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Parade marshal is Sarah Young

 
Parade marshal  is Sarah Young
This year’s Bluebonnet Fest grand marshal is Sarah Young, a lifelong community member and former owner and editor of The La Vernia News.

The former owner and editor of The La Vernia News, Sarah Young is proud and happy to be invited by the La Vernia Lions to serve as grand marshal for the 2011 Bluebonnet Fest Parade.

Born and raised in La Vernia, she graduated from La Vernia High School in 1970 with a whopping 13 in her graduating class. Sarah has seen the steady growth of the community for which she has a deep love.

Her mother, Betsy Melenesk, worked for Floresville Chronicle-Journal owner Joe Fietsam at Lenz’s Café, which was just off Chihuahua Street. She sat in the café at a table, and invited people to talk about community events; she also took news bits or ads.

In 1985, the Melenesk family bought The La Vernia News from Fietsam. Betsy served as editor, and Nancy Manka, Sarah’s sister, was the advertising manager. Sarah served as reporter/photographer in the early stages; with a growing community, the growing paper took more and more time to develop for readers.

“I grew up with the paper; it was my baby,” she recalled. “I learned all I knew from watching over the staff at the Floresville Chronicle.”

Sarah has covered many a Miss La Vernia pageant and the Bluebonnet Fest, from its early days celebrating the bluebonnets in bloom, to recent years when it moved to May for better weather. She has helped tell La Vernia’s story through the newspaper’s coverage, and recalled major events that made an impact on her.

“Covering the flood, what some may have thought to be exciting to cover was not as much, it was a tragedy,” she said. “I enjoyed covering the positive.”

Sarah found that everyone has a story to tell. “They just need someone to listen,” she said. “I had people who would come in and just want to chat. Of course, I always knew them. I may have had 5,000 things I needed to be doing or places I needed to be. Instead, I would sit down with a smile and listen.”

Eventually, illness and the care of family members brought more responsibility for Young, who became the newspaper’s editor. She continued to try to meet the growth of the paper and community with the assistance of her daughter, Christine. A few employees added their flair, too, including Carly Schmidt, Krystal Jarzombek, Kelly Haynes, sports editor Roy Hall, and Crystal Kidd.

The La Vernia News concentrated on community events, Sarah said, especially the young people and their continuing accomplishments from sports to academics.

“I have always focused on the youth; covering them was always the most important,” Sarah recalled. “I loved covering all their accomplishments.

“I have always been involved in 4-H, not only due to my children, but because of the mission it represented,” Sarah continued. “It taught the kids to reach for their goals and it kept them busy and out of trouble.”

Sarah has been a member of the La Vernia Chamber of Commerce since 1984. She said her membership in the chamber and service as a livestock show director has played a role in making the newspaper what it is today, creating community ties and connections.

The decision to sell The La Vernia News to Elaine and Al Kolodziej was a hard one, Sarah said, but health issues and time prompted her decision. The Wilson County News has always brought the news of the county to community readers, she said, and she hopes they will continue to bring La Vernia community news to the pages of The La Vernia News.

Sarah and her husband, Robert, have three children, Robert Jr. “Bobby,” Christine, and Tracey; and three grandchildren, Blake, Brooke, and Hannah “and one on the way for Tracey and her husband, Nathan,” she said.

“I am proud to represent the community that I love and was raised in,” Sarah said. “We have a strong love of agriculture, of assisting youth through 4-H and FFA activities, and love to hear about how well our La Vernia sports, academic, and extracurricular teams are all doing. It takes members of the community to make organizations and happenings continue to grow and be a strong function for all to enjoy.”

She invites everyone to head out the the La Vernia City Park to enjoy the 2011 Bluebonnet Fest and continue the community’s rich traditions.

 
 
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