People of the 254

By Emily Ober

There’s one simple word that always comes up when talking about Waco — community. It’s the thing that our city is known for. It’s what brings people here to plant their roots and raise a family. It’s what makes Waco such a special place.

Throughout the year, we share stories of Wacoans from all walks of life but with a city of nearly 140,000 people, every month we wind up with more stories than we can fit into one magazine. That’s why we dedicate our November issue to the people of the 254.

In this issue, we highlight just a handful of community members of the city of Waco. Whether they are born and raised Wacoans or are newly settled here, these 22 people have made an impact — through art or education or medicine or politics or advocating — and Waco is a better place with them.

Andrea Kosar

President and CEO, Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Andrea Kosar is the President of the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a small business owner with a passion for connecting and uplifting individuals, and the small business community. Kosar graduated from Baylor University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She also graduated with concentrations in public relations and education. Kosar’s journey in Waco began at Baylor and her heart for Waco grew when she served as the weekday morning news anchor at 25 News. During her time at Channel 25, she covered weekly stories about all the stellar organizations and individuals who make Waco a great community through a series she created called “Positively Central Texas”.

When Kosar isn’t networking and telling stories of her beloved Waco, she and her husband are sure to be found trying and promoting new local restaurants, volunteering, visiting with family or traveling to be with family in Paraguay.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

I really love Sascee’s Southern Eatery, Tony DeMaria’s, Antojitos CentroAmericanos, Cha Community, Be Kind Coffee, Dulce Encanto, Casa de Castillo, Waffle Chic, La Fiesta and Lupita’s. Please don’t ever make me choose between them!

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

My favorite Waco memory was getting the chance to share my culture with the community at one of the Hispanic Chamber Café y Pan Dulce networking events. My family lives nearly 5,000 miles away in Paraguay, so I cherish anything I can bring back to the States after visiting. At our chamber’s Café y Pan Dulce, I had the opportunity to decorate with tablecloths stitched in the typical Ñandutí and Ao po’i stitching. I was also able to share alfajores and share the little yerba mate I have. It’s really nice that the Waco community shared with me in celebrating my family’s culture.

Camille Wilder

Assistant Director of Community Relations – Cultural Wealth, Baylor University

Camille Wilder graduated from Oral Roberts University with a degree in mass media communications, with an emphasis on broadcast journalism. Her plan was to be a news anchor, but God clearly had other plans. Wilder moved to Fort Worth and worked as an assistant editor for a nonprofit, where she met her husband, Chris. They have three children: her bonus adult son, Addison, bonus adult daughter, Alexandra and their 12-year-old son, Harrison. Her husband accepted a tenure-track position at Tarleton State University on the McLennan Community College campus in their counseling department, which brought them to Waco a little over six years ago.

Wilder has had the opportunity to be a contributor for Waco Moms since moving here in 2017, and a year ago she joined the External Affairs team at Baylor University as Assistant Director of Community Relations – Cultural Wealth. She says the best part of her job is her team and building relationships between Baylor and the Waco community.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

We have such a tremendous amount of incredible local businesses that I love supporting. I can’t pick one favorite. Places you’re likely to see me: Waco Downtown Farmers Market, Da’Shack Farmers Market, Spice Village, Sironia, Be Kind Coffee … I’m all over the place!

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

We were still doing research on potentially moving to Waco, so we took a scouting trip one weekend. I took a picture with my son, Harrison, in front of the Wacotown mural on the side of Fabled Bookshop and Café. Months later we announced our move to Waco on social media with that picture!

Josh Borderud

Waco City Council, District 3

Josh Borderud is the Director of Clinical & Pro Bono Programs on the faculty at Baylor Law School, where he supervises law students serving veterans, first responders and children. For his work, he received the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service at the Supreme Court of the United States last year. In November 2020 he was elected to the Waco City Council.

The son of veterans, Borderud grew up across the United States and Germany. He lived in Bell County for three years as a child when his dad was stationed there. He came to Waco to attend Baylor, where he earned degrees in history and law.

He is married to Jennifer Borderud, the director of the Armstrong Browning Library. Their son attends Tennyson Middle School and plays 7th grade football. Their daughter, a 5th grader at Hillcrest PDS Elementary, is in the school musical.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

Tie – Pinewood Roasters and Shorty’s Pizza: My wife and I often walk our dog down the street to get coffee and hangout at Pinewood. We frequently run into neighbors and colleagues there and we love the vibe.

