Fernando Varela Recognizing and thanking the community Celebrating his 25th year in Palestine, Fernando Varela, owner/operator of All-Star Ford on S. Loop 256, is always happy to help area students do their best. “I like to show kids there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I want them to know they don’t have to come in first place in order to be recognized for their efforts.” Recognizing students and residents for their efforts is something Va- rela, 59, said he does with pleasure and pride. After players for the Palestine High School boy’s soccer team won all but one game last season, they were treated to a barbecue at Varela’s business to celebrate their accomplishments. Varela also has catered meals for the Palestine police and fire depart- ments, as well as for area teachers, to thank them for their service to the community. “It’s obviously a great honor to be recognized by my peers as being influential,” Varela told the Herald-Press. “Of course, it’s not done for the recognition. I just want to give a little back to the community that has given me and my family so much. I don’t take that lightly.” Gerri Schattel Crusading against breast cancer One of Gerri Schattel’s claim to fame is her pivotal role in Paint Pales- tine Pink. She co-founded the fun walk/run promotion, organized each October to raise awareness of breast cancer and save lives. Now she serves as a board member and ambassador for the 501 (3)c non-profit. Paint Palestine Pink initially helped women and men, who otherwise would not get mammograms, benefit from early detection. Today, the group does more than provide grants for free mammo- grams. It offers an array of cancer testing and medical care for those in need, including sonograms, needle biopsy, and cancer testing of all kinds. Medical services are provided to those who live, work, or seek medical care in Anderson County. The walk/run event now includes vendors, costumes, swag bags, deco- rated Port-a-Johns, a Golden Pooper award, and an after-party with live music. Aside from helping to make Paint Palestine Pink a success , Schattel is a wife and mother, as well as an area manager, peer trainer, and account executive for Encompass Home Health. A Palestine High School alumna, she lives with her family in Neches.