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06-16-2011 09:37 AM CET | Business, Economy, Finances, Banking & Insurance

Press release from: Forte Public Relations

Lela Barker always knew what she wanted to do after she retired, and that was to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. Because of this selfless act, Querencia at Barton Creek senior living community is recognizing Barker as the second recipient of the 2011 Querencia Salute to Seniors Award. Jane Rose, guest and volunteer services coordinator for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas, nominated Barker for the honor.

“Lela has been volunteering with us for over a year, dedicating six hours per week at the Ronald McDonald House in Austin,” said Rose. “She always has a terrific smile for everyone she encounters, and she provides a warm and caring presence when families walk in the door, tired from a long day by their child’s side at the hospital. We are very lucky to have her volunteering with us.”

The Querencia Salute to Seniors Award is presented quarterly to honor an individual who is making a difference in their community. Qualified nominees are active adults age 62 and above who volunteer their time and talents to their communities and who also exemplify leadership, spirit, and citizenship.

“It is wonderful that Mrs. Barker is able to volunteer her time at an organization she believes in so strongly,” said Leslie Dominguez, director of sales and marketing for Querencia at Barton Creek. “The families served by the Ronald McDonald House are going through such a difficult time, and I’m sure it is comforting for them to see Mrs. Barker and her warm smile and caring spirit when they return from the hospital each day.”

Barker learned about the Ronald McDonald House in 1985 after a friend’s son was paralyzed in an accident during a football game. The boy spent months in the hospital and her friend was able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Barker, an EMT at the time, spent time at the Ronald McDonald House helping her friend with her son and thought she would enjoy returning as a volunteer when she retired.

Now that she is retired, Barker, 71, is able to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House every week. She drives 50 miles to get to the house and works all day before driving all the way back. Her duties include answering the phone, helping with mail outs, writing thank you notes, checking the rooms, delivering messages to people in their rooms and helping people from other cities learn their way around Austin. She also gives tours of the 30-room house. She particularly enjoys socializing with the people on the floor.

“There’s something gratifying about helping people when you’re not expecting anything in return,” said Barker. “I believe what the Ronald McDonald House offers is very valuable to the community and to the whole state of Texas. I will continue to volunteer there as long as I have my health and gas prices don’t skyrocket. Volunteering is something I feel very strongly about.”

Barker retired in 2005 as a system analyst for the Internal Revenue Service. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her three children and eight grandchildren.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. They do this through the Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and other programs. They have been providing these programs for over 25 years since a group of community leaders came together to open the Ronald McDonald House in Austin in 1985. For more information visit


Querencia at Barton Creek is a premier life care retirement resort located at Barton Creek Boulevard and Chalk Knoll Drive in Austin, Texas, less than a mile from Barton Creek Resort & Club. The 400,000-square-foot retirement resort features 167 independent living residences, including 10 villas, on 38 acres. Residences are available in one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans ranging in size from 830 square feet to more than 2,200 square feet. The Plaza at Querencia features assisted living apartment homes in one- and two-bedroom designs, memory support suites, private nursing rooms for long-term care, and Medicare-certified private suites for short-term rehabilitation.

Querencia at Barton Creek is 501(c)3 not-for-profit retirement community sponsored by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), a Texas-based nonprofit organization that sponsors sister communities Edgemere in Dallas, The Buckingham in Houston, Mirador under construction in Corpus Christi, and The Stayton at Museum Way under construction in Fort Worth. For information, visit, or call (512) 410-2429.

Ashley Wessel
Forte Public Relations
12700 Park Central Drive
Suite 1250
Dallas, TX 75251
214-890-7912 ext. 27

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