By Teresa Ohlrich Johnson
Jackie Bouquet was a sophomore at McNeese State University at Lake Charles, Louisiana, when she met her future husband at an Aggie party at Lake McQueeney over the Thanksgiving holidays. Jackie probably never imagined that she would one day marry an Air Force officer and make New Braunfels her home. She also probably never imagined that her exceptional volunteerism in her adopted hometown would earn her Living Legend recognition by the Braunfels Foundation Trust.
Born in Iowa, Louisiana Jackie earned a twirling and band scholarship to McNeese State University where was she head majorette her junior and senior years. When Jackie was a senior at McNeese, Lieutenant Dennis Heitkamp, now stationed at Lake Charles Air Force Base, looked up the girl he met at Lake McQueeney. After graduating with a B.A. in Speech and English, Jackie taught English at Lake Charles High School until she and Dennis were married and began their twenty-seven- year Air Force career.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1984, the Heitkamps moved to New Braunfels and Jackie jumped in with both feet and began her career of service. She volunteered for many years at both the Sophienburg Museum’s Christmas fundraiser, Weihnachtsmarkt, and for the Conservation Society as Board secretary, Historian, and a Lindheimer House docent. It is her work with the Heritage Society, however, for which is undoubtedly best known.
Jackie is a charter member of the Heritage Society, Inc., with whom she has a thirty-year relationship serving in numerous roles including a thirteen-year turn as Board secretary and twenty-five-year term as Board Historian. Her education background and love of teaching may explain her passion for the Heritage Society’s Docent Program. Jackie has been a docent for thirty plus years, a docent trainer for twenty years, and she has been recognized as Docent Chair of the Year and Docent Trainer of the Year five times.
Jackie served as Chair of the Folkfest Antiques and Collectibles for many years. She was mentored by Bobbie Purdam and Nan and Bill Dillen at the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture and served as Conservator for damaged furniture restoring pieces in the collection. Learning to repair and sometimes even rebuild the mannequins used for the annual Heritage Exhibits, Jackie served as Mannequin Chair repairing, repainting, and even searching for and collecting over seventy mannequins. Jackie and Dennis chaired both the New Braunfels Sesquicentennial Heritage Exhibit and Folkfest and were recognized with the Heritage Society’s Outstanding Service Award in 2017.
Living Legends share a common thread in the fabric of their character — an unwavering focus on a diversity of interests. Jackie is a member of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, a Senior Blue Coat, and was recognized with placement in the Chamber’s Hall of Honor in 2000. As a member of the Braunfels Foundation Trust, Jackie has worked on the Arrangements Committee for the Trust’s Living Legends celebration from its inaugural event through 2017. Jackie is a thirty-one-year associate member of the Ferdinand Lindheimer Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and since 1986, a member of the New Braunfels Garden Club serving in all leadership positions at least once! She has been associated with the Friends of the Library for the past thirty years. As a Lions Club State Certified Vision screener, Jackie continues to provide vision screenings for an average of 5000 NBISD and CISD elementary school children at twenty-four campuses each year.
As well as raising two children, Mark and Blair, Jackie Heitkamp assisted her husband in countless ways during their air force career. As an officer’s wife, she was instrumental in helping new wives adjust to the demands of service life in remote duty stations. She was not born or raised in New Braunfels but has spent much of her adult life learning and teaching the story of New Braunfels – whether as a docent at the Comal County Courthouse or at Heritage Village – to school children, adults, locals, and visitors alike. Her commitment to continue and preserve that story of New Braunfels is absolutely the stuff of which Legends are made.
By Teresa Ohlrich Johnson
Tobin Hoffmann spends every Tuesday and Wednesday evening at the Scout Hut with the Boy Scouts of Troop 133. One weekend every month, plus every Spring Break and every summer, he takes his Scouts camping all over Texas and New Mexico. Tobin Hoffmann has kept this schedule for thirty- seven years with no signs of stopping. Tobin is a Scout Master, an Eagle Scout, a Silver Unicorn, a Distinguished Alumni, an Opa, a Rotarian, and now a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Tobin Carl Hoffmann is a local boy whose German ancestors settled New Braunfels in the 1840s. Tobin’s parents, Carroll and Helen, passed the legacy of community service to their children who have more than honored that tradition.
