During this time of challenge and change, Broadway in San Antonio and North Park Lexus were looking for local stars who’ve gone above and beyond for the community. These game-changers could be on the front lines, in healthcare, organizing community events, finding creative solutions to problems, teaching in social distance or leading the fight against inequality. We wanted to celebrate the stars who are helping our communities be safer, more inclusive and all together better for all of us – just like the arts!
Thank you to the wonderful members of the San Antonio community who nominated their friends, family, and coworkers for our Nominate a Star campaign! We reviewed the nominees and chose five winners, who will each receive four tickets to an upcoming show when Broadway returns to the Majestic Theatre. All the nominations we received were inspiring and heartwarming, and we are thrilled to share our winners and other nominations.
- Pastor Ed Newton, nominated by Veronica Carrillo: Lead Pastor Community Bible Church. Pastor Ed, CBC Pastors, leadership, strengthened SA by Food Bank distributions, gathering $1MM worldwide donations to stimulate economy, Zoom groups; vacation bible school, core classes, care and support, student, bible study; blood drives, school supply drive, prayer gatherings, drive-in Church, Praise in the Park.
- Dr. Michael Charlton, nominated by Tanya Mazzucca: UT Health San Antonio is the leader in the SARS-COV-2 response in San Antonio. Our leaders have helped with testing, training, treating, and advising across our city. Dr. Charlton has spearheaded the healthcare worker safety and environmental team for more 3,000 physicians, nurses, dentists, and healthcare support personnel.
- Nora Alpizar, nominated by Julie Obregon: Ms. Alpizar exemplifies what it means to be dedicated to civil service. As the UBO Chief she has been able to accommodate her staff to teleworking to limit exposure to COVID. With all this staff shortage, she has still been able to help BAMC clear 90+ million to continue to help local military members with medical treatment. Her unwavering dedication to this facility and our country is something to admire.
- Dr. Stephen Ramirez, nominated by Ramona Howard: Dr. Ramirez is an outstanding Physician that has been on the forefront helping his patients and our community during this COVID-19 pandemic. His was the first office to offer antibody testing in San Antonio and has made that and the COVID-19 test easily and affordable to obtain. He has appeared on various local news segments sharing helpful information obtained by keeping his knowledge in this ever changing situation current. Please consider Dr. Ramirez for going the extra mile to educate and treat his patients and those in our community that are looking for answers from a trusted and reliable source like him. Thank you!
- Teresa Champion, nominated by Annette Flores: My grandmother is a dance teacher and has been teaching for over 60 years. With social distancing as part pf our lives because she is 81 she managed to learn how to navigate Virtual Platforms to reach her students ages 3-70 and continues to teach dance. She was nervous at first but she has wowed me with her resilience and passion for her art form and sharing her love of dance virtually.
- Alyssa Tenorio, nominated by Genevieve Canedo: Alyssa, my granddaughter, is a star. She works at Target, and puts herself in the front line always with a big smile and ready to help, and then goes to esthetician school in the evening, with barely a break for lunch or dinner, and still has the time to give me a call and come by for a visit. She is my go-to person whenever we take trips to NYC to watch Broadway shows. She was once mistaken for a dancer at the Mean Girls show, which we’ve seen twice. She is a real trooper, and she is a bright and shining star, most especially to me, and I’m sure all those that know her.
- Annette Camacho, nominated by Alex Camacho: Annette is a pre-K teacher at a local ISD. She was thrown into the world of virtual teaching with little to no knowledge/experience with online platforms. She spent 40-50 hours each week of her summer so that she could master these new platforms so that she can now provide an excellent and safe virtual learning experience for her students.
- Aylet Kboudi, nominated by Joe Kboudi: I am nominating Ayelet Kboudi, working into 32nd year as Teacher, beginning at the Johnathan Netanyahu Academy, EKA Academy and now at the Eleanor Kolitz Hebrew Language Academy in San Antonio, Texas. Mrs. Kboudi is recipient of the 2013 and 2018 Steinhardt National Awards in Excellence. Mrs. Kboudi is proudly Teaching into her two generation of students, while proudly and courageously working on the front line as students prepare to now return to the classroom.
- Fernando Galindo, nominated by Alma Trevino: Fernando, besides being very professional, was very helpful and patient with all our questions. He also followed up with calls to make sure we were happy with our new car or had any questions he could help us with.
- Gary Caswell, nominated by Richie Pitchford: Gary is a prominent San Antonio attorney who has devoted his entire career helping families in United States reunite with their children in Mexico and bring them back together as a family again
- Gerardo Noriega, nominated by Sylvia Gonzalez: Gerardo Noriega is the director of purchasing and contracting department for the city of McAllen, Texas. During [these] challenging times, I have witnessed Mr. Noriega’s dedication in caring and ensuring that all city department personnel (including fire department, public works, utilities, engineers, water treatment, and so many more) have their PPE equipment so that we may continue servicing the city, its citizens, and neighboring cities/communities.He personally [spends] his own time traveling to locations picking up safety goods/gear and delivering the same, all contacting vendors/sources and establishing contracts in support of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 [to] keep our community safe, all while tending to his lovely wife who is going [through] chemotherapy. As a prior cancer patient myself, this in [and of] itself is tough enough; nonetheless, his efforts [that] continue to remain focused on his wife, family, co-workers, city, and community [are] admirable. Gerardo Noriega is a local superstar!
