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Making a Difference

These Women are Making a Big Impact in the Community

Article by Stephanie Hasbrouck

Photography by Dawn Michelle Photography, Liz Haas

Originally published in Cross Timbers Lifestyle

In the words of Dolly Parton, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” This month, Cross Timbers Lifestyle celebrates four women in the community who inspire others daily through their leadership.

Dr. Lori Rapp

Lewisville ISD Superintendent

Dr. Lori Rapp has been an integral part of Lewisville ISD for 26 years. Now she is leading the system for which she has worked for her entire professional career.

“I live in this community; my children attend LISD schools; and there is nothing more important to me than being a good steward of this incredible district,” Dr. Rapp says.

She hopes to cultivate a sense of belonging in all LISD schools. “That means providing opportunities of all types for our very diverse student body, recruiting and retaining incredible staff members by valuing and supporting them and ensuring our families and communities have ample opportunities to be involved in our schools in a variety of ways.”

Dr. Rapp has been praised for her leadership skills and her ability to inspire change in a collaborative way. In 2008, she received the LISD Administrative Support Employee of the Year award. She was awarded a Texas PTA Lifetime Membership in 2019. And she was featured as an Inspiring Leader by the Texas Association of School Administrators in 2021.

Though she is thankful for the accolades, Dr. Rapp says, “The thing I am proudest of without question is my wonderful family. My girls and my husband have supported me with every opportunity that has come my way, and I absolutely could not have chased after the dream of being LISD superintendent without their full support.”

Bobbie Mitchell

Denton County Commissioner, Precinct 3

Denton County Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell has lived in Lewisville for more than 50 years. She knows the county better than most and has seen it grow and change throughout the years.

“I have seen many changes, some good and some not so good, but through it all, God has blessed us to be a place where others are eager to become a part of the community,” she says. “I enjoy the sense of community – the small hometown feel – where you still recognize others at the grocery store,” Bobbie says. “I love it when someone says, ‘Are you Darin Mitchell’s mother or Mrs. Reinacher’s mother?’”

In her role as County Commissioner, Bobbie serves along with the County Judge on the Commissioner’s Court. She has numerous duties from overseeing the management of the County’s budget to the building and maintenance of roads and bridges.

Bobbie says the most rewarding aspect of being a County Commissioner is “being able to make a difference in the community by helping others.” Her work in the community garnered her a Dr. Bettye Myers Humanitarian Award in 2019.

“It is a blessing to serve the citizens of Denton County, and I thank everyone for all of their love and support,” Bobbie says.

Perhaps the accomplishment she is most proud of is her family. Bobbie has two children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“Grandchildren are the ultimate blessing. They love you unconditionally, and if you are blessed like I am, you get to lay everything else aside and give them your undivided love and attention,” she says.

Melanie Vest

President of DATCU Credit Union

Melanie Vest began working at DATCU Credit Union as a part-time teller while she was a UNT student. This year, she became the first woman president of the company.

“It is a huge honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity,” she says. “I know it is very rare to spend your entire career in one place, however I will tell you DATCU is a rare place to work. I have had the tremendous opportunity to work in all areas of the credit union, and this has enabled me to grow my knowledge and experience in learning from mentors before me, as well as those who work beside me today.”

Melanie credits the DATCU community for her success. “While to some it may seem cliché, we are family,” she says. “As soon as I began my career at DATCU, I knew it was different. We do life together. We genuinely care about our employees … We grow leaders. We provide encouragement for our team to learn and grow. I am an absolute product of that system and believe in it.”

Melanie says she is passionate about serving DATCU patrons, as well as the community. She serves as chair of the Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas and is an active board member of Serve Denton.

Melanie is married to Zack Vest and has three children, Ethan, Kailyn and Eli.

Marilyn Lawson

Keep Flower Mound Beautiful

Marilyn Lawson’s goal is to keep Flower Mound beautiful. In fact, she has been a vital part of the Keep Flower Mound Beautiful organization for 17 years. Since that time, she has served as a volunteer, president and treasurer.

Marilyn handles the day-to-day needs of the organization and also helps organize the popular Adopt-A-Spot program, monthly workdays, Lend A Hand Program, community service program and the spring and fall town wide trash events and recycle drop-offs.

The Lend A Hand Program helps local residents who are disabled, elderly or financially unable to maintain their property.

“I oversee this program by meeting with residents in need, organizing workdays for volunteers to help out and finding and scheduling contractors to do repairs that we are not skilled to do,” she says. “We have completed 72 projects over the time we have been doing this and are currently working on two more.”

The community service program allows members of the community to fulfill Honor Society or court appointed community service hours.

“This program was created to allow volunteers to go out on their own to pick up trash anywhere in Flower Mound,” Marilyn says. “The volunteers have removed a lot of trash from our parks, trails and roadways.”

Marilyn was named the Flower Mound Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 2017 and Volunteer of the Year with Keep Texas Beautiful in 2017. During her time at KFMB, the organization has received numerous accolades, including the Governor’s Community Achievement Award and Sustained Excellence Award 2016-2021.

Marilyn is married to Pat Lawson and has a son, Michael. When she’s not volunteering with KFMB, she is a full-time accountant.