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Award Winners, History-makers, New Board Members Highlight 43rd AHCA Annual Meeting

Updated: May 22, 2022

The end of the fiscal year ended with a bang as members and guests gathered at historic Chateau Bellevue for AHCA’s 43rd Annual Meeting May 15.

In a meeting filled with recognition for those who volunteer in behalf of the AHCA and the Austin History Center, Harold McMillan, the founder/director of DiverseArts Culture Works, was announced as winner of the 2021 Katherine Drake Hart Award for his work to preserve the rich and diverse history of Austin and Travis County. McMillion is a noted nonprofit producer of multidisciplinary art and cultural projects and programs, most of which focus on east Austin.

Harold McMillan (right) accepts the Katherine Drake Hart Award for 2022 from 2021 winner Gloria Mata Pennington and Hart Award Committee Chair Charles Peveto.

The annual meeting, which closes out AHCA’s fiscal year, is also an opportunity to honor the organization’s volunteers as well as those who have donated oral history interviews during the year. Winners of the AHCA Volunteer of the Year award were Martha Hartzog, a founding member of the AHCA, Joe Bryson, who serves on several AHCA committees, and Frances Thompson, who co-chaired AHCA’s 13th annual Angelina Eberly Luncheon in March. Newly named AHC Division Manager Danielle McGhee announced Mindy Hancock as the AHC Volunteer of the Year.

AHCA Executive Director Jeff Cohen presents the AHCA Volunteer of the Year Award to Martha Hartzog.

Eighteen people who provided their life stories for AHCA’s Oral History Committee in the past year were honored at the meeting. They are:

Ken Ashworth

Jane Banks

Michael Barnes

Wayne Bell

John-Michael Cortez

Beth Fowler

Stephen Harrigan

Binnie & David Hoffman

Ora Houston

Bobby Ray Inman

Carolyn Osborn

Jan Patterson

Charles Peveto

Alex Porter

Ronney Reynolds

Candace & John Volz

Rounding out the meeting was the introduction of eight new AHCA Board Members for 2022. They are:

Karen Sonleitner, who spent more than 4 decades in high profile positions of public trust in Austin, including 18 years as city, county, and state government reporter for KVUE-TV and three terms as Precinct Two Travis County Commissioner. Today, Karen continues to volunteer on the Travis County Leadership Advisory Board for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the Austin PBS ATX Together Advisory Council, and with St. David’s Episcopal Church’s Café Divine.

Ben Foster, a University of Texas graduate who returned to Austin in 2018 after nearly a decade in Los Angeles working as a director, producer, and editor of documentaries and films. His current TV project, Songwriters Across Texas, has immersed Ben in the current Austin music scene and he’s planning a larger documentary about our city’s music history.

Sue Meller, who grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and was imbued with a deep appreciation for history. She is a former managing director of the Headliner’s Club and Headliner’s Club Foundation and has served on the board of United Way of Austin and numerous other non-profits. She graduated from the University of Texas and is a Distinguished Alumnus of St. Edward’s University, where she received a Master of Business Administration.

Linda McCoy, president of Waterloo Education, an educational publishing company specializing in textbook correlations. In addition to her work in the textbook publishing field, Linda spent more than a decade working with Keep Austin Beautiful, including six years as board president. Most recently, Linda’s been an active member of the AHCA and was AHCA Volunteer of the Year in 2020.

Gerald Guerra, a native Austinite, born and raised in east Austin. He graduated from Huston-Tillotson University with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration and built a career in the financial sector of the hospitality industry, primarily as a financial services officer and comptroller for major hotels. Gerald has also volunteered for several Austin-area non-profits over the past decade.

Amy Wong Mok, founder & CEO of the Asian American Cultural Center and president of the Asian American Community Partnership. Over the past 25 years, she has developed a distinguished record of civic work, including service on the boards of various non-profits in Austin as well as advisory roles with the city of Austin and the Austin Independent School District. Amy currently serves on Austin Arts Commission, the Board of the Austin PBS, and the Board of the Austin ADL.

Steve Mobley, an investor, founder, and manager of several businesses, all within the broad category of industrial services, as well as a consultant in the fields of environmental policy and business litigation. He a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he served on the Board of Deacons and the church’s Finance Committee. Steve also served on the Board of Trustees of Stephen F. Austin College.

Barbara Spears-Corbett, a native Austinite and graduate of L. C. Anderson High School (1970) and University of Texas (1974). She built a career in the service of education in the Miami‐Dade County Public Schools system. After retiring, Barbara returned to Austin and joined the campaign to stop the planned demolition of the original L.C. Anderson High School in east Austin. Currently, she works with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, Douglas Club of Austin, Original L. C. Anderson Alumni Association, and several committees with the Austin Independent School District.

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