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The Lead Nov. 25, 2022: Power outage can't slow the Kroc's enthusiasm for Thanksgiving service

A power outage slowed the Kroc's efforts, but didn't stop them.

Good morning Kerr County!

We start Black Friday with another rainy day. The National Weather Service says there is a 90% chance of rain today. That rainfall should continue into this evening but break up for the weekend. The rain is much needed. There's still a chance of rain Saturday morning, but that should give way to sunny skies into Monday.

On today's The Lead Live!

Today we welcome the Hill Country Chorale's Claire Rabson, Kierin Johnson and Kathy Massello. The trio will update us on the Chorale's performance and efforts to recruit new members, especially men. The Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau's Leslie Jones updates us on all of the events this weekend. Join us at 9 a.m.

A major sporting event — football, the other football

The United States takes on England in a mega-match at 1 p.m. on Fox in the 2022 World Cup from Qatar. The U.S. had a disappointing 1-1 tie against Wales, while the English ran over Iran, 4-0.


Today's events

Friday, Nov. 25

Performing Arts

  • A Christmas Carol — Hill Country Arts Foundation, Time TBD. Information: The details: A Christmas Carol recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.
  • Cirque Italia: Aquatic Spectacular — Hill Country Youth Event Center, 7:30 p.m. through Nov. 27. Information: The details: Cirque Italia presents "Aquatic Spectacular." The name reflects a unique attribute under the tent, as the show features a custom-designed water stage that travels from city to city. The stage holds 35,000 gallons of water that performers dazzle over while thrilling the audience with every move. With this "unique feature" under the tent, guests will be surprised, for it's a show of its own. Started in 2012, Cirque Italia is an Italian entertainment company that brings a performance of European style. It is described as a "vivid, dramatic, and moving experience under a customized traveling tent."

Live music

  • Brent Ryan — Arcadia Live, 5 p.m. Information:
  • Tim Porter and Gary Hatch — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Graham Warwick Blues Band — Pint and Plow Brewing Co., 6 p.m. Information: The details: Texas Bluesman Graham Warwick, aka, The Texas Blues Gentleman, will, from the first note, take the listener on foot tappin' musical journey through several styles of Blues, some classic Rock and Roll, classic Country, folk music, songs from the American Songbook, and sprinkled liberally with his unique pieces! Graham will also fill in all the empty spaces with entertaining stories!!
  • Chris Boss — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information:

The arts

  • Texas Furniture Makers Show — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Information: The details: Texas Furniture Makers' Show® is an annual statewide Competition of the Finest Custom Furniture Makers in Texas. The show is held at the beautiful Kerr Arts & Cultural Center.
  • Works We Love Show — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. Information: The details: "Works We Love," featuring Fred Harman, creator of "Red Ryder and Little Beaver." Also on display are works from our permanent collection.

Markets and sales

  • Art Mart — Hill Country Arts Foundation, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Dec. 17. Information: The details: The annual Hill Country Arts Foundation showcase of hand-made arts and crafts by area artists. Gift ideas that are perfect for holiday giving.

COVID-19 isn't going away

It feels like the coronavirus pandemic is safely in our rear-view mirror, but the virus is still lethal. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported another COVID-19-related death in Kerr County. The state's COVID-19 death toll for Kerr County stands at 197. At least five people have died from COVID-19 since Aug. 1, according to DSHS data.

Even without electricity, the Kroc powers on

With the power out, the Kroc Center's volunteers and staff arrange tables for Thanksgiving dinner.

At 8 a.m. on Thursday, the Salvation Army's Kroc Center was abuzz with activity, volunteers getting ready to deliver hundreds of meals to those who needed a Thanksgiving Day boost.

The Kroc's main dining hall wasn't quite ready, but a crew was getting ready to provide the finishing touches, and in the kitchen, Chef Alissa Mitchell commanded a troop of all-age volunteers to plate dishes for the dine-in guests.

And just after 8:30 a.m., the electricity flashed off. Early morning thunderstorms had a hand in knocking out power to more than 1,800 customers in Kerrville.

"I thought someone was joking with me," said Salvation Army Capt. Jeremiah Romack, who oversees the Kroc with his wife, Major Missy Romack.

With natural light illuminating the room, the Kroc's volunteers prepare plates of Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of deliveries and take-out service.

It was no joke. The power was out for more than an hour.

"It's a little bit of a surprise, but it's not something we can't handle," said effervescent Mitchell. "We were pretty much set to go before all of this happened."

In the room where the to-go orders were prepped, Ardie Vargas and her colleagues from Kerrville's Keller-Williams Real Estate were standing by to make plates even without electricity.

"Everything is ready," Vargas said.

There was a prayer for the work of the day and the blessing of food.

Volunteers listen to Capt. Jeremiah Romack as he thanks them for their service.

