2021 LIVING LEGENDS
Atanacio "Nacho" Campos
The city of New Braunfels was founded in 1845 by German emigrants who were seeking a life with greater economic and social opportunities for their families. Some sixty years later in 1912, Atanacio Campos, an emigrant from Mexico and a near-casualty of the Mexican Revolution, settled in New Braunfels with those same hopes and dreams. Atanacio went on to build a life in New Braunfels eventually opening a restaurant, the Monterey Café, that generations later, is still owned by his family. The children raised in New Braunfels include a grandson, Atanacio “Nacho” Campos, who not only bears his grandfather’s name, but is now a Braunfels Foundation Trust Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Atanacio “Nacho” Campos was born on Good Friday, April 15, 1949, in New Braunfels and into a family who valued family, education, hard work, and service. Nacho’s father, Victor, served in World War II and later as New Braunfels’ first Hispanic police officer. Victor and Nacho’s mother, Victoria, were uncompromising about education explaining to their children that without it, one’s career options are limited. While in high school, Nacho worked parttime both before and after school at City Bakery. By the time graduation rolled around, Nacho was expertly baking and decorating wedding cakes. The bakery’s owner, acknowledging Nacho’s talent, made him a very nice post-graduation job offer. Mr. and Mrs. Campos, however, wanted their son to continue his education, so after graduating from New Braunfels High School, Nacho, armed with a scholarship and a work grant, left for junior college at Schreiner Military Institute in Kerrville.
After graduating with an associate degree from Schreiner, Nacho left for the University of Texas at Austin and completed his undergraduate work there with a bachelor’s degree in History. He had begun working towards his PH.D. in Latin American Studies, but the reality of limited opportunities in the academic job market of the 1970s persuaded Nacho to pivot. Interested in the law since the fourth grade, Nacho was accepted into law school at the University of Texas. In 1979, after passing the bar exam, he earn a license to practice law, and completed a master’s degree in History at the same time.
Nacho immediately went on to open his own practice in Austin where he was involved in various civic activities including volunteering with the Austin Sesquicentennial Committee and serving on the board of the Pan American Recreation Center. In 1984, Nacho returned to New Braunfels, and understanding the volunteer culture of his hometown, promptly got involved.
Nacho Campos is well-known for the twenty years he served as a Trustee on the Board of the New Braunfels Utilities. When he retired from NBU in 2020, he had served as president and vice president; served on the Budget Committee, the GBRA Technical Committee. Governance Committee, Legislative Committee Personnel Policy Committee, and Facilities Master Plan Committee. During his tenure as Trustee, NBU increased its capacity in every area – adding new wastewater plants and thousands of acres-feet of water. For his service to NBU, Nacho received the Robert H. Sohn, P.E., Public Service Award that recognizes individuals whose work helps ensure and advance our community’s best interests.
As a founding member of the Headwaters at Comal non-profit organization, Nacho helped provide the vision for NBU’s conservation legacy. He was the first recipient of the “Atanacio Campos Volunteer Award” that will be given annually to a volunteer who has demonstrated a passion for being a community servant, a steward of resources, and a commitment to the Headwaters’ mission.
Besides his exemplary service to the New Braunfels Utilities and therefore the citizens of New Braunfels, Nacho has served on the City of New Braunfels’ Workforce Housing and Bond Advisory Committee, the American Public Power Association Policy Makers Council, New Braunfels Impact Fee Advisory Board, and the New Braunfels Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. He also served for nine years as a Trustee on the Board of Schreiner University in Kerrville.
In 2020, the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce honored Nacho with Honors Hall Recognition for his extraordinary civic contributions.
