Men's Breakfast Report, October 2012

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, October 13 with Mary Ruth Rhodenbaugh, former county commissioner.  Mary Ruth was born and raised in Brazoria County.  She has worked in education and in business.  She has been involved in many civic groups over the years.   She was one of the main leaders of Habitat for Humanity when it was first established in the county. 

Her grandfather and her father were county commissioners so she decided to also run for commissioner in 2006. Her activity in civic groups and especially Habitat gave her significant name recognition and popularity.   She won the election for the West of the Brazos precinct 4 in 2006 and served a four-year term.  She lost the election in the2010 Republican sweep. 

Mary Ruth is now working for Texas Gulf Bank engaged in community activism and performing volunteer work.  She is active in a local water resources committee.  This led to discussions of local water needs including fresh water for the environment.  The projected population growth of the county will require much more water and the amount available from the Brazos River is fully allocated and may be decreasing due to climate change.  The best answer to the problem is conservation. 

Mary Ruth talks with student groups about good citizenship.  She passed out reminder cards that she gives to the students with actions they should do every day.  These are volunteer, work with others, help in the community, conserve water and save some money. 

Mary Ruth is no longer active in Habitat for Humanity.  She believes that the present leadership is doing a good job and that she should not interfere.  She did talk about some of Habitat’s activities when she was the leader.  She said that the program where Brazosport High School students built houses in their parking lot was especially useful.  These students were learning, or at least being introduced to trades.  Many of them had no interest in school before and low self-esteem.  Having other students admire their work and accomplishments improved their morale.  They also improved in their academic classes.  One parent told Mary Ruth that her son got a 60 in social studies that period because he was working on the house.  Mary Ruth asked what he got the previous period.  It was a zero.  Reinstituting this program would require cooperation between the school district and Habitat.  This may not be possible with the present budget constraints. 

As usual, the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The next meeting will be November 10.