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#LCLocal Kim Oravetz
Kim Oravetz

Name: Kim Oravetz
Title: Owner of Red Oak Cafe

Tell us about Red Oak Café and its background
The dream started with my recipes combined with the inspiration received after losing one of my children, my first born and beloved Justin on December 5, 2007. Justin was an imposing figure standing 6’4” tall and was a “man’s man,” but after a few minutes in the presence of Justin, you quickly realized he had the heart and personality of an angel (a really big teddy bear). Justin never met a stranger, loved being around people and had a passion for serving others. After losing Justin, my family planted a special tree in his honor, a Red Oak tree. To our family, the Red Oak represents a strong and powerful tree that provides a special place to reflect on Justin’s life. This tree, his tree, has become the focal point of the Oravetz backyard and is now the foundation of Red Oak Café. At the center of the Red Oak Café logo and the focal point inside the restaurant, the Red Oak serves as our daily reminder of Justin and what he stood for. Red Oak Café is a unique meeting place where everyone is welcomed and no one is a stranger, just the way Justin would have wanted it.

          What was the inspiration behind starting the restaurant? Most definitely, the inspiration is family and love, along with strength and being able to give back.  For Justin to continue to make a difference in lives even today.  

          What makes your business unique? Although we are in the restaurant business, and we feed people with good food, at Red Oak Café, we are a big family and love to have you be a part of our family.  We will love on you, pray for you, listen to you...whatever it is you need that day, we would love to be able to provide that.  The love, inspiration and southern hospitality that Red Oak Café embodies is what we believe makes us unique and different than any place to just fill your belly...we like to feed souls, too! 

When you walk into the women's restroom, you can't help but notice the sticky notes all over the walls. What is the story behind that? It was the idea of one our waitresses who one day wrote an inspirational quote on a yellow sticky note and stuck it on the wall. She asked if she could  leave a couple note pads  and pens for others to do the same. The idea took off and now the walls are covered with quotes and uplifting messages from all our customers.

         Why did you choose to have a business in League City?  I absolutely love the small town, community feel of League City.  They have welcomed us with open arms and allowed us to become part of their community.  They love us, and we love to give that back!

          What do you love most about League City?  The sense of community that we believe Red Oak represents wouldn't be possible without League City and the surrounding communities.  We LOVE that they include us in their day!

      How has League City impacted you and your business?  When Harvey happened, we sent out a "call" to anyone with a boat that could get us from our home to Red Oak Café.  That call was answered mightily!  We got to Red Oak Café and sent out another "call" to anyone who wanted to help feed first responders.  The community responded with around 75 residents that just wanted to help in any way possible.  That's what impacts me and my business...neighbors helping neighbors.  We had the honor of sending out around 1,000 meals that day.  The sense of community is unmatchable!

           If you could describe League City in one word, what would it be?  LOVE

      Describe your perfect day in League City: Every day on my drive into work, I pray.  I pray that somehow I have the opportunity to make a difference in SOMEONE's life that day.  That God uses me in the perfect way that day at Red Oak.  So, professionally, my perfect day would be that I was able to love on someone who just needed a hug and a prayer and an ear. I am hopeful and am looking for someway to make a small difference to someone that day!

#LCLocal Kevin Kiersh
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Name: Kevin Kiersh

Title: Co-Owner of Red River Bar-B-Que & Grill

Tell us about Red River Bar-B-Que & Grill

We’ve been in business in League City since 2002, a little over 16 years ago. My brother Ric and I are co-owners. All of our barbecue meats come from 100% wood fired barbecue pits, we have hand battered chicken fried steaks, hand pressed hamburgers and everything here is made fresh daily. We have a wide array of food that most barbecue restaurants don’t offer. 

What made you decide to open a barbecue restaurant?

My brother Ric had a catering business in College Station and a few years later we partnered up to open this restaurant in League City and have been going strong ever since. We’re hands on, we’re not a huge corporation or chain, and we’re involved with the community every day. 

