This year’s Reagan Dinner featured Jim McIngvale (aka Mattress Mack), honored Ronald Reagan, and celebrated the lives of Andrew and Ila Martinez, two members of the Huntsville who community who exemplified the concept of public service.
The event began at 6pm, with guests enjoying refreshments and conversations. At seven, Linda McKenzie, the chair of the Walker County Republican Party, began the remarks, with welcomes and introductions.
Our primary role during these initial periods was to greet and seat, which we were happy to do. Indeed, this is the 12th “Reagan Dinner” at which we have assisted.
Following brief introductions, guests enjoyed their meals and light table conversation. That was easy for us, because we were seated at a table with fun guests. Representative Ernest Bailes and his wife, Courtney, sponsored and were seated at the table; as were Councilmember Tish Humphrey and her husband, Russell; and Ed and Rissie Owens. Another of the LEAP students was at Senator Charles Schwertner’s table, where he sat with Schwertner’s District Representative, Annel Guadalupe and her husband, Dylan.
After dinner, Congressman Kevin Brady, the Republican Party of Walker County…
…and the Walker County Republican Women honored Andrew and Ila Martinez. In their memory, the Party, the Women, the Martinez family (led by Andrea and Russell Martinez), and private donors contributed to a scholarship fund directed toward students who provide public service.
Speaking in front of a large, projected photo of Andrew and Ila Martinez, Russell Martinez announced that the scholarship will go to a LEAP Student, which was an immense honor for us.
But the real honor is to the entire Huntsville community, who benefited from the spirit of service that has animated the Martinez family during their nine decades in Huntsville.
Andy Martinez lived a long life, and he lived it well. He worked for TDCJ; owned his own business; was a founding member of LULAC; served as a pastor; was elected to both the Huntsville City Council and the Huntsville School Board; and served on numerous boards in the community.
His partner in this service–for 63 years–was Ila Martinez, who raised a large family while putting many hours of volunteer service, most commonly with the Walker County Republican Party and the Walker County Republican Women.
Perhaps with that example of public service in mind, Representative Bailes spoke next, offering a non-partisan and informative overview of issues likely to be addressed during the 86th Legislative Session.
He noted that school finance was likely to be one of the most important of these issues and, with his wife Courtney being a third-grade teacher, that issue has special importance to him.
Congressman Brady again took the stage to give an overview of national politics, and he offered some red meat to the Republican crowd.
The guest of honor for the evening was Jim McIngvale, better known around the greater Houston area as “Mattress Mack.”
He spoke about the importance of a positive attitude during life’s trials and tribulations. He told different stories about people with positive attitudes living their lives in ways that helped others, and used the late George H. W. Bush as one example.
When the event was over, we assisted with the event, but we also had a chance to meet with Congressman Brady and Mattress Mack.
It was a wonderful event, and our take-away from the night was the value of life-long public service, reflected in an entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy (Mattress Mack), holding elective office (Brady, Bailes, Martinez), and volunteering countless hours to improve your community (the Martinez family, Linda McKenzie, many others at the event).
We would like to thank Representative Bailes and Senator Schwertner for sponsoring tickets to make our attendance possible; Linda McKenzie for thinking of us when filling seats; and to Andrea and Russell Martinez for thinking of us when creating this scholarship.