- Dr. James W. Brown, nominated by Stephanie Brown: Dr. James W. Brown has ensured the safety of his dental patients, his staff and their families by going above/beyond the coronavirus safety requirements. He has installed a washer/dryer at his dental practice for the staff to arrive/depart in their street clothing, leaving their scrubs to be washed daily. This added precaution is thinking outside of the box of safety.
- Jason Barnes, nominated by Martin Davis: Dr. Barnes is the chief of staff of the Christus Spohn Beeville Hospital emergency room and chief of staff of the Christus Spohn South Hospital in Corpus Christi emergency room. He deals with COVID daily, has a wife and two small children, and lives and sleeps in a tree house outside their home to avoid infecting his wife and children. He is a true hero. He has been on the national news; Google “Jason Barnes tree house”.
- Jennifer Love, nominated by Jim Love: Jen is the elementary school counselor at Montgomery Elementary School, a Title 1 school in the Northeast Independent School District. She and her colleagues have continued to be flexible and do whatever they can for the children of Montgomery Elementary in these uncertain times.
- John Widhelm, nominated by Jennifer Widhelm: My husband John Widhelm is owner of Best Air Conditioning. We are definitely an essential business in San Antonio. From day one, John has not skipped a beat in making sure San Antonio residents are staying cool in this Texas heat. When the city was shut down, the business phone would not stop ringing. People were hoarding my husband like they were hoarding toilet paper. Everyone was in fear of their air conditioners breaking. John and our number one employee, Jerry, have not stopped servicing our residents with a smile and a positive attitude.
- Julia Morales, nominated by Sylvia Reyna: Julia is a RN, case manager working in the ICUs at Northeast Baptist Hospital. She holds the hands, talks to and sits with patients that are dying of COVID-19, since their families can’t visit, because she doesn’t think anyone should die alone. She is an angel going above and beyond her duties to comfort people as they pass.
- Julie Granado, nominated by Ricardo Granado: During this [pandemic], I have seen Julie wake up every day and work to find a way to keep her WIC clinics open to provide benefits to those in need. She has worked with the state regulatory agency to find innovative ways to meet with the participants.
- Kara Moseley, nominated by Tyler Freeman: I nominate my mom. Even during COVID, she has gone to work as a mental health technician, helping others who need it, coming in contact with and actively sitting with those who have tested positive. She works 16 hours a day, and now that school has started, is back in the classroom again helping special needs students in a high school setting as well as the mental health work at a hospital. She is my hero.
- Kayleigh Witcher, nominated by Vanessa Vale Vasquez: Kayleigh is a nurse at San Antonio University hospital ER. She picks up extra shifts to deal with growing ER needs due to the COVID pandemic. She is a driving force in the fight with out community battling COVID on the front lines. Super proud of who she is and all she does especially in our cities time of immense need. Her skill and dedication are crucial as cases stabilize and we seek a sense of normalcy during this emotional time of need. I want to recognize Kaleigh and all the nursing staff at University Hospital.
- Ken Strange, nominated by Yvette Strange: Ken is our local EMS director and he has served on our school board for 12 years. He loves to volunteer with the kids in any way possible, offering DJ services for dances and ice cream socials. He is very involved in the EMS world and is in the process of building Wimberley’s new EMS station! He is a wonderful man who has a servant’s heart.
- Kimberly Crittenden, nominated by Kiara Crittenden: She is a local star because not only does she actively work as a physician serving the San Antonio community throughout this COVID crisis, she also provides entertainment with music and short videos online to help lift the internet spirit. She also loves plays!
- Laurel Martinez, nominated by Helen Owen: She is an amazing woman, she works at North Park Lexus and has always helped me with my car, I am a new widow , I am clueless about so many things, but she always makes me feel worthwhile and takes care of my car needs always. I vote for her. She is awesome with customer service skills, too. An amazing and wonderful part of North Park Lexus family.
- Lauren Stanley, nominated by Robert Stanley: With two restaurants and one restaurant/bar shut down by the government for months, she was still able to pay all the Bexar County tax bills so no government employee would have to go without a paycheck like all our employees or lose their livelihood and most of their savings. All people who support those who live off of other people’s taxes are the real heroes!
- Lauren Stevens, nominated by Dennis Stevens: 20-year-old, second year college student, small business owner, volunteers for LGBTQ+ rights, Shriners hospitals, and donates to same. Amazing personality and singing voice and LOVES Theater!!! Sad that campuses are shut down. This would be an amazing experience!!!
- Leigh Campbell, nominated by Glenn Howard: Leigh works tirelessly as a teacher to get the best from her students.
- Marc Michaletti, nominated by John Keck: Prompt in response to our automobile issues…coming from out-of-town, he always accommodates our scheduling requests with professionalism and a happy attitude….speaks straight to service requirements and always accepts any of our necessary last-minute needs. An asset we truly appreciate.