Nacho is married to Sarah Dixon. He has three children, Andres, Brian, and Jennifer, five grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. He still loves to cook and bake and continues to practice law. and provides leadership in the community he loves. His civic contributions to New Braunfels have helped make real the hopes and dreams of his ancestors and of the newest wave of “settlers” coming to New Braunfels every day. That is why Atanacio “Nacho” Campos is a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Kent County, Texas, is located about 85 miles southeast of Lubbock and is named for a Texas war hero, Andrew Kent. Kent was a carpenter-turned soldier and a member of the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers who rode to the relief of the Alamo and died at the Battle that followed. Kent County is also the birthplace of another Texas hero, Ramiro Martinez, a farmer’s son turned-police officer, narcotics officer, Texas Ranger, volunteer, and now a Braunfels Foundation Trust Living Legend.
Ramiro “Ray” Martinez is a third-generation Texan whose family made their living farming the plains of west Texas. The third of five children, Ray attended elementary school in Hobbs, Texas, and in 1956, the era of the great Texas drought, graduated from Rotan High School. Older brother, Gilbert, urged Ray to join him in Austin after graduation, so Ray left the farm and enrolled at the University of Texas. The brothers worked forty-plus hours six days a week at the Austin State Hospital, carried a full academic load, and sent money home to the farm.
After a semester at that pace, Ray left school and joined the Army where he was trained as a combat medic serving out his three-year commitment in Germany. Nicknamed the “Mayor of the Hofbrau Haus” for the time spent in said establishment, Ray could not have possibly imagined that he would one day call another German community home.
After his military commitment, Ray returned to Austin, resumed his friendship with VerNell Schmidtzensky, and began job hunting. He applied for a job with the Austin Police Department partly because, in 1960, they paid their officers a whopping $335.00 per month! Ray made it through the interview process and, with the help of a pre-weigh-in meal of six bananas and a quart of milk, met the 140-pound-weight requirement to be accepted into the Austin Police Academy. In January of 1961, Ray Martinez became one of only three Hispanic Austin police officers, and later that same year, he and VerNell were married.
Ray was awarded the Austin Police Department Medal of Valor, named the Peace Officer of the Year by the National Police Officers Association, and was honored by the National Rifle Association for his heroism on August 1, 1966. On that day, Ray, along with other officers and one civilian, stormed the University of Texas Tower where architecture student Charles Whitman had barricaded himself. Those heroes ended a shooting spree that killed sixteen people -- including Whitman’s wife and mother in separate incidents -- and wounded thirty-three.
In 1968, Ray left the Austin Police Department and was accepted as a Texas Department of Public Safety narcotics agent. In 1973, he applied for and was accepted into the Texas Rangers — again, one of only three Hispanic Rangers. In 1978, Ray was transferred to New Braunfels from his duty station in Laredo, and New Braunfels became home to “Ranger Ray.”
Ray Martinez’s official public service to Texas continued until his retirement in 1991, but his service to New Braunfels was just beginning. As the parents of twin daughters, Janice and Janette, Vernell and Ray started helping with the girls’ school activities and functions. VerNell and Ray manned the very first Canyon Band Boosters funnel cake booth at Wurstfest. Ray has volunteered at the Gruene Music Fest to benefit the United Way and served on their board. He joined the New Braunfels Noon Lions Club, chaired various committees, served as president, and earned the Melvin Jones Fellow and Lions Silver Spur recognitions. He also served as a director of the Comal County Crimestoppers organization.
A Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce member, Ray earned his Blue Coat and Life Membership. He has served as the chair of and is an active member of the Retirees Are Progressive Council and the Military Affairs Committee. In 2002, he was awarded the Chamber’s Chair of the Board Award for Community Service and in 2007 was inducted into the Chamber’s Honors Hall. In 2018, Ray was recognized as a Pillar of the Community by the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung.
Ray is a Senior Opa in the Wurstfest Association, and he and Vernell are members of the Friends of the Library and volunteer at the Saints Peter and Paul Thrift Store. Additionally, Ray has served as President of the Texas Rangers Association and as a director of both the Ranger Association and Foundation. He is a published author and has two buildings in Austin named for him.
