Minnesota Couple Continues Serves Weslaco Community for Over Two Decades
by Rocio Villalobos
In their 22 years of visiting the Rio Grande Valley, Lawrence and Betty Violet have dedicated thousands of hours to community service.
The pair, from Anoka, Minnesota, volunteers both within and outside of their resort, Magic Valley RV Park in Weslaco. Twice a week, they greet visitors and provide information about the city at the Weslaco Chamber of Commerce.
“We got involved right away when a friend recommended us,” Betty said. “They’ve moved locations five times, and we’ve been with them through each move.”
Many of the visitors are new Winter Texans, and the Violets say it is their pleasure to show them the activities and attractions the RGV has to offer.
“There’s so much to see and do,” Lawrence said. “Every day, there’s something going on.”
They’ve been visiting for over two decades, and the Violets said they’ve enjoyed watching the RGV transform and grow. They’ve also noticed fellow Winter Texans now come from all parts of North America.
“It used to be people from the middle of the country; now they’re coming from all over,” Betty said. “Our park sees a lot of people from Canada, Oregon, and D.C. It’s a lot of fun getting to know everyone.”
In their down time, they regularly visit birding and nature centers and have become acquainted with the rare species found only in South Texas.
“One time at Llano Grande, I saw a trio of Kingfishers, which is good because you don’t usually see all three in one day,” Betty said. “I have a book on RGV bird species, so I can identify birds pretty well.”
Their other favorite activity is trying different restaurants.
“We love to go out to eat with friends,” Lawrence said. “We check out the new restaurants and re-visit others we tried the previous year.”
While at Magic Valley, he volunteers to call out the numbers in what he calls “big-buck bingo.” The game is played twice a week and attracts about 30 park residents per game. Betty sometimes plays but said Lawrence can always be counted on as the announcer.
And he gets an early start on his days, waking up before 6 a.m. to swim a few laps in the pool while Betty stays active through water-aerobics classes.
One activity they’ve brought with them from home is recycling. Lawrence said he learned how to recycle back in Minnesota, but throughout his time in Weslaco, he continues collecting paper, plastic, glass, and cardboard to take to the local recycling center. He and Betty try to encourage their neighbors at the park to do the same.
“We talk to them about recycling and try to get them to volunteer at the Chamber,” Betty said. “We’ve gotten two couples to volunteer this year, so we’re happy. We can always use more help.”
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