The Wrangler Gazette

2022 Barbara Jordan Media Award – Dion McInnis and New Danville’s Monthly Newsletter

June 27, 2022 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities’ (GCPD) winners of the 2022 Barbara Jordan Media Awards (BJMA) for media content created in 2021. The BJMA program was established in 1982 to recognize the respectful, accurate portrayal of people with disabilities by media professionals and students. Working in partnership with the University of Texas Arlington (UTA) College of Liberal Arts Department of Communication and Disability Studies Minor, the GCPD will host the 39th Annual BJMA program highlighting and honoring this year’s winners and their outstanding work.

Dion McInnis, Willis
The Wrangler Gazette posts New Danville’s monthly newsletters

Read More:

From the CEO – July 2022

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville nonprofit

 “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed.  The vision pulls you.”  Steve Jobs

This July I celebrate my fifth anniversary at New Danville!  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was the “new kid on the block.”  What an amazing five years it has been.  For all of my professional life, 40 years to be exact, I have served the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or those needing similar supports.  From a case worker, to a department head, to Chief Executive Officer, I have pretty much done and seen it all.  Before coming to visit New Danville, I was at a point in my life that I was not sure that I wanted to continue in the same field of work.  I received a call from a former colleague that suggested that I visit New Danville since the executive and founder, Kathy Sanders, was retiring.  Out of courtesy I thought to myself “Why not?” and, as they say, “The rest is history.”

From the moment that I stepped foot on the campus, I could sense that New Danville was different.  As I toured the day program, I was very impressed with what I saw.  Adults were actively engaged in a variety of activities; folks were not sitting around coloring or working on puzzles.  Everywhere I looked clients participated in sewing class, art class, gardening, and so many other activities.  A genuine connection was felt between the clients and the staff.  You could feel the warmth and happiness from the clients.  I saw a program where mutual respect was evident and the clients had a voice in their choice of activities. When I toured Meadowbrook, it looked like a neighborhood just like any other.  I saw independent adults who were making their own life choices, not the typical group home model where everyone pretty much follows the same schedule.

I knew before I left that I would be honored to be part of this agency and continue the vision for New Danville.

Like any new endeavor, there were challenges ahead, some more difficult than others.  But, little by little, like laying stepping stones on a pathway, the vision for New Danville led the way.  The welcoming reception by the staff and clients was truly moving, and that of the families was humbling.  Together we learned to trust and rely on each other.  The Board of Directors has always been amazing in their trust, guidance and support.

And so, here I am, and here I will stay.  Whether guided by faith or happenstance, I am where I am meant to be.  We are moved by our vision in planning for our future.  A future that reflects growth for all of our services and expands the ways we serve our community. 

Here’s to our future, leading to our 20th anniversary in 2025, where together we will be making great things happen.

Upcoming Events – July 2022

2nd Annual Play a Round for the Wranglers golf tournament is coming on November 7, 2022, at Woodlands Country Club.  Mark your calendar!  Registration is now open, click on over and signup for a great day of golf!

Play A Round for the Wranglers - Nov 7, 2022

Fundraising Factoid

Is there a doctor in the house?   We would like to have two automated external defibrillators on site. AEDs can be the difference between life and death when a heart event occurs. Do you know a doctor, hospital administrator or a health care provider who would be interested in providing us with this important equipment? 

We have a goat in need of surgery. Everyone at New Danville loves the various animals that plays such a tremendous part of living, learning, working and growing. One of the goats has a non-cancerous situation that requires surgery. The expected price is $2,000 if the operation is completed at Texas A&M’s student hospital. We could use some help with this expense.

If you can help with either of these needs, please have them contact Dion McInnis, development director, at 936-253-5757 or  Thank you.

Please remember our Amazon Wishlist next time you are shopping online. We have a variety of items that represent all aspects of New Danville’s programs and services. 

Live – July 2022

Independence Makes All the Difference

Michelle moved to New Danville shortly after its residential community, Meadowbrook, opened in 2010.  Her experiences with group home routines left her frustrated; she has a stronger sense of independence than routine activities and routine meals provided. “I told my parents that I needed something different. They found New Danville. I moved in and I love it.” Her mom received a recommendation for New Danville and they quickly knew it was a match.

Michelle considers the two-minute walk to day program one of the perks of living on site. She laughs when the trip is referred to as a “commute.” Walking to day program activities aren’t the end of her getting around the campus.  “I enjoy walking on the weekends. Sometimes I visit the animals.  It is nice out here.”

The current, long-lasting heat wave makes walking a bit tougher, but she enjoys plenty of other activities to keep her busy. “I have a laptop that plays DVDs, so I enjoy watching movies. Scary movies like Halloween, in particular. I like reading, too. I really enjoy doing puzzles.” Her puzzle preference is the holographic type, “including the 500- or 1000-piece puzzles,” she said. “I would do puzzles with my grandpa when I was a young.  I have been putting them together ever since.”