For years, the Hoffmann family has decorated the Plaza for the Sophienburg Museum and Archives’ annual July 4th celebration, and Tobin’s Troop 133 has carried the large United States flag in the parade. For years, Tobin and his wife, Judy, and their three children, Catherine, Caleb, and Canaan did the planting, watering, and care of the four island flowerbeds that circled the Plaza until the City of New Braunfels took over.
Tobin continues to amass an amazing body of volunteer work while maintaining his career as a certified financial planner. He is a past president of the New Braunfels Downtown Rotary with a remarkable thirty-four-year perfect attendance record. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and the 2007-2008 Rotarian of the Year.
A member of and past Chair of the Board of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Tobin was inducted into the Chamber’s Hall of Honor. He was further recognized for his commitment to the youth in Comal County with the Chamber’s President’s Award. He is a member of the Braunfels Foundation Trust and the Wurstfest Association where he serves on the Scholarship Committee. He is a member of the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters organization that helps connect resources within our county during a public disaster by working with organizations and non-profits like the Red Cross and Salvation Army to aid disaster victims.
Tobin is a long-time member and served on the Board of Directors of the Sophienburg Museum and Archives. He participated significantly in the restoration of the Emmie Seele Faust Library, and an audio tour at the Sophienburg Museum features the voice of none other explaining the founding of New Braunfels. He served as a member of the City of New Braunfels Bond Advisory Committee and during his tenure on the Downtown Advisory Board, trees were planted downtown and at the Courthouse and sidewalks were improved.
Tobin counts among his many honors selections as the United Way’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year, the New Braunfels Independent School District Education Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni award, and the New Braunfels Independent School District’s Silver Unicorn award. Significantly, his volunteer work was recognized by one of his professional partners, Ameritas, with the Rosen Award. Bestowed annually on someone who demonstrates both long-term success in their practice and long-term commitment to their community and the causes of humanity, the Rosen Award comes with a grant to a charity of the recipient’s choosing.
Tobin’s impact in leading and training young men to be good citizens and leaders through Boy Scouts is unrivaled. As a scout himself in Troop 133, Tobin earned his Eagle Scout 1975. After graduating from Texas State in 1981, he returned to New Braunfels to pick up where he left off. With the help of fellow former Troop 133 members, Mike Kohlenberg, Jack Reinarz, and the late Nathan Rheinlander, Tobin and company rebuilt the Troop and activated all pack levels within the Boy Scouts. He has helped hundreds of boys earn their Eagle Scout and our community has benefited greatly from the many finished Eagle Scout projects. Hundreds more boys have been mentored. In 2007, the Boys Scouts of America bestowed their highest volunteer honor, the Silver Beaver.
Finally, on and off since 2001, Tobin has battled a rare form of cancer. Six weeks after his first surgery in 2002 to remove much of his shoulder, he was on a mountainside camping with this Boy Scouts. A subsequent surgery followed in 2016, but Tobin again went on with life in typical Tobin-style – with grace, humor, and offering encouragement to others in the same boat – all at on hundred miles per hour. The Braunfels Foundation trust is therefore proud to name Tobin Hoffmann, a Living Legend for his legendary service to New Braunfels.
By Teresa Ohlrich Johnson
Mike Dietert is one of those individuals who does not go around tooting his own horn. Although you will not catch him talking about his many contributions to his hometown of New Braunfels, his volunteer resume does all the talking and illustrates why the Braunfels Foundation Trust selected him as a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Mike was born in Comal County and grew up on the family farm off Watson Lane. After moving into town, he graduated from Canyon High School in 1968. He attended Texas A&M University and graduated from Southwest Texas State University (Texas State) in 1972 with a degree in Industrial Arts. Mike married his high school sweetheart, Linda Pfannstiel, in 1969, and they are proud parents to Brandon Dietert and Allison Humphries.
