Written by Phil Cerroni
Contestants’ family and friends share their thoughts
Contestant #1 Janie Smith:
Vee Miller – “I am so happy that Janie entered the contest, because foremost, she is a lady. I met Janie over a year ago at the Heritage Center pool, and we "hit it off" immediately; her warmth and openness was clear from the beginning.
Janie has high moral values, a heart for others, and is so much fun to be with. Along with her beauty and charm, you will find she is the same inside as what you see on the outside . . . a sweet, but strong, intelligent woman who truly represents a cross section of the mature woman of today.
Beth Smith – “After thinking about her and the time I have been privileged to have her in my life I think it would come down to 3 key words, faith, family and friends. She has such incredible energy and creative talents. She has such great passion and joy for her faith. Janie shares that great passion when it comes to her family as well.
“We all look forward to our times together sharing meals (Janie is a great cook) and lots of laughs (she loves a good pun). Janie has always been there to help and support her family in countless ways. And the many friendships she has developed over throughout her life are important to Janie as well. She blesses the many lives she has touched sharing of herself and her many talents, I feel incredibly lucky to have her as my mother in law.”
Judy Sargent - “My (quick) impression of Janie is that she is full of love (of God and people); joy (able to smile and encourage no matter the circumstance); caring (especially for those others might not notice); openness (willing to invite others to join);creativeness (in so many ways) and much more. She is well loved, adored, and appreciated by myself and many”
Dreanna Belden – “My Mother is a person who makes things happen, whether it’s planning for a big event or retiling a bathroom. All her life she’s been an incredibly resourceful, creative and inventive about finding solutions for whatever challenge is at hand. She brings energy and enthusiasm to everything she does, and is an inspiration for many reasons. I think her greatest gift as a Mother was instilling within us a sense of responsibility and integrity.”
Contestant #2 Patricia “Trish” Petell:
Janet Carter - “Trish is my older sister by 4 years. She is fun loving, compassionate, loved, humorous, and very generous. Growing up with Pat (as I have always called her) was wonderful. She was my role model. I have realized that my sister is also my best friend. I am very fortunate to have Pat as my sister and as my very best friend! I love her very much!”
Tim Casey - “How would I describe Trish Petell? Trish is one of the most thoughtful people there are. She is always putting the needs of other people first. She’s also a go-getter, always going after the things she wants. She is a provider, as her son I know we didn’t have enough money for things growing up; she made sure we had those things.
My mom is also very caring and encouraging, as a grown up and coach of high school sports she is always texting me wishing me luck - win or lose she always send back a positive message”
Anne Reed – “I consider Trish both the perfect employee and a good friend. She is a team player, kind and nurturing. She is at her best when smoothing ruffled feathers and is an excellent cook. She is one of the very few people with whom I’d share a desert island. She keeps a good disposition and a positive attitude. Trish is a good human being!”
Contestant #3 Kay Waters:
From Kay herself: “I’m excited to participate in this year’s Ms. Mature Irving Pageant. All my passion and love is for people, especially the elderly. I volunteer at Northgate Nursing and Rehab Center which adds quality to my life. I enjoy bringing smiles to the faces of everyone I come in contact with, young and old alike.
“I am so blessed to have my husband, children and grandchildren. There is not much more I can ask for! Irving is the best city in North Texas and I would love to be its senior ambassador!”
Kenneth Waters – “My wife’s graciousness and passion for Irving, which she considers as the jewel city of North Texas is an asset for all our friends, family and Irving businesses.”
Contestant #4 Gayre King:
From Gayre herself - My goal if chosen as Ms. Mature Irving would be to represent my home of 30+ years to the best of my ability and prove that you never grow old. You can always be fun and attractive as long as you try to make new friends and be a positive influence. My lust for life keeps me young and interesting.
My daughter-in-law says I am the glue and backbone that holds a diverse extended family fastly together. Other adjectives from friends and family include: integrity, intelligence, thoughtful, elegant, calm, a genuine lady, open-minded, strong, understanding, and, “a worrier”.
“I guess quoting my favorite movie character Auntie Mame sums it up ‘Life is a banquet, and most poor souls are starving to death!’ My daughter says I’ve lived most of my life being part of the banquet!”
Contestant #5 Jo Dunn:
From Jo herself - “Retired after 20 years of teaching, I still make a difference by volunteering for the Irving Senior Arts Program, working on such projects such as assisting the IISD and the Greater Irving/Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. I am the 1st Vice-President of the Advisory Council at the Heritage Senior Center, I assist in any capacity needed at the time. I perform Hula dancing at retirement homes, Assisted Living Homes, and senior centers in the Metroplex.
“We moved to Irving in 1961, joined St. Luke’s Catholic Church, we worked here and have been blessed in this wonderful community. Volunteering had always been gratifying. Representing Irving as Ms. Mature Irving would give me the opportunity to go above and beyond what I am concentrating on now in terms of opening doors in other places, such as city functions/events, meeting and opening of new businesses, in order to represent out City of Irving and our senior citizens.”
Wanda Tharp – “I have known Jo Dunn for approximately two years. I know that she is a loyal supporter of the Heritage Senior Center, and she is patriotic to the bone. Jo is the First Vice President of the Advisory Council for the senior center, and she is very active and faithful about attending the meetings. She participates in the Lively Steppers dance group and practices till she's perfect (or almost!). Jo would be a great Ms. Mature Irving. She's not afraid to speak in public to large groups of people. Jo is always professional in appearance, so she would represent Irving appropriately. Jo is good-natured and gets along well with people.”
Contestant #6 JoDee Reinig:
Karan Reinig - “I love my mama.
She was always there when I was growing up.
I love my mama.
She is still always there since I’ve grown up.
I only thought of her as my mama:
Making sure I was up in time for school.
Making sure there was a home cooked breakfast before school.
Making sure she was there on time to pick us up after school.
Making sure there was a home cooked meal on the table every night.
And then starting the whole routine all over again every morning.
How exhausted she must have been.
I love my mama.
I never knew how much fun she could be, but I do now.
I never knew she liked Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, or Barry Manilow, but I do now.
I never dreamed the 2 of us would be going to concerts together.
I guess I never thought of these things, after all she was just my mama.
I never knew her zest for life, but I do now.
I miss her when she goes out of town, I worry about her when I’m not with her.
I have certainly grown to love my mama even more than I thought possible.
She is my best friend.”