Why did you choose League City to open your business?
My mom went to Clear Creek High School, my grandparents lived in League City all their lives, my uncle lives here, so when I found this location for sale, it just made sense.

What can you say about the community in League City?

The community has been wonderful. I’ve lived here for the past 16 years. The people in this community have showed us nothing but support, without them we wouldn’t be here. It’s hard to put into words the gratitude we have to our community. 

What is next for you?

We’re on the brink of opening our next restaurant, Red River Cantina, by the end of this year so we’re excited about that. My brother and I wanted to grow within League City. We’re working to remodel an existing building to open the Tex-Mex cantina. 

Favorite thing about League City?

League City is a small town. We’ve grown a lot, 100,000 people plus, but we still have a small town feel and that’s what we like. We like raising our family here. 

Favorite place to go?

Red River BBQ and Grill, of course!

Favorite park?

We spend a lot of time at the Chester L. Davis Sportsplex where my son plays baseball

#LCLocal Rena Olsen
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Name: Rena Olsen
Zumba Instructor 

You say Zumba changed your life, how?

When I started Zumba, I was out of shape and had several health issues.  Zumba helped me lose 80 pounds and eliminate or reduce all the health issues I was experiencing. I have been licensed as a Zumba Instructor since 2012. It has helped me stay healthy and I have lots of fun doing it.  I love helping others achieve their healthy living goals while having fun.


When you are not teaching Zumba, what else do you enjoy?

I am a part of the League City Seniors Program and I am also on the Board of the Friends of League City Seniors Foundation 501 (c)(3), the non-profit that assists with the Seniors Program.  I plan on teaching for a long time.  This program helped me get healthier and my goal is to help others do the same thing.


Where do you get all your energy from?

I love moving and dancing. The energy I have comes from doing what I love, and my classes keep me energized.  I feed off the positive energy of the class participants.


Describe your perfect day?

Wake up, have coffee with my husband then head to Hometown Heroes Park to teach Zumba. I then go to Jazzercise, then tap and head home for lunch. In the afternoon, I take a walk with our dogs.


What is your favorite hang-out spot?

Monday through Friday, I am usually at Hometown Heroes Park enjoying the incredible seniors program hosted by League City. On the weekends, I usually take the dogs to one of our City’s great parks.


What is your favorite event in League City?

The Annual Walk for Wellness Hosted by League City and The Friends of League City Seniors.  The 2019 walk will be on March 30 at Walter Hall Park.


What is your favorite place to eat?

The Holly Berry Tea House. They have great soups, amazing cakes, and desserts 


What one word describes League City?


#LCLocal Kellie Moon
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Name: Kellie Moon

Title: Owner of CKO Kickboxing

Describe your perfect day in League City:  
Wake up and give thanks to God.  Drink coffee in my backyard while Bentley, my grand dog, runs and plays.  Travel to CKO Kickboxing studio where I get to engage, uplift, and be uplifted by all our members and take a Kickboxing class.  Go to lunch with my friends.  Catch up with my daughters and have dinner with them.

What’s your favorite event that happens in League City?  
Christmas parades in downtown League City.

Where’s your favorite place to eat in League City? 
I frequent several…El Dorado Mexican restaurant # 2 or Bao’s Cafe.  Both very close to the CKO Kickboxing studio ??

How do you stay in touch with what's happening in the city?  
Visit League City Facebook, LeagueCity.com, and Event Facebook groups.

What should visitors expect at CKO Kickboxing? 
The first thing a visitor will experience when they walk in the CKO Kickboxing studio is a friendly staff, from the front desk personnel to the seasoned instructors and the members.  Also, visitors will see a well-equipped, organized, and clean facility, with lots of real and heavy boxing bags, strong mats, top of the line sound system. Visitors will quickly realize that they can keep their shoes on during the workouts, that they need not share a boxing bag with others unless they want, and that the classes can incorporate weights and resistance bands into the workouts.
After introducing themselves and putting visitors at ease, the staff will answer any questions they may have and explain how they can and will support the participants fitness goals, whether its shedding some pounds, boosting endurance, increasing flexibility, and/or getting stronger.  Then one of the instructors will spend the necessary time going over the basic form and vocabulary for the punches and kicks before class starts.  What is equally important, visitors will learn of the virtually priceless value they can receive once they become members for such an incredibly affordable price.  

