‘Tombstone Tales’ event kicks off Dripping Springs History Month at Phillips Cemetery Reply

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Costumed actors portray historical area residents at Heritage Circle’s 2012 Cemetery Tour.

There is so much fascinating history to be found around Dripping Springs, the City’s Mayor Todd Purcell has proclaimed the month of April as Dripping Springs History Month. The resolution was approved by City Council, and signed by the mayor on March 3rd.  The first event to kickoff the month-long celebration of hyperlocal history is “Tombstone Tales” in historic Phillips Cemetery on Saturday, April 5th, when costumed actors bring pioneers and settlers to life to the delight of local residents and families.

The family-friendly Tombstone Tales walking tours are presented by Heritage Circle, a non-profit auxiliary of the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead, aka “Pound House.” Programs Director Lisa Chaffin shares more about this fun, informative event in her own words:

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITH HERITAGE CIRCLE?HC logo

I’m the Vice President of the Heritage Circle and the Programs Committee Chair. I have lived in Dripping Springs for a short seven years but was immediately drawn to the local history. I was thrilled to find the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead in my own community, and to now be serving on the board of the auxiliary Heritage Circle organization.  Our Heritage Circle program committee has dedicated many hours to bring this wonderful Tombstone Tales walking tour program together at Phillips Cemetery.

Visitors at the gate for Heritage Circle's 2nd Cemetery Tour in 2012.

Visitors at the gate for Heritage Circle’s 2nd Cemetery Tour in 2012.

Our first cemetery tour took place on Wallace Mountain. Next, we hosted a tour at Driftwood Cemetery in 2012. The Heritage Circle has decided to continue the cemetery
tours because they are such an interesting way to learn about the local past, to hear the stories of people who came before us to pioneer our lives here today.  The unique thing about the Phillips cemetery tour is More…

GracePax House makes multi-generation families at home in Dripping Springs Reply

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Like the rest of the country, the population of Dripping Springs is aging, filling up with baby boomers who are part of the “gray tsunami,” as it has been called. Not surprisingly, a growing part of the local population boom has become a local seniors boom, with a near-future need for more facilities offering activities and care. A newcomer to the local market less than a year ago,  Grace and Pax House is described by owner operators Ruben & Suzi Contreras as “Hospitality Personal Care” in a “small luxury boutique senior care home.”GraceLivingRoom

The Contreras’ came to the U-S and became citizens before coming to Dripping Springs with a dream for multi-generational families. Their local franchise business of Seniors Helping Seniors has now grown into their vision for local residential elder care with a personalized, family touch. More about Grace and Pax House with owner Ruben Contreras, in his own words:

Grace and Pax House owners and directors Ruben & Susi Contreras

Grace and Pax House owners and directors Ruben & Susi Contreras

WHERE ARE YOU FROM, HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN DRIPPING SPRINGS, AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE?

My wife, Susi, and I were born in Mexico City. We became U-S residents in 2006, and decided to move to Dripping Springs four years ago. We were looking for a quiet Hill Country location in Texas. We heard wonderful things about Austin, and especially about families and faith in Dripping Springs. We decided to come and participate in the community because we have a very strong commitment to family moral values and Catholic spirituality.

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THE NEED FOR A FACILITY LIKE GRACE AND PAX HOUSE? 

For more than 45 years, I have been tracking the baby boomer generation. There are 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day in the U-S. The city of Austin is currently number one in pre-senior population  (over 55 years old looking to retire in Austin). Families are coming to Austin to stay and they are bringing their parents, too. It has been called a “gray tsunami” with families looking for homes with personal care; not necessarily institutions but a more home-like setting in a nearby community environment. Dripping Springs is ideal for that.

For the past two years, Susi and I have been working with our local franchise of Seniors Helping Seniors. We hire seniors to help other seniors, so they have a job when they want, as often as they want, and can work in ways that they are able. For the person who needs assistances, it’s also understood by the caregiver that they have lived during the same era, so they already have things in common. It’s a win-win situation that basically creates a peer relationship between the two. If and when the client is no longer able to live independently, converting their care to Grace Pax House is an ideal option to continue with 24/7 care in a home-styled environment.

WHEN DID GRACE AND PAX HOUSE OPEN, HOW MANY RESIDENTS DO YOU SERVE, AND WHAT SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?

GraceKitchenWe opened in August, 2013, with three residents. At this time, we have six bedrooms and can serve up to eight residents, (four individual rooms and two double-occupancy rooms for couples who want to continue to live together). We are much like a small, boutique hotel/personal care facility for seniors in the the Hill Country. We offer independent living, assisted living, and hospice care in this environment.

WHAT AMENITIES AND ACTIVITIES DO YOU OFFER? ANY PLANS FOR EXPANSION?

We are classified as a Personal Care Assisted Living Type B facility. We have a lot of activities and great future plans for expansion. We have two therapy donkeys (Cinderella and Snow White), who are fed by our residents with carrots grown in our nursery and green house. We have lots of potential for gardening and for growing plants and trees. We also have a chicken coop for six hens and Henry – our rooster – whose care and feeding are also therapeutic for our residents. We have plans to expand to two or three more homes for a total of 32 to 64 residents, as the market allows.GraceGazebo

We are also interested in assisting in body and soul to our residents and their families. We have dedicated the Grace Pax House according to our faith. It has been wonderful to meet, pray and relax together in our outdoor gazebo, every Friday at 3:00PM – a time we have dedicated to pray for peace and reconciliation with God.

We also get together for bird-watching with families and friends. And the community has also participated with enthusiasm and lots of love and care,  with many friends and families volunteering and bringing kids and family members to help and “Adopt a Grandpa (ma)” for a week. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give and receive, with lots of  blessings by helping others in need. We invite everyone to come and see!

WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS WITH YOUR RESIDENTS?

GraceRichardThere have been so many already! We have a Blog page on our website that features personal stories and testimonials. We invite everyone to visit the page and read some of those here: http://www.graceandpaxhouse.com/welcome-richard/

We are excited to keep adding to them!

HOW CAN PEOPLE LEARN MORE? DO YOU OFFER TOURS?

Local artist, Susi Campuzno, provides artistic inspiration for the 4-acre Grace and Pax House property. Mrs. Campuzno's artwork is featured throughout the interior of the facility.

The work of local artist, Susi Campuzno, is featured throughout the facility.

Everybody is more than welcome to come and visit Grace Pax House any time. Please bring family members and friends too. Please visit our website and then let us know you are coming!

 ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

For anyone who is searching for quality, home-style senior care, we want them to know that our level of care is far different from our competitors. We offer a 2-to-1 ratio with two caregivers for each resident. We are so proud of that!

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GRACE PAX HOUSE IN DRIPPING SPRINGS, CONTACT: More…