Living on her own provides her the opportunity to make more of her own decisions about what to do with her time, what to eat and other things that give her the sense of her life instead of being someone else’s routine.

She would like to see the addition of a facility where Wranglers and residents could be active and exercise. Until that facility is built, the upcoming outdoor fitness pocket park and walking will do.

Learn – July 2022

Martha Haag— Learning by Immersion

“I’ve lived, learned, worked and grown at New Danville for 15 years,” said Martha Haag, echoing the nonprofit’s tag line. She is a longtime volunteer at New Danville and at Jazzy Junque, the upscale home décor resale store in Conroe that benefits New Danville.  “I jumped in head first and my life changed because of it.”

Martha’s roles have included working with the animal therapy program, serving on the board, volunteering at Jazzy Junque and helping with various fundraising events and other activities. “I had never worked with special needs adults before,” Martha said, “but I had worked with kids with special needs. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was immediately smitten. The Wranglers are so sharp and anxious to learn. Sometimes they need an extra pair of hands or an extra set of eyes to help them achieve, but they love learning new things. My friends ask if it requires a lot of patience. No, it doesn’t. It just takes a bit more time.”

Her volunteer experience at New Danville began with the miniature horses. “It is the only thing that I kind of knew something about,” she said. “I don’t sew, paint or cook, so helping with the animals was where I felt I could best fit in. I learned a lot about them and worked alongside John Massey, who became a lifelong friend.”

Spending time creates connections and understanding. She has seen those results in her time at Jazzy Junque.  Martha returned to the store as soon as it was possible after the COVID lockdowns. Wednesdays are her days and she proudly proclaims, “We’re an incredible crew! We have a lot of fun and I get a lot of joy out of it. It feels good to be appreciated.” She began with Jazzy Junque before it was the store operation that it is now; then, it was called Jazzy Junque Market. She has learned much about people and friendships during her time there.

“By volunteering, I learned a lot about people and life. It has been nothing but a joy,” she added.

Work – July 2022

Weeds and Grass Grow All Year…Who Ya Gonna Call?

When “the crew” is not assembling pallets, many of them are helping take care of the many tasks required to maintain the 42 acres of New Danville’s campus. Armed with string trimmers, blowers, and various tools, the team, led by staff member Anthony Juneau (AJ), tackles grass and weeds, particularly near the residences and other buildings.

“Adrian does a great job with the big mowing projects on the zero-turn mower,” AJ said, “but there are a lot of things that the crew can do to help out. It is good for New Danville and good for the crew members.”

All the members agree that the additional wages are much appreciated; they all agree that good work is a good thing, too. Crew members shared that they have fun while working and the paychecks are nice; using the blower seems to be the most fun assignment. Justin reminds us that “Paying attention to your job is the most important thing.”

“We avoid the worst of the heat, but we are still able to get a lot done,” AJ said. The crew members all agree that the work is fun; in fact, there is only one thing they don’t like about the job. When questioned what that might be, all replied in unison, “The heat!”

AJ said, “This is a great crew. They work hard – whether assembling pallets or trimming the grounds or blowing the sidewalk – and they have a great attitude.  I enjoy the time with them. We work together, laugh together and grow together.”

Grow – July 2022

Help With Growing Pains            

For the second time, Steve and Lynne Charbonneau, and Charbonneau Industries, have come to the rescue when space became an issue for New Danville. Growth born through success is a good thing, but it presents challenges to square footage.

A modular building will soon arrive at New Danville, thanks to Charbonneau’s generosity. For the first time in its history, New Danville has a waiting list for Wrangler 2s, those clients who need extra attention and assistance because of their challenges. Wrangler 2s stay together as a group during the day; the donated building will serve as the second classroom for them.  Bryan Gill, program manager, has a daughter in that program. “It makes such a tremendous difference for them (Wrangler 2s) to have a place they call their own and that they can come to every day. That consistency brings familiarity and a comfort factor that are very important to them. We have five on the waiting list who will be very happy when the building is on site and ready to be used,” he said.

In November 2021, the Charbonneau Family Building was dedicated. The new building was constructed thanks to the generosity of Steve and Lynne. It serves the pallet-making team that is part of Charbonneau Industries’ “Pallets to Partners” program. More than 5,000 pallets have been assembled by Wranglers through this program. The company uses and sells the pallets. (For more information about purchasing pallets, contact the company.)

A Wrangler’s Tale – July 2022

Where There is Hope, There is Happiness

“Yes, I’m usually happy,” Hope concurred to the assertion that she seems to be so most of the time. “It isn’t hard though. I like people. I think I am easy to get along with. There is no secret…just smile at people.”

