EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
BURNET — Several hundred people turned out Nov. 21 to witness the official naming of a Burnet roadway, but it wasn’t just any name.
The city of Burnet and Burnet County joined up to dedicate CR 340A after one of the community’s biggest supporters and contributors: John W. Hoover.
“I kind of like to refer to John as the ‘godfather’ of Burnet because he really looks out for and takes care of the community and the people here,” said longtime friend — and often, collaborator — Cary Johnson. Johnson is also the president of First State Bank of Burnet.
As Johnson stood in the parking lot of Seton Highland Lakes, where the ceremony honoring Hoover and dedicating the newly named John W. Hoover Parkway took place, he noted the hospital and the adjacent Burnet Industrial Park probably wouldn’t exist without Hoover’s work and leadership.
Johnson pointed out it was Hoover who approached city and community leaders in the 1980s about pastureland off U.S. 281, sharing a vision with what the area could become if someone took action. That area became the industrial park and, eventually, added the hospital.
Hoover didn’t just propose the idea then step back and let others put in the work and finances, he often jumped right in the middle of things or, more likely, out in front of things. He rolled up his sleeves and got to work, often committing his own money to projects.
A successful business man, Hoover was always ready to help the community.
Johnson believes that had it not been for Hoover, the current Seton Highland Lakes Hospital probably wouldn’t exist in the form it does.
Burnet Mayor Crista Goble Bromley told attendees Hoover’s impact runs deep in the area.
“John and his family have a long history of supporting Burnet and Burnet County,” she said, adding that his children and grandchildren have picked up Hoover’s commitment to the community.
As Johnson shared stories of Hoover’s impact, he reiterated the man’s role in getting the industrial park established and creating the hospital.
“What you see out here is a culmination of John’s vision,” Johnson said,
It wasn’t enough to just build an industrial park. John’s son Dennis Hoover added that his father and Johnson would often hit the road, even traveling to other states, in an effort to recruit businesses to relocate to Burnet. He listed a number of such businesses that did.
The younger Hoover also recounted some of the many businesses his father started as well as organizations in which he participated and supported.
John Hoover always seemed to be working to improve Burnet, Burnet County, and the community for the benefit of those who lived there, or would soon live there.
“He enjoyed doing it,” Dennis Hoover said.
As much as he was a businessman and community leader, Hoover always had time for others. He enjoyed, and still does, visiting with people and listening to them.
Seton Highland Lakes Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Karen Litterer, a registered nurse, has been with the facility since 1991, when it was still the Highland Lakes Medical Center (Seton acquired it in 1998). She recalled that as crews were building the hospital, Hoover would show up for a “hard hat” tour, always interested in the progress. When construction was completed, Hoover didn’t walk away; he continued to stop by. Litterer said he’d often end up in her office, then after some conversation, they’d head out across the hospital.
“You’d stop and talk to staff,” she said addressing Hoover in the audience, “and you’d give them a little pep talk.”
Those moments reflected a man who cared about the people and wanted to know them.
“I want to thank you, John, for all your leadership,” Litterer added.
The idea for naming this stretch of CR 340A as John W. Hoover Parkway started in Johnson’s office but poured over into many other offices, including city and county.
Burnet County Judge James Oakley pointed out this stretch of road fell under a number of auspices, part of it being within the Burnet city limits and part of it falling under county jurisdiction. Even the part within the county rolled through two county precincts.
In other words, it could prove to be a logistic nightmare.
But Oakley said when word got out about this project and who it was honoring, things got done.
The entities are also making major upgrades to the stretch honoring the Burnet businessman and community leader. The plan calls for widening the stretch, adding better drainage, and improving the intersection with U.S. 281.
“This is a great example of everyone working together,” the county judge added.
As Oakley stood near the stop sign with the new John W. Hoover Parkway sign on top, he noted how community leaders such as Hoover and Johnson would push things through to get them done for the city and county. He looked in the direction of the stop sign and offered an observation.
“It seems to me, this should be a ‘go’ sign, not a ‘stop’ sign,” said Oakley, referring to how men like Hoover got things done.