Our club inducted two more Rotarians into the Grove of Honor. 
The Mesquite Rotary Club inducted two outstanding citizens into the Mesquite Rotary Grove of Honor at the site in DeBusk Park, adjacent to the Kidsquest playground, on November 7th.  Former Mesquite Managing Director of Community Services Valerie Bradley was inducted posthumously for 2020, and Whataburger of Mesquite owner John Heiman, Jr. was inducted for 2021 as the club began to catch up after the pausing of inductions during the pandemic. 
The club established this award in 1999 in order to provide a vehicle for honoring Mesquite citizens who have demonstrated a commitment to serving our community, an overall public spirit, and whose efforts have materially benefited our city and/or its people. Trees are planted at the site in honor of each inductee, and their names are added to the plaque at the site for all to see.
Past honorees at the Rotary Grove of Honor include the late Dr. Jack Nelson, the late Len Gibbens, the late Dr. Ralph Poteet, the late Anne Poteet, Evelyn Williams, the late James Folks, Gary Bingham, the late Oran Bain, the late Briggs Todd, the late John Heiman, Sr., the late John Bass, the late Nancy Upton, Dr. James Griffin, Bennye Rice, David Belt, Dr. Byron McKnight, Dwight Hawkins, and Dr. James Terry.  The Grove of Honor selection committee this year included chair Vince Falsarella, Lindsay Paris, Raymond Rivas, and Evelyn Williams.
Valerie Bradley was a Texas native who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University in College Station.  She began her career in local government administration with the City of Southlake in 1997, rising to the position of Assistant to the Director of Public Works.  She began working at the City of Mesquite in 2004 as an Assistant to the City Manager.  She also served as Director of Housing and Community Services, and then as Managing Director of Community Services until illness brought her retirement in 2019.
She was active in professional organizations such as the Urban Management Assistants of North Texas, the Texas City Manager’s Association, and the International City Manager’s Association.  Through programs and projects of those organizations, and through her work in Mesquite, she became a leader in educating all on the importance of ethics, leadership development, and mentoring within that profession. 
She is perhaps most remembered for organizing Addressing Mesquite Day, which has impacted over 1,000 elderly or disabled residents in Mesquite over the years.  She was also a dedicated Rotarian who embodied the Rotary motto of “service above self” through her work on the Rotary Club’s annual Rodeo Road Rally Bike Ride, leading the club’s scholarship committee, and other activities.
John Heiman, Jr. is well known as the leader of Whataburger of Mesquite, where he has been working for almost fifty-five years.  His family built the first Whataburger in Dallas County in 1969 when he was a senior at Bryan Adams High School in Dallas.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist College, with three years sandwiched in at Baylor. He finished college while working fifty hours a week in the Kearney Road store making Whataburgers.
During his career, he has had the opportunity to work at the high levels of a small business and to see the effects local governments have.  For that reason, he was able to get elected to the Mesquite City Council where he stayed for seventeen years, trying to make life better for small businesses and the great people of the city.
For fourteen years, he served on the Regional Transportation Council, the most important mobility body in North Texas, building over $30 Billion of roads during his tenure. Two of those years were spent as a member of the prestigious North Central Texas Council of Governments Executive Board. 
John has been an important part of the Mesquite Rotary Club for many decades.  He served as the club’s president in back in 1989-90, and has always played a thoughtful, leading role in keeping the group focused on their goals of service to the community and its needs.  He has also always assured that Whataburger of Mesquite has given unparalleled, important support to their annual fundraising bike ride.
In his spare time, John is a professional musician, photographer, videographer, and computer programmer.  He describes himself now as “A Life Long Learner.”  While he has no plans for retirement, he has a close group of people dedicated to carrying on the day to day operations of the business, which allows him to keep serving the business and community in different ways.