Mike’s passion for the history and culture of New Braunfels has preserved not only our city’s landscape, character, and story, but has greatly benefitted he missions of multiple historic organizations. Mike has restored the Pfannstiel family’s 1802 home in Comaltown, his great grandfather’s 1860s farmhouse, another 1860s farmhouse, and several other old homes. As a founding member and two-time president of the Heritage Society, Mike for many years spent countless hours building the Heritage Exhibits that for many years transformed the New Braunfels Civic Center into early New Braunfels. Held during Wurstfest, the Heritage Exhibit was a glimpse into the past and a history lesson to schoolchildren and adults, locals and visitors alike.
During the late seventies, Mike helped kick-start the newly-formed Conservation Society and served as its president for three terms. A long-time member of the Sophienburg Museum, Mike is currently on the Finance/Building Committee and the Verein membership group.
Mike also shares that common thread found in the fabric of our Living Legends – diverse and multifaceted interests. A member of the City of New Braunfels Planning and Zoning Commission for many years, Mike continues to serve on the City’s Partnership Committee. A forty-year Life Member of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and a Blue Coat, Mike served as chair and vice-chair of numerous committees over the years and ultimately as Chair of the Board.
In the early days of the New Braunfels Children’s Museum before its association with McKenna, Mike helped move and build the Museum at three different locations around New Braunfels.
A member of the Wurstfest Association since 1971, Mike served as Wurstfest President in 1992. He is a forty-plus-year member of the New Braunfels Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He has served on the boards of the Hummel Museum, Chase Bank, Citizens Bank, the New Braunfels Independent School District Education Foundation, and the McKenna Hospital Advisory Board. He served as the Major Gifts Chair for the Comal Healthcare Foundation supporting McKenna Hospital in 1997.
The Braunfels Foundation Trust is not the first organization to publicly recognize Mike’s contributions to New Braunfels. The New Braunfels Jaycees named Mike their “Outstanding New Braunfelser” in 1988. In 1986, the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce recognized Mike with the President’s Award for Historic Preservation, and the Comal Independent School District named him one of their “Outstanding Alumni” in 2010.
Mike is probably best known for his fifty-three-year employment with the New Braunfels Smokehouse. As a high school bus boy, a college student, and ultimately Vice President and General Manager, Mike has participated in the growth and prosperity of the Smokehouse. With the backing of the Smokehouse, Mike has been able to contribute and participate in the growth and prosperity of his community.
Mike Dietert has quietly, but significantly, contributed to the character of New Braunfels. The Braunfels Foundation Trust is proud to loudly trumpet his praises and recognize Mike Dietert as a Living Legends of New Braunfels.
Growing up as the daughter of an Air Force pilot, Bette Offerman lived many places. The Braunfels Foundation Trust believes that it is extremely fortunate then for our community that Bette came home to New Braunfels to live. Her contributions have improved our schools, made our city a richer place in which to live, our Christmases a little merrier, and absolutely qualify her to be named a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Bette was born in Harlingen where her father, Donald, was stationed. Bette’s mother, Marie, has deep roots in New Braunfels, and the Offermans lived here for a short time before living in Bermuda, Pittsburg, Los Angeles and Sembach Air Force Base in Germany. Returning from Germany, Bette lived in New Braunfels with her grandparents and finished her freshman year in high school. The Offermans’ last official assignment was the ROTC program at East Texas State University, now Texas A&M Commerce. After high school graduation, Bette enrolled at East Texas State earning a BS in Special Education, Elementary Education, and Physical Education. In July of 1972, Bette married Michael Spain.
Education has always been of huge importance both professionally and personally to Bette. She began teaching Special Education in the Dallas Independent School District while earning her Masters as an Educational Diagnostician. In 1976, the Spains relocated to Austin where husband Michael began law school, Bette taught, and daughter Cate was born. A job with a law firm took the family to for Richmond, Virginia, but soon the pull of Texas brought the Spains to San Antonio. Bette began volunteering for the Any Baby Can organization and at Santa Rosa’s Children’s Hospital serving as a member and president of their Auxiliary Board.
