This was originally published in the Wilson County News
Jan. 16, 1985 (Volume 12, Number 3)

Our sincere appreciation

From the publisher:
Where others enjoyed the rare snowfall of Jan. 2, 1985, as it slowly embraced the South Texas landscape, the Wilson County News began a new chapter of its life.

Having begun as the Wilson County Shopper in August 1974, the newspaper was then only a once-a-month publication founded by the late Peter J. Russo with the help of a friend, C. O. Hawkins.

Through bad times and good, many people have come to know and to rely on the free newspaper. Known now as the Wilson County News, the paper is published weekly and has grown to 5,400 copies weekly with almost 4,000 by mail. Its founder and publisher died Dec. 29, 1984 at Wilson Memorial Hospital after a brief illness.

Those who had come to know "Pete," as he was affectionately known, realize how much this paper meant to him. Especially during the last few years and months, it had become his surrogate family, his friend, and his life.

My association with the paper had been only as a correspondent, but in 1981 as Mr. Russo lay in a Seguin hospital too ill to look after his affairs, I, with the help of Bernice Brelsford and other friends, published his paper until he was able to resume his business activities. By this time, I had become quite attached to the concept of a country shopper.
From that time on, I gradually increased my involvement with its production. In November of 1983, I began mailing the paper to all Floresville rural route box holders, and in April of 1984, I added Stockdale routes to a growing list of readers. Six months ago, I added Poth, making the coverage of Wilson County complete from La Vernia to Poth and Stockdale to Floresville.

As Mr. Russo became increasingly ill during the last year, I had assumed management of the paper, and arrangements were in place for me to completely take charge as of January 1985. Mr. Russo was looking forward to his retirement in April when he would reach age 65.

The irony was that I did take complete charge of the paper on Jan. 1, 1985, but not the way we had planned. Mr. Russo had intended to remain active with the paper, as he had so loved doing. So it was with great sadness and a sense of loneliness that I had to continue without his cheerful encouragement.

It was only with the understanding and support of my family — husband, Al, and children, Karl, Keith, and Kristen — that I was able to continue publication without missing a deadline. Each member of the family has, at one time or another, actually worked with me on the paper.

As we continue, I am sure their involvement will continue to increase even more as the operation becomes a family achievement. Al has helped deliver papers and deliver copy to the printers. He is also Number One public relations for the paper now. Keith, age 13, has allowed me to publish his cartoons and drawings from time to time. and Karl has done some reporting on the races at Alamo Dragway.

Actually, Al may not be number one in public relations. It could well be that Kristen, my 6-year-old. Since I began writing when she was 1 year old, she has accompanied me on interviews. She was with me in Yorktown and Cuero when I first published the paper in 1981. And she and both the boys have helped do inserts and make deliveries on numerous occasions.

In fact, it was Karl’s expert driving and the use of his trusty three-quarter-ton pickup that enabled us to make our first publication deadline of 1985 during the treacherous snowstorm on Wednesday, Jan 2.

As most South Texans were enjoying the snow, staying indoors by the fires or venturing out for a snowball fight, we managed to get a paper published.

Al made his usual 6 a.m. trip to Richards Printing in San Antonio to deliver the paper to be printed. Then Karl, Kenneth Walpole, and I dared to negotiate the ice-covered streets later in the morning to pick up our 5,000-plus papers. Loading and unloading in the wind, sleet, and snow, delivery took the better part of the day.

But, we did it, as we knew we would.

And, with the help and encouragement of friends like Jim Helmke, Henry Baumann, Kenneth and Nancy Walpole, Sonny Richards, Mary Margaret Duelm, John and Mary Ann Janacek of Yorktown, and Helen Requenez, all the postal employees, the printers, and the many advertisers and readers, we will continue. The job can only get better.
Your understanding and encouragement during this time of transition is greatly appreciated.

– Elaine Kolodziej, Publisher

© Wilson County News, 1012 C Street, Floresville, Texas 78114
830-216-4519 • Fax 830-393-3219 • E-mail: reader@wcn-online.com