Any last advice for visitors to the city?  
Come visit us at CKO Kickboxing studio and take a couple of classes to experience the fitness value and benefit of our classes.  It will make you feel so good and energized that you will absolutely love it!

What originally drew you to League City?  The community, the friendly people, social offerings, plenty to do in the city, robust infrastructure, great schools, abundance of churches, excellent quality of life, good healthcare facilities, safety, fitness facilities, the city’s interest in being green and clean…everything we need is here. 

Where is your favorite place to go in LC?  
CKO Kickboxing.  I also like to go and enjoy the city parks, have a get together with family and friends and enjoy volleyball, fishing and jogging on its numerous trails. 

Which restaurant is still on your list to dine at? 
Red Oak Café and Main Street Bistro.

What is one word that describes League City?  
Hard to describe with one word but I can offer two short descriptions that come immediately to mind: Friendly people and strong sense of citizenship.

#LCLocal John Paul
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Name: John Paul

Title: Master Volunteer in Policing

How did you become a Master Volunteer in Policing (VIP) for League City?

I got involved after being part of the Citizens’ Police Academy in 2013. I transitioned over from CPA. I wanted to know more about the City’s police department and to get involved, so a friend of mine suggested that I join the group.

What do you do?

I coordinate the VIP cars and handle their maintenance, I coordinate code enforcement with Neighborhood Services, help schedule golf cart inspections, and work traffic at city events. I like to patrol and meet different people. 

Favorite part of being a VIP?

Being out, meeting nice people, and it keeps me busy. I was married for 40 years and when my wife passed away, I told my kids no women and no pet (laughs).  And I’ve stuck to it. I sit home and I watch TV sometimes, but I try to stay busy at all times. 

You also umpire for Little League in your spare time?

I played Little League in 1952. I made the all star team and won our all star games. After that, I coached until my son didn’t play anymore and I started umpiring in 1982. I’ve been the umpire supervisor for District 14 since 1986 and I’m the chief umpire now for Texas East. I umpired the Little League World Series in 2002 and umpired in Poland for the European Regionals that same year. I have always been into baseball since I was in high school. 

You dedicate a lot of time to volunteering, what awards have you received?

I got the Art Hewitt Award in 2016 for all my volunteer service for the city, including Little League, the CPA, and VIP. I got the VIP of the year in 2017. I’ve volunteered a total of 3,400 hours with the League City Police Deaprtment and got the Chief’s Excellence Award in July.

I got the presidental award for the third time for volunteering more that 500 hours a year.

Right now, I am working to get to 4,000 hours to get a letter signed by the president. 

What keeps you involved with the police department?

I was a deputy sheriff at one point in Delaware. I’ve always had a love for law enforcement. My friends are police, I have family members in law enforcement, I’ve known police my whole life. 

How would you encourage someone to volunteer?

You have to have the time. If you have time and want to stay busy, you have an opportunity to work with different people and give back. It’s a lot of fun. 

What’s your favorite thing to do in League City?

That’s easy! Volunteering, of course. I also play golf.I just played my 400th different golf course this year. 

What do you like about living in League City?

I like everything about it. It’s a nice place to live.


What is your favorite place in League City?

The Chester L. Davis Sportsplex.


Favorite restaurants in League City?

Esteban’s and Jimmy Changas.

