Grimaldi's Parent Appreciation Award winner profile: Corpus Christi Flour Bluff's Rene Mendiola

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When Corpus Christi Flour Bluff football coach/athletic director Chris Steinbruck was asked to recommend someone to oversee the school’s athletic booster club, he knew exactly where to turn.

“Rene is always the guy that volunteers to help,” Steinbruck said of Rene Mendiola. “When the position came open, we knew he’d be the perfect fit.”

Mendiola has been a fixture at Flour Bluff since 2011, when the oldest of his three sons played tennis, baseball and served as a flag runner for the football team. Two other sons have played multiple sports for the Hornets, and when Steinbruck approached him about serving on the booster club board, he knew he had to do it.

“I do it because the people on the board when my older boys played at Flour Bluff were tremendous,” Mendiola said. “I thought this is a great way to give back to a school that has been great for our boys.”

With children who have played a multitude of sports – tennis, baseball and football chief among them – working in a leadership role for a booster club without a singular sport to focus on has been ideal for Mendiola. The club supports each of Flour Bluff’s sports equally, and successfully.

“I’m very proud to say that the club has been able to help every team with every request they’ve made,” he said.

This year the club has provided the football team with practice jerseys and gameday shirts, the baseball and softball teams with funds to attend preseason tournaments and the basketball teams with practice jerseys, just to name a few items.

“Our club is able to do a multitude of things for all of our teams,” Mendiola said. “It is very rewarding to help out all of the programs. That’s what we stress. Anything a team needs, we make it happen. Our main goal is to support Flour Bluff athletics and help make all of our sports the best we can be across the state.”

“He is the first to tell our community that we want to be good at every sport and that we want to serve every sport in our program,” Steinbruck said. “I believe that is what has made us a top 25 Lone Star Cup school every year.”

Last year, Flour Bluff ranked 14th in the final 5A UIL Lone Star Cup standings.

Beyond the program’s on-field success, the all-sport approach has also helped Mendiola – and other club members – get to know athletes and parents they wouldn’t normally meet.

“That’s another reason I do this,” he said. “The club helps the volleyball program, and we go to their team parent meeting to let them know we are available. I don’t have daughters, but now I’ve learned about a new sport [to me] and met some of the athletes and parents that I normally wouldn’t have met.”

Through those meetings, Mendiola has become a dedicated fan of every Flour Bluff team. If the Hornets are playing, there’s a good chance he’s at the game.

“I get a big thrill going to the different games and watching the kids play,” he said. “It has been such fun to watch them grow from freshmen to seniors.”

He also enjoys taking part in the club’s most significant event: the rewarding of scholarships to seven graduating seniors who have been multi-sport athletes at the school. Eligible students go through an application process, and admissions officers at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi review the applications – looking at the sports the applicants play, their other extra-curricular activities and academics, and recommend winners. The club does the rest.

“For me personally, this is very rewarding,” he said. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of parents of sports that I have no direct association with. Being able to help make the overall program more successful, that’s what this is about.”

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