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The Lead: Feb 18, 2022: A hero will still get his honors; COVID-19 claims the lives of 2

It's a busy weekend around the Texas Hill Country.

Good morning, Kerr County!

We made it. It's the weekend. It's also chilly this morning. We're going to have a mild weekend of weather, but here come the 80s on Monday and Sunday. Just a reminder that Monday is a holiday — President's Day.

Last night's sunset was pleasant

One of the things we certainly love about the Hill Country is the sunsets.

On Today's Lead Live

Texas Hill Country Advisor Andrew Gay is coming on the show and his Leadership Bakersfield classmates to discuss a project they are working on for this latest class. Join us at 9 a.m.

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Catching up with the Lead Live!

On Thursday, we had a terrific conversation with Hill Country Arts Foundation and The Point Theater Artistic Director Dan Kirkland about the work at the Ingram-based institution. Kirkland, who grew up in Kerrville, is bullish on the future of HCAF and The Point, where he's currently directing Noel Cowherd's comedy "Blithe Spirits," which ends its run on Sunday.

"So we're we're,very pleased with the way it's going," Kirkland said of how HCAF has faired since the coronavirus pandemic. "We're not back where we were. And we need to be because we're all nonprofits."

Kirkland said the arts community in Kerr County is dynamic, collaborative and headed toward some big things in the future. If you have 45 minutes, please watch or listen to our interview with Kirkland. We'll have more about programming at The Point in upcoming editions.

Listen to the podcast:–Feb–17–2022-e1eibjm

Ross is ready to cook again!

The indomitable Ross Rommel will don his safety glasses and gloves on Sunday to cook up burgers at the Doyle School Community Center, but he's also cooking for a special guest. The Right Rev. David Reed, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, will be a guest of the free hamburger bash that runs from noon to 2 p.m. at Doyle. Rommel has been cooking burgers at Doyle twice a month for about a year, and he's led the charge on privately funding the endeavor. It's quite the sight to see Rommel decked out and cooking away. We'll have more on the cookout in Monday morning's edition of The Lead, but we recommend stopping by and grabbing lunch. It's pretty good.

Missing military honors, yet still to be remembered

Reynaldo Ruis' mother learned that her 17-year-old son enlisted in the Army when he called her from boot camp in Kansas. Ruis quit Tivy High School, enlisted in the Army, and headed to the Korean War.

For 40 years, Ruis served in the Armed Forces of the United States, earning a Purple Heart for severe wounds he received during a Chinese mortar attack in 1951. He later served in the National Guard and then the Air Force. When he wasn't serving, he was an occupational therapist for the Veteran's Affairs Administration Medical Center in Kerrville.

"He set a very high bar that I will never get to," his son Rey said. "He did work very hard."

On Dec. 4, Reynaldo Valdez Ruis died, just two months removed from the passing of his beloved wife, Henrietta. Despite his service, Ruis would not receive a full military burial. Coronavirus, timing and circumstances prevented it.

On March 11, Master Sgt. Reynaldo Ruis will receive a memorial presided by Texas state Sen. Donna Campbell, the president pro-tem of the senate and who represents District 25. The 11 a.m. service will be at Garden of Memories in Kerrville.

Rey Ruis said the family was frustrated by the lack of a military burial but offered a philosophical notion — accepting the disappointment.

"The one thing that he always stuck with me is to do it right," Rey Ruis said. "Be respectful of everyone."

For Rey Ruis, just having his mom and dad were all that mattered because his parents were not supposed to have children. Rey Ruis' older sister, Elva, was a bit of a surprise, as was Rey's birth six years later in 1971.

"My mother wasn't supposed to have children," Rey Ruis said. "They were older when they had me."

In turn, Reynaldo and Henrietta Ruis became devoted parents, grandparents and they loved their hometown.

"He always loved Kerrville," Rey Ruis said of his father.

Born in 1932, Rey Ruis never knew his birth father and adopted his middle name in honor of his stepfather. However, Rey Ruis said his father had limited options as a young Hispanic man in Kerrville in the late 1940s and 1950s. So, he turned to the Army.

"That was probably the only avenue he had as a Hispanic in the 1950s," Rey Ruis said.

Reynaldo Ruis made the most of it; he served in a combat engineering unit in Korea. The mortar attack left him severely injured and eventually a seven-day coma before returning to service.

He stayed in the Army and later the Air Force, eventually serving as a medic. After years overseas, Reynaldo Ruis was stationed back home in Texas in San Antonio. It allowed him to come home to Kerrville.

Reynaldo and Henrietta spent the rest of their lives here.

COVID-19 claims 2 more Kerr County residents

Kerr County's COVID-19 death toll climbed by two on Thursday when the Texas Department of State Health Services released its latest data. The fatalities happened Feb. 2 and Feb. 9 — driving the month's death toll to six people.

