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Elaine Stephens is Regional Citizen of the Year

Elaine Stephens is Regional Citizen of the Year
AACOG Elaine Mazurek Stephens of La Vernia (second from right) receives congratulations Dec. 9 from (from left) La Vernia Municipal Development District Executive Director Jennifer Kolbe; Stephens’ son, Chris Owens, and La Vernia Mayor Robert Gregory. Stephens was named the Alamo Area Council of Governments Regional Citizen of the Year.

La Vernia resident Elaine Mazurek Stephens is one of two recipients of the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) Regional of the Citizen Award.

She was recognized Dec. 9, during the AACOG annual meeting, held at the Marriott Plaza San Antonio. Joining AACOG and La Vernia officials to present the award was Elaine’s son, Chris, who showed up to surprise his mother.

In their nomination of Elaine for this recognition, La Vernia News Editor Nannette Kilbey-Smith and La Vernia Municipal Development District Executive Director Jennifer Kolbe shared Elaine’s great commitment to the La Vernia community, where she has given countless volunteer hours to a number of organizations and groups.

A lifelong resident of the region, Elaine grew up in San Antonio and has lived in the La Vernia area for the past 20 years. She is a woman of faith, a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, and a lover of community, which is evident in everything she does. Elaine can best be described as a serial volunteer and a dedicated community leader.

Through her love for travel throughout Texas and trips to Poland, she has found inspiration that has benefited the AACOG region. In her travels, she’s witnessed the efforts of many communities to preserve history and heritage; Elaine has brought that home with her and worked extremely hard to initiate projects that highlight and preserve the history of La Vernia and Wilson County.

There’s an old saying that if you want to get something done, find a busy person and it will be accomplished. Elaine embodies this. She also is demure and modest, and the last to share her own accomplishments, so Kolbe and Kilbey-Smith championed her cause.

She is a member of the La Vernia Lions Club and serves as secretary and director of the Polish American Council of Texas. She also finds time to serve on the board of the Wilson County Beautification Association, and is the coordinator for Keep La Vernia Beautiful. She is a member of St. Ann Catholic Church and the Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation, and is a past first vice president of the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce.

Benefiting most from Elaine’s time and energy and one of her passions is the La Vernia Historical Association. She was a founding member and has served as its president since 2002. Under her leadership, the historical association established the La Vernia Heritage Museum. While serving the association, she has initiated successful and sustainable fund-raising projects that engage the entire community. These include the Chihuahua Trail Art Show & Sale, which celebrated its 11th anniversary this year as a fund-raiser and signature event for the historical association; and the La Vernia Wild West Hammerfest Bicycle Ride, going strong after almost 10 years.

The art show features incredible works created by local artists and every year includes a historical category to bring attention to a special aspect of Wilson County’s history. The La Vernia Wild West Hammerfest, a 64-mile ride, attracts more than 500 riders each year to La Vernia and showcases Wilson County’s rolling hills and scenic countryside, as well as the community’s warm welcome and hospitality. The bike ride started as a project of the historical association, but eventually outgrew the organization’s capacity. It now is the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce’s largest annual fund-raiser.

Currently, Elaine is deeply engrossed in her latest and the most challenging project to date: The building of the La Vernia Veterans Memorial. Inspired partly by her husband, who is a Vietnam veteran, and by La Vernia’s overall love for veterans, Elaine is among the like-minded citizens who form the board of the one-of-a-kind memorial to honor veterans, which broke ground in the La Vernia City Park on Veterans Day.

Elaine is the third Wilson County citizen to be honored with this award from AACOG, which covers Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Medina, McMullen, and Wilson counties. Previous local recipients are LaJuana Newnam-Leus and Elaine Kolodziej, both of Floresville. For more about AACOG, visit, or find them on Facebook.

Also receiving a Regional Citizen of the Year Award Dec. 9 was Kimberly C. Ford of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, for her efforts on behalf of veterans and veterans services in the AACOG region.

The La Vernia community is justifiably proud of Elaine Stephens and her efforts on behalf of the community.

Congratulations, Elaine!

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