Celebrating a Century Milestone
On February 1, 2021, the AAUW Corpus Christi Branch celebrated the 100th birthday of Audrey Jones – a 50-year member of AAUW – with a drive-by parade that included cars decorated with balloons, signs and American flags. More than 30 vehicles lined up for the procession.
Audrey is a World War II veteran and a member of the “Greatest Generation.” After graduating from Milwaukee-Downer College in 1941 with a degree in Foods & Nutrition and Chemistry, Audrey was working at a hospital internship in Colorado when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. She says she remembers that day clearly, sitting by the radio and listening to the event unfold. When she heard that the U.S. Army needed dietitians, Audrey made the decision to enlist in the service as a hospital dietitian.
In 1944, Audrey was stationed in southern England as our troops prepared for the D-Day invasion. Soon after D-Day, she and her unit followed our troops across the English Channel, landing at Utah Beach, and continued on with the troops through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. She worked in a mobile tent hospital close to the front lines, attached to General Patton’s Third Army. Audrey was at the Battle of the Bulge, and she says, “I remember that; that was a Christmas celebration.”
After the war, Audrey and her husband, Frank, eventually moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where they raised three sons and where she earned a teaching certificate at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.
The AAUW Corpus Christi Branch contacted state and local officials about Audrey’s 100th birthday and about her extraordinary service to our nation and to AAUW. In response, Texas District 32 State Representative Todd Hunter honored the 100-year-old female veteran with a State of Texas Resolution and an American flag that flew over the State Capitol on her birthday. In addition, Mayor Paulette M. Guajardo signed a City of Corpus Christi Proclamation declaring this “Audrey Jones 100th Birthday Celebration Day.” Further, the Nueces County Veterans Services Department presented a framed Certificate of Recognition, along with a red rose encased in a glass globe. Due to COVID restrictions, the documents were given to her son Paul who presented them to Audrey at a party held inside the Viera. Afterward, Audrey and her family members sat outside to watch the parade of AAUW members, other friends, and fellow veterans deliver birthday greetings and well-wishes from their vehicles.
Audrey is an unassuming person. For the day’s parade and other honors bestowed on her, she stated, “It’s been a humbling experience. It’s heartwarming. I feel inadequate, as if I don’t deserve it, but I’m glad I have it. Thank you everybody.”
Our message to you, Audrey, is that we are glad to have YOU! Thank you so much for all you have done for our community, our nation, and our AAUW organization.
We are thankful to the local media that covered the event, and the story has caught nationwide attention. Here are several links to view:
Coastal Living Videos
Coastal Living, a locally produced entertainment and lifestyle show on KZTV Channel 10, weekdays at 9:00 – 9:30 a.m., is broadcasting short videos produced by AAUW Corpus Christi members. The TV show is featuring ideas from our AAUW members on social activities that can be done safely in the current pandemic environment.
The first video aired on November 4, 2020, and it can be viewed on the Facebook account for Coastal Living. Agnes Hamilton and Janet Blanke discussed how small groups can gather in outdoor spaces, while maintaining social distancing, to enjoy gardening activities.
As another suggestion, Janet encouraged the public to take advantage of our beautiful bayfront location by walking and exercising in parks along the water. Janet also mentioned various interest groups of AAUW who are continuing to meet via Zoom, and she encouraged the public to learn how to access Zoom to keep in touch with family and friends.
The second video was aired on November 11, 2020, and it featured AAUW member Michelle Balis, who talked about the services available at the various locations of the Corpus Christi Public Libraries. Future videos that are scheduled to air include: (1) AAUW member Catherine Cox who talks about book groups with discussions held on Zoom, and (2) several AAUW members who talk about hosting “driveway happy hour,” with a listing of the safety rules that participants must follow.
Coastal Living has included tag lines on the videos, showing “American Association of University Women” with our website. Included in the first video was a slide explaining more about our organization with encouragement to contact us for more information. We are thrilled about the media exposure that this show has given our organization, and we are proud of our members who have produced these clips. Well done, ladies!
AAUW member writes guest column for the Corpus Christi Caller Times
AAUW Corpus Christi Branch member Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford was a panel speaker at the annual Equal Pay Day luncheon held on April 2, 2019. Her words addressed the historical significance of women’s roles in the workforce, and she provided suggestions to women on how to achieve equal pay for equal work. Following the event, Amy was invited to write a guest column for the Corpus Christi Caller Times, which ran in the Sunday paper on April 14, 2019. Read her column, “Let’s End the Need for Equal Pay Day,” to see her suggestions for women’s empowerment.
AAUW member leads efforts to restore Old Bayview Cemetery
AAUW Corpus Christi Branch member Karen Howden, a member of the Friends of Old Bayview Cemetery Association, is a volunteer leading the effort to preserve the Old Bayview Cemetery in downtown Corpus Christi. She is planning a historical re-enactment at the Old Bayview Cemetery to be held in March 2019 during the annual conference of the Texas State Historical Association. Participants of the event will be wearing period clothing for the tour of the 1845 cemetery that was founded when Zachary Taylor’s troops were camped in Corpus Christi.
Karen has led groups of volunteers from the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in the cleanup and restoration of the cemetery and its old tombstones. Dozens of monuments have been reset, and years of dirt scrubbed away. As a member of the Nueces County Historical Society and a retired history teacher from Flour Bluff Independent School District, Karen has been a strong advocate in the preservation of the old cemetery for the past eight years. Several articles from the Corpus Christi Caller Times have featured her restoration efforts this year.
AAUW member joins Del Mar College Board of Regents
AAUW Corpus Christi Branch member Dr. Mary Sherwood was named a Del Mar College regent on June 12, 2018. Dr. Sherwood retired last August as Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi’s chief of staff to the president. She was an employee of the Texas A&M System for 27 years and also worked at A&M universities in College Station and Kingsville, as well as the system administrative office in San Marcos. A total of eight candidates applied for the position, and three were interviewed by the Del Mar College Board. The AAUW Corpus Christi Branch congratulates Dr. Sherwood on her appointment.