Judy McLeod, longtime community volunteer and activist, was honored on Sunday in Round Rock by Capital Idea, a local charity who “lifts working families out of poverty by sponsoring educational services that lead to life-long stability.” Judy was commended for her work in Round Rock, including serving as president of the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees, serving as president of the board of the Round Rock Symphony, working on many local, successful political campaigns such as that of US Congressman John R. Carter (R-Round Rock) and State Representative Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock), as well as many other charitable endeavors. Judy and her husband, Dr. Wade McLeod, have owned and operated McLeod Animal Clinic in east Round Rock for over thirty years.
Judy currently serves on the board of Capital Idea. The charitable organization chooses students from less affluent backgrounds who have the will and desire to change their lives by paying for their higher education and child care so they can leave low paying jobs or unemployment and become trained employees in professional occupations. One of Capital Idea’s many successful students attended the event for Judy McLeod and really wowed the crowd. Her name is Manessa and she told a heartfelt story about growing up in east Round Rock to drop out of Stony Point High School her sophomore year. She said that she was lost and leading a poor lifestyle. She turned her life around by becoming a Christian. She then got married and had a child, but had no job, no car and no way to improve her life. Eventually, she got her GED and found out about Capital Idea. Through them, she completed classes in bookkeeping at Austin Community College with a 3.9 GPA and is now employed. She also told of how her young son is now interested in going to college and her husband is enrolled in the Capital Idea program. Following her speech, Manessa sang an absolutely beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace.” She was truly an inspiration on how to never give up.
The crowd at the event was a literal who’s who of old and new Round Rock. Nancy Rabb, owner of Wag-a-Bag convenience stores and longtime community leader, spoke on behalf of Judy as did Congressman Carter. Judy worked for Congressman Carter for several years as a constituent liaison. Congressman Carter called Judy a longtime friend and advisor. Also in attendance were State Representatives Larry Gonzales and Charles Schwertner, Commissioner Ron Morrison, me, Round Rock City Councilmember Craig Morgan, former Round Rock Mayor Nyle Maxwell and many more. Longtime former Round Rock City Manager Jim Nuse recorded a video in honor of Judy that was played at the event.
Judy McLeod is much deserving of this award. In typical Judy fashion, at the end of the event, Judy asked that folks consider making a donation to Capital Idea. For more info on Capital Idea, go to http://www.capitalidea.org.
(This column consists of my opinions and observations and does not reflect those of any other person or organization.)