Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

July 12, 2013

Our greatest assets

Our greatest assets in Corsicana are not our streets, our weather, or even the fruitcakes (okay, they are pretty high ranking on the asset list). Our city parks are pretty great, too.

It’s my belief that our greatest assets are our people.

I was blessed mid-week with a visit from one of the most special people around these parts. My week was brightened considerably when the indomitable Jane Biltz stopped by to bring me a bit of info she believed would help me on a project.

Jane came to Corsicana as the wife of a young doctor. Growing up in Ohio, her dad passed away when she was a teen, so a strong sense of family and community was of utmost importance to her.

The face of Corsicana would be vastly different were it not for the influence of Jane Biltz.

I’ve heard there was no soccer here before Jane and Charlie Biltz got it started. Parents of four active boys, finding activities to burn off energy was most likely high on their priority list. So many hours and much effort went toward building a soccer program, and there are soccer fields named for Jane and Dr. Charlie near Community Park.

For decades, Janie Biltz’s voice was the voice of sub-varsity football. The freshmen and junior varsity teams had one thing in common — a woman announced their games. You can be sure if any of her grandchildren are playing a sport whether here or away, if at all possible Janie Biltz will be there front and center, cheering and supporting.

Navarro Council of the Arts began in 1978, with a goal of exposing every child in Navarro County to the arts each school year. For about 30 years, I suspect Janie was  on the board, raising funds, or even hosting the artists in her home when they were in town for performances.

Some women knit, some paint, others bake or sew — Jane Biltz serves on boards. Her son Fred said at one time they counted and she was an active member of some 16 boards around town. United Way, YMCA, VOICE, CASA, Family Service Association — none would be the same without her.

What started this train of thought in my mind was the opening of Lakes Regional Behavior Health Services. I did not realize — but should have — that Janie has been advocating for services for the mentally ill and those with substance abuse problems in Navarro County for decades. In fact, she has been the ambassador from Navarro County to whatever board it is in Texas that governs such things for many years.

One thing that absolutely amazes me about her is how she can rattle off numbers, statistics, names, knowledge of all kinds without consulting any type of notes. She has so much knowledge stored in her head, it’s astounding.

She doesn’t judge anyone. Her empathy for those such as the mentally ill (who are vastly underserved in this part of Texas) is huge, but unlike many, she jumps right in there and does something about it. She is passionate — about health care for all children, about education, about the arts, about mental health and substance abuse. She is also passionate about her grandchildren, and anything that interests them.

But what struck me the most in this conversation (which was impromptu, and since we didn’t really have an agenda, was just a true, simple visit) was how much compassion she feels for individuals.

Jane Biltz is real, she is genuine. Her interest is not phony, but she is genuinely concerned about so many people, and for so many reasons, on so many levels.

If Jane Biltz had not come to Corsicana, not only would we be missing the contributions made by three of her four sons who live here, not to mention Dr. Biltz, but the entire face of Corsicana would be different without the contributions of that one great lady.

                       —————

Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore magazine. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at dkirk@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email:

soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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