The People of Fredericksburg

As part of the 2022 Summer Workshop for Instructors Only, ATPI focused on storytelling with 19 instructors from all over Texas producing stories on people and places in Fredericksburg.

Area residents Deanne Brown and Hal Schmidt spent months scoping out locations, visiting with owners and securing places where teams of three photographers could spend half a day documenting the environment. Six weeks before the workshop Mark Murray, John Knaur and Bradley Wilson visited to finalize the sites.

The first day of the four-day workshop, Sam Oldenburg of Western Kentucky University, taught lessons on storytelling and caption writing. Kyle Juntunen spent about 30 minutes discussing some fundamentals of capturing video. Finally, Deanne Brown discussed Humans of New York and the Humans of Fredericksburg assignment. Bob Malish of Canon USA and Hal Schmidt of Balfour Yearbooks helped teams with shooting and editing all throughout the workshop.

During the workshop, attendees were challenged to get out of their comfort zone and to try new media including social media, video and audio to accompany their final presentations.

Their individual, one-picture assignment was based on Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York.


Aaron Martinez has been a resident of Fredericksburg all his life and has worked at Auslander, a German-American eatery, for nine years. “I guess I love it here. The best part about working here is probably getting to meet so many different people. I meet a ton of people. The craziest thing that’s happened to me here? I don’t know. One time this guy threw a to-go box of food at me. He misunderstood a comment, and I tried to talk to him and calm him down, but it wasn’t working. On his way out he threw his box of food at me. But if you want another story, one time someone gave me a $100 tip. They just sat down and ordered, and we talked for a while. Then they left me $100. That was pretty nice.” Photo by Alison Strelitz


Betty Rabke, 88, has worked at Dooley’s 5, 10, 25 Cent Store for 71 years. The family-owned store will close its doors for the last time at the end of June after being in business since 1923. She said all the owners have been a joy to work for. “If not, I would not have been here for so long … I’ll miss the people and my co-workers the most. We have some great humans in Fredericksburg.” Photo by Misty Rayson

Candy Bar

Tucker Jung is a friendly 14-year-old sophomore at Fredericksburg High School. He works at the Lone Star Candy Bar (254 E. Main Street) in the historic district of Fredericksburg. “I thought it would be cool (to work here),” he said. His interests are arts and A/V courses at school and his least favorite subject is algebra. He has lived the small town life since he was born here, living just outside of town he lives on property with goats and chickens he helps raise. After graduation, he said he is looking forward to greener pastures and more opportunity in Waco where he would like to attend a smaller community college to study graphic design or computer coding. Tucker also has a record player and collects newer and vintage records. His favorite genre of music is Hip-Hop. Photo by Shannon Oden


Cathy Gonzales, Cathy, or Pinkie to her friends, has lived and worked in Fredericksburg for more than three years and works at Mamacita’s Mexican restaurant. “My brother was here and told me to come down, and I love it here—the air is so clean, and it’s so pretty—I’m never going to leave! I really like working at Mamacita’s because I love communicating with people, and I get to talk to all my customers.” Cathy attributes her positive attitude and outlook on life to her spirituality. “This morning I was listening to Jesus music, and listening to that everyday, it just makes my day so much better. I can’t really explain it, but it’s all up there, all from up above. I’m telling you, He’s the one that gives me all this energy and a positive spirit.” Photo by Andrea Schlepphorst


Junior college student Janay Suttles works at Dogologie for a specific reason: she loves working with animals. She said horses or large animals are her favorites, and she looks forward to using her experience as a volunteer and collecting hours in veterinarian Robert Lastovica’s practice to gain an edge to get into veterinary school. Janay said she does not mind the ‘little’ things like prepping the packs, cleaning stalls, or handling the sanitation duties necessary to help the animals. She does not accumulate hours to get into school; this love of animals dates back to her third-grade memory of a race she watched with her mother and witnessed an accident. Her mother relayed the news the horse was put down because of injuries.
Now 21, she kept the memory of that incident alive, thinking she wanted to change the outcome of what happens to animals in this situation.
“There has to be a better way than to put down the animal, and I was determined to discover that way.”
Like most kids devoted to animals, Janay showed swine in FFA and became a fair duchess and a peach duchess. This experience helped her become a young ambassador for different events but helped her by being around animals.
Raised by her mother, Janay declares she is debt-free, earning scholarships to pay for school at Lubbock Christian University.
“I have worked very hard to be able to realize this dream.”
Her top schools are Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma University and Louisiana State. If the dream is not a reality, she is preparing for that.
“I must have applications turned in by next March, and then the interviews begin.”
She said plans to try again until she gets in or becomes a vet tech, anything she can to be close to the animals.
“I will go where God puts me.” Photo by Frances Packman


