Tag Archive for: #community

Woman of the Year

Woman of the Year

By Saralyn Richard


I found out in April that the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce would be celebrating me as a Woman of the Year for 2023. The announcement, broadcast live on social media, came as a total surprise—overwhelming to this day. The honor entails participating in an all-day video production, inviting family and friends to accompany you to the Women’s Conference (held on September 15), going up on the stage in front of 1500 people to receive the award, and lots more.

As an educator, I always considered myself a star-maker, rather than a star. I revel when my students receive accolades or limelight, but I’m not all that comfortable receiving them, myself. I’ve struggled with the idea of whether I’m worthy of all this attention.

Over the past four months I’ve given a lot of thought to this and similar issues, and I’ll tell you what I’ve concluded. But first, some background. I was born and raised in Galveston. After college and marriage, I moved to St. Louis and Chicago, where I practiced my profession and learned a lot about life. One of the things I always preached to my students was to give back to the communities that they came from. I poured a lot of time and effort and care into the communities where I worked, but, in the back of my mind, I thought, what about Galveston?

When my husband and I were exploring possible places to live in the future, Galveston called to me. I wanted to be part of the community where I grew up. I wanted to volunteer in ways that would make a difference. Fortunately, everything aligned to make that happen, and we moved here in 2005. Since then, I’ve had interesting jobs, met fascinating people, and volunteered here and there in places that stole my heart. I never expected to be recognized—I was happy contributing to my community.

So that brings me to the Woman of the Year award, for which I am eternally grateful and a little uncomfortable accepting. My ruminations, though, have led me to believe that the award creates a valuable opportunity for reflection and evaluation. It has caused me to embrace all that is precious in the way I spend my time, and it’s given me motivation to recommit to my goals and mission, to live up to the standard of those who were honored before me, and to set an example for those who follow.

I also believe there aren’t enough awards given to worthy women. There are so many wonderful angels who give freely of their time and energy to help others. If you are reading this, you are probably one of them. So I want to share my award with you, Woman of the Year. If we all set our sights on making a difference, we can really change the world.

Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, and BOI (born on island), Saralyn Richard, is also an educator whose journey has taken her to schools in St. Louis, Chicago, and all over the country. Her books, Naughty Nana, Murder in the One Percent, A Palette for Love and Murder, Crystal Blue Murder, Bad Blood Sisters, and A Murder of Principal, have garnered many awards, reviews, and fans.

Saralyn and her husband Ed moved back to Galveston in 2005 with the express intent of serving the community by working and volunteering with various meaningful organizations. Saralyn worked for the Galveston Independent School District, the Southern Regional Education Board, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, The Friends of the Rosenberg Library, The Grand 1894 Opera House, and others.

Years ago, Saralyn was a founding member of the Book Nook committee of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce Women’s Conference. The Book Nook is a group of authors who are strategically selected each year to provide mentorship and support for other women who aspire to write and publish books.




by Saralyn Richard


Do good fences make good neighbors? In the past few months, I’ve gained new neighbors on either side of my house. There’s a brand-spanking-new fence between my yard and that of the neighbor to the north. There’s no fence between my yard and that of the neighbor to the south. I love both sets of neighbors. We’ve shared lots of visits in our front yards, several barbecues and parties, baked goods, pets, children, home improvement advice, and more. They may be pine, and I, apple orchard, but I enjoy spending time with them and being part of their community.

Robert Frost’s MENDING WALL is one of my favorite poems. His last line is the source for my opening question. I find a lot of wisdom in this poem:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:

I have come after them and made repair

Where they have left not one stone on a stone,

But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,

No one has seen them made or heard them made,

But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again.

We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

And some are loaves and some so nearly balls

We have to use a spell to make them balance:

‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’

We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

Oh, just another kind of out-door game,

One on a side. It comes to little more:

There where it is we do not need the wall:

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

The same analogy applies to my relationships with fellow authors in The Stiletto Gang. I may be police procedural and they cozy writers, but we have much in common, and we can help each other every time we meet to walk the line and re-build the wall (which might just be the website). I’m grateful for my neighbors, my Stiletto Gang colleagues, and everyone who reads this post. May all your walls be mended, and may all your neighbors be good.

Galveston Author Saralyn Richard

Award-winning author and educator, Saralyn Richard writes about people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools. She loves beaches, reading, sheepdogs, the arts, libraries, parties, nature, cooking, and connecting with readers.

Visit Saralyn and subscribe to her monthly newsletter here, or on her Amazon page here.