#LCLocal Elizabeth Cambre
LC Local Elizabeth Cambre

Name: Elizabeth Cambre

Title: Director of Production Enhancement at Tendeka

President and Founder of GGC Synergy and the AdvanceHer Program

Global Fundraising and Events Chair for Lean In Energy


Tell us about your job/ what you do:

I work in corporate and I run my own business. I am in the Oil and Gas industry, with a background in both technical and operations of hydraulic fracturing and acid stimulation. I am gearing up to move into a new role with Tendeka (a company that is owned 51 % by Shell) to build their Hydraulic Fracturing Product Line. Previously I worked for Baker Hughes, GE and Schlumberger in the Middle East.


I started my own company in January 2018, The AdvanceHer Program. I have teamed up with the UK based Negotiation Lab, which teaches an elite corporate negotiation training using the Harvard Principles of Negotiation Methods. However, with the AdvanceHer Program we are focused on providing females with this corporate level of negotiation training and teaching them how to negotiate for themselves and for their companies with open enrollment programs.


I have recently been appointed the position of Global Fundraising and Event Chair for the newly formed Lean In Energy group headquartered in Houston. Lean In Energy is a leading mentoring community for all women in energy worldwide. We are driving the LeanIn.org mission within the energy vertical globally.


What are your hobbies and interests?

I am working to start the first ever Negotiation club like Toastmasters. I am really into fitness and working out at Orange Theory, Rush Cycle, and Pure Barre. I am the in Junior League of Galveston County. I spend a lot of my time mentoring females including my two young daughters. I am enrolling my youngest daughter in Chinese Sunday School here in League City, as I studied Chinese at the East Normal University in Shanghai.


How long have you lived in League City?

I have lived in League City for five years.


What drew you to League City?

I had just moved back from working in Abu Dhabi and moved to the Woodlands. I met my husband in Houston and he was working at Clear Lake Regional Hospital, so I moved down here to be with him.


You are a recent graduate of the Citizen University Program, what did you enjoy about it? What did you learn?

I looked forward to attending the program every week. First and foremost, I loved getting to know who is running our city. I really liked hearing from David Hoover about the city’s Planning Development. It really put things in perspective for me in understanding the need for commercial growth, as 87 % of League City is zoned for residential. I understood the importance for us to spend money in League City.


What one word would you use to describe League City?



What is your favorite place to eat in League City?

Main Street Bistro


What restaurant is still on your list to dine in?

I think I have been to them all!


What is your favorite part of League City?

Access to Clear Lake.


Describe your perfect day in League City:

Waking up to go catch a class at Pure Barre, taking my kids to the park/swimming pool at the Lakes of South Shore, catching a quidditch game at Home Town Heroes, followed by a movie night at the pool.


What do you hope to see in League City in the future?

Solar panels on the new homes being built!


What do you think makes League City unique?

The people. You never know who you are going to meet each day. I have met more interesting people here than in any other city I have lived in around the world. 

#LC Local Walter Syers
LC Local Walter Syers

If you’ve ever stopped by the League City Starbucks on Main Street and Highway 3 for a cup of morning coffee, chances are you were greeted with a smile and a compliment from Walter Syers. The 73-year old barista can whip up a tasty latte in minutes, but it’s his warm personality and sweet disposition that keep people coming back day after day.


Syers, who is  a U.S. Marine veteran and former bank president, was looking for something to do when he retired that would keep him active and allow him to interact with all kinds of people. So, in 2006 he accepted a part time job at Starbucks. Since day one he’s made it his mission to brighten the day of anyone he encounters.


“I like complimenting people and just being nice to them,” said Syers. “They may only stop in for a few minutes, but if I can make them smile and feel good, it’s worth it.”


From wishing customers a “blessed day” to giving out animal stickers to children in the backseat, Syer’s kind gestures and exceptional customer service recently became a hot topic on social media when the League City Communications Department produced a video on him.  Within a matter of days, the video reached over 68,000 views on Facebook. In addition, more than 500 people commented about their interactions with Syers at the drive-thru window and shared how his positive attitude has personally impacted them.


Syers says he is grateful and humbled by the appreciation. He says it’s simple: he loves the people of League City and he loves his job.