Dooley’s 5, 10, & 25¢ Store, after being in Timothy Dooley’s family for 99 years, will close its doors in Fredericksburg for good at the end of June. Timothy’s grandfather started the store and passed it on to Timothy and his siblings. He and his siblings own the building together while he owns the inventory himself. The store began struggling with supply chain issues in November 2021, and Timothy stopped ordering new merchandise in January, making the shelves nearly empty as the store’s closing draws near. “It has taken me six to nine months to get out of the business. I didn’t want to drag this out until we were 100 years old,” said Timothy, 68. Photo by Naposhi Amos

Fire Department

Johnny Carroll, a firefighter and EMT, has worked with the Fredericksburg Fire Department for 20 years. “I enjoy working with the public,” Carroll said in between checking off equipment early one Tuesday morning. Photo by Bradley Wilson


Dayce Kunz, bartender at Luckenbach on Main, was born in Fredericksburg, left for college, and returned home to the town she missed. She said her favorite thing about her hometown is the countryside, especially the land she shares with her family. “My favorite thing to do is ride four-wheelers on our ranch.,” she said. Photo by Kelly O’Connor Buckner


Barista Cecilia Barcena works at RockHaus Coffee on Main Street in Fredericksburg. She is a graphic design student from La Universidad de las Américas Puebla in Mexico and is spending a month in Fredericksburg to work on rebranding and new the graphic designs at RockHaus. Cecelia said, “The world is full of creative hearts, and when you focus on the things you are passionate about, good things appear.” Photo by Matt Koby.

Pioneer Museum

Pioneer Museum employee, Eileen Whited was born in Fredericksburg. She later left for 10 years, but she returned to her home where she has been a resident for 60 years total. “There aren’t less German families in Fredericksburg now. The population is the same but the percentage has changed,” Whited said. Photo by Kelly O’Connor Buckner

Gold Orchard

Ricky Priess, owner of Gold Orchard in Fredericksburg, really seemed more frustrated than upset with the drought and the low peach drop in 2022, comparing it to 2010. “In 2010, we had the same problem. It was really dry and all the peaches were small,” he said while preparing to sort a crop of peaches. Photo by Bradley Wilson READ MORE: ‘Leave the baking to Gold Orchards


Clear River

Jimmy Suarez is an ice cream maker at Clear River Pecan Company. “A lot of people always put their hands in their pockets or be like this. They’re waiting for them to tell them, ‘Do this, do that.’ But no… You see somebody doing something, you’ve got to offer yourself. It’s like when you go to your mother-in-law’s or your father-in-law’s, and you see what you need to do, you kind of offer yourself, to kind of help them around. If I see they’re doing something, I offer myself… With [my sons] they come in to help me and that kind of motivates me more like, when I’m doing this, they’re helping puree stuff that I need, wash dishes, and we both do it similarly. The same thing like around the house. I clean on my day off and I get everybody involved. You know, ‘Do this or do that, or do your bedroom.’ I always tell them how proud I am of them being like that. ‘You know when something is done right and your bedroom looks outstanding? You realize that makes you happy.’” Photo by Laura K. Negri

Headquarters Hats

Cutter Diaz works at Headquarters Hats on Main Street in Fredericksburg. “Our best-selling shirt is the ‘George Strait for President’ one. This town is all about tradition.” Photo by Julie Pelosi

Hanger Hotel

Originally from Mexico, Diana Aguilar (right) manager of housekeeping for the last five years at the Hangar Hotel has been in this country for 18 years. Aguilar moved to Uvalde and met her husband who as a young boy attended Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. She said the mass shooting in Uvalde rattled her because her husband knows the woman who went into the school and rescued her two children in addition to other families that the shooting influenced. She lives in Fredericksburg and her sister stays home to watch her five children who are ages 14, 12, 10, 3 and 1, three girls and two boys. Her hope for her children is to simply grow up and to be happy having a good job and just being a good person. She is training Maria de Los Angeles (left) during de Los Angeles’ first day on the job as a housekeeper at the Hangar Hotel. Photo by Shannon Oden

