Wizards raise funds for veterans
Oct. 11, 2023 – By Brittany Kelley
“Imagine a wizard buying a rusty old car and telling his wife all he wanted to do with it was take it apart to see how it worked, while really he was enchanting it to make it fly.” – Molly Weasley, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”
Perhaps you thought the flying Ford Anglia was truly lost in the Forbidden Forest after Ron and Harry scarcely made it to Hogwarts. Nevertheless, Hats Off For Veterans put this theory to rest by revealing the very same car at its fundraiser this past weekend. For one day, from 1-9 p.m. on Oct. 8, community members — wizards and muggles alike — were able to visit and take photos with the iconic blue 1966 Ford Anglia.
Hats Off For Veterans began in 2005 when Executive Director Lisa Adams, who then worked in hospice, read a magazine article on Sandra Bullock and her ill mother. Bullock ended it stating, “Hats off to all nurses.” She was inspired to raise money for her hospital. Adams eventually left the hospital and the event went with her, this time, with a name chosen by her sister and vice president, Rose Holloway, in 2016 — Operation Hats Off For Veterans.
“We are helping veterans with their first higher education degree. We’re giving them a scholarship towards that, but not all veterans want to go to college. Some want to be a welder or an electrician … Our program also offers a grant for helping to pay for those certifications and licenses,” said Adams.
Holloway noted that she proposed the idea of a “Harry Potter” themed event after realizing that 2023 was the 25th anniversary of the book being published in the United States. She also happens to own one of the 16 Ford Anglias used in the production of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and donated it to be used for the event.
“[We were] not asking for a certain amount [to be donated to take a photo]. We put our faith into people and just hope that they [gave] us what they feel is appropriate,” said Adams.
“I just hope our organization is recognized as a company that really cares about our veterans,” Adams said.
Revisit the Story at: https://www.haysfreepress.com/2023/10/11/wizards-raise-funds-veterans/
Skate park to be named after Kweller
Aug. 23, 2023 – By Megan Navarro
DRIPPING SPRINGS –Dripping Springs City Hall was filled on Tuesday, Aug. 15 with supporters and advocates for the of the planned skate park at Founders Memorial Park to be named after Dorian Zev Kweller.
Dorian was a junior at Dripping Springs High School when he died in a car accident in February 2023. He was a beloved member of the local skateboarding community. He attended the weekly Thursday night skate at Dripping Springs Ranch Park (DSRP) and participated in the fundraising efforts for the skate park.
“I know any of the people who came here tonight on behalf of Dorian would proudly stand in front of you to recommend naming the skate park after him,” said Stephanie Meyer of the Dripping Springs Skatepark Committee. “I am just one of them.”
Dorian released music to the public, using his middle name “ZEV,” for the first time in July 2022. He would often bring his guitar to skate nights at DSRP for impromptu jam sessions and he was a member of the Dripping Springs High School Tiger Band. His passion for music stemmed from his dad, Ben Kweller, who is an indie-rock artist based in Dripping Springs.
“I’ve been doing music since I was a teenager and signed a record deal when I was 15. I never looked back. I’ve been in music my whole life,” Ben explained. “In 2010, after he was born, we moved to Austin — because Dorian was born in New York — and I started a record label called The Noise Company.”
While Dorian was slated to play at the South by Southwest Music Festival in March, Ben chose to use the opportunity to honor his son instead of canceling the showcase.
“This past South by Southwest, it was going to be our 10-year anniversary for The Noise Company and he was going to open up the show and all of our artists were going to play, including myself,” Ben said. “Then, when Dorian died, it was like two weeks of just absolute mourning and a state of shock, and slowly reality eased back in [with] calendars, life, work and all of that. There was a big question of, ‘What the heck are we going to do about South by Southwest?’ I didn’t feel like playing. But we promised so many other artists that they would play and Dorian was supposed to be there.”
“So then, after a lot of sort of soul searching on my part, I decided that the show would still go on and that I would play because I promised Dorian that we were going to play and so I felt like I had to emotionally and spiritually carry with it,” Ben continued. “One of his friends from the skate club, Walt Bristol, put together a ton of footage that he had of Dorian and made this beautiful tribute video. At South by Southwest at the Mohawk venue, we played this 15-minute tribute video for Dorian and his music and there were a ton of skate clips. All the other bands played and then I performed and it was really emotional for me. I really felt like Dorian was with me and with all of us.”
He is described to have had an inclusive mindset to connect people in the community from all walks of life. Meyer said that the skate park should not be named after Dorian because he died, but “it should be named after him because of how he lived.”
“He was a member of so many different communities. One of the biggest vibes about him was that he was such a connector and brought all sorts of people together from different worlds,” Ben said. “This place is going to do the same thing. It’s almost like Dorian is going to continue to bring people together for years and years. So, it’s really a beautiful situation … Dorian will live forever through the skate park and through his music and through his positivity. He was so positive and happy, [he was] such a happy guy. [He] would always put a smile on people’s faces.”
It was a unanimous decision by the city council to official name the skate park at Founders Memorial Park, “Dorian Zev Kweller Memorial Skatepark.”
“I felt that he really did touch a bunch of people in the community, young and old, in different parts of our community,” said council member Geoffrey Tahuahua.
The 9,000-10,000-square foot, plaza-style skate park, which is designed to provide a safe facility for young people to pursue an athletic activity that they love, is anticipated to be open sometime in 2024. To learn more about the project, visit www.dripskatepark.com.
Those who are interested in listening to Dorian’s music can visit https://bit.ly/45VegzF.