2013 to 2017
During Vangie’s term as FSAC President in 2012, personnel changes threatened to leave gaps in the critical daily work performed by the FSAC staff. To fill those gaps and to assure that the work was completed without breaks or interruptions, Vangie unlike any of her predecessors assumed staff duties herself and could be often found “at work” in the FSAC offices. At the same time she was personally involved in recruiting and interviewing candidates to fill open positions until full staffing was once again restored. And to help assure a stronger FSAC structure into the future, Vangie successfully accomplished By-Law changes that pertained not only to the staff but also to Executive Committee members and the Board of Commissioners.
ERICA GONZABA HORVAT
An extremely popular and in-demand singer, songwriter and performer, Erica was the 2005 Miss Fiesta and won her crown in large part for her musical accomplishments. Following that high honor she has used her appearances before audiences to advance all things Fiesta as a self-appointed, deeply committed volunteer promoter. Her Fiesta involvements include public performances at various official events organized and presented by PMOs and, aside from the great appeal of her musical talents, she has been especially supportive of the Fiesta Flambeau Parade Association, Inc. by helping to recruit and secure professional medical volunteers to staff the first aid stations that are situated along the parade’s route
DAVID W. JAUER*
Signs of his Fiesta volunteerism are everywhere, but not necessarily with his name attached to them. They can be seen in the medal he has designed for the Alamo Chapter of the Sons of Republic of Texas and its Fiesta event, This Hallowed Ground, for nearly three decades. He has also coauthored the script for the event, as well as preparing handouts for spectators, and is a Past President of the organization. David judges the Texas History Poster/Essay Contest that awards prizes to area middle-school student participants. For over three decades he has coordinated the River Parade-watching party for the FSAC, and he has served as both a PMO Commissioner and as an Elected Commissioner.
SAM BELL STEVES II
From the VIVA personalized license plates on his vehicle to his contagious enthusiasm, Sam Bell Steves has been described as embodying the true Spirit of Fiesta. His affiliations with PMOs are as varied and numerous as are his FSAC committee memberships and chairmanships. He’s filled important and highly visible roles for the Order of the Alamo and, particularly, the Texas Cavaliers. In the latter case he’s headed its River Parade as Marshal, led the organization as Commander and reigned as King Antonio LXXXII in 2004. As FSAC Treasurer he updated and upgraded accounting software and hardware systems. And, as FSAC President in 2011, he notably instituted the process of setting aside funds in one year for PMO allocations the following year. With all of that in his background his Fiesta involvements continue and, as his Order of the Cascaron nomination stated, “For Sam, as far as Fiesta is concerned, there is no finish line.”
Gerry’s involvements with Fiesta go back decades and continue right up to the present. Her artistic talents helped adorn and accessorize members of Fiesta royalty. Her unique creative abilities have been utilized by the Order of the Alamo, the Conservation Society and the Military/Civilian Club. That is all in addition to her service to the FSAC, which she first joined as a member in the 1980s. Her contributions to the Commission are multiple and unmatched. For one, from 1993 to 2002 she filled the important role of FSAC’s Volunteer Coordinator. For another, in 2004 Gerry formed and oversaw the Fiesta Crafters, a group of as many as twenty-five artisans who made original items to be sold in the Fiesta Store. She also was one of the creators of two Fiesta cookbooks that are sold in the store and provide additional revenue. Her own volunteer commitment can easily and often be up to 40 hours per week and as many as 800 hours per year during each Fiesta season.
Ellie’s decades-long devotion to San Fernando Cathedral made her the logical choice to head, in 1999, a new PMO and its event known as Fiesta San Fernando. In its initial year, Fiesta San Fernando raised $20,000 for the operation and ongoing restoration of one of San Antonio’s most prominent, historic structures. Ellie continued to lead the Cathedral’s four-day Fiesta event for 14 consecutive years before her retirement, and since then her close association with the Cathedral has continued in other important capacities. Her Fiesta volunteer service includes three years as an FSAC Elected Commissioner and as a member of its Publicity Committee. It is, however, her ongoing dedication to the Cathedral and its singular role in the history of San Antonio that remains her greatest volunteer commitment.
Solid evidence of Fernando’s impact on Fiesta can be traced to his reign as El Rey Feo LX in 2008. His coronation ceremony that year, in coordination and cooperation with the City of San Antonio, became an open-to-the-public event for the first time. Joining the FSAC’s Executive Committee the following year, he impressively rose through important offices including Treasurer, when he advanced the unveiling of the Fiesta poster to achieve earlier and therefore higher merchandise sales. As Chairman of the FSAC Sponsorship Committee for three consecutive years, he steadily increased the number and variety of corporate sponsors of official Fiesta events. Ultimately elected President of the FSAC in 2014, .to his credit and in great appreciation Fernando provided a seat on the FSAC’s Executive Committee for the President of the Order of the Cascaron.
ELIZABETH "LIZ" RUIZ
A familiar face often found any-and-everywhere during Fiesta, Liz, in turn, is likely to be more familiar with Fiesta’s wide range of events than might be expected of one individual. That can be attributed to her broad reach into activities as diverse as volunteering in a food booth at a Night in Old San Antonio to judging a Fiesta Hat Contest for the Women’s Club of San Antonio. Over a span of decades, she often took vacation time from work to be available to Fiesta when and where her participation might be needed. For the Battle of Flowers Band Festival, she put her own early baton twirling experience to good use by choreographing routines for high school twirlers from across the city who performed together at the event. And she used her vocal talents in musical performances on a float during the Texas Cavaliers River Parade. Any-and-everywhere, if it's a part of Fiesta Liz is (or probably has been) there.
It is relatively easy to track Steve’s many volunteer accomplishments, but the ease of doing so also reveals his deep commitment to every project he has undertaken and successfully managed. Steve’s starting point would logically be the Fiesta Oyster Bake, organized and presented by the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association. He serves as the event’s Executive Director and as Director of Alumni Relations for St. Mary’s, positions he has held for more than two decades. In those capacities he also served as a PMO Commissioner with the FSAC and later, independent of his PMO affiliation, he also served multiple terms as an FSAC Elected Commissioner and chaired a variety of its committees. With his Fiesta event credentials and experience well established, Steve moved on to hold offices, including President , with the Texas Festival and Events Association (TFEA) and, ultimately, as a Board Member of the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA).
A former decade-long FSAC employee, Linda’s current Fiesta San Antonio PMO volunteer affiliations are many and varied including the San Antonio Conservation Society, the Military-Civilian Club, Beethoven Maennerchor, Fiesta Flambeau Parade Association and both the Queen of Soul and Miss Fiesta Pageants. Additionally, she has served as an FSAC elected commissioner, as Judging Director for the Flambeau Association, and she can still be found in the FSAC offices, now as a weekly volunteer. Her instinctive creativity is clearly noted in the public platform she established for “Torchy”, the Flambeau Parade’s costumed mascot, and in the Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA) Crafters Store in La Villita which generates revenue for the Conservation Society. Aside from her Fiesta-related volunteer services. Linda is also active with community organizations, devoting her time and talents to enhance the quality of life in San Antonio and for its residents and visitors.