Moving home to New Braunfels, Bette found herself back in the classroom volunteering at Cate’s schools and tutoring in the HOST programs at Lone Star and Seele schools. Bette organized and charted the first National Junior Honor Society at New Braunfels Middle School. She continued to guide that program for several years and was recognized with a PTA Honorary Life Membership. Bette is still volunteering weekly in the library at granddaughter Sophie’s school and hosting an annual gingerbread decorating party.
In 1994, Bette was elected to the New Braunfels Independent School District school board serving three consecutive terms and holding all officer positions including president. Bette also graduated as a Master Trustee from the Texas Association of School Boards Leadership Program. In 1999, she initiated a proposal to the school board establishing the now-thriving NBISD Education Foundation and served on its first board. The NBISD recognized Bette for her significant contributions with the coveted Silver Unicorn award.
Diversity of interests is common to Living Legends, and Bette is no exception. Since 1997, Bette has volunteered on the Sophienburg Museum’s Weihnachtsmarkt Committee. She served, among other things, as event chair and for ten years compiled a cookbook given to shoppers. In 2004, she became Chair of the Museum’s gift store, and although her diagnosis of Muscular Sclerosis altered her volunteering with Sophie’s Shop, it hasn’t stopped her from supporting the Committee by delivering home-cooked lunches to volunteers during Wurstfest and Weihnachtsmarkt!
Bette served on the McKenna System Board guiding the hospital before, during, and after its sale to Christus Santa Rosa and remained a member of the McKenna Foundation Board for several years. Bette graduated from the Chamber’s Leadership Class in1993 and was instrumental in creating the New Braunfels Youth Leadership Program. Bette is involved at New Braunfels Church and volunteers with the “Cross Cares” program that partners with Gruene United Methodist Church’s homeless project.
Bette and husband, Michael, have one daughter, Cate, and two grandchildren, Sophie and Ruxin. The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung recognized Bette with their Unsung Hero Award in 2003, and the Braunfels Foundation Trust is delighted to also sing her praises and name Bette Spain a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
The Braunfels Foundation Trust named Doug Miller a Living Legend of New Braunfels not because he was our State Representative in Austin for four terms. That is just one of Doug’s former titles, and his service in the Legislature is only one example of his many contributions to New Braunfels.
Miller was born in Gonzales and moved to New Braunfels where he attended kindergarten at First Protestant Church and Goodwin Elementary. After graduation from Canyon High School in 1972, Doug enrolled at Southwest Texas State – now Texas State — where driving a school bus helped pay for college. During this time, he started a band, The Sounds of Country Music, which later became Doug Miller and the Rhythm Riders. In his senior year at SWSTU, Doug joined the New Braunfels Police Department as a reserve police officer and three months before his graduation in 1976 was hired as a full-time Patrolman. A few months later, Officer Miller threw a party at his apartment’s clubhouse and danced with a girl who would become his wife. Fortunately, Anne Louise Mund met Doug’s dad two days before he passed away, and the couple was engaged a month after that first dance and married a year later.
In 1978, Doug began his insurance career with the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, son Douglas II was born, and he began his civic activities. At the urging of his brother, Joe, Doug joined the New Braunfels Jaycees where he was recognized as the “Outstanding Young New Braunfelser,” “Jaycee of the Year”, and served as president. That same year, at age 24, he got a green vest, becoming a member of the Wursfest Association. In 1979, Doug bought the Ferguson Insurance Company and a few years later joined with Frank Witting to open Miller and Witting Insurance Agency. Doug is currently President of Miller and Miller Insurance Agency.
In 1981, Doug ran for the New Braunfels City Council losing by exactly one hundred votes. Disappointed but not discouraged, Doug ran again and was elected to the Council in 1987. A year later, he was elected Mayor, and Doug and Anne Louise welcomed daughter Amanda.
