables for the first time since 1999. In 2011, Gold Rush Pairs and Bracketed Swiss team events were first played at the LSR and event times were revised. These changes have been popular with players and the LSR increased attendance to 3,259.5 tables in 2013. For the first time the Unit 174 had 4 consecutive years of over 3000 tables in atten dance.

Paul is now the Unit 174 Representa tive on the District 16 Board. In 2013 Paul served as Second Vice President of the District 16 Board and is cur rently serving as the First Vice President. In addition to volunteering at ESCH, Paul volunteers with Be tween Jobs Ministry at Northwest Bible Church where is is a Deacon and serves on the Bilma PUD Board.

Unit 176 - David Greims

If a unit is lucky, they have lots of members who pitch in and help when asked. If they are VERY lucky, they have that special someone who never needs to be asked. Dallas Unit 176 has that in David Greims, this year’s recipient of our Texas Star. David is just completing his 6th year on the Unit Board, serving this final year as Vice President. He has worked hard on committees, serving wherever needed and preferring to stay behind the scenes, but most of us know him as the King of Equipment and Supplies. David made sure we always had everything we needed and that it was in great shape. If you have attended a Dallas tournament, you’ve seen David’s handiwork – tables and chairs delivered to the site, placed perfectly, with cards, bidding boxes and stanchions ready to go for the very first session. When you headed home on Sunday at the end of the Swiss, David (with wife Sue, who is just as indispensable to us as he is) was loading the unit trailer, with every box and table already cleaned, and every cup and coffee pot back in its designated place. He has taken care of us for years and this spring, turned this part of his duties to a stronger back. It’s hard to believe he won’t be there to take care of every little detail, but we know if we need him, he always will be. Thank you, David, from a very grateful Unit 176, for all your years of service and dedi- cation. We are so very proud of you.

Unit 183 - Max Jackson

Max has been invaluable to Unit 183 and particularly so to the Tournament Chair. For over 10 years he has man- aged all the tournament equipment and supplies including personally loading, transporting, storing, and setting up and taking down tables and chairs. He also transports our equipment to neighboring Unit 176 when they borrow it for their tournaments. These jobs may require more than one trip and often last into the wee hours of the morning. He has helped maintain unit head- quarters in all aspects of its operation for many years. He has served on the Unit board and willingly assists with any and all requests for help including running unit games. Thank you, Max!


Unit 187 - Phyllis Pruet

Phyllis and her husband Bill started playing bridge early in their marriage and she has played for years on and off. They both were very active in our local club when they moved to Corpus Christi from Alabama. Their business obligations kept her from playing for several years, and when Bill passed away in 2002 Phyllis continued operating the business. She retired in early 2011 and lucky for us came back to bridge. Phyllis is one of the most well liked members of our club always ready and willing to help with whatever needs to be done - sometimes hauling equipment to tournaments, cleaning after games and any other chore needed to keep our club running smoothly. We persuaded her to take the director's test and now she directs several games a month. She always has a smile, is helpful to everyone and is certainly an important asset to our club.


Unit 197 - Greg Loran

The members of the nominating committee for the Texas Star and Good will awards have nominated Greg Loran as the Texas Star winner. Greg has been our District 16 representative since he took over for Carol Schoenhals after her death. He faithfully attends all he District meeting for a small stipend that doesn't begin to cover his expenses. He always reports the latest information from these meetings to the Unit Board. Greg has also taught several classes and has been willing to play with less experienced players to help them improve. He also has taken over our yard maintenance and has done a wonderful job. He has saved us a fortune in landscape expense

Unit 201 - Mary Jane Garth

Colorado. She moved to Beaumont 9 years ago with only 37 points and quickly advanced to Life Master. Mary Jane's most admirable qualities are her friendliness and her generosity and service to Unit 201, Beaumont, and the Southeast Texas community.

Mary Jane actively supports many worthy causes and has been honored and recognized for her generosity and service to many organizations in the community. She was recently designated as a Julie Rogers Gift of Life Program “Angel Among Us” for her devotion and donations to breast and ovarian cancer survivors and as 2014 honoree at Lamar University's Le Grand Bal for her myriad contributions to the art community. Additionally, Mary Jane has donated thousands of dollars to Beaumont Bridge Studio tournaments, events, and facilities.

Mary Jane annually opens her home to the 200+ members of Unit 201 for a Christmas party where over 200 art pieces and collections are displayed. The gathering is a "must attend" event in a relaxed atmosphere that brings members of all skill levels together.
Unit 201 proudly designates Mary Jane Garth as Texas Star Award recipient for her generosity, selflessness, and passion for promoting duplicate bridge in our community.


