It takes a lot to be a strong and nurturing woman, but that’s exactly how you would define Beth Pesek. Pesek’s dedication to her community and willingness to go above and beyond is unparalleled by most.
Pesek taught high school, predominantly computer applications, digital graphics, multimedia and animation, for thirty-four years in the Texarkana school systems. Teaching is where she discovered her love for children and her desire to enable them to succeed.
“When I was teaching in the winter, I would organize days where we would pay $5 to wear jeans on Friday and that money would go towards the Angel Tree.”
She sees herself as being a helper, someone who wants to be involved and is focused on seeing progress in her community. Pesek is involved with Delta Kappa Gamma-Alpha Pi Chapter, Gateway Garden Club, Texas Retired Teachers Association, CHRISTUS St. Michael Friends of the Foundation, Women For the Arts, Salvation Army Women’s Auxillary, Women for Texas A&M-Texarkana, 1st Choice Pregnancy Center, Harvest Texarkana, and volunteers for her neighborhood watch and Trice Elementary.
“One of the benefits of being involved is getting to see what goes on behind the scenes. I think if people could really see what all goes on, they would be really proud of our community. There are so many people who are so giving of themselves to make Texarkana a better place.”
Two years ago, she formed a small group with some of those other selfless volunteers. They visited Randy Sams Outreach Shelter and assisted those in need with budgeting skills and a proper understanding of how to fill out a job application.
Pesek has a a way of encouraging others to give of their time and skills, bringing in her friends, husband and children on occasion when additional volunteers are needed. All of the Pesek family has been involved at the Salvation Army in one form or another.
“In December, the Salvation Army would have to shutdown the food pantry due to low number of volunteers. My husband, Leon, and I organize a group to pass out food every Tuesday during the month of December so they can keep the food pantry open during their busy time.”
Her son, Trey Pesek, and daughter, Katie Osburn, volunteer at the Salvation Army in December. Osburn is also an active member of the Junior League of Texarkana and supports her at-risk students at Trice Elementary. Osburn even secretly gives gifts to those kids she worries over.
Community outreach is the family “business.” It’s a way for them to share their blessings with others less fortunate. Pesek has always been family oriented, beginning with the adoption of her son through to their holiday family traditions.
The Peseks had tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child and decided to take a chance on adoption. Within two months time, their son, Trey, had been born and was in their arms at home.
“I didn’t want to buy a single thing because I didn’t know what would happen. He was three days old when we received him and I had absolutely nothing, but it didn’t matter because I had him in my arms. Now he’s thirty and I cannot believe it,” she exclaimed.
“Four years after adopting Trey, in November, Trey said, “I know what I want Santa to bring me for Christmas. He continued, “I want a baby sister.”
Two weeks passed and Pesek found out she was pregnant. Thinking she couldn’t conceive, this was the greatest surprise her family could dream.
Christmas is a special time for the family, when everyone can come together, after serving others in the community, and enjoy their own traditions.
“My husbands background is Czech and it is a big deal for us to have klobasnek for breakfast on Christmas, “said Pesek.
Their family attends mass on Christmas at St. Edwards in downtown Texarkana; they also have dinner together and drink from their blessing cup before the prayer and toast of wine.
“We’ve been doing that for twenty-five years for all the holidays. We also have a rule where presents must be opened one at a time so everyone can enjoy watching the reactions.”
This is a woman who holds her traditions, her family, and her community near to her heart. Whether it is caring for the angel tree or ensuring the Christmas day is the best it can be, Pesek is always giving.