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South Texas Living

Serving is a way of life for La Vernia couple

Serving is a way of life for La Vernia couple
Alvin and Helen Malik, originally from Karnes City, contribute behind the scenes in many community activities in La Vernia.

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Pascalle Bippert
Know Your Neighbors
July 31, 2013
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So many things in our communities seem to simply “happen.” In reality, much is accomplished behind the scenes by our friends and neighbors, who quietly go about contributing to community life, not seeking acknowledgement or acclaim, simply “doing their part.” In this first of an occasional series, meet Alvin and Helen Malik of La Vernia.

Alvin and Helen Malik moved to La Vernia 17 years ago from Karnes City.

Both attended high school in Karnes City, where they later owned a business.

Born in the middle of the Great Depression, they remember hard times.

“School was vacation to us,” Alvin said.

“We got condensed milk and a peanut butter sandwich, and school lunches were 25 cents,” Helen recalled.

And they’ve seen times change.

“I can remember when Karnes City played football against La Vernia and there were only three extra players on the sideline,” Alvin said.

They both started working outside the home when they were 14 years old. Helen was a “soda jerk” at the local drugstore. She made lots and lots of milkshakes back then. Alvin worked in construction when he was 14. He is still a handyman. His daddy was a carpenter, and Alvin keeps a nice woodworking shop at his residence. He was a member of the fire department for many, many years; and they are proud that their son has been in the fire department for 25 years.

Alvin’s first car was a 1932 black Model A Ford. Helen didn’t drive back then.

They were married in the beautiful Catholic church in Panna Maria. They have been married almost 60 years. Next April, their children will be throwing them a little get-together to honor their time together. They have six children, 16 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

What made them want to become involved in their community?

“We just grew up that way,” Alvin said. “You worked. Wherever we’ve lived, we got involved.”

They have served the La Vernia community in several different capacities, including prior membership in the Lions Club.

They have cooked every year for the St. Ann Catholic Church fall festival.

“We bake three pans of cornbread each and Alvin grinds it up for the dressing,” Helen said. “We break bread on Thursday before the festival and get to working.”

It’s a lot of fun for them. Helen also has the votive cups ministry at church. When a candle burns out or soot blackens the glass votive holders, she takes them home and washes them out.

They also both serve at the Christian Food Pantry in La Vernia, collecting donations from the church and delivering them to the pantry, among other duties.

They also work in their beautiful yard, which is filled with blooming plants, and Helen refills her hummingbird feeders almost every day and likes to do cross-stitch. Alvin and Helen enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles and Alvin does crossword puzzles to keep his mind sharp.

When asked what they’d like to see for the future of La Vernia, Alvin suggested a lumberyard, a clothing store, and a hotel. Helen concurred.

“There is no lodging here in town for relatives coming in for a wedding or graduation or Christmas,” she said.

They are a delightful couple.

The next time you’re waiting in line for your turkey dinner at the St. Ann’s fall festival, be sure to thank Alvin for getting all that cornbread ready for the stuffing!

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