Saturday, July 31, 2021
Home Blog

The Merchant Minute Episode 2

312342190 Helotes News Letter to the Editor Web

This post is by request of Helotes City Councilman Matthew Merchant, Place 5. 

I am writing the “Merchant Minute” to provide the community some feedback, insight, and some very general thoughts of mine. For this episode, I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences while observing and interacting with Helotes City Staff. I hope to continue this endeavor monthly. I appreciate all feedback, comments, or concerns.

It all starts at the top! To give credit where credit is due, the current Mayor and City of Helotes inherited a very good staff, handpicked by the previous Mayor, Mr. Tom Schoolcraft. Let me be the first to say, publicly, “Thank you, Sir.” The Helotes City Staff is “Top Notch”!!

I will provide some examples as to why I think these people are so good and worthy of your tax dollars and praise. The people who work for the city are the friendliest people you will ever meet. Every time I go into a city building, I am welcomed with a friendly smile and courteous greeting. Not to say that I didn’t expect that, but it happens – every time. It makes no difference which building I walk into – City Hall, Public Works, Dispatch Center, Police Station, or the Fire Station. This is what I appreciate. No matter what business I have with the city, the potential for a positive outcome all starts with a smile and friendly greeting, both of which can be counted on by our city staff.

The city currently employs 68 staff. They are directed by our City Administrator, Marian Mendoza. You can read her bio on the city web page. Please allow me to impress upon you how amazing she is! I am inspired by her knowledge, work ethic, dedication to our city, and her contagious smile. Since the most recent election in May, she has worked tirelessly (I won’t mention the number of hours she works but it is a lot!) to ensure our new Mayor gets up to speed on executive responsibilities to make Helotes run so smoothly (see Mayor Whitehead’s July message here. He talks about accomplishments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewFshA5mln8) She is a dynamo who sets the example for the staff and is worth your time to meet with!

The City Secretary is Celina Perez. She is every bit as knowledgeable and dynamic as Ms. Mendoza and serves as the go-to for all things City Council. These two work in tandem to ensure that the City Council and Mayor have all the information they need to make informed decisions for the city. If you are interested in getting involved in city service, she has the answers! She is very responsive to the questions and needs of all citizens. Ms. Perez is very approachable with a friendly demeanor, excellent communication skills, and a contagious smile! And again, worth your time to meet with!

I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the fantastic Independence Day Celebration fireworks display on July 3rd at the Helotes Festival Grounds or MarketPlace in Old Town Helotes on the same day. These events were all made possible by a dedicated team of Helotes Employees. Many quiet professionals work tirelessly to ensure that we get to enjoy our city and the events within the city. They include, but certainly not limited to the office staff who handle the permit process for vendors at city events. The Public Works staff who are behind the scenes setting up and cleaning up the venues. The Firefighters and Paramedics who ensure fire and first aid support and the Police Officers who quietly watch and ensure public safety for all, and so many more!

Being that this is only supposed to take a minute to read, I cannot possibly mention all the people who work for Helotes and its citizens. Helotes is a great place to live and experience all that we have to offer because of the fine people who work for and support these events. If you get the opportunity to swing by City Hall, be sure to say “thank you!” The Helotes City Staff are absolutely, without a doubt worthy of your praise.

Matthew Merchant, Helotes City Council Place 5

The American Legion, Robert F. McDermott, Post No. 309 located in Helotes

Helotes News American Legion Post 309 Board

Hello Helotes! I would like to introduce myself; my name is Willis Gray, Commander of The American Legion, Robert F. McDermott, Post No. 309 located in Helotes. Our story officially starts on September 14th, 2017 when we received our temporary Charter. We received our Permanent Charter on June 13th, 2018!

Oscar Fabela and I were tasked by Past 20th District Commander, Al Alford, to start a new American Legion post. At that time I was the Sergeant of the Color Guard for Post 336 in Leon Valley. I told Commander Alfred once I visited my father, won the Department Color Guard completion I would help open the new post.  The rest is history.

Here is a little more history. The American Legion was organized on March 15th, 1919. It was chartered by Congress on September 16th, 1919. The American Legion is the world’s largest Veteran Service Organization. The organization was established on four pillars, (I), Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation, (II), National Security, (III), Americanism and (IV) Children and Youth.

All honorably discharged veterans can join us. Within a ten-mile radius of Helotes, there are 680 eligible veterans who have already joined The American Legion. Those of you are in the department holding post, Post No. 345. You are on your first step to joining our local post. If you email txalpost309@gmail.com and inform us that you would like to transfer to our post, we will contact you and get the ball rolling. I cannot venture a guess as to the number of veterans that live in Helotes who have not joined our organization to-date. I do know Helotes has an exceptionally large veteran population and hope this letter to the editor motivates you to become part of our post’s family!

We certainly look forward to growing our Post in Helotes to support and expand on our community service. We are involved in as many programs as our membership can handle. Our Service Officer is assisting veterans with VA claims. We are involved with O’Connor High School with many activities. We support the O’Conner Fight Panther Air Force Junior ROTC unit. We have sent many young boys to Texas Boys State. We offer all students to compete in The American Legion Oratorical Competition where they could receive college scholarships.