For Vargas, the outage was just part of a team-building exercise, but it also played into the real estate firm's commitment to give back.

"We did it last year and we had so much fun," Vargas said of volunteering at the Kroc. "It just made us feel good. We wanted to do it again."

While the power was out, there was enough natural light seeping into the rooms to prepare food for delivery. Sterno flames were lit, and the work began.

This is all part of the challenge of one of the biggest days, if not the biggest day of the year, for the Kroc, and a little adversity wouldn't slow the crew down.

"We will keep working through it," Capt. Romack said. "We will find some solutions, and at the end of the day we're still blessed."

That blessing came just after 9:45 when Kerrville Public Utility Board crews, fully aware of the magnitude of the situation, restored power, drawing a rousing applause from the volunteers.

The moment the power came back was greeted with applause and thanks.

One of those volunteers was Kenneth O'Neal, who sits on the Salvation Army's board of directors in Kerrville.

"I came to volunteer," O'Neal said. "I came to do whatever they needed me to do. I'm going to work here as long as they need me."

It's the commitment of the volunteers that drive the Romacks.

"This is a great opportunity to teach our children about what it means to give; that's what it's really about," said Maj. Romack. "We're grateful for what we have and we're always helping out others."

Volunteer Kenneth O'Neal checks on a guest.

Volunteer Arlo Schiltz was the youngest line member on Thursday at four years old.

Last year the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic seemed to impact the number of dine-in guests, but right at 11 a.m. this year, a flood of people came in to enjoy smoked turkey with all the fixings.

Anthoney Farmer, the Kroc's volunteer coordinator, said the work here is satisfying, especially when people come in for a meal.

"I wanted to get into something where I felt like I was actually helping people," said Farmer, who joined the Kroc five months ago after leaving a career in nursing. "As a nurse, I felt like I was treating machines and insurance companies. Here, I feel like I'm actually treating people on a daily basis."

The youngest volunteer was on the line inside the kitchen — Arlo Schiltz, 4. With his mom, Stacie Schiltz, Arlo passed out cranberry sauce to the wait staff serving the meals. Next to him was Olivia Lewis, 7, who was in charge of the dinner roll distribution. Lewis' mom, aunt, uncle and younger sister, Parker, were also on the line.

Parker Lewis, center, loads up stuffing on the plate.

The day, however, wasn't done for Capt. Romack, because he needed to check on the crews working at Interstate 10 rest stops east of Kerrville. He hopped into his SUV and made the trip. At the east-bound rest area, JAM Radio's Justin and Leslee McClure served food to a family of seven that had stopped for a bathroom break. The family was stunned and grateful for the food.

And that was why the day was worth it for the Salvation Army volunteers and staff — it brightened someone's day.

Capt. Jeremiah Romack chats with volunteers and staff providing food at the westbound Interstate 10 rest area.

Some reminders about The Lead's upcoming events!

Our search for The Holiday Treats of the year!

We've discovered we've got some great home bakers here in Kerr County, and nothing says Christmas like cookies, candy and other treats. So, we're challenging our home bakers and candy makers to enter our first-ever contest. There will be a $25 entry fee, but all that we ask is that you RSVP first. This event will be streamed live on Dec. 15 at Pint and Plow. We've got some simple categories

  • Cookies
  • Pies and Cakes
  • Candy
  • Gluten-Free

Register here:

Pay your entry here:

The 12 Days of Giftmas

We're dubbing it the 12 Days of Gibson's, but why should they have all the fun? We're not saying Kerrville's general store isn't fun, because if you can't find it at Gibson's it probably doesn't exist. However, we know plenty of other businesses or nonprofits can use some exposure heading into Christmas. So, we're expanding it to the 12 Days Of Giftmas! Here's what you need to know:

  • The promotion runs from Dec. 1-16 (Monday-Friday).
  • If you do all 12 days, you have to bring the exact number of gift ideas for that corresponding day. Dec. 1 is Day 1, meaning you bring just one gift.
  • You have to be on the show for about 5 minutes! That means we're doing it live!
  • You need to RSVP by emailing
  • The shows are from 9-10 a.m., except on Wednesdays when it's 10-11 a.m.
  • It's free.

It works like this:

Dec. 1 – 1 item

Dec. 2 — 2 items

Dec. 5 — 3 items

Dec. 6 — 4 items

Dec. 7 — 5 items (10-11 a.m.)

Dec. 8 — 6 items

Dec. 9 — 7 items

Dec. 12 — 8 items

Dec. 13 — 9 items

Dec. 14 — 10 items (10-11 a.m.)

Dec. 15 — 11 items

Dec. 16 — 12 items

You can keep adding to your original gift. For instance, you may bring a flashlight on Dec. 1, but on Dec. 2 you bring back the flashlight and a spark plug. Or just bring new stuff.


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