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Paula Mays named Central Texas’ Remarkable Woman of the Year

Paula Mays on KXAN

Paula Mays (center) of Marble Falls was named Central Texas’ Remarkable Woman of the Year by Austin media outlet KXAN for helping hundreds of women find sobriety through Open Door Recovery House in Marble Falls. KXAN reporter Jennifer Sanders (left) interviewed Mays alongside one of Open Door’s former occupants, Alicia Defranco, on March 29. Screencaptured image

Paula Mays of Marble Falls was named Central Texas’ Remarkable Woman of the Year for 2023 by Austin TV station KXAN on Wednesday, March 29.

“It’s unbelievable,” Mays told “I think it’s still slowly seeping in, but it’s definitely God’s grace. It’s overwhelming and overpowering.”

Mays was honored for her 13 years of service at Open Door Recovery House, a faith-based, sober-living home for women that she founded in Marble Falls in 2010. Over the years, Mays and Open Door have helped guide more than 250 women to sobriety.

In a nearly 12-minute television segment on KXAN, Mays and reporter Jennifer Sanders delved into the recovery house founder’s traumatic childhood.

“I was in South Dakota, and within a couple of years, my mother married an abusive man, and my first memory was at 2 years old of being sexually assaulted,” Mays said. “I was locked in trunks of cars. It was horrifying.”

During the interview, Mays detailed how she was able to emerge from the darkness of addiction when she became sober in 2006.

“I was able to rebuild with God,” Mays told KXAN. “It’s all Him. It was truly amazing: His amazing grace, His power, and His love.”

The interview also focused on the power behind Open Door’s mission to promote volunteerism, faith, and unity.

“We walk beside them,” Mays said of the women in the program. “We encourage them in their struggle. We walk with them through CPS, probation, and parole.”

Former Open Door resident Alicia Defranco, who has been sober for seven years, appeared on the TV program with Mays to give her first-person testimony to the program’s success.

“I never had a need not met (at Open Door),” Defranco told KXAN.

Defranco described Mays as a personal hero during the interview.

“She’s my motivator,” Defranco said. “She’s my backbone. She is my foundation.”

As part of the award, Mays will travel to Los Angeles in the coming days to visit the national studio of Nexstar Media Group, which owns KXAN. Among the stops listed on the itinerary is a dinner prepared by world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.

“I am blessed beyond measure,” Mays told “It’s a beautiful honor.”

Open Door Recovery House is a privately funded nonprofit that relies on donations and grants to keep its doors open. The home’s next major fundraiser is the Open Door 5K Run for Recovery, a charity race on May 6 through the city of Marble Falls.

Donations can be made online on the nonprofit’s website.

2 thoughts on “Paula Mays named Central Texas’ Remarkable Woman of the Year

  1. Congratulations Paula!
    We need more people like you in this world.

  2. I know Paula – this award is well deserved! Congratulations, Paula!

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