Amid the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, a single mother walked into Iron Horse RV in northeast San Antonio one day in April looking to have roof repairs on her trailer performed. She had been given notice to remove her unit due to its condition. Forced to use a tarp to cover her home, it was deemed unsuitable to stay on the premises.
When owner Daryl Waldrop learned of her plight, he asked friend Jason Banis of Banis Towing to check it out. Donald Banis and family had been helping truckers at five different truck stops in the San Antonio-Seguin-New Braunfels area providing 200 Bill Miller Bar-B-Que poorboys, chips, Nutty Buddy bars, water and Coke.
“How bad is it on a scale from 1 to 10?” Waldrop asked.
“It’s a 12,” replied over the phone. Banis towed her trailer from the southside about 20 miles away to Iron Horse RV.
“The roof was in terrible shape,” Waldrop said. It was “caved in so far that one slide-out wouldn’t come all the way in” and it had to be towed “with the slide-out sticking out about a foot.”
The entire RV was inundated with mold and mildew. It was obviously dangerous and unlivable.
“I didn’t know the trailer was that bad when we started this venture,” Waldrop explained. “She was down on her luck. She didn’t have a job and I just felt that I needed to do something. And that was before I knew she had a little girl. Then I thought, ‘Well, I have to do something now.’”
Iron Horse RV employees jumped to the challenge and began repairing and updating a trailer Waldrop had on their lot.
“All my employees pitched in and some of them brough her new appliances, some of them got her gift certificates, contributed money. An employee’s mother bough her groceries and loaded up the refrigerator and the cupboards, and they gave her $150 cash. It was a snowball effect—was it ever!”
San Antonio Foam Fabricators’ Jeff Jones donated foam for the girl’s bed. Other businesses came aboard donating a new mattress, towels, bedspreads, linens and decked out the inside.
“It was beautiful,” Waldrop commented.
Banis helped the mother kennel their dog through a family friend at no cost.
Through Facebook, Banis raised $7,000, equivalent to a full year’s rent for the mother and daughter to live at the RV park.
Steve Babinsky of Midtown Motor Company in San Antonio donated a car for the cause, after learning their car was in very bad shape.
“From just hoping someone fix her motorhome…turned into something much bigger and way more special to so many people,” Banis said. “It just runed out so phenomenally. I would do it over and over again every day if I could for somebody in need.”
On April 28, many of the almost 30 people involved in just the week long process presented the mother and daughter with all the donations. Other contributors included Mission Wrecker, Alanis Wrecker, Richard’s Towing, Creswell’s Wrecker Service, PICK-N-PULL and McIntyre Wrecker.
“There was not a dry eye the day we gave her the new RV and car,” Waldrop said. “It was pretty special. When I saw that little girl and that mom and you saw what they were going through, you saw their faces, you knew that they needed help.”
“They were a family that really needed the help. And when I see somebody like that, you just do whatever you need to do to take care of them,” he continued. “Just seeing their faces changed made it worth it. They went from heads hug low and sad, to heads high and smiling. It might have just changed their life.”
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.