My friend Joel and I have a standing lunch at Shorty’s Pizza. We love the food and the atmosphere, and we are really excited about the new location coming to West Waco at Midway Plaza on Hewitt Drive.

What is the best kept secret in Waco?

Cameron Park’s California 56 hiking trail.

Carole Fergusson

Executive Director of Keep Waco Beautiful

Carole Fergusson is the Executive Director of Keep Waco Beautiful, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that engages and inspires the community to make Waco a more beautiful and sustainable place to live. With over a decade of experience in both small business and nonprofit, she has created and worked on various events in the Waco community including: the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Floating Mercado, Waco Restaurant Week and the Green Communities Conference. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family, cooking, gardening and traveling.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

When the weather is great, I love to enjoy a glass of wine at the Wine Shoppe patio. I also love Sloane’s for a quiet conversation (and my vise: their Tiramisu cocktail!), or a working lunch at Cha Community — which I cannot get enough of their pork belly bao. And of course, as always, coffee from Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits. I also love a good walk through at Fabled especially when I’m ready for a new book and a new candle, or gift from Wildland. Basically, I try my best to shop local as much as I can!

How do you feel about Waco?

Waco is a growing community that is home to some of the most genuine people. Wacoans (local and new to Waco) are inherently some of the best people I’ve met and time and time again I’ve seen our community rise up for one another. To me, that’s one of the best gifts Waco has to offer that separates us from other cities.

We have a robust community of residents who are constantly trying to make a difference. One of the best parts of my job at Keep Waco Beautiful is getting to know our community through civic engagement and events. I’m constantly blown away by the impact our community has on volunteering and making our city a beautiful place to live, and who are willing to transform our city into a special place for all.

Cory Dickman

Founder of Rogue Media Network

Cory Dickman is the owner and founder of Rogue Media Network, a podcasting, media and marketing company. You have a vision, let Rogue Media broadcast it.

An Oregon native, Dickman moved to Waco to go to Baylor University. He moved back to Waco in 2015 to start Waco Escape Rooms. “As a Baylor graduate, nothing made me more excited than the idea of moving back to Waco to start a small business,” he said.

Now, eight years later, he is a proud husband and father and still wants to help build Waco.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

My wife and I love going to Southern Roots and hanging out eating pizza on their “lawn” in the back. The Southern Belle is hands down the best slice of pizza you’ll eat in Waco.

What is the best kept secret in Waco?

It’s not really a secret, but Texas Music Cafe and the intimate concert venue they have is the best kept secret in Waco for listening to music. Nothing beats the atmosphere and music quality. Plus, Chris Ermoian and his team make you feel like family.

Madison Hardwick

Disability Advocate

Madison Hardwick has lived in Waco all her life. She graduated from China Spring High School in 2019 and went to Austin Community College for two years. At 19 years old, she was diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular disorder called Friedreich’s Ataxia, and it turned her whole world upside down. (“Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) is a debilitating, life-shortening, degenerative neuro-muscular disorder. About one in 50,000 people in the United States has Friedreich’s ataxia.”)

It took a significant amount of time to find purpose and happiness again, but Hardwick found strength in her vulnerability. Sharing her story, finding friends within the FA community and raising awareness for disabilities has brought light back into her life. She also rediscovered her love for reading and spends most of her days with her nose in a book or creating content for her bookstagram (an Instagram dedicated to books, reviews and a community for fellow readers). When not reading, she’s creating bookmarks, stickers, tote bags and apparel for her small business, Madison’s Bookish Shop (@madisonsbookstagram).

Where is your favorite local hangout?

My favorite local hangout is Fabled Bookshop. It’s so cozy and inviting, the perfect place to read and drink coffee!

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

This is where my family is, and there are so many memories wrapped up in this town. My siblings and I spent so much time at the Mayborn Museum when we were little and still enjoy going to the exhibits like the Scooby-Doo one they had this summer just to chase that nostalgic feeling.

Commander Vrail George Jr.

