The 2020 Hometown Heroes Annual Luncheon celebrated local Hometown Heroes from Northeast Tarrant County. We honored Don LeMaster, Jana Kristofek and Steve and Gaye Vanzant for working tirelessly on behalf of the citizens in Haltom City.
Don LeMaster, aka Mr. Haltom City, grew up in Haltom City, graduated from Haltom High School and still loves it here. Since 2013, he has served on our Parks Board, the Housing Authority Commission, the Ethics Commission, the Charter Review Committee and the Veteran’s Memorial Committee. He was the driving force behind having our Veteran’s Memorial built at Haltom Road Park. With his background in construction, he was at the memorial job site everyday making sure it was all being built according to plan. He researched all the fallen heroes from Haltom City for inclusion on the Memorial's wall. He is a huge advocate for our many parks and recreation programs, appearing at many of our annual community events where he helps in any way he can. Mr. LeMaster was a former Golden Gloves boxing champion and coached hundreds of kids through the years at his Haltom City boxing gyms. He has also supported our youth baseball teams in Haltom City, making sure to include children from various neighborhoods. Last spring, we opened our All-Access Playground and Don was a big reason why we built this new playground. If there is ever a need in Haltom City, Don is always the first to ask how he can help.
When the Haltom City Senior Center had to close in March due to COVID-19, Jana Kristofek was the very first person they heard from asking how she could help. She initially created the delivery routes for home meal deliveries for 75 seniors, and continues to update them, which have grown to 13 routes serving 132 seniors every other Friday. She starts at 5:00 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, bagging up food donations for their weekly senior food drive-through pantry program, as well as helping to load up the cars when they drive through. She delivers food, puzzles, books and magazines to our seniors in between meal delivery days. Ms. Kristofek purchased a new tent for the drive-through meal program along with hand sanitizer and other safety supplies for them. She also steps in to make additional special deliveries to seniors when they have an unexpected donation from a community partner. Jana is very creative and had been designing all of the event flyers for the senior center but went into overdrive when COVID happened, in order to keep our seniors informed. She is a great photographer and always enters and usually wins several categories in our annual Haltom City Photo Contest, including this year where she won in two categories. She has also used her talents to take event photography and holiday portraits at our senior center. Jana had a penny smashing machine created with four different unique Haltom City designs to choose from located at Clown Burger and all the money collected is donated to our Haltom City Animal Shelter.
Steve and Gaye Vanzant are the Pastors of the Christian Center of Fort Worth and their community outreach programs continue to help so many of our local families. Their Leah Vanzant Community Life Center serves 360 families weekly, offering free groceries and clothing. They have been a constant support for our families while dealing with the difficulties of COVID-19. For our students, they offer a daily summer lunch program as well as giving personalized backpacks and school supplies to them for back to school. They support our fixed-income senior citizens with lawn and small repair services. On Thanksgiving Day, they serve over 800 meals and distribute free groceries plus delivering 100 meals to folks who can’t attend in person. On Christmas Day, they serve over 1,000 lunches and distribute free groceries, clothing and winter coats, as well as a gift for each child. Gaye is on the City Counci and Steve has served as the Fire Chaplain of Haltom City since 2001, which also makes him the Team Coordinator of our Critical Response Team. This team is a trained group of firefighters who deal with all departmental critical incident stress management concerns.
The value of all their contributions to our city can’t be understated and we are a better city because of them.