Citizen of the Year
It was in accepting the award during the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce-Tourist Bureau’s banquet that he told the audience his only other standing ovation was in the third grade, and it was a fire drill.
Richard Safford, Community Presbyterian Church pastor and the 2006 Citizen of the Year, made the presentation.
Nominees for the award, according to Safford, who has served on the selection committee, “are consistently made up of those whose faces you see everywhere you look.”
Fucik has provided leadership and service in the Community Presbyterian Church, the garden club, Keep Port Aransas Beautiful, as a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, for the school district as an advisory committee member and mentor, and as a founder and leader in the Port Aransas Preservation and Historical Association.
Safford, taking advantage of Fucik’s penchant for puns, said, “Now, I’m no match for John, so I won’t attempt to ‘a-salt’ you with jokes, or even ‘pepper’ you with puns, but I will ‘milk’ this time for all it’s worth.”
Besides his willingness to serve on boards involved with the history, education and beautification of Port Aransas, Fucik also shares other talents “on his own dime and time,” as one of the nominators put it, Safford said.
Fucik is a horticulturalist and master gardener who has shared his expertise on the plants of the area, xeriscaping, teaching classes on landscaping and gardening, designing landscape plans for the city, the schools and community theater, and writing an educational tonguein cheek column for the South Jetty, as well as various newsletters. He follows all that by getting “his fingernails dirty digging alongside elementary students, sharing his love of small sprouts of all genuses and both genders,” Safford said.
Safford recalled when Ryan Rose, a former resident who selected Fucik as his advisor when he was taking a confirmation class at church, returned to Port Aransas to be with him when Fucik’s wife, Naomi died.
“That is what this award is all about: Giving back a little of what we have received, encouraging others in their giving, and celebrating together what it means to members of our island community,” Safford said.
Fucik, visibly touched by the award, said he could not have served the community as he has without the support of many of the people in the room, which included 10 past recipients of the award.
Fucik was surprised and joined by his daughter, Trudy Martinez of Indianapolis, Ind.; his son, Toby Fucik of Bastrop; two of his grandchildren, Talena Martinez of Austin and Joel Martinez of Indianapolis; and Nathan Dunton, formerly of Port Aransas, now of San Antonio and Austin, who has been a close friend of Fucik and his late wife.