Commander of the Special Victims Division of Waco PD

Vrail George Jr. was born in Los Angeles and moved to a small town in Louisiana for his middle school and high school years. After graduating, George enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served for four years. He was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He and his wife of 20 years, Katrina George, have two sons, Vrail George III, 20, and Vance George, 14. They moved to Waco in 2004 where George began his career as a police officer for the Waco Police Department. George has been with the department for 19 years where he led the SWAT team and now has the privilege of being the Commander of the Special Victims Division. As you can imagine, there is never a dull day.

When he’s not working, George finds peace of mind by spending time outside doing activities such as gardening, wakeboarding and snowboarding, just to name a few. He also values physical fitness, reading and mental wellness.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

Of course, being a police officer, I know many of the delicious mom-and-pop restaurants to eat. A few of my favorites are Sam’s Southern Eatery, Friday’s Seafood, Happy Wok Chinese Restaurant and multiple taco trucks within the city. When celebrating an occasion or wanting to wine and dine the Mrs., I’ll have a nice steak from DiamondBacks. What can I say? I like to eat.

If I’m in the mood, I enjoy having a drink at either Hemingway’s Watering Hole which provides a relaxed lounge vibe with entertainment.

Because I love to eat so much, my final favorite spot in Waco are the running trails in Cameron Park. I enjoy starting my day on the trails before tackling what the city has in store for me.

What is the best-kept secret in Waco?

The best-kept secret in Waco is the organization of approximately 400 personnel and volunteers that work tirelessly day in and day out to provide the citizens of Waco with a safe community to live.

Being an employee in the Waco Police Department can seem to be a thankless job. Still, from the patrol officer patrolling his/her beat to the dispatchers fielding thousands of calls to the numerous civilian team members and volunteers making this machine work, they all do what they do because they genuinely love this city.

If you’re interested in learning the inner workings of the Waco Police Department, I recommend attending our Citizens Police Academy. We also have a robust Victim Services Program with which a citizen can volunteer their efforts to aid victims of violent crimes. We have multiple apprenticeship programs that young adults can take advantage of. Also, we are always hiring police officers. Come be part of a great organization!

Catia Sykora

Co-owner of Waco Moms

Through her passion for helping others, Catia Sykora recently joined a friend on a joint venture called Waco Moms, a digital platform committed to bringing resources to local moms. This passion project has helped Sykora meet the most incredible people and has allowed her the opportunity to serve and give back to our community in ways she didn’t think possible. Sykora’s goal has always been to help people navigate the complex world of buying and selling real estate and she has been a real estate agent with Camille Johnson, Realtors for nearly 10 years.

She looks forward to continuing this work along with giving her best to every person she encounters.

Catia and her husband, Clint Sykora, have been blessed with three incredible children.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

You will always find me and my family at Hecho en Waco. The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is electric.

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

It is difficult to choose one favorite Waco memory, but I would summarize by saying that watching my kids experience all the local traditions my husband once did when he was a child is by far my favorite thing about Waco. Things such as the HOT Fair & Rodeo, Westfest and Cameron Park Zoo.

Katie Snapp

Co-owner of Waco Moms

Katie spent nearly half of her life in Texas and half just south of Washington D.C. thanks her Dallas-born mother and military officer father. She’s always loved tradition and believed in having strong roots, but she was never in one place long enough to form them for herself. Shortly after moving back to Texas where she studied rhetoric as well as art and architectural history at Texas A&M University, she met her now husband, Brody Snapp, who was raised in Lorena, just outside of Waco. The two share two beautiful daughters and as a family enjoy being outdoors with their animals and serving as active members of both the Waco and Lorena communities. Katie believes in serving people well through her work as a Realtor for Camille Johnson, Realtors as well as through her work as co-owner of Waco Moms — ensuring Waco stays a family-oriented community steeped in Texas tradition.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

While I would love to say some elegant or trendy establishment, the reality is that we call La Fiesta and George’s the Snapp family cafeterias. I can’t go either place without the joy of running into a cousin or an in-law. The food is always delicious, and the beer and margaritas are ice cold!

What is the best kept secret in Waco?

Splendid Oaks Chocolates! I am a big fan of dessert and recently went on a food tour of Paris. While there, I had the opportunity to taste the creations of many artisan chocolatiers, several that were said to be world renown and heavily awarded. I was not ashamed to tell them that they were good, but Kevin in Waco’s are better.

Trent Clifford

Founder & Artistic Director of Wild Imaginings

Trent Clifford is the Founder and Artistic Director of Wild Imaginings, Waco’s first professional theatre company. He originally came to Waco in 2012 for his Baylor undergrad but has since graduated with his Master of Divinity from Truett Seminary.

