2011-12-22 / General Stories

Julie Straus Presents 2011 Capitol Ornament at Joint Bases

Julie Straus, whose husband is the Texas Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, is seen giving commemorative ornaments to representatives from Camp Mabry and Fort Sam Houston. Julie Straus, whose husband is the Texas Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, is seen giving commemorative ornaments to representatives from Camp Mabry and Fort Sam Houston. As a symbol of goodwill for all the men and women in the armed forces this holiday season, Mrs. Julie Straus, wife of Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, presented the 2011 Capitol Ornament to representatives at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and Camp Mabry in Austin on behalf of the State Preservation Board. Additionally, Capitol Ornaments are being sent to each of the 117 armories that comprise the Texas Army National Guard as thanks to the soldiers for their service, and a reminder of the support from their home state. The ornament, which benefits preservation programs for our state Capitol, is available for purchase now.

Mrs. Straus visited Camp Mabry as part of the base’s annual tree lighting event on Thursday, December 1, presenting an ornament to Brig. General Joyce L. Stevens, Assistant Adjutant General - Army, Texas National Guard and Commander of the Texas Army National Guard. She also visited Fort Sam Houston to present the 2011 Capitol Ornament to Brig. Gen. Theresa C. Carter, Commander, 502nd Air Base Wing, Fort Sam Houston, Texas and Commander for Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA), which includes Randolph and Lackland Air Force bases and the Army’s Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis.

“The fact is, the courageous service of the men and women who answered our nation’s call, and the service of those before them, makes the public service of the men and women at the Texas Capitol possible,” said Mrs. Straus during the presentation at JBSA. “The visit Joe and I made to the D- Day beaches at Normandy last month humbly reminded us of that.”

This year’s slogan for the Capitol Ornament is “Put Texas on Your Tree” and the State Preservation Board is sending Capitol Ornaments to each of the armories, here in Texas and overseas, to show gratitude for the role the soldiers play in each of their respective communities, and as a reminder that they are in the thoughts and prayers of their fellow Texans, specifically during the holiday season.

This year’s Capitol Ornament is a replica of the brass chandeliers that hang in the legislative chambers of the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate – some of the oldest surviving light fixtures at the Capitol. Each year a new Capitol Ornament is released, featuring a different architectural aspect of the Capitol building.

The Ornament Program was established in 1996 by Nelda Laney, wife of then-Speaker of the House James E. “Pete” Laney, to help raise funds to preserve the state Capitol. Today the program is run by the State Preservation Board and led by Mrs. Straus. Proceeds support educational programs and the continued preservation of the Capitol, its historic contents and the grounds. Most recently, funds from the ornament program supported the repair and repainting of the Capitol dome, returning the iconic treasure to its original color.

The 2011 Capitol Ornament, along with previous ornaments going back to 2002, are available for purchase through the Texas Capitol Gift Shop, so anyone can put Texas on their tree, and support the preservation of the state Capitol. The ornament can be purchased in stores through December 23.

The State Preservation Board was created by the 68th Legislature to insure the preservation and maintenance of the State Capitol, Old General Land Office building, Capitol Extension, and their contents.

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