Wyatt Ranches Foundation donates over $525k to area organizations

submitted

Wyatt Ranches, on behalf of The Wyatt Ranches Foundation, donated $525,500 in grant funds to several South Texas organizations and governmental entities during their second 2021 Board of Directors Meeting.

Newly appointed Alice Police Chief Eden Garcia, accompanied by City Manager Michael Esparza, and Alice Police Lieutenant Rick Saenz, presented an urgent need for police patrol vehicles in Alice. Chief Garcia explained to the board that their current fleet of vehicles was aging, and several patrol vehicles are almost 10 years old. City Manager Esparza added that federal stimulus funding could not be used for purchasing new police vehicles, and that the stimulus funds were justifiably allocated to pandemic-related expenses that have placed an economic strain on the city. When the City Manager explained the financial constraints for the police department, the board felt it a necessity to support the city’s initiatives for public safety. A grant to purchase three fully equipped Ford Police Interceptor Utility patrol cars, in the amount of $137,500, was awarded to the Alice PD.

Having experienced recent challenges with brush fires during the last drought, the Nueces County Emergency Services District Four, made a presentation for a “Quick-Attack” Wildland fire rescue engine. The District serves the western portions of Nueces County for fire rescue and ambulance response. Fire Chief Lloyd Bluntzer explained this Wildland rescue engine could more easily access rural areas and reduce firefighter response times for their volunteers. EMS Chief Diane Bluntzer stated their District could perhaps add to any grant funds to assist with the purchase; however, she said this would delay the planned purchase of an ambulance and affect their EMS vehicle maintenance budget. Not wanting to strain the District to provide any funds, the Board unanimously voted to provide all of the necessary funding to purchase the new fire apparatus and a grant in the amount of $190,000 was awarded to the Nueces County Emergency Services District Four. Both Chiefs expressed their gratitude and gave an update for the previous grant, provided by the Wyatt Ranches Foundation in late 2019, which allowed them to construct a new fire station.

A grant in the amount of $50,000 was awarded to the Marfa Live Arts, an organization that provides year-round education programs for Marfa Independent School District. The school district has a limited budget for arts education and they rely on outside organizations to augment their programs. Marfa Live Arts board member Melissa Keane told the Foundation that many Marfa students are labeled socioeconomically disadvantaged, so the support they provide to the public schools in Marfa, at no cost, is vital for the students.

Alice police Chief Garcia accompanied educators from the Alice Chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). The FFA was represented by Alice ISD educators Isabella Farias, an agricultural science teacher, and Celina Garcia, an educational coordinator. The educators requested funds for various equipment needed for their Agricultural Mechanics Shop. Industrial equipment, such as a bandsaw, a chop saw, a pipe bender, a pipe grinder, and pipe notcher were needed. In addition to this equipment, the educators said a plasma cutting system would be their “dream equipment.” Educator Celina Garcia jokingly said that she was “…a 23-year-old teacher,” and the Foundation should listen carefully to her request. The Foundation’s board indeed listened carefully and awarded a $45,000 grant to Alice ISD for all of the FFA shop equipment requested, which included the plasma cutting system. Chief Garcia explained that 4H and FFA are excellent models for positive youth development and said the Alice FFA has an excellent reputation for mentoring students. The educators expressed the ever-present need for more trade educational skills in South Texas.

Highway Patrol Lieutenant Richard L. Jankovsky, III, President of the DPS Troopers Foundation, accompanied by the Executive Director of the DPS Officers Association, Clay Taylor, presented a request for scholarships allocated to graduates whose parents are members of the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Director Taylor stated their organization provided a total of $50,000 in scholarships to some eighty students this year. The Foundation’s board unanimously voted to match the total amount and a grant for $50,000 was given the DPS Troopers Foundation for their educational scholarships. Lieutenant Taylor explained the myriad of services their organization provides for members of the DPS and their respective families, many of which are paramount when a DPS officer or support services staff member is killed in the line of duty.

From the community of Agua Dulce, City Marshal Jose Rene “Joe” Martinez introduced Agua Dulce ISD Superintendent Richard Wright, recently appointed in 2020, along with District educators Monica Garza and Yolanda Hinojosa. In 2019, Monica Garza, a science teacher in Agua Dulce, had initiated dialog with the Foundation to replace aging equipment for the school’s Science Department. During the presentation, she expressed the need for new microscopes and plumbing repairs for the students’ laboratory stations. Superintendent Wright showed the Foundation an aging microscope and it was obvious that newer instruments were needed for the modern classroom environment. The superintendent and the educators received a grant in the amount of $28,000 for the instruments and lab station upgrades.

From Duval County, Father Patrick Meaney requested assistance for the Santa Maria Catholic Mission. Fr. Meaney told the board of how the pandemic had distressed many area residents and elevated their need for basic essentials. He described how the economically disadvantaged had been especially affected by the Coronavirus and how their needs placed a strain on the Catholic mission in southern Duval County, Catholic Solitudes. Fr. Meaney gave an account of how he had used a previous grant allocation provided by the Foundation; and, the board was pleased with the Mission’s performance. The Foundation awarded an additional grant, in the amount of $25,000, to assist those in need who call upon the Mission.

Situated in South Texas and also in West Texas, Wyatt Ranches has six cattle ranching divisions. These cattle ranches are scattered south from Agua Dulce to the Rio Grande River; and west from Marfa to Valentine, with some ranches supplemented with agricultural farming operations. The Wyatt Ranches Foundation has made numerous donations to governmental entities and non-profit organizations in the rural areas of both South and West Texas…as well as donations for hospitals and teaching universities in the metropolitan areas of Texas. The Foundation’s Board of Directors include the Hon. Ana Lisa Garza, Robert T. Sakowitz, Billy C. Wells, Oscar S. “Trey” Wyatt III, and Bradford A. Wyatt.

Wyatt Ranches associates Guadalupe Gomez, Jr., Division Livestock Foreman, replaces a windmill at the Casas Ranch of the Tres Vidas Division near Benavides.
Wyatt Ranches associates Walter Mencias, Division Livestock Foreman, and Leonardo Hernandez, Ranchero, gather cattle at the Los Robles Division near Alfred.