Although Doug would lose his next election as county commissioner, his public service was not over. In 1993, Doug was appointed to the Board of the newly-established Edwards Aquifer Authority which he had helped create. In 2008, after fifteen years on the Edwards board and serving as its Chair, Doug was elected to the Texas House of Representatives for four terms.
Doug was recognized in 1988 with the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s outstanding citizen honor, The Besserung Award and inducted into the Hall of Honor in 2007. He was both the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung’s “Citizen of the Year” and the Comal Independent School District’s “Outstanding Graduate” in 1997. He received the NBISD “Silver Unicorn Award” and along with Anne was the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year in 2003. Additionally, Doug has served as president of the Comal County Fair Association, Wurstfest Association, Comal County United Way, and the NBISD Education Foundation. Additionally, he was Chair of the Board of the Greater New Chamber of Commerce.
Doug is a major in the Texas Guard and was awarded their “Outstanding Service Medal” in 2012. He is a thirty-year member of the Downtown Rotary Club and a Baron in the Braunfels Foundation Trust, a member of Oakwood Baptist Church, current Chair of the Texas Legislative Conference, and Finance Chair of the 175th Anniversary Celebration of New Braunfels.
Police officer, mayor, state representative, and musician are a few of Doug Miller’s titles. He is also a husband, father to Amanda and Douglas, and proud grandfather to McKinley and Korbyn. Doug has served our community with distinction and the Braunfels Foundation Trust is honored to bestow a new title on Doug — Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Our beautiful city was founded by a German prince whose betrothed back in Germany never set foot on Texas soil. It is said that Princess Sophie feared not being a princess in newly-settled Neu Braunfels and so stayed home. If only Princess Sophie had known what Marian Benson knows: an extraordinary volunteer resume and some hard work can get one named a princess in New Braunfels. Marian Benson was named a Princess of the City of New Braunfels not once, but twice, for her devotion and many contributions, and now The Braunfels Foundation Trust names her a Living Legend.
Marian was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, while her father was serving in the Air Force. Marian’s mother was very involved not only in their church but also in the schools and activities of her four children and passed the “volunteer gene” down to her daughter, Marian. The family then lived in Denton, the hometown of Marian’s father, and in 1954 moved to Austin where Marian graduated from McCallum High School. After graduation, Marian attended Trinity University and then landed a job as a flight attendant with Braniff Airlines in Dallas.
Marian met her late husband, Howard, during this time, and the couple began their married life in Dallas later welcoming daughter Debbie and son Chris. While in Dallas, Marian was very involved in her church, but her first real volunteer “job” was as reader for Recording for the Blind at the University of Georgia. The Bensons moved to Georgia so Howard could complete his doctorate in Political Science, and following his graduation in 1973, they relocated to New Braunfels when Howard began teaching political science and law enforcement at Southwest Texas State University – now Texas State University – in San Marcos.
In 1983, with the experience gained at the Dallas Apparel Mart, Marian opened a ladies clothing boutique and her thirty-year love affair with downtown New Braunfels began. She owned and operated “The Collection” for twenty-eight years in downtown New Braunfels and was active in much of its revitalization because of her association with both the New Braunfels Downtown Association and the New Braunfels Mainstreet Association. Marian helped establish and guide many of the Festtage celebration events, such as the Plaza Tree Lighting and Wassilfest. She was a member and past president of the New Braunfels Downtown Association and on the board of the Texas Mainstreet Association. Marian co-chaired the City’s Bandstand Restoration Project via the New Braunfels Mainstreet Partners, a non-profit on whose board she still serves and created to perpetuate the restoration of downtown. She served on the Civic Center Renovation Advisory Committee and is the past chair of the Downtown Implementation Committee. Marian also served as a board member and chair of the Texas Retailers Association who named her their “Downtowner of the Year” in 1989.
Marian earned her Bluecoat, and in 1999 and a life membership with the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce. She served as Chair of the Board of the Chamber and received not only their Chair of the Board Award for Economic Development, but also the Besserung Award – or outstanding citizen award — in 2005. The Chamber named her “Small Business Person of the Year” in 1991, recognized her in the Hall of Honors, and bestowed the Princess of the City of New Braunfels recognition. Marian currently serves on the Chamber’s Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Committee.