Hope started with New Danville’s day program in 2015. “I think my mom and dad learned about New Danville online. I remember my first day; I was excited and happy. The horses were fun.” Though mobility challenges prevent Hope from going out to the pasture any more, she chooses to stay very busy with the multitude of classes that are available. Her all-time favorite class is scrapbooking, followed by sewing and knitting. “I guess I am crafty,” Hope said with a twinkle in her eye.

The commonality of her preferred activities is the chance to create something. One of her paintings was purchased by Troy Ball, the keynote speaker at the 2022 Spring Thing event that benefitted New Danville. She loves to sew and knit, but nothing “has it all” like scrapbooking. She enjoys designing scrapbooks and then writing in them. She makes cards at home, too, when not making artsy things at New Danville.

Hope cited several things she likes about New Danville, but what makes the biggest impression are the people.  Hope is a people person and “Everyone here is nice.  I like it,” she said.

“I wished other people understood my vision (limitations),” she said. She sees better the things that are close up and sometimes people don’t take that into account. But, she keeps smiling and enjoying each day. Where there is Hope, there is happiness…no matter what.

Guest Voices – July 2022

He called out to me from across the campus, me in my office in the classroom building and he in the pasture by the barn. His unmistakable donkey voice let me know that he had something to share, so I traipsed past the flagpoles to where he waited at the white-railed fence. His braying stopped as I got closer as if to say, “Glad you heard me.  Thanks for coming over.  There’s something I want to talk about.” ~Editor

“You’re the fundraising guy, right?” he asked politely.

“Yes,” I said. I love it when people, and now animals, bring me cool ideas that require funding because it all, ultimately, helps our Wranglers.  No matter how the money is spent, it ends up making better experiences for the Wranglers.  “Do you have something in mind?”

“Absolutely,” he replied after lapping up some water from the bucket by the fence. “You know we love the Wranglers, and I know I am speaking for all the animals here.  I know because we talk about such things when the people aren’t looking. I know they love us, too. They talk to us, brush us — that is my personal favorite part of when they visit – walk around with us and feed us.  They’re good company.”

“I agree with everything you said.  Where are you going with this,” I asked as a couple more donkeys came over to join the conversation. Their heads bobbed a bit as they walked over, affirming what they overheard. Donkeys are famous for their eavesdropping abilities.

“Not to sound braggadocios, but all of us critters here play important roles for the Wranglers. We overhead some of the people talking the other day…”

“Y’all sure eavesdrop well with those ears,” I interjected.

He smiled as if he were eating cactus.  I laughed as he nodded his head again.

“Yes, we do.” His buddies brayed a chuckle in the background. “Anyway, we heard there was an interest in adding a miniature cow, and maybe more chickens, as well as adding new coops and possibly a couple of small satellite barns. The cow would need one, the goats need one and the pastures need some fencing.”  He paused to nibble on some hay placed by the Wranglers. “We like the idea.  We approve.  Let us know how we can help. We’ll smile for photos, mosey over to donors who are on site for tours…whatever you need from us,” he concluded before turning to head back to the grasses with his buddies in tow.

I waved; they flicked their tails. Meeting adjourned. I returned to my office, anxious to share this story.

Contact Dion McInnis at if you’d like to help with the additions, or donate here and specify that your gift is for the animal therapy program. Our goal for the changes described above is $20,000.  We appreciate your help!

Development Corner – July 2022

Tell Others Why You Believe in New Danville

In the last couple of years, New Danville has benefitted from a few unexpected significant contributions that came as very pleasant surprises.  During COVID, a couple made two contributions within a few months totaling $50,000. There is no way to convey the importance of the scale and the timing of those contributions. The generosity of another couple made a record setting possible. We were fortunate to be able to host our Spring Thing (formerly known as Tea on the Lawn) in April. It was our most successful, profitable event ever.  

Strategic, planned fundraising is sometimes trumped by movement of philanthropic hearts that understand and appreciate the mission of a nonprofit’s cause. Sometimes that movement comes from the donor’s own discovery process and sometimes it comes from another donor making a connection. If you appreciate what New Danville does and the heart with which it does it, please spread the word: share the Wranglers’ Ballad music video or The Wrangler Gazette newsletter, too. You never know whose heart you may be affecting.

Thank you for the many ways you make it possible for Wranglers to live, learn, work and grow.

Please feel free to contact me at 936-253-5757 or to learn more about the many ways that gifts affect lives at New Danville.

Dion McInnis, Development Director

We are pleased to introduce Live, Learn, Work and Grow:  Wisdom from Under the Windmill, an inspiring, motivational, immediately usable presentation by Dion McInnis, development director. Bring this to your organization, association, business or group; everyone’s life can be better with the 15 nuggets of wisdom for living discovered at New Danville. Contact Dion at to book the presentation for your event.

New Danville is a 501( c ) (3) nonprofit rural community in Willis, TX for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. New Danville provides our clients an opportunity to live enriched and purposeful lives; we proudly call them Wranglers.