He is a writer as well as a director, with his plays being performed not only in Waco but across the country, and he is excited to have his first book coming out in the spring of 2024.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

Cha Community is my go-to for an afternoon work session, a meeting or just to hang out over boba and dumplings. Not only is it the best boba tea in town, but I love the owners’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. Being able to support businesses that make Waco a better place to live is my favorite.

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

I got married right here in Waco this summer, and it was perfect. Which I’m sure is what everyone says, or at least hopes to say, about their wedding. But my husband and I were surrounded by so many Waco people who I have the pleasure to call my friends. The caterer? A friend. The photographer? A friend. The singer at the ceremony? A friend. The wedding painter? A friend. And the list goes on. It was a special picture of the talent and the love and the support of a community willing to celebrate its own.

Marco Guerrero

Project Manager, J.T. Vaughn Construction, LLC

Marco A. Guerrero, a native of Waco, has made significant contributions to his community through his role as the project manager for J.T. Vaughn Construction, LLC. during the construction of the Baylor University Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center. Guerrero’s journey began in Waco, and his dedication to his hometown has remained unwavering. “Working on this project allowed me to contribute to the growth and evolution of a place that had shaped my own growth,” Guerrero shared.

Guerrero left for Houston at the age of 17 to attend the University of Houston, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in construction management with a minor in accounting. This decade in Houston provided him with invaluable experiences, but it also strengthened his appreciation for the city he would always call home.

In 2019, Guerrero and his wife settled in Forest Hill, Texas. He is happily married to Nancy Guerrero, and together they have a vibrant and joyful three-year-old daughter named Emiliana.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

Huaco Lounge is my go-to spot. They serve authentic Mexican food, and it’s a place where you can experience the true flavors of Waco.

George’s Restaurant is my top pick bar, especially if you’re looking for a game experience and a cold, refreshing drink to complement it. Their delectable dishes and thirst-quenching beverages create a combination that’s sure to satisfy any palate.

What is the best-kept secret in Waco?

The Cameron Park trails are Waco’s best-kept secret. Everyone needs to come out and enjoy the beauty of nature and explore the trails, whether it’s for a run or a bike ride. The stunning views and serene atmosphere make it a hidden gem in our city that’s worth discovering.

Michael Haskett

Kindergarten Teacher, South Bosque Elementary

Michael Haskett was born and raised in Corpus Christi and moved to Waco in 2004 to attend Baylor where she studied English literature and philosophy. She has taught kindergarten for 10 years, the last three at South Bosque Elementary.

Haskett says that she has been blessed with some of the best students and gotten to know so many amazing families through the years. Her very favorite part of being a teacher is the relationships she’s built. “By the end of every school year, we create a little school family. It is such a joy to watch these scholars grow and see their eyes light up when they learn something new!”

Haskett met her husband, Al, a Waco native, in 2011, and they decided to stay in Waco to raise their family. They have two kids, AJ, 4, who attends Pre-K at SBE and Clara, who is almost a year-and-a-half. They love to show their kids what is great about Waco.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

I worked at Sironia through college, so it holds a special place in my heart. I love their food and all of the shopping.

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

For the past few years, we go to the HOT Fair & Rodeo with our best friends and their kids. It has become a fun tradition to ride all the rides and play all the games and then watch the last night of the rodeo. The kids love it, and it is so fun to experience it through their eyes!

Lindsey Yann, Ph.D.

Paleontologist, Waco Mammoth National Monument

Lindsey Yann and her family moved to Waco in 2020 when she joined Waco Mammoth National Monument as the first federal paleontologist. At 8, she knew that she wanted to be a paleontologist, but her guidance counselor told her women weren’t geologists or paleontologists. Her terrible guidance pushed Yann forward into a career she loves. Yann earned her Bachelor of Science dual degrees in geosciences and biological sciences from Virginia Tech before heading to Louisiana State University for a Master of Science in geosciences. She discovered her love for paleoecology (ancient environments), so she headed to Vanderbilt University for her Doctor of Philosophy. She used fossils of camels and mammoths to understand how environments and populations change. After five years as a research assistant in Tulsa, OK., Yann got her dream job here in Waco. She hopes to remain in Waco with the National Park Service for her career and looks forward to getting to know Waco better.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

My son’s favorite places in Waco are the Mayborn Museum Complex and the Cameron Park Zoo, so we are often hanging out there. If we aren’t at the museum or the zoo, we can often be found at local plant sales. I am working on creating a “pocket prairie” on our acre in Speegleville, so I am learning all about the native plants of the Blackland Prairie. I find it much harder to grow here in Texas than in my native Virginia, so I am constantly learning!