The 2022 death toll has surpassed what Kerr County saw for the month of February in 2021. Five people died during February 2021.

Kerr County's full vaccination rate remains below 50%, with 49.6% of the county receiving a full dose, including a booster. However, at least 57% of Kerr County has one of the shots; the numbers now include children over five.

DSHS said nine people tested positive in Kerr County on Thursday.

Time to get out and enjoy the weekend


Schreiner University's men's and women's basketball teams conclude the regular season at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. tonight against visiting Dallas. The game is also senior night for the handful of Schreiner players who stuck it out through the pandemic.

Quilting show takes center stage today

The show begins its two-day run at 9 a.m. on Friday and is bound to attract a big audience. The show features works from all over the Hill Country. There are big pieces, small pieces, some with narrative, many with whimsy and almost all will make you stop and wonder. Read more about the show here:

Here's the rest of the weekend calendar:


Kerrville Farmers Market

4-6 p.m.

A.C. Schreiner House

Live music by Camerata San Antonio

First Presbyterian Church, Kerrville

4 p.m., $20.


Grammy-nominated Camerata San Antonio is a flexible classical chamber music ensemble serving San Antonio and the surrounding Hill Country. This concert will feature guest clarinetist Ilya Shterenbert, the principal clarinet of the San Antonio Symphony.

Live music by Dave Kemp

Cafe at the Ridge

6 p.m.


A gifted singer and songwriter, his original material is some of the best music you’ve probably never heard. From public shows and house concerts, no one does it better. Except maybe James Taylor. But he’s probably too expensive so yea, go with Dave.

Live music by Tommy Alverson

Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram

6:30 p.m.


“Now and Then”

Playhouse 2000 VK Garage Theater

Friday 7:30 p.m.

“Blithe Spirits”

The Point Theater, Ingram

7:30 p.m.

Hosted in the Elizabeth Huth Coates Indoor Theatre, this play was written by the great Noel Coward and is about Charles Condomine, a novelist. Charles is bright, sophisticated, articulate, and debonair but somewhat at the mercy of his wives, past and present. His interest in spiritualism as a subject for a novel leads Charles to ask Madame Arcati to dinner and a séance. He is skeptical but becomes a believer when the ghost of his first wife appears—and stays.


The Hill Country Quilt Guild Winter Show, “Along The Silk Road”

Hill Country Youth Event Center

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


The Hill Country Quilt Guild, Kerrville, Texas presents "Along the Silk Road" our very special winter quilt show. More than 250 juried quilts, youth gallery, gift marketplace, bizarre bazaar, Donation quilt, vendors, concessions, Scissor Man, silent auction, quilts for sale, and so much more.

Bird Walk and Talk

Louise Hays Park

9-10:30 a.m.


Join Paul and Deloris Sellin on a stroll along the River Trail where you will observe the avian inhabitants and learn about their life histories. All ages and levels of experience are welcome. Meet at Louise Hays Park, 202 Thompson Dr. Under the bridge closest to the river.

Book signing with Nicki Carlson

Entertain Mart, Kerrville

Noon to 2 p.m.

Kerrville writer Nicki Carlson will offer signed copies of her book Grace-Faced: Pursuing the Life-Changing Perspective of a Loving God for $15, a discount off the online purchase price. Carlson’s first book was published in late November by Xulon Press, and has been met with high praise and numerous requests for speaking engagements across the Hill Country. One Amazon review states, “Grace-Faced is a book unlike any other I have read. This author greets me on her pages as a trusted friend: sympathetic, understanding, and never preachy or holier than thou. Her humorous stories, anecdotes, and personal experiences showcase her openness and non-judgmental style as she walks me through the ways I can seek the face of God."

“Now and Then”

Playhouse 2000 VK Garage Theater

Saturday 7:30 p.m.

Live Music by Joe and Gino

Cafe at the Ridge

6 p.m.


Live music by the Cleverlys

Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram

6:30 p.m.


The Cleverlys are a one-of-a-kind comedy/music blend coming from the remote part of the Ozark Mountains, near Cane Spur, Arkansas.


“Blithe Spirits”

The Point Theater, Ingram

7:30 p.m.

Hosted in the Elizabeth Huth Coates Indoor Theatre, this play was written by the great Noel Coward and is about Charles Condomine, a novelist. Charles is bright, sophisticated, articulate, and debonair but somewhat at the mercy of his wives, past and present. His interest in spiritualism as a subject for a novel leads Charles to ask Madame Arcati to dinner and a séance. He is skeptical but becomes a believer when the ghost of his first wife appears—and stays.

“Now and Then”

Playhouse 2000 VK Garage Theater

2:30 p.m.


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