Marian is past president of the New Braunfels Rotary club, past board member of the Sophienburg Museum and Archives and the Christus Santa Rosa Foundation, and a volunteer with the SOS Food Bank. She’s been on the church choir and served as an elder at her church, New Braunfels Presbyterian.
Marian is currently serving on the boards of the New Braunfels Housing Authority and the New Braunfels Area Community Foundation where is a founding member. She serves on the Chamber’s Texas Legislative Conference Arrangements Committee, is a volunteer driver for Family Promise, a Braunfels Foundation Trust baroness, and is the co-chair on the Sophienburg Museum’s Weihnachtsmarkt Vendor Committee.
The Braunfels Foundation Trust is delighted for the opportunity to bestow another title on our baroness and princess – a Living Legend of New Braunfels
Dr. Frederick Frueholz, Jr., was born in New Braunfels on December 12, 1927, into a family of physicians. Emigrating from Germany, Drs. Frederick Frueholz, Sr. and Bertha Frueholz, set up their family medical practice in the iconic home at Seguin Street where Dr. Frederick Frueholz, Jr. resides to this day. It would be an understatement to say that Dr. Fred, as he is affectionately known, has roots that run deep and wide in the landscape of New Braunfels.
Living only a couple of blocks from the Comal River, young Frederick split river time with piano and voice lessons. He attended Carl Schurz Elementary where he participated in the band. He was a Boy Scout and eventually earned his Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm. At New Braunfels High School, Dr. Fred participated in band and drama. As a junior, he helped start and organize the Unicorn Stables, a popular weekend activity center in downtown New Braunfels offering food and fun for New Braunfels high school students. He also served as the first president of the organization.
Dr. Fred graduated from New Braunfels High School in 1945 and went on to study at the University of Texas in Austin. Although architecture was — and still is – of great interest to him, he received a Bachelor of Science and an acceptance to the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston. While studying at medical school, Fred kept his architecture passion alive by designing his fraternity’s new house!
Although there was never really any doubt where the young doctor would hang his shingle, after graduating from medical school Dr. Fred began an internship at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio. Dr. Fred was a member of the National Guard and taught in the Medical Corp at Fort Sam Houston. He would soon leave for a two year commitment in France where he served at the Army’s 28th General Hospital eventually returning home to New Braunfels as a captain.
The family’s growing medical practice required more examining rooms and office space., so Dr. Fred designed the new medical office that was built directly behind the family’s home. The Frueholz practice treated generations of New Braunfels families, but an injured knee forced Dr. Fred’s early retirement in 1987.
A fulltime family physician’s days are long, but Dr. Fred’s service to New Braunfels extends far beyond his medical practice and includes his involvement and commitment to First Protestant Church. Singing in the choir began in this youth and continued into adulthood. He has served on the Church Council, and on Building Committees, just to name a few. .
In addition to architecture, music has always been important to Dr. Fred. It is not surprising that he served on the board of the Mid-Texas Symphony, and organized the Symphony Chorus. He founded and served as the president of the Heritage Chorale, now known as the Community Chorale. He sang with and was a member and president of the Texas Bach Choir. He continued his education over six summers studying architecture and history at Oxford University in England.
His knowledge and love of the history of New Braunfels resulted in his establishing and organizing the Comal County Historical Commission. He served as the Commission’s first chair and continues to serve on its board. To recognize his contributions to historic preservation, the Comal County Historical Commission established and bestowed on Alton Rahe in 2014 the first Frederick J. Frueholz Jr. Historic Preservation Award. The award honors individuals for their significant dedication to historic preservation. Additionally, Dr. Fred is a member of the Sophienburg Museum and Archives and the Heritage and Conservations Societies of New Braunfels.
Dr. Fred was a member and president of the McKenna Hospital staff, as well as the Comal County Medical Association. He was a Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow. With several other prominent community leaders, Dr. Fred was involved in establishing the New Braunfels National Bank – now Wells Fargo – where he also served as board member.