What is the best kept secret in Waco?

It might sound silly, but I think Waco Mammoth National Monument is still one of the secrets of Waco. I often run errands in my National Park Service (NPS) uniform after work, and nearly every time someone stops me and asks me where I work. When I tell them about the NPS Monument I usually hear one of two responses; either “I had no idea there was a NPS Park/Monument in Waco”, or “I’ve lived in Waco my whole life, but I’ve just never been to the Monument.” I hope as my career and the site continue to grow, we are able to get out in the community more to bring the site to those that might not be able to visit. We offer guided on-site school groups and distance learning, but I hope we can have a greater presence in the classroom. We are also growing a volunteer program, so there are opportunities for the people of Waco to come and help conduct citizen science or assist with other opportunities. All of these different educational, outreach and volunteer opportunities will hopefully increase the awareness and support of the amazing Monument here in Waco.

Evan Iluzada

Director of Waco Operations, Bridge City Coffee

After receiving his Master of Science degree at Baylor, Evan Iluzada worked for Baylor’s track and field team as the director of operations for 10 years. He traveled with the team across the country to various meets, and everywhere he went, he tried local coffee shops and started developing his coffee palate. Iluzada started roasting his own coffee as a hobby and then joined his college friend in roasting coffee full-time for his business, Bridge City Coffee, which partners with local nonprofits to provide development, support and employment opportunities. He was thrilled to win Roast Magazine’s Micro Roaster of the Year for 2024. Iluzada now provides coffee to cafes, restaurants, coffee shops and individuals in Waco. When he isn’t roasting coffee, he is spending time with his wife of 16 years who is a professor in Baylor’s business school, and their two sons who attend Valor Preparatory Academy.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

My family has spent a lot of money at Slow Rise Slice House. The best part of this restaurant is that our kids can roam around in a fenced space and play with other kids. Meanwhile, we can unwind and have some adult conversations with local beers on tap. When we aren’t together as a family, we often meet there with friends too. I am an extrovert, so I love a space that is built for community and conversation.

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

The Baylor vs. Oklahoma football game at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2011 was unforgettable. I was sitting in the recruiting section near the 50-yard line, as I was working for the track and field team and hosting recruits. Robert Griffin III was our quarterback and Baylor was playing an incredible game against a top five team. The game was tied, and it initially appeared that Baylor was going to run out the clock and hope to survive in overtime. Baylor, led by RGIII, made its way down the field. With less than 20 seconds left on the clock, RGIII rolled to his left, but threw an incredible pass to the right corner of the endzone with the go-ahead touchdown to Terrence Williams. This was the most electrifying play that I have ever witnessed in person that led to the Baylor victory.

Kenna Kilgo

Assistant Director of Junior Tennis, Waco Regional Tennis & Fitness Center

Crawford native Kenna Kilgo attended Midway High School where she won Class 4A singles and mixed doubles titles alongside her brother, Kolby Kilgo. Kenna went on to play for Texas Tech from 2011-15. During her time there, she helped TTU win back-to-back Big 12 Championships in 2012 and 2013 and led TTU to its first Sweet 16 appearance during her senior season.

Kilgo served five seasons from 2018-23 as the Associate Head Coach for the Iowa State tennis team where she was a three-time ITA Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year. She has recently moved back and accepted a job at Waco Regional Tennis Center as the Assistant Director of Junior Development to be closer to family. In her free time, she likes to hang out with her two dogs, Piper and Wabbit, read and enjoy any type of sporting event.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

My favorite place in Waco at the moment is either Revival Eastside Eatery or Pivovar. Both places have an incredible environment whether you’re meeting friends or family.

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

My favorite Waco memory was being inducted into Midway ISD Athletic Hall of Fame with my brother, Kolby. Being able to come back and celebrate with all the people that helped us grow and supported us through our journey was really awesome.