We support our local senior Citizen’s Center, Casa Helotes. We purchased and painted picnic tables for the Casa Helotes Activity Center and continue to support “The Casa” by helping keep the grounds clean.

We participate in all Helotes parades, 3rd of July celebrations and the Veterans day event. We have volunteers at the Audie L Murphy VA Hospital and South Texas Fisher House, as well as joining Toyota of Boerne’s Turkeys for Troops event.

Our Color Guard has presented the colors at many events in the area including Wreaths Across American, Mission Baseball games, Turkeys for the Troops, Churches, and businesses throughout the greater San Antonino area. The Honor Guard’s most honored event is being asked to render final salute to our fallen servicemembers.

We want to continue to support the Helotes community veterans, and children and youth. To be able to do this we need to have a “Post Home”. Currently, we are in search for land to build our “Post Home”.  Being we are a 501 ( c) (19) Non-Profit Organization, a donation of land would be a taxable write off. We are looking for approximately ten acres of land to build a building, baseball field and an additional building for our junior shooting program.

We have a vision of mutual helpfulness with the community, the schools, and the City of Helotes. We feel we have a lot to offer the area of Helotes. We ask that you join us. We look forward to meeting all of our veterans living in and near Helotes.

For more information on the American Legion, Robert F. McDermott Post 309 please visit https://alpost309helotestx.org/ or email txalpost309@gmail.com.

Letter to the Editor – Merchant Minute

312342190 Helotes News Letter to the Editor Web
This post is by request of Helotes City Councilman Matthew Merchant, Place 5. 
The Merchant Minute
I am writing the “Merchant Minute” to provide the community some feedback, insight, and some very general thoughts of mine. For this initial episode, I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences while running for Helotes City Council. I hope to continue this endeavor monthly. I appreciate all feedback, comments, or concerns.
​My initial thought is that I am excited! I am excited for the City of Helotes and the people who call it home!! I am excited about the future!! I am very excited to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am proud that I chose to run for City Council. I am proud of my family for supporting me and more importantly – for believing in me. I am thankful that the community didn’t initially push me off their porch as I was knocking on doors, but allowed me to speak about myself and why I would make a good City Councilman.
​If you have never put yourself out there for God and community to give you a close inspection, it is a bit unnerving at times. To put oneself out into the public for scrutiny is not easy. To be asked about your past, beliefs, and convictions is not easy, but I would not trade this experience for anything. The results were reassuring and convincing that I am on the right course.
​Most times while meeting new people I made connections. The people of Helotes that I have met have been very positive and encouraging. My neighbors and friends were very supportive and gave me the needed confidence to put my name on the ballot. The local business owners that I met were forthcoming with concerns and ideas for me to take to City Hall. When I met the very talented city staff I was blown away by their knowledge and professionalism. If you get an opportunity, drop by and thank them, they do a wonderful job for Helotes. The police officers and firefighters that I have had the opportunity to speak with have been insightful interactions that I have learned a great deal from.
I am excited, encouraged, and proud to be part of the team that will move Helotes into the future! I am excited to meet you and hear what your thoughts are on Helotes.
To contact Matthew Merchant: mmerchant@helotes-tx.gov

May 27th 2020 Item 16 Merchant Aye

May 27th, 2021 16 Discussion of and action on the appointment of public officers on the City of Helotes Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. (City Council) Motion was made by Council Member McCrossen, second by Council Member Salazar, to discuss and act on this item. Aye

May 27th 2020 Item 16 Massey Aye

May 27th, 2021 16 Discussion of and action on the appointment of public officers on the City of Helotes Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. (City Council) Motion was made by Council Member McCrossen, second by Council Member Salazar, to discuss and act on this item. Aye

May 27th 2020 Item 16 McCrossen Aye

May 27th, 2021 16 Discussion of and action on the appointment of public officers on the City of Helotes Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. (City Council) Motion was made by Council Member McCrossen, second by Council Member Salazar, to discuss and act on this item. Aye

May 27th 2020 Item 16 Salazar Aye

May 27th, 2021 16 Discussion of and action on the appointment of public officers on the City of Helotes Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. (City Council) Motion was made by Council Member McCrossen, second by Council Member Salazar, to discuss and act on this item. Aye

May 27th 2020 Item 16 Sanders Aye

May 27th, 2021 16 Discussion of and action on the appointment of public officers on the City of Helotes Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. (City Council) Motion was made by Council Member McCrossen, second by Council Member Salazar, to discuss and act on this item. Aye

May 27th 2020 Item 15 Merchant Aye

May 27th, 2021 15 Discussion of and action on the selection of a Mayor Pro Tem from the City of Helotes City Council for the term May 2021 to May 2022. (City Council) Motion was made by Council Member Massey to nominate Council Member Sanders as Mayor Pro Tem for the Term May 2021 to May 2022. The motion was seconded by Council Member McCrossen. Aye

May 27th 2020 Item 15 Massey Aye

May 27th, 2021 15 Discussion of and action on the selection of a Mayor Pro Tem from the City of Helotes City Council for the term May 2021 to May 2022. (City Council) Motion was made by Council Member Massey to nominate Council Member Sanders as Mayor Pro Tem for the Term May 2021 to May 2022. The motion was seconded by Council Member McCrossen. Aye