Words By: Kylie Kinnett Photos by: Dustin Ashcraft
There is a certain kind of beauty that comes along with vulnerability and truth. Beauty is being true to yourself. Beauty is smiling through the pain life tends to throw at us. Beauty is helping others even when, sometimes,you’re the one who needs a little help. Beauty is living your most authentic life. Beauty is simply who you are; it’s every fiber of your being.
7 Most Beautiful Women: Inside and Out is a way for women in our community to raise money for the charity they advocate for and bring light to some of the amazing work being done in our city. These women are energized by their passions. They each have a story unique to who they are as a person, and have used that story to push them to better the lives of those around them. Here is to the beautiful women celebrated in this issue, each an inspiration in their own ways and a definite force to be reckoned with.
Kim Wilmoth wears many hats. She is a loving mother, an amazing grandmother, a working woman, a philanthropist, and so much more. She describes her life as never consisting of a dull moment.Kim believes in life and in love, and uses her positive outlook on life, as well as her faith, to get her through the hard times.
She first got involved with theRonald McDonald House Charities of Corpus Christi seven years ago when she was asked to help out with the Casa de Amor event. “I was hooked,” she says, “and I haven’t looked back since.” She finds great joy in visiting the families staying there and being there for them—when they cry, she cries, and when they rejoice, she rejoices.
The Ronald McDonald House is a place where families with ill children can go and feel comfort and love. While they provide a place to stay, they also provide guests with the compassion they need in such a difficult time. In Wilmoth’s mind, it really is a unique place—a safe haven of sorts. “When you have a sick child and have nowhere to go,and you feel alone, you’re not. We are here for you,” she says.
Kim is inspired by the lives she has had the pleasure of being a part of,even for the smallest amount of time. “The strength and resilience of people who have gone through loss and still have a smile on their face, that is what inspires me,” she says with a kind look in her eyes.“They keep on smiling and giving themselves unselfishly. That type of love for life is contagious.”
To donate to Kim’s charity visit, https://www.fundraise.com/7-most-beautiful-women-inside-and-out-2017/kim-wilmoth
“I have a note on my desk at work that my son wrote in first grade. It says,‘Dear New York, I hope you rebuild your towers.’” Lori Galan-Garcia smiles as she talks about her now 23 year old son. He was diagnosed with Autism when he was in third grade, and is the motive behindLori’s passion for her charity. She credits her love for activism to her dad. “I was always his ride-or-die,” she jokes. “He was always involved with everything and I was always going places with him, so I am sure it rubbed off on me.” She is involved in numerous organizations around town and, even though at times it can be a lot, she knows if you love what you’re doing and it’s helping others,then there is no questioning it.
The Autism Spectrum Resource Center isa charity she holds near and dear to her heart. Her involvement began years ago when her son first got diagnosed, and it has now turned into a passion of hers.“They are a small organization, but they do so much,” Lori says in regards to the center. “They have one walk, and the money raised from that walk is supposed to last them all year, so every bit counts.” She refers to Autism as an extremely hard disability to deal with alone, and is beyond thankful she found this organization when she and her family needed it most.
If there is one thing Lori wishes her involvement with the Autism Spectrum Resource Center would do, it would be to educate others. She describes Autism as avery wide spectrum, and mentions that a lot of people don’t realize those who have it can land anywhere on that spectrum.She tears up as she mentions how helpful it was to have a place like this in her and her family’s life. Her love for her children is what gets her to the end of the day, and it has helped her become the beautiful,strong, caring activist she is today.
To donate to Lori’s charity visit, https://www.fundraise.com/7-most-beautiful-women-inside-and-out-2017/lori-galan-garcia
Anju Ahuja came to the United States 28 years ago. She was submerged into completely new and foreign environments, and she took every challenge she faced head on and with grace. She is headstrong and has an incredible heart. A heart that extends to her husband, her two children, and everyone else she encounters.
Anju began her involvement with the YWCA by joining the Finance Committee, and through the years eventually found herself on the Executive Committee as one of the board members. She has chaired multiple events for the YWCA and has done work with their YWTeen Program. The common thread in each of these positions Anju has held is that she has been driven by the women in these programs.“They learn from me, of course,” she says, “but I also learn so much from them. They broaden my world.”
The YWCA acts as a safe haven for women who need it. They offer programs to help with various aspects of life to help women get to where they want to be. Anju says her own morals and life goals align with the mission statement of the YWCA and that has helped push her passion for the organization even further.
She knows being fortunate enough to volunteer in the first place is an incredible blessing. “The world is not a perfect place,” Anju says, “and I believe instead of complaining, getting frustrated, or overwhelmed,we need to instead try to make this planet a better, happier place by helping those who are in need.”
To donate to Anju’s charity visit, https://www.fundraise.com/7-most-beautiful-women-inside-and-out-2017/anju-ahuja
Susan Klaus is insightful, kind, and cares deeply for the world we are in. “We need to reach outside of ourselves, see the need, and make a good effort to leave our corner of the world with more love than we found it. If we all did that, wouldn’t our world be more beautiful?” Her words of wisdom are astounding, truly. Her worldview is so unique and special.