Alexandra Jones Adesina, MD, MPH

Chief Equity Officer, Waco Family Medicine

Although born elsewhere, Alexandra Jones Adesina consider herself a Waco native. She has vivid memories of seeing “Jurassic Park” in Richland Mall, people watching at Lake Air Mall and swimming lessons and Kiddie Land at Lions Park. After high school, Jones went to San Antonio for college, then Chicago for Teach for America and stayed for medical and public health school at Northwestern University and Lancaster Pennsylvania for family medicine residency. When she returned to Waco with her husband, Dr. Rotimi Adesina, in 2019, she was amazed that Waco had struck a magical balance of being the Waco of her childhood and being excitingly new. Waco’s rich sense of community has made it ideal for Jones and her husband to raise their three children while also pursuing her career goals. Currently, she is the inaugural Chief Equity Officer at Waco Family Medicine to focus on health outcomes for patients as well as staff thriving.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

Thrst Coffee Shop is my absolute favorite place to hang. Owners and baristas, Andreas and Bianca Zaloumis, have created the perfect, moody hangout where it’s easy to know or get to know everyone there. And the coffee is as great as the company.

What is the best kept secret in Waco?

The community of people who increasingly desire to make Waco a great place for all people to live and thrive. I’m humbled to be working and collaborating with many community leaders to understand and eliminate barriers that preclude all of us from thriving. I’m grateful for the ways that the Waco and Cooper Foundations continue to support learning about equity. And I’m hopeful for the ways that our collective collaboration will make positive impact.

Marci Jobson

Soccer Coach, Warrior Way

Marci Jobson’s journey to Waco was shaped by a remarkable opportunity at Baylor University. Jobson had the chance to lead the women’s soccer program at Baylor, which was an exciting prospect. The move, however, was a family affair. Marci and her husband, Paul Jobson, joined Baylor together, with Marci as the head coach and Paul as her dedicated assistant. As their family grew, Marci took on the role of assistant coach, allowing Paul to step into the position of head coach while she shifted her priority to their four young boys.

During their 14 years at Baylor, they won three Big 12 Championships, made two appearances in the Elite 8 and reached the Sweet 16, leaving a lasting mark on the women’s soccer program.

The decision to stay in Waco was driven by a sense that they could make a difference beyond the soccer field. Jobson and her husband established Warrior Way Soccer and Warrior Way Gives, organizations that merge faith and sport, making a positive impact on others.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

I love coffee — For Keeps is my spot!

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

Birth of my children — all in Waco at Hillcrest.

Ryan ‘Slim’ Thompson

Pastor, Mosaic Waco

Ryan ‘Slim’ Thompson came to Waco for love. In 2006, he had recently graduated, and his wife Kristen Thompson had one more year at Baylor. They stayed until she graduated then moved to Asheville, North Carolina while Slim did seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary Charlotte. In North Carolina, they kept feeling the magnetic pull of Waco drawing them back. They loved that it was a city where you could raise a family, start something new and be close to just about anywhere in Texas. In 2012, they moved back, and Thompson pastored at a local church before starting a new church called Mosaic Waco in 2019. They’ve recently grown to love those shedding light on some of Waco’s checkered past, like Chris Charles Scott’s “What About Waco” film highlighting both the beautiful and broken parts of Waco’s history.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

It’s hard to pick. Cha Community, Thrst Coffee and Bridge City Coffee Roastery & Brew Lab.

What is the best kept secret in Waco?

Waco Family Medicine. Amazing people, mission and affordability.

Malcolm Foley, Ph.D.

Pastor of Discipleship at Mosaic

Malcolm Foley came to Baylor to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in religion, focusing on the Reformation and the early church. Over time, that direction changed to the Black Protestant response to lynching. While on this journey to become a historian of racial violence and Christianity, Foley and Slim Thompson were able to plant Mosaic Waco. Foley has stayed in Waco for two reasons: first, his continued love for working at Baylor as the special advisor to the President for equity and campus engagement. Secondly, Mosaic.

“It’s a space where I can confidently tell the people of God what Christ requires of us: that we seek and reveal to the world the alternative social, economic and political community known as the Kingdom of God. These are rare opportunities that I merely seek to be faithful with!”

Foley is writing a book for Brazos Press, tentatively titled “Children of Mammon”, arguing that the only truly antiracist Christian communities are those that resist greed and economic exploitation.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

Dichotomy Coffee.

