Laguna Vista leaders turn to Action 4 to surprise longtime volunteer
There's a woman in the Town of Laguna Vista who shines above most when it comes to selflessly giving back to her community. Anna Backues works at the library, reads to children, helps with their summer feeding program, pitches in during community events, organizes fundraisers and has yet to miss an auxiliary meeting for the town's volunteer fire department. Rolando Vela, Laguna Vista's city manager, turned to FNB Insurance and Action 4 News to help Pay it 4Ward to Anna at the town's library. He met Action 4 News at the building for a fake interview on Thursday afternoon. Anna, who's volunteered at the library for the last 5 years, watched the cameras roll from behind a desk. "Who knows a lot about the library?" Action 4's Ryan Wolf asked. "I think the ideal person would be Ann," Rolando responded. He nominated Anna for the Pay it 4Ward prize. She has no idea, everyone in the library, is in on the surprise. That is until now. "I'm not really here for the library," Ryan said to Anna. "You're not?" She asked. "No," he said. "I love your passion but I'm not here for the library. I'm here for you." "Why?" she asked him. "Everyone in this room is here for you," Ryan said. You TMre an incredible woman. "You're gonna make me cry," she responded. Rolando stepped in to share why he nominated her for the $400 Pay it 4Ward prize. "We love you," he said. "You epitomize what it's all about, serving the community. You don't know what the word 'no' means. We need you to fill in, to help out, you're here. This is our way of showing you, Laguna Vista, appreciates you, loves you. You are our community," he said. "Thank you," the 80-something-year-old woman said with tears in her eyes. "On behalf on FNB Insurance and Action 4 News, we want to Pay it 4Ward," Rolando said. He handed her the money. "$100, $200, $300, $400." Anna never saw it coming. "Overwhelmed," she said. "That's all I can say how I feel. Sort of speechless and overwhelmed and so appreciative." The library is her passion. A child's smile is her reward. "The enjoyment that they're being here, that's what I get, the privilege of seeing those kids," she explained. Her giving nature dates back to 1952 while living in St. Louis where she helped at a local Lions Club. Helping service organizations is just something Anna says she loves to do. "I've had a good life," she explained. "I've had some really rough things that have happened, but all-in-all, my life has been very good. And right now, I feel it's pay-back time." That's exactly how the people in the library feel about Anna and her selfless kindness. From the mayor, "our community is so small that without people likeAnna to Pay it 4Ward, we wouldn't get any things done," Susie Houston explained. To the fire chief, "she helps us in our fundraisers all the time," Robert McGinnis said. Even Action 4's Pay it 4Ward partner, Karen Gonzalez with FNB Insurance, feels Anna is completely deserving of the award. "The fact that an entire town wants to recognize you is so special and really shows how much you've done and how many people you touched," she said. Anna calls it a privilege to help the community. She plans to use her $400 Pay it 4Ward prize to give back to Laguna Vista, the place she calls home.