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Long-time H-E-B customer wins essay contest (w/video)

By Bianca Montes
June 14, 2014 at 1:14 a.m.
Updated June 15, 2014 at 1:15 a.m.

Beverly Ledington reads her winning essay to guests at H-E-B Plus!'s 80th anniversary celebration.

Read all the essays

To read the top five essays as well as all the other honorable mentions, click here.

Watch it Online

Phillip Rendon knew exactly what he was racing toward Saturday during a $450 shopping spree at H-E-B Plus! in Victoria - a flat-screen television.

The gift was a surprise for his 10-year-old daughter, who'd been telling mom and dad that she wanted one for her bedroom. Rendon was one of six customers selected to help celebrate the grocery store's 80th anniversary in town. Saturday morning, three participants at the North Navarro Street location and another three at the East Rio Grande Street location raced through the store to fill their carts with whatever their hearts desired. The Advocate was on the scene at the H-E-B Plus! location to get a bird's-eye view of the party.

Visit VictoriaAdvocate.com to watch Rendon dash through the store toward his prize.

Other winners:

•  Bob Jolet, of Victoria - H-E-B Plus!

•  Linda Swickheimer, of Victoria - H-E-B Plus!

•  Geneva Vega, of Victoria - H-E-B Rio Grande Street

•  Nicholas Strelow, of Victoria - H-E-B Rio Grande Street

• Rafela Rodriguez, of Victoria - H-E-B Rio Grande Street

A doctor once told Beverly Ledington that if she ate a cup of yogurt a day, the throbbing pain in her legs would go away.

So that's what she did.

With tangy lemon being her favorite flavor, she ate yogurt every night, unless she fell asleep in her chair first. "I'm 80 years old; sometimes, I do that," she smiled.

Ledington purchased her yogurt at H-E-B for most of her adult life, and for the past 48 years, she's shopped at Victoria locations - although she admits the one on East Rio Grande Street is her favorite. One day, the price of her favorite brand of yogurt increased, and with a fixed income, she wasn't able to afford it anymore.

So she wrote a letter.

Ledington sent a note to the main office of H-E-B explaining her predicament, not really expecting a change.

A couple days later, a box arrived filled with her favorite brand of yogurt. She said she was shocked and in tears.

"They cared enough to worry about that," she said. "Not every place would have done that."

Ledington won first place in an essay contest organized to celebrate the 80th anniversary of H-E-B in Victoria. Saturday, she tearfully read her letter to a crowd outside H-E-B Plus! on North Navarro Street.

"They've always been there for us," she began. "We will never forget how thoughtful and kind your store is."

Ledington has since had to stop buying her favorite brand and pick up something less expensive, but because the contest prize was a $500 gift card to the supermarket, she may splurge a bit the next couple of months.

In true Texas spirit, the grocery store continued to honor its customers Saturday by allowing three winners at each location to race through their store during an 80-second shopping spree in which they were each given $450.

The grocery store also passed out more than $30,000 in donations to local nonprofits such as the American Red Cross, Faith Family Church and several volunteer fire stations in Victoria County.

"Without our customers, we wouldn't be here 80 years," general manager and 40-year H-E-B veteran Doug Wallace said. "They gave us the opportunity to do that. We're always looking for ways to help people. We go out of our way to do what we can for our customers."

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