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Texas Historical Commission to honor presidio director

By Johnathan Silver
July 18, 2014 at 2:18 a.m.

Newton Warzecha, director of Presidio La Bahia

If You Go

• WHAT: Texas Historical Commission honors Newton Warzecha

• WHEN: 6 p.m. Monday

• WHERE: Our Lady of Loreto Chapel at Presidio La Bahia (Presidio La Bahia: 217 Loop 71 off U.S. Highway 183)

• FOR MORE INFO: To RSVP, call 361-645-8901.

Newton Warzecha said he'll be overwhelmed Monday when the Texas Historical Commission honors him.

Warzecha, the director of Presidio La Bahia, will be awarded the John L. Nau III Award of Excellence in Museums after having served in his position for the last 23 years.

The award recognizes "an individual or institution in the museum field for significant achievement in the areas of historical interpretation, museum education, conservation of collections and/or community involvement," according to the commission's website. The award comes with a stipend for the honoree's museum.

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Victoria asked Warzecha years ago if he'd be the interim director of the site built in 1721 as a Spanish colonial mission and presidio on the ruins of Fort St. Louis.

"I took the position, and I've been there ever since."

Today, after being restored to a past version of itself, the old site continues to tell the story of early settlers in what is now Texas.

Warzecha said La Bahia had management and maintenance issues before, but those have been fixed.

"There's no more wonderful history than here at Presidio La Bahia in Goliad," he said. "It's a real honor to have the privilege to be out there anytime I want - to go out to that chapel and praise God."

Being the director of La Bahia, he said, has given him the chance to be "a good steward of Texas history."

"If you don't recall history and everything you go through, you're going to go through it again," he said. "And that's happening all over the world."

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