GARY HEFNER, general manager at H-E-B, is known as the “Mayor of Magnolia” as he and his family have integrated themselves into the community. After being abandoned by his parents because he developed a serious heart condition at five years old and was flown to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Hefner spent many years living in various homes and enduring countless surgeries.
When he was 11, he was adopted by the nurse who helped him when he first arrived at the hospital. Growing up, his school coaches, teachers and administrators became Hefner’s support system. When Hefner married, the one thing he told his wife was, “We will be involved in the schools whether our kids are there or not. I didn’t have that support and I want to be the person that maybe one kid needs and make a difference.”
Over the years, Hefner has made significant contributions to his community and has dedicated himself to serving and helping others. He has built a reputation in the Magnolia community for supporting students, administrators and teachers by being involved with the district’s teacher appreciation programs, scholarship programs, student fundraisers and more. “If you are at a school event, you will probably see Gary there, too!” his nominator explained in his application. “
As the general manager of [H-E-B], he knows his employees very well and goes above and beyond to help anyone. He has helped several students in tough family situations. He is a selfless, servant leader who believes in making a difference in the lives of our students and the community.”