Burg’s Corner

“You’re always at Mother Nature’s call,” said Kenneth Restani a member of the family that owns Burg’s Corner in Stonewall when discussing this year’s drought and peach crop. “So this year, the peaches that deal with the drought, they are a little bit smaller, but they make up for it in flavor. … They just don’t get as big, so they’re just so packed and concentrated with the flavor. So take the good with the bad. Instead of only eating one, you have to eat two. … You just adapt. … We’re going to be losing a lot of trees this year. Right now, we are hand-watering trees to keep them alive that are in our dry land. If we didn’t, we would have basically lost the trees and we possibly still will because they’re going to die because they have fruit that’s taking the nutrient from the tree and the water and basically trying to produce that fruit. And so they’re extremely stressed by not having enough … We’re going to have to go through the orchard this winter and basically be taking some trees out that are going to be dead and put new ones in. It’s a constant.
“You don’t gotta give a reason for a peach tree to die. They are very temperamental. Lots of tricks of the trade to know to try to prevent, to be able to get that harvest. It takes 3-5 years usually for a peach tree to produce to its full potential. So we basically have to treat that tree like a baby, and then once it’s there, it still may die on you because of a bug or who knows? There’s multiple things. It’s like a baby. Same thing with the peaches. It’s just a little thing inside that flower and if it gets too cold or if it gets too much of something, or gets abused, it’s going to be hurt.” Photo by Andrea Negri

Flower girl

Tanya Husfeld, freelance garden designer, takes care of the majority of flowers on Fredericksburg’s main street. She said plants become sick when you move them from one environment to another and the plant’s needs are no longer being met so all you have to do is meet their needs. A typical day begins around six in the morning with taking the dogs out and getting at least one cup of coffee in. Then she goes outside and takes care of the plants at her home and then drives into town to take care of everyone else’s plants. To her, the pants are her children and they want for nothing. She says diligence is key and in this 100 degree weather you can not be late and you can not miss a watering. This is more than just a job for Mrs. Husfeld, she says it is personal, she defends her plants and knows how much work goes into a little bitty seed. “The flowers will reward you with beauty and make you happy,” – said Husfeld. She says the plants “like Tejano, classical and jazz. They don’t really like hard rock or anything like that..and they will gravitate towards it. They are a live thing and they like positive energy so you gotta talk nice to ‘em and tell them how pretty they are. Just like you would a kid…I am with them (plants) from the moment I get up until the moment I sleep because you know, you have to take care of them. They can do nothing for themselves, they rely on you, just like a toddler, I call them toddlers.” Photo by Daniel von Lopez

More candles

Sheila Suggs of Hand Carve Candle said there are not enough candles in the world. “I learned this intricate art by serving an apprenticeship with the founders. I’ve been carving for 24 years… IT’S JUST LIFE.” Photo by Gabriel Tajeda


Gina Vetti is server at Becker Vineyards. “We’ve known each other since 2020, and at this point I call her my aunt. When I was at my wits end, at my last job, I called her on my little headset and was like ‘Janice are you hiring? I need somewhere to go; I need to leave.’ And I got the job so yay. It was amazing. It’s a good, fun family experience. It is really so important to be that connected because there’s a lot more empathy.”
Janice Lindig is a manager at Becker Vineyards. “They’re more like family. Here, everybody knows everybody, sometimes it could be good, sometimes not, but It’s still like family. We know each others’ highs and lows, not just as far as work, we go after work, ‘Hey let’s go grab dinner.’” Like myself I lost a family friend, really good friends, went into the kitchen just broke down and cried. They would come in one at a time … just to check up on me. When I had COVID-19 another worker, she came to my house in her Porsche. She brought me a little basket with soups, crackers, candles, everything, cough drops, you name it I had it.” Photo by Kyle Juntunen

Fiesta Winery

Taylor Marie, operations manager/tasting associate at Fiesta Winery, pours a sweet white wine for a tasting. Marie has been working there for five years having started as a part-time employee. “After Hurricane Harvey, I drove back and forth between Fredericksburg and Houston on weekends. My dad worked at Fiesta Winery, so he got me the job. I worked retail in Houston during the week and with wine here on the weekends. My mom brought me here for my first wine tasting. I hated it! I never dreamed I like working with wine, and here I am.” Photo by Trisa Dyer

One-bedroom cottage

Denise “JoJo” Jones enjoys a moment with her furry friend, Georgie Girl. JoJo rents a small, one-bedroom cottage located behind her house here in Fredericksburg. She has lived in Fredericksburg for the last three years and has family close by in Kerrville. She has been in real estate since 2005. “I’ve been busy in multiple offer situations and there is low inventory across the board. Jones added, “I do see more inventory coming!” Photo by Christie LaRue

Dancing on the ranch

Rusty and Sheri Bridges dance into the night at their home in Fredericksburg. Retirees from Houston, The Bridges moved to their private ranch after their son graduated from high school. Sheri and Rusty have been married for 35 years. They say the key to a successful marriage is to have fun with each other and never go to bed angry. Photo by Kelli Koby