Abbotts serve Thanksgiving cheer to Meals on Wheels volunteer


For years, 72-year-old East Austin resident Hermona Surita volunteered for Meals on Wheels, bringing food and a little bit of company to those who struggle to make it on their own.

On Thursday, the group — and Gov. Greg Abbott — returned the favor, bringing a little bit Thanksgiving cheer to her door.

“We wanted to make sure that all people would have access to a great meal and some communication on Thanksgiving,” said the governor, who was joined by his wife, Cecilia, a longtime Meals on Wheels volunteer, and daughter, Audrey. “It’s rewarding to get to see these people, who cannot get out like other people can.”

Abbott’s stop at Surita’s home was the second of three meal deliveries the Texas first family made Thanksgiving morning, after beginning the day by greeting volunteers, including actor Matthew McConaughey, at the Meals on Wheels offices on East 5th Street.

“I wanted to thank the volunteers, for them coming out on a holiday to help serve others,” Abbott added. “That’s what being a Texan is all about.”

Surita sat on the edge of a neatly made bed, in the front room of her modest home on a quiet block of Gonzales Street, waiting for Abbott on Thursday morning.

With reporters and news camera operators milling outside, she pointed to pictures that hung on the wall — a visual time capsule of her life and the changing times. It’s where the mother of five raised her children, and where she played with her grandchildren (24) and great-grandchildren (16) who keep her young. It’s a place that she told her now-departed husband of 34 years — he died of cancer in 1993 — she would not leave. The house is her life.

And it’s not for a lack of offers. She said many real estate agents have come by and sent offer letters — further evidence of the wave of gentrification washing across East Austin. She doesn’t bother to respond to them.

“This home, my kids grew (up here),” she said. “This is where my husband left me.”

The former school monitor moves more slowly now and kept a cane by her side as she spoke. But she makes a point of going to church every Sunday.

“I’ve got more peace than I used to,” she said. “I feel like being in church is the best thing for me that I can have.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

State panel suspends Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis over threat
State panel suspends Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis over threat

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct has suspended Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis from judicial duties with pay, said county spokeswoman Connie Odom. The suspension was in connection to an official oppression charge filed against Gattis, she said. It will not keep him from doing his job because he performs administrative duties in the county...
Austin school district launches clear bag policy at athletic events
Austin school district launches clear bag policy at athletic events

The Austin school district announced Friday a clear bag policy at athletic events that officials say is meant to enhance safety and security for athletes and spectators. The policy, set to begin Aug. 30, will be enforced at Burger Stadium, Delco Center, House Park, Nelson Field and Noack Sports Complex. It could be expanded in the future to include...
8 officers shoot, kill man who ran at them with gun, police say
8 officers shoot, kill man who ran at them with gun, police say

The sound of gunfire reverberated on Sixth Street on a busy back-to-school weekend and sent crowds scrambling as eight Austin officers shot and killed a 21-year-old man who was carrying a gun and ran toward them early Friday, police officials said. Family members said the victim was Aquantis Givens, a rapper from Baton Rouge, La., who was performing...
Appeals court tosses 3 UT professors’ lawsuit challenging campus carry
Appeals court tosses 3 UT professors’ lawsuit challenging campus carry

A federal appeals court has rejected three University of Texas professors’ claims that the state’s campus carry law and its implementation by the university violate their constitutional rights. Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter argued that their First Amendment right to academic freedom has been violated because free speech...
City sued in Texas Supreme Court regarding CodeNext ballot language

CodeNext might be dead, but litigation regarding the controversial land-use rewrite is alive and well. On Friday, a petitioner sued the city of Austin in the Texas Supreme Court concerning ballot language tied to the now-abandoned comprehensive rewrite of the city’s land-use rules. The suit marked the second time this week that a petitioner represented...
More Stories