The Braunfels Foundation Trust is grateful that a quart of milk and six bananas made a difference in Ray Martinez’s life, because he has certainly made a difference in ours.
Congratulations to Ray Martinez, a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Jim Streety’s high school football career is the stuff of legends. It seems there is no award or honor given to a high school coach that he has not received including being a two-time San Antonio Express and News Coach of the Year. He has been inducted into almost every possible Hall of Fame including the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame and the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame. He even has a football field named in his honor. Impressive as it is, The Braunfels Foundation Trust is not recognizing Coach Streety as a Living Legend of New Braunfels because of his win-loss record. The Braunfels Foundation Trust has named Jim Streety a Living Legend because the impact he has on our community’s youth, parents, and colleagues is the perfect game plan for educational and civic excellence.
Jim Streety grew up on a farm outside of the small town of Smiley, Texas, south of San Antonio. Like most small towns, school was the center of the community and by extension, so was sports. Like most of his friends, Jim followed the seasons -- football in the fall, basketball in the winter, track in the spring, and baseball in the summer.
After graduating from Smiley High School, Streety attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos and majored in accounting until the lure of coaching finally caught him. He graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Education and finished one year of graduate school when in 1967, shortly after he married his wife, Janie, he got a coaching job at San Marcos Junior High School.
In 1970, an opportunity came along to coach down the road at New Braunfels High School, so Jim and Janie, along with daughter Kimber and son Steven, became Unicorns. Coach Streety started out as an assistant in football, basketball, and track until a short four years later when he became Head Football Coach and Athletic Director. During Coach Streety’s seventeen seasons at New Braunfels, the Unicorns had ten playoff teams, four semi-final teams, and a record of 149 wins, 45 losses, and 2 ties.
In 1991, the Northeast Independent School District came knocking on the door and offered Coach Streety a job. There had been several knocks before, but this time he answered and accepted the job of Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator at Madison High School in San Antonio. Twenty-three years later, with 17 playoff appearances -- including 10 quarterfinalist and three semi-finalist teams – on his resume, Jim Streety returned to the Unicorns as the New Braunfels Independent School District’s Athletic Director.
During his fifty-four years in sports, Jim Streety has worked with countless young men and women, colleagues, and parents. He has taught kids that hard work and discipline are the touchstones for success. As importantly, however, is what he has taught through his actions and his conduct: grace in both victory and defeat; faith in good times and dark days; and the value of relationships over achievements.
Jim Streety’s success on the field has paved the way for his impact in other areas as well. He continually works to enhance partnerships between other community leaders for the good of our community’s youth. A good example of one these partnerships is the alliance between the City of New Braunfels and the New Braunfels Independent School District for refurbishing the playing fields at New Braunfels and Oak Run Middle Schools.
A short list of other achievements includes serving as the president of the Texas High School Coaches Association and as a member and past director of the Texas High School Coaches Association Education Foundation. Coach Streety has waited tables to raise money for Communities in Schools and glided across the floor at the Dancing with the Stars fundraiser for Christian Youth Theatre. He served on the board of Habitat for Humanity and volunteered for the Food Bank. He is a deacon at Oakwood Baptist Church and a member of the non-profit Wurstfest Association. Just last year, he was inducted in the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Hall of Honor.
Jim and Janie Streety are also grandparents to five grandsons.
In a recent interview with Coach Larry Hill for his series about legendary football coaches, former Madison player Bryan Ehrlich relates a text conversation he had with former Unicorn and Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury. Ehrlich texted Kingsbury that he and Kliff’s dad, Tim, were doing an interview about Streety. With a laugh, Ehrlich says that Kliff, who at that moment was taking some heat for selecting Kyler Murray as his number one pick in the NFL draft, quickly texted back: Streety is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). Jim Streety is the GOAT, and to the Braunfels Foundation Trust, he is also a Living Legend of New Braunfels.