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Horseshoe Bay community fundraisers illustrate ‘American spirit’

Horseshoe Bay fundraisers help workers, restaurants

Horseshoe Bay Police Chief Rocky Wardlow (center-left) helped Holy Smokes BBQ deliver 175 tacos to Baylor Scott & White Specialty Clinic-Marble Falls staff April 17. Residents of The Trails neighborhood in Horseshoe Bay, where Wardlow lives, paid for the tacos. Courtesy photo

Horseshoe Bay organizers of community efforts to support area restaurants and feed essential workers are calling them a success.

“It was totally awesome and so gratifying to see the community come together,” said Dick Nelson, who helped collect donations for gift cards to hand out to Horseshoe Bay first responders and city staff in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

On April 17, residents of The Trails neighborhood in Horseshoe Bay bought 175 breakfast tacos from Holy Smokes BBQ to feed staff at Baylor Scott & White Specialty Clinic-Marble Falls. A week before, the neighborhood effort organized by Sandy Olson did the same for about 250 Baylor Scott & White Medical Center staffs across the Highland Lakes.

Meanwhile, Elsie Thurman and Nelson raised $6,840 from their neighbors to buy gift cards from local restaurants to give to Horseshoe Bay City Hall workers and first responders. That’s about $2,000 more than they raised during a similar drive at Christmas.

“It’s a generous community,” Thurman said. “We want our restaurants there. (Residents) realize that this is an opportunity to help people, so they will do it.”

The duo purchased gift cards from seven merchants, all in Horseshoe Bay and Cottonwood Shores.

While every business owner was appreciative to have the income, one couldn’t help but tell Nelson why it meant so much. That person had recently opened a business and then learned the Small Business Administration had turned down a loan for the establishment.

Hope was fading.

Then, Dick Nelson arrived.

“It was deer in the headlights. It was (a) stunned (look),” Nelson said of that owner’s reaction to the money. “When Elsie and I handed out the checks, each (owner) had the same message: It was hard for them to believe. People were getting checks, and they all had the same level of gratitude.”

Horseshoe Bay Police Chief Rocky Wardlow and City Manager Stan Farmer are handing out gift cards to city staff and first responders.

“They’re so happy the community can do that,” Nelson said.

Purchasing gift cards and meals from local restaurants means those businesses can keep operating and pay staff. It’s something the donors understand, Thurman said.

Neither group was surprised by residents’ generosity, which aligns with images and reports about Americans across the country who are looking out for workers in their own cities.

“It’s the American spirit,” Nelson said. “Elsie and I and the community, we’re able to see it.”

For more on how COVID-19 is affecting the Highland Lakes, visit the coronavirus resource webpage.