No day of Susan’s comes without chaos—beautiful chaos. She has been married for 14 years to the love of her life. She has six children, three adopted, two biological, and one (sometimes) foster child. There are two dobermans that roam her house, and she is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of theAgape Ranch.
The Agape Ranch provides high quality foster care in South Texas by supporting and equipping foster and adoptive families. “There was a great need for orphan and foster care here in our community that I was blind to for so many years,” Susan says. “I helped with orphan care around the world, but had no idea of the need that was right here—and once my eyes were opened, I couldn’t ignore it.”
At the Ranch, they are committed to investing in and mentoring the foster children of our community and helping our children here become productive members of the place they are from. Susan’s passion for supporting these children and the foster families has helped bring love and compassion to those who need it the most.
To donate to Susan’s charity visit, https://www.fundraise.com/7-most-beautiful-women-inside-and-out-2017/susan-klaus
Sherry Rumley is just one of those people who instantly touches your soul.Her smile and kind heart light up the room. When you meet her, you can feel the love and grace she exudes. When you speak to her, you can feel her pain,but you can also feel her strength. She is truly like no other—beauty, warmth,a sense of humor, and kindness. She hasn’t allowed the circumstances in her life to define her as a person, and that is beyond admirable.
Sherry and her wonderful husband love their children so deeply. They are her inspiration in all she does. Jack, one of her sons, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth and Sherry, being the woman she is, decided if there weren’t ample opportunities for her son here inCorpus Christi, she was going to make them herself. She had heard of The Rise School in other cities, and began researching their models and structure in order to open one here.
The Rise School is the city’s first and only school in town dedicated to early education of children with and without disabilities in an inclusive classroom setting. With an amazing staff and programs, they set out to truly provide the best possible education to every child, regardless of any disability they may have.
Sometimes the unthinkable happens,and when it does, you have to decide how to deal with it. Sherry’s baby boyOliver passed away not too long ago.The thought of losing such a precious gift is unimaginable for those who have not experienced it. However, Sherry had a decision to make. She chose to use this as motivation and hasn’t stopped working for the cause she has so much love for. She is a beautiful woman, there is no denying, but her soul has a certain kind of beauty—one you don’t find all too often.
To donate to Sherry’s charity visit, https://www.fundraise.com/7-most-beautiful-women-inside-and-out-2017/sherry-rumley
“Happiness is writing your own story.You have to always remember you are the author of your own story. Don’t quit on your story and don’t accept no as an answer.” That is Regina Garcia’s outlook on how to live life and how to live it to the fullest. Her 16-year-old son, Riel, and her husband are her true inspirations, and she credits her time with them as to how she gets through the hard days.
Regina has always had a love for helping others. She was born and raised in Corpus Christi and has a deep and unique love for this community. With that being said, it is no wonder she is involved in so many ways in order to make it a better place. The Selena Foundation has made its way to a special place in Regina’s heart, and she has been advocating for them ever since. She was invited to participate in the Fiesta de la Flor Festival and was both overwhelmed and humbled to see what a great impact Selena made through her music,personality, and her energy. Regina mentions how she loves to see Selena’s legacy be continued through the community giving back.
The Selena Foundation offers the motivation and resources every child needs to complete their education, live moral lives, love their families, respect human life, and to sing whatever song they were born to sing. “Every child has a gift,” Regina mentions, “and they all deserve the opportunity to explore that gift and share it with the world.”
“Be grateful for each of your experiences,” Re-gina says as she ends her wise words of advice. “Use each of the moments in your life, and let yourself write the ending to your story.”
To donate to Regina’s charity visit, https://www.fundraise.com/7-most-beautiful-women-inside-and-out-2017/regina-garcia
There is something about Tina Lain when she walks into a room. Her presence is strong, bold, powerful. She has an authentic personality and is honest with those she encounters. Her husband and three children are the lights of her life, and she refers to them as her all encompassing constant source of inspiration. She stands up for what she believes in and fights for her cause with true zeal.
Her father, or as she refers to him, The Cowboy, once gave her a priceless piece of advice. “Not everyone is going to like you…but remember, not everyone matters.” Tina smiles as she has a bit of a nostalgic moment as she relays this piece of advice, and she wholeheartedly agrees with that statement. Family means everything to Tina. After a family member was diagnosed with cancer and later passed, she used the pain asa beautiful inspiration to get involved with the American Cancer Society.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation. Tina refers to the organization as an incredible and inspiring opportunity to honor those who have battled breast cancer,raise awareness about how others can reduce their risk of it, and to raise money in order to help the ACS fight the disease with research.
Not only does Tina actively play the roles of wife, super mom, and an inspiring activist, she also has a day job that fits quite nicely into her passion of helping others. At her tattoo studio, PinnacleTattoo—which she and her husband own—she has created the business,Gold Dust Cosmetic Tattooing. She helps others feel beautiful again simply by offering cosmetic tattooing which specializes in eyebrows. “Every day we have the opportunity to share our magic,” she says. “My hope is to simply shine so bright others feel my glow.”
To donate to Tina’s charity visit, https://www.fundraise.com/7-most-beautiful-women-inside-and-out-2017/tina-lain