April is National Volunteer Month, and the State Fair of Texas would like to recognize our outstanding and dedicated volunteers of the Chairman’s Task Force. The Chairman’s Task Force serves the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the State Fair of Texas. Members serve as ambassadors, fundraisers, and volunteers for the State Fair and promote its philanthropic purpose. Read about some of the Task Force members below.
Leslie has served three years on the Task Force. Her favorite aspect of the Task Force is simply being an ambassador of the State Fair and our mission. “I have the pleasure of sharing the mission through personal relationships to garner supporters of the Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and Scholarship Fund, as well as making my own yearly gift,” said Chatman. Leslie is heavily involved in the Task Force and provides her volunteer services in many ways for the State Fair of Texas, but she explains why the planning and execution of the annual Big Tex Golf Classic ranks number one on her list. “I have served on several major event planning committees in Dallas and Collin counties, but never a golf event. It has been fun to learn the intricate details of making the event run.” Read more about Leslie below.
Leslie is a nonprofit professional and a freelance writer and tastemaker. As a Dallas native, she is passionate about “staying connected to and supporting her vibrant community;” therefore, she was intrigued when learning about the Task Force from Karissa Condoianis, Senior Vice President of Public Relations. “As a writer, I would receive press releases from Karissa about all the wonderful things happening. One day, I emailed her back and asked if there was something I could do to help in a deeper way than just writing stories,” said Chatman. “She connected me with Susan Brosin, Director of Development and Special Projects, and the rest is history. I became a State Fair of Texas Chairman’s Task Force Candidate in 2019 and a full Member in 2020.”
Daniel has served 15 years on the Task Force. His favorite aspect of the Task Force is the camaraderie of the group and knowing their volunteer work benefits scholarships for students surrounding Fair Park and the next generation of farmers/ranchers. While Daniel enjoys working with his fellow members, he expressed his passion for helping the livestock exhibitors during the Fair. “I’ve enjoyed helping the kids and their families unload the animals, tack, etc., as they arrive on the fairgrounds and prepare to show their animals,” McVeigh said. “You can see the excitement, anticipation, and focus in their eyes. Also, helping the kids on the day of the Youth Livestock Auction is the pinnacle of the Fair for them, seeing their pride and sense of accomplishment, despite the obvious exhaustion of the week.”
Daniel also explained why his role in the Fair’s scholarship committee has been so meaningful. “Reading scholarship applications for the Juanita Craft Scholarship and seeing the adversity these kids experience in the Fair Park area high schools can be eye-opening, as they persevere and rise up to the challenges to get a higher education to improve their lives,” expressed McVeigh. “Many of the applicants for the Youth Livestock Scholarship come from small towns, are extremely involved in their schools (typically very small schools) and communities, yet they find time to help work and manage their family farms/ranches.” Read more about Daniel below.
Daniel grew up in Lake Worth, TX, and raised a Herford heifer for two years while in high school FFA. He was the first one in his family to go to college, attending Texas Wesleyan University where he played baseball for a short time. Daniel has worked at Merrill Lynch for 27 years, and is a Senior Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor. McVeigh commented on how he became a member of the Task Force. “As a kid, we never went to the State Fair. A friend who is no longer on the Task Force suggested I come out to meet the group, as it was a great organization that did meaningful work and had fun, genuine people,” McVeigh explained. “When I joined, most of our effort was to volunteer at the Youth Livestock Auction, but it’s been nice to see the Task Force evolve into what it is today and the impact it makes. At the time, I had three young boys who LOVED coming to the Fair, so joining the Task Force was a no-brainer!”
Evan has served 10 years on the Task Force and is currently president. While Evan appreciates the Task Force mission of supporting scholarship fundraising and various events, he is extremely grateful for the relationships he has formed throughout the years. “Getting to know and become friends with folks with diverse backgrounds driven by a common goal is wonderful.” said Pounds.
Though Pounds has been with the Task Force for 10 years, one event he has participated in stands out as his favorite − the swine load-in. “Though an early, early morning, this opportunity provides a direct connection to the kids we are here to support. Also, the amount of activity on the grounds was impressive, beyond the logistics of getting the load-in completed before gates opened,” Pounds commented. “At that time of the day, you can feel the momentum building to the Fair opening for a busy day. It was truly wonderful to experience.” Read more about Evan below.
Evan was born in Midland, TX, and raised in Dallas, TX. He is honored to be the current President of the Task Force and expresses his gratitude. “In 2013, I was searching for an organization to get involved in to give back to the community. When I found the Task Force, I met a few folks and quickly found a group of like-minded individuals that are all highly motivated to support the Fair through scholarship funds, grow the mission of more money for more kids, and develop friendships with fellow task force members.”
Robert Rhoads receiving the Most Valuable Volunteer award at the 2022 Big Tex Scholarship Awards Fair.
Robert has served 21 years on the Task Force. When asked about his favorite part of the Task Force, he was quick to answer, “the Scholarship Committee.” Robert not only participates in reviewing scholarship applications, but he excels. In 2023, he completed 120 reviews, making him the top reviewer in the process. Robert loves volunteering at the State Fair of Texas and jumps in wherever he can to help. Coworkers can count on a positive experience when working with Robert; he completes assigned tasks with passion and commitment. Read more about Robert below.
Rhoads commented, “I grew up and attended public schools in Bogata, Texas, a very small town and small school in Red River County, located approximately 25 miles Southeast of Paris. I played sports, was social, and graduated in May 1963.” Robert has been involved with volunteering on several committees at the State Fair of Texas, including the Chairman’s Task Force, Chairman’s Task Force Executive Committee, Scholarship Committee, and the Board of Advisors.
Susan Roberds receiving her Chairman’s Task Force Service Certificate from State Fair of Texas president, Mitchell Glieber.
Susan has served two years on the Task Force. Her favorite aspect of the Task Force is “it’s the time that showcases all that is good about our state of Texas – the people and our talents as well as the natural resources of our state!” Like other fellow members, her duties with the Livestock department are her favorite memories on the Task Force. She enjoys the opportunity to observe and work with students participating in the live auction, the speaking contests, reviewing the scholarship applications, and meeting recipients of those scholarships. Read more about Susan below.
Susan reminisced her childhood memories at the State Fair of Texas. “Growing up in Houston when I was in High School, I remember riding the school bus very early on a Saturday morning in October to spend all day at the State Fair of Texas and then coming home late that night. I always loved going through the exhibit buildings, especially the Creative Arts building,” said Roberds. “Now that I live in Dallas and have the opportunity to go to the State Fair more than one day, I still love to see all the exhibits in the buildings and like to try all of the food winners!” Susan also explained how she started her journey with the Task Force. “When our neighbor, Joe Willoughby, and my husband, Bill, who are both on the Chairman’s Task Force, asked if I would like to be a part of the Task Force committee, of course I said I would love to be a part. I have never missed coming to the State Fair since I was 15 years old – The State Fair has given me many years of fun times and wonderful memories!”
The State Fair of Texas appreciates all members of the Chairman’s Task Force and their selfless service in supporting our mission to promote agriculture, education, and community involvement. Visit the annual State Fair of Texas beginning September 29 running through October 22, 2023.