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From teaching music to preserving history, Yorktown woman makes hometown better place

By Sonny Long
Oct. 5, 2011 at 5:05 a.m.

Addison Corpus, 3, gets some parting words of encouragement from music teacher Beverly Bruns before leaving class at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Yorktown.

TO LEARN MORE

Interested in some of the same things Beverly Bruns is involved in? For more information, visit these websites:

GEOCACHING - www.geocaching.com

YORKTOWN HISTORICAL MUSEUM - www.yorktownmuseum.com

PROJECT FOOD, LAND & PEOPLE - www.foodlandpeople.org

Beverly Kerlick Bruns has her fingers in a lot of pies, but one in particular pulls out a plum every time.

"My passion is my work at church with the children," said Bruns, who teaches youngsters to play bells at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

"We play hymns and other songs I think are appropriate," she said. "I am trying to encourage them to give back to the Lord through music."

Bruns also plays organ and piano at the church.

Born and raised in Yorktown, Bruns taught school in Victoria for 38 years including third grade at Aloe Elementary School for 18 years and music at Dudley Magnet School.

"That was the beauty of elementary school. I got to teach a little bit of everything. I got to teach history, science, reading," she said. "But music is my first love. So when I got that opportunity I took it."

She retired from teaching in 2007.

Calvin Bruns, Beverly's husband of 43 years, said his wife was reluctant to retire from teaching.

"She is involved with so many things now. I don't try to keep up with her," he said. "I think she's trying to prove she's not getting old by staying so busy."HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

One of Bruns' tasks has been jumping into the Yorktown Historical Society with both feet.

And why not?

She and her husband live on land inherited from her parents who also inherited it from their immigrant ancestors. Bruns' family settled in Yorktown in 1853.

Bruns attended a meeting at the Yorktown Historical Museum and immediately got involved.

"I saw so many things I could contribute to," she said.

Caroline Blain, one of the founding members of the Yorktown Historical Society and the museum, is thrilled to have Bruns on board.

"Since she has taken over management of the historical society, she has really succeeded in pulling people together to work on projects," Blain said. "At the museum, she has been tremendous in organizing the artifacts, getting them catalogued and getting a lot of necessary paperwork done."

Bruns saw a need and did something about it.

"The museum here has some fabulous, wonderful artifacts, but they were scattered throughout," she said.

She and several other women have reorganized the exhibits into a logical order so visitors can "see how things evolved."

Bruns also has worked diligently to upgrade the climate control conditions in the museum so the artifacts are protected.

Blain heaped more praise on Bruns for her efforts.

"No matter what we plan, she works harder and longer than anyone else. She is very organized and dedicated," Blain said. "Whatever she's called on to do, she does it well. Whenever she starts a project she's got to finish it. I just love her and like working with her."

Bruns has also organized a summer art camp for children at the museum.

"If I can get children into the museum, they will grow to love it," she said.YORKTOWN CREEK

While doing work at the museum, Bruns and others noticed that the old maps showed a Yorktown Creek. Signs in and around Yorktown designated the body of water as Coleto Creek.

Bruns acknowledged that Yorktown is the Coleto Creek watershed, but it is Yorktown Creek that starts north of town, flows through the center of Yorktown and into Coleto Creek near the DeWitt and Victoria County lines.

Bruns contacted the Texas Department of Transportation about their discovery.

"The next thing I know, I got a phone call from TxDOT. I was told they did the research and are changing it to Yorktown Creek," Bruns said.

The signs were changed late in 2010.FOOD, LAND & PEOPLE

Another pie Bruns has her finger in actually involves food.

She has been on the national steering committee of Project Food, Land & People for more than 20 years.

Food, Land & People is a nonprofit organization committed to helping people of all ages better understand the relationships among agriculture, the environment and people.

It provides a curriculum for use in public and private schools, 4-H and FFA groups and other organizations.

"We are so far removed from agriculture, we've got to have them understand where our food and our fiber comes from," Bruns said.GEOCACHING

Bruns' grandson taught the teacher something new a few years back - geocaching, a modern-day treasure hunting activity using GPS devices.

He wanted to go to a campsite of outlaw John Wesley Hardin, Bruns said.

"We took an afternoon. It was a family outing," she said.

Bruns said she has hidden several things around Yorktown at historical sites.

"I personally hid one at an old cemetery, and I'm getting a lot of hits," she said. "I went online and found a jewelry box that is a coffin. My cache is hidden in this coffin in a cemetery in DeWitt County."

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