Kris Jarecki  -Member since 11-10-2008

It is pretty tricky to arrange an interview with Kris, as her days are FILLED with service to others. We did have breakfast together at Village Inn, after navigating the street construction to find their parking lot! Street repairs don’t slow this Catholic Daughter down. In fact, not much deters her from her many obligations to her fellow human beings.  Kris is a morning person, thus one day a week she begins her day by ministering communion to patients at Mercy Hospital. She participates regularly in morning Adoration at Holy Family Church. She spends 60-72 hours a week caring for our CDA sister LuanaPaluka, our longest participating member, who at age 94 is now homebound. Kris stays overnight, cooks meals and provides much love and caring to Luana. Recently Kris has given up her Sunday obligation to because she wants to attend Mass with family and spend time with them. She will not be spending quite as much time with Luana, as she has over the past months.

Kris is an active member of Serra Club, the Corpus Christi Parish Rosary Makers and the Holy Family choir. On Wednesday nights she dashes from making Rosaries to practicing with the choir. Even though Kris has night blindness, she fills her daylight hours helping, encouraging and praying for others. She likes to make salads for our annual salad luncheon. She currently provides a home for a dog, a Shih Tzu named Gracie, that she acquired from Mariann Hilderbrand’s pet rescue. She takes Gracie with her to visit Luana, who “Loves to hold the little lap dog and actually thinks she is her dog.” Always pleasant, smiling and joyous, Kris says, “I don’t like negativity, I always keep positive, because being negative just drags yourself and others down.”

Kris Rodriquez (Rod-ree-quez) was born and raised on the south end of Council Bluffs. She graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. She had three brothers and two sisters; six children raised in the Catholic Faith. Kris has lost her youngest sister to cancer and one of her brothers died in a fire. She has been married twice, both husbands are now deceased. She raised six children, all of whom attended Catholic schools all the way up through St. Albert High School. One of her sons died by his own hand at age eighteen and two years ago she lost her youngest daughter to liver cancer. Her sons are all involved in the concrete business and they all live in town, as does her daughter.  Kris has a total of 11 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. In fact, just this past July she added two new greats to the count, Latisha and Johnny. The whole familygathers at her house for Christmas where she “works very hard to provide not only turkey and ham with all the fixings, but many Mexican dishes, (tamales, enchiladas, pico de gallo) as well.” What fun that must be!

Kris always worked two jobs and says she “put in 20 years with the government.” The first 10 years sheworked for the Chamber of Commerce Fair Housing Administrator, then for the Housing Coordinator for the City of Council Bluffs. The next 10 years she served as a paraprofessional in the public schools as an ESL (English as a Second Language) translator for student small groups and helping administrators. She worked in all the schools, including TJ and AL High Schools and Kirn Jr. High. On many occasions she took groups of her ESL students to get their free immunizations, at a CB Fire Station, and then she would take them out for ice cream!  That was “a great incentive for the children to get their shots.”

Kris retired in 2005.  In 2015 she moved into a new home that her son had remodeled. She has done a lot of embroidery work such as pillowcases. She creates oil paintings of landscapes that have received awards, but they are not for sale. She took a photography course and has done wedding and portrait photographs. She enjoys reading religious books such as the one she is currently reading, which is the story of Padre Pio’s life. She likes books about the Rosary, which tell about each of the mysteries. She “passes these out to family and friends.”

These days Kris and her eleven-year-old great grandson Casey (named after her father Casimiro) spend time on the Indian Creek Trail, “hiding under bridges, pretending we are trolls!” They also toss the football around. Since Kris told me she is “proud of her age these days” I can tell you that she is 80 years young. She lights up a room with her smile and her faith journey is inspiring.

Thanks for having breakfast with me Kris!

At dawn, fill us with your faithful love: we shall exult and rejoice all our days. Psalm 90:14