Comal County adds 2 distinguished key holders

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At last week’s Comal County Commissioners Court meeting, two people were given golden keys to the courthouse.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, and Jay Brewer, a community volunteer and historic preservation enthusiast, were presented with keys to the courthouse as well as a decree detailing the history of the building and former Comal County Commissioner Jan Kennady’s contribution to its restoration.

Krause said the key-holder recognition was created as a way to honor Kennady while recognizing those who have made significant contributions to the county. Before she passed away in 2016, Kennady represented Precinct 4 on the Comal County Commissioners Court from 2003-14 and led the charge to restore the courthouse to its original appearance when it was in a state of disrepair.

“Even as discouraged as people were, after two times not getting funding from [a Texas Historical Commission]grant, she kept going with it, and here we are today,” Krause said. “So we tried to develop a way to recognize her and to recognize those who make a significant contribution to the community, so what we came up with was a key to the courthouse.”

At the meeting, Smith told those in attendance that one of his relatives designed the Comal County Courthouse, as well as the Bexar County Courthouse—which are the only two counties he has represented during his 30-plus years as a congressman.

“It’s just a pleasure to be here,” Smith said. “Thank you for this key to the courthouse.”

Krause said Brewer, who narrates the county’s courthouse video set, never misses a Commissioners Court meeting.

“This place is important to me not just because it’s the courthouse and center of our county government, but because of what it represents,” Brewer said. “I’m really big on the preservation of our history and our culture.

The golden key is not the first initiative that pays homage to Kennady. In 2017, the city and county renamed the portion of FM 306 that extends from I-35 to River Chase Way as the Jan Kennady Memorial Highway. She advocated for expanding the roadway from two to four lanes and adding two railroad overpasses.

Belinda Frisk, a longtime friend of Kennady’s, also wanted to pay respect to the former commissioner in a special way.

“So we went around to a number of organizations that Jan was part of,” Frisk said.

While attending a convention for the Texas Republican Women in Dallas last year, Frisk and her friend, Patty Johnson, learned about an organization called Patriot Paws that trains service dogs for disabled veterans. Frisk said she and Johnson knew Jan would have loved the cause, and the pair raised more than $10,000 to go toward training a dog in Kennady’s honor.

According to Frisk, the English Retriever puppy was born in August and will take two years to train.

Kennady was also a New Braunfels City Council member for three years and went on to serve as mayor from 1996-99.

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Rachel Nelson
Rachel Nelson is editor of the New Braunfels edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covers local business, new development, city and county government, health care, education and transportation. Rachel relocated to Central Texas from Amarillo in 2009 and is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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