Unit 207 - Robert Donathan

Robert has served as the unit treasurer since 2006 and served two terms on the board. He agreed to continue on a treasurer after going off the board last year. He has assisted Larry Davis in negotiating some very attractive deals with hotels for our tournaments. He has offered sound business advice over the years to the unit board and some clubs in the unit. Robert negotiated the lease for the space that the BCA occupies with the owners of the shopping center and also negotiated an extension of that lease that is currently in effect. He has been very generous with his time in the bridge community and tries to office advice when asked about the game to less experienced players. But he will tell you he has gotten a lot more out of bridge than he’s put into it, especially considering the opportunity to become friends with so many good people in our bridge community. Robert learned to play bridge in college in the early 1970’s when a fraternity brother Frank Floca (now Dr. Frank Floca) taught him and a few other friends how to play. It didn’t take long for this group to get hooked on the game and they spent many hours playing bridge at the fraternity house until the wee hours of the morning. They also played duplicate at the old house on 6th Street where the director was Ray Roback. After graduating from the University of Texas in 1973 and joining the real world and taking a job in Dallas, Robert didn’t play for over 15 years. After moving back to Austin, he started playing duplicate again and found that the bridge studio had moved to north Austin off of Koening Lane but that Ray was still the director. He was very fortunate that experienced players like James Garner played with him when he was getting back into duplicate back in the early 1990’s.

Robert has served as the unit treasurer since 2006 and served two terms on the board. He agreed to continue on a treasurer after going off the board last year. He has assisted Larry Davis in negotiating some very attractive deals with hotels for our tournaments. He has offered sound business advice over the years to the unit board and some clubs in the unit. Robert negotiated the lease for the space that the BCA occupies with the owners of the shopping center and also negotiated an extension of that lease that is cur- rently in effect. He has been very generous with his time in the bridge community and tries to office advice when asked about the game to less experienced players. But he will tell you he has gotten a lot more out of bridge than he’s put into it, especially considering the opportunity to become friends with so many good people in our bridge community.


Unit 209 - Dorothy Brenneman

Unit 209 is proud to present the 2015 Texas Star Award to Dorothy Brenneman, a long time bridge player. Dorothy has served as secretary to Unit 209 for over 15 years and as secretary of the Permian Basin local unit for a number of years as well. She grew up on a ranch near Uvalde, Texas. She got her degrees from Sul Ross College in Alpine, Texas, where she also met and married John Brenneman. They have been married for 58 years, sharing their love for country living, dancing, and rodeos. They were blessed with one son, who resides in Austin. Dorothy taught school in Garden City and Green- wood before retiring and moving to Midland. She has been a big asset to our clubs as both a bridge player and a great “record keeper.” We congratulate Dorothy Brenneman, our 2015 Texas Star.

Unit 224 - Jo Smith

Jo Smith has been chosen by Ft. Phantom Unit 224 to receive the Texas Star Award for 2014. Jo has worked diligently at the Unit level and she has been an Ambassador for bridge wherever she travels, reflect- ing credit upon our local Unit. Jo has served as President of our Board of Directors multiple times. She has helped the unit in every way imaginable.

Presently Jo serves on the Board of Directors for District 16. In 2013 she served at President of District 16. Her articles were enjoyed by many for their history and their promotion of bridge.

It is with great pride that we nominate Jo Smith as the recipient of the Texas Star for Unit #224 for 2015. She is our friend, our go to person, our mentor and our ambassador for bridge from Abilene.

 

Unit 225 - Jean Roach

The Board of Directors of Unit 225 has selected Jean Roach to receive the 2015 Texas Star Award. Since the second day of the 2005 Easy Bridge class at the Bridge Studio at Cedar Creek, when she announced “This is what I want, I am joining ACBL”, she has been a “go to” person in support of bridge in East Texas.

After being elected to the Unit 225 board, on which she served 3 years, she coordinated updates to the Unit web page. She has been responsible for the publication of the Unit Mem- bership Roster and has served on the partnership and education chairs for the unit tournaments. She received the ACBL Goodwill Award in 2014.

She has generously given of her time to mentor players new to ACBL and manages partnerships at two bridge clubs where she plays. As one director commented, “Jean is ready to do whatever it takes to make our game a success”. This is only one of the many accolades she has received.

Jean Roach grew up in Amarillo, Texas and is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in English. She and her childhood sweetheart Jerry will celebrate 50 years of mar- riage in June of this year. They raised their family on a ranch in Kaufman County. They have two married daughters and seven grandchildren.

Jean became a Chartered Life Underwriter in 1979 and continues in insurance sales when she can tear herself away from the bridge table. After graduating from the Naval Academy, Jerry went into the Marine Corps where he served a tour in Viet Nam and attained the rank of Captain. He is now retired from an engineering career in the petroleum industry followed by 15 years as a small business owner

Unit 233 - Ila Bates

Ila G. Bates has been selected by the Unit board of directors as the volunteer whose activities are deserving of the Texas Star Award for 2015.

Ila lives in Waco. Before retirement, she was a drama and speech teacher in a Waco high school. She is a winning player in ACBL sanctioned bridge clubs and tournaments and spends quality time with her daughter and two young granddaughters in Austin.

After not having a Waco sectional tournament for two years due to renovation of theconvention center, Ila worked tirelessly to find an affordable location to have atournament. She has since chaired four sectional tournaments in Waco.

Following the death of a long-time club manager/director at Sul Ross bridge club, Ila
took the ACBL director test in order to help with directing games at Sul Ross. She has
now been elected by the Sul Ross board of directors as the club manager.

She served a three-year term on the Unit board of directors and was elected vice president for one-year and president for one year during her term in office.

Ila has demonstrated exceptional ability in performing in any position she may accept
and will continue to promote bridge and to further Unit activities. She is unquestionably
deserving of the Texas Star Award for 2014.


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