- Dr. Mathew M. Dwyer, nominated by Jose Gutierrez: Dr Dwyer made it possible with the replacements of my (two) hips through surgery. I was in bad shape before I had a visit with him, though after a few years between surgeries I’m able to enjoy life with my loved ones. Thanks again, Mathew.
- Orlando Segura, nominated by Naida Segura: Orlando has kept me alive since my car was totaled in an accident! Every ride to doctors, meds, groceries, and health is provided by “Orli” a responsible son who makes me smile, gives me energy, and never hesitates to keep me going! I am very thankful!
- Raul Contreras, nominated by Ming Wong: Raul exemplifies the outstanding Lexus customer experience that one expects for after-the-sales.
- Robert Bennett, nominated by Rhonda Locke: Robert Bennett is the Pastor at Madison Hills Baptist Church. He is my pastor. I have watched him love people big everywhere through this pandemic. He thinks outside the box to help people cope and meet them on their level. He has fallen on his feet to provide for his congregation and outside of his congregation to reach all ages from young children to seniors. He has worked hard at finding a balance that all are comfortable with for worship from when we were completely shut down to now when some attend services in person and social distance, and others watch services on line. He started a drive-in service on Wednesday mornings, where anyone can come and park and stay in their car, but see him and the rest of the staff on a stage outside and tune to a radio station in your car to hear the music and sermon. For some people just be able to get out and wave at friends from one car to another is wonderful! He goes to one home a week to visit young children in our church and shows the video on Sunday mornings. He has Bible studies from his home that you can watch on Facebook. He calls and checks on everyone. He is a star and I am blessed to have him in my life!
- Mayor Ron Nirenberg, nominated by Sheryd Jackson: Mayor Ron Nirenberg has been a staunch advocate for the citizens of San Antonio. He has stood up to federal and state officials to protect the citizens of San Antonio during the pandemic.
- Dr. Shannon Geddes, nominated by John Geddes: My daughter, Dr. Shannon Geddes is a Hospitalist that works in the Medical Center. Main Methodist, Baptist, and St Luke’s. Dr. Shannon Geddes is on the frontline every shift managing patients in the fight against the coronavirus. Dr. Geddes has helped many patients recover as well as have info to sign many death certificates per COVID-19. She then comes home to her husband and two young children after taking all precautions to make sure she doesn’t bring the coronavirus home with her. She has practiced in San Antonio as a hospitalist for 11 years post residency. She is every father’s dream of an ideal daughter. Thank you.
- Tiffany Wright, nominated by John Pronsky: She is the most helpful, polite, concerned salesperson I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. An absolute standout of a professional as well as a person.
- Tomas Perez, nominated by Steve Marino: Tomas treats us like we are his friend, not a customer. He is always accommodating, and we drive from Dallas to buy from him.
- Vanessa Alvarado, nominated by Michael Castillo: I nominate Vanessa Alvarado, Choir Director for NISD. She has selflessly continued serving her community with charity drives, by performing our National Anthem at Wolf Stadium, with weekly worship recordings for virtual Sunday church services, and keeping her teaching schedule. All while battling and beating her own COVID-19 diagnosis.
- Vanessa Lerma, nominated by Hanna Lackey: My theater teacher is the most hardworking and encouraging person I know. She’s worked hard to make things as normal as possible for all of her students.
- Vanessa Olivarez, nominated by Ana Fronk: Vanessa, RN-MSN is a charge nurse at Methodist Texan. She is very supportive of her staff nurses. She is highly compassionate and supportive of new nurses in her unit, like myself. She continues to make a difference in my nursing career as I am learning a lot from her. She is an awesome mentor and an amazing person.
- Wally Murray, nominated by Mac Sykes: Wally Murray is a fabulous service manager at North Park Lexus in San Antonio. I have worked with him for 20 years and at least four Lexus purchases. He is honest, personable, smart, a master Mechanic, in the sole reason that my wife and I have bought from North Star Lexus for these many years. He is currently taking a leave of absence to take care for his ailing father near Abilene, And hopefully he will be returning to Grace the San Antonio automotive community.
- Zahra Garza, nominated by Mario Garza: My nominee would be my wife Zahra Garza. Zahra is on the front line as a Director of Nursing at University Hospital. She runs a 60 bed surgical unit but during the COVID pandemic her floor turned into a COVID-19 floor where she had to adapt and train her staff of 240 nurses on how to handle COVID patients, properly wear PPE, assign gatekeepers for each COVID-19 room so nurses could enter in and out of negative pressure rooms where very sick COVID patients were so no nurse could contact the disease. She went above and beyond to console patients, their families, and nurse staff who were on the frontline risking their on life to care for patients. She would be on the floor providing water and ice to nurses who didn’t have the time to stop and drink. She learned quickly to watch COVID patients and instructed nurses to identify patients whose oxygen level would drop to dangerous levels and immediately call the “Rapid Response Team” to save patients lives. She is my hero and deserves a night out. She has worked months with no time off to handle the many patients. Thankfully COVID numbers are dropping!