A fifth generation Texan and a descendent of seven founding New Braunfels families, Colonel Dennis Heitkamp retired after twenty seven years in the United States Air Force to his hometown of New Braunfels. Dennis would then begin a banking career with Texas Commerce Bank — later JP Morgan Chase — and amass a remarkable volunteer resume of service that has secured his place as a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Dennis graduated early from New Braunfels High School in 1952 and entered Texas A&M in 1952 graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology. At Texas A&M, he was recognized as one of ten Distinguished Military Graduates and was awarded an Air Force commission. His flying experience spanned a period of eight years including sorties in Viet Nam with the remaining nineteen years spent in Command, Operations and Maintenance of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. His significant military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Meritorious Service Medals, eight Air Medals, the Vietnam Service Medal with seven Gold Devices, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm. While in the Air Force, he received an MBA from Ohio State University
Dennis’s service to his community is as impressive as his service to his country. He has served at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and was instrumental in transitioning the Fund Drive from the former Comal County Community Fund to the successful United Way. He served the United Way in various capacities for many years and was recognized as the Comal United Way Volunteer of the Year.
His love of his hometown and his heritage is seen in his service to the Heritage Society where he has been board member, treasurer, and President. Dennis and his wife, Jackie, have co-chaired both the Heritage Exhibit and Folkfest events and were honored by the Heritage Society as Grand Marshalls of the KinderMasken Parade. Dennis also served as vice president of the Conservation Society and a board member and president of the Sophienburg Museum and Archives. An Opa Emeritus, Dennis served on the Wurstfest Association Board and as Grosse Opa. After the disastrous 1998 flood, many suggested cancelling the upcoming Wurstfest, but as President, Dennis rallied the Association to clean and repair the Wurstfest grounds so the many non-profit organizations would not be negatively impacted. Following the successful Festival, the Association donated all its profits to the community.
Dennis has been involved in countless areas of the Lions Club from the local to the state levels serving in the highest leadership levels for over twenty years. His service to those with special physical needs is evidenced by his service at the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville and for which he was recognized with his induction into the Texas Lions Hall of Fame in 2013. Dennis is a Chamber Senior Blue Coat, a Life Member of the Chamber, and a recipient of the Chairman of the Board Award for Historic Preservation. He has received the Besserung Award for community building and was installed in the Hall of Honor. He has served as both member and chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, is credited with creating the idea of Leadership New Braunfels, and was on the founding committee for the Youth Leadership New Braunfels program.
He has served as the Finance Chairman and Fund Drive Chairman for the Sesquicentennial Commission, Chairman of the Comprehensive Master Plan, Public Facilities, Public Services, Capital Improvements and Finance Subcommittee.
Dennis has served as both Vice President and President of the Braunfels Foundation Trust. He was instrumental in having the ownership of the Historic Hinmann House transferred to The Braunfels Foundation Trust and in establishing that historic facility as the Home of the Communities in Schools of South Central Texas. Because of this leadership, the Braunfels Foundation Trustees allows Communities in Schools to operate rent free from that location. Communities in Schools awarded him their prestigious Friends of Children Award and the Braunfels Foundation Trust recognized him as the Honorary Chairman of the 2012 Legends Banquet. He has been recognized by the New Braunfels ISD Education Foundation as a Distinguished Alumni.
Dennis Heitkamp is living proof you can go home again and make a difference. For that, he is now a Living Legend.
Local area high school students received First Step Career Vocational/ Technical Scholarships from the Braunfels Foundation Trust & The Baron and Baroness’ of the Trust at the McKenna Ballroom on April 26th. The Projects Committee worked with both local school districts and their high schools to solicit applications from graduating high school seniors interested in post-secondary education for vocational or technical careers and or the testing required to take the next step in the process of work after high school.
This year, 2018, the Braunfels Foundation Trust(BFT) awarded 72 graduating seniors from our area the BFT First Step Scholarship. The board allocated up to $109,500 toward these scholarships.