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

The ceremony surrounding the memorial of Jesse Washington’s lynching. Our relationship with history must be one that fundamentally and constantly returns to reckoning, repentance and reconciliation. As the site of one of the most brutal spectacle lynchings in American history, Waco has begun that work.

Kristine Koehn

Host of “Purpose Driven Sobriety” Podcast

Kristine Koehn is a grateful alcoholic. Her dad was transferred from the Dallas area to Waco in 1982, when she was 13 years old. Koehn has worked as a Mortgage Banker in Waco for 25 years, but her life passion is addiction recovery. On March 14, 2012, God showed up in a big way and saved her life.

“He saved me from myself.” Koehn says she finds complete joy in carrying the message of hope to the person who still suffers from addiction. In March of this year, she started a podcast called “Purpose Driven Sobriety”, that is doing amazing things. The podcast is not only reaching fellow addicts/alcoholics, it is also reaching the people that love an alcoholic/addict and shedding more light on the disease of addiction, and for that she is eternally grateful Koehn’s dream and is to someday have an addiction rehabilitation location for women.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

I am not a huge shopper, but I do love me some Spice. I love just walking up those stairs and knowing I am going to see (and buy) some unique things.

What is the best kept secret in Waco?

The recovery community. There are many individual meetings available in the Waco area, but we are one community of support. It is beautiful.

Major Wende Wakeman

Major at Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers

Wende Wakeman was born and raised in Sulphur Springs, Texas. She grew up riding horses, and as the grandchild of a dairy farmer, Wakeman learned the management and care of the animals on the family farm. She graduated from the 1994 class of the Sulphur Springs Wildcats, where she lettered in cross country and track. She attended Texas A&M – Commerce, then the Texas Department of Public Safety Training Academy in Austin in 1998.

Wakeman has had the opportunity to live all over Texas, allowing her to make friends, meet new people and serve those within the state. She has many accomplishments within her career, but in 2023, she made history by becoming the first female Texas DPS Texas Ranger Major in department history, currently serving as company commander of Company “F” in Waco. Wakeman is ecstatic about learning more about Waco and Central Texas while continuing her passion by serving in law enforcement. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, going to concerts and traveling. She has two adorable dogs, an English Bulldog and a Chihuahua, who are her world.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

Buzzard Billy’s is one of my favorite local places to hang out and eat. I go there every time I come to town because of the incredible atmosphere and great food. I recently discovered Jake’s Texas Tea House on Austin Avenue and loved the food there also. The décor is very unique, and the people who work there were very friendly and accommodating. I’m just getting started in Waco, so if you ask me that question again in a year, I’m sure I’ll have a ton of places to add to this list.

How do you feel about Waco?

I love Waco! I have never lived here before this assignment, but I have spent a lot of time in Waco over the years, with the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum located here. Waco seems like an enjoyable town, and I look forward to getting immersed in the Waco culture and making new friends.

Grant & Madison Prewett Troutt

Madison: Author, Speaker & Influencer
Grant: Young Adults Pastor, Harris Creek Baptist Church

In October of 2022, Madison Prewett Troutt married her husband, Grant Troutt, then moved to Waco and Grant went on staff at Harris Creek Baptist Church as the Young Adults Pastor. She works from home as an author, speaker and influencer. Recently, Prewett Troutt released her second book, “The Love Everybody Wants”. This book is meant to show you that the love you’re looking for is already yours and it’s found in a relationship with Jesus. She started writing this book when she was single and living in Dallas and was able to write it through seasons of singleness, then dating Grant and getting engaged, and finished the manuscript about two months after getting married. It covers topics like singleness, shame and rejection, red flags, dating well and more. You can buy it anywhere books are sold. Grant and Madi look forward to continuing to plant roots in Waco and do ministry together.

Where is your favorite local hangout?

Grant and I love to go out to Lake Waco to walk or watch the sunset. It’s one of our favorite date night spots! I also love going to Magnolia when friends come into town for just for a fun afternoon.

Describe your favorite Waco memory.

One of my favorite Waco memories so far was hosting a release party for my new book, “The Love Everybody Wants”, at my favorite coffee shop, For Keeps Coffee. It was so special to celebrate such a big moment with some of my closest Waco friends as well as out-of-town friends and family.