Los Fresnos News

Military Family Grateful for Los Fresnos Hospitality

By Mike Villarreal

In the fall of 2021, Los Fresnos had an addition to its community when a military family of four moved here due to the military obligation of Petty 1st Class Dennis Ebanks as he was assigned to Station South Padre Island. While there, he was with the United States Coast Guard as an XPO for the Aids to Navigation Team.

They moved to Los Fresnos from Sitka, Alaska, which I’m sure was as different as night and day, moving from somewhere as cold as Alaska to Texas’s scorching heat and humidity. At the time, mom Jesselyn and her two daughters Everil and Eleanor (10 and 8) were going into 3rd and 5th grade.
While in Alaska, the girls attended a school near the ocean. During recess and PE, they played in tide pools. They also went on hikes into the mountains, kayaked to nearby islands, and took field trips to local salmon hatcheries.

Returning to a traditional school was difficult, and Everil initially had difficulty adjusting to it as she had always been a very active child. The good thing was that an extraordinary person in Mrs. Aleman, her 5th-grade teacher, listened to the past circumstances and made a great effort to make Everil feel seen and noticed. Mrs. Aleman asked Everil to bring in her school album from Alaska to share with the other students and tell them about her time in Alaska through her eyes.

Everil was also recommended for GT and was able to attend GT camp during the summer. She also noticed that Everil always had a book with her and encouraged her to participate in the AR program. After enrolling, she got her AR Doctorate, which was a first at Dora Romero and was made possible by Mrs. Aleman, seeing her potential and helping her reach her goal.
In the following years, Eleanor had Mrs. Aleman for 4th and 5th grade, which was great since she had always enjoyed the structure and consistency that was provided for her. Like her dad, she loves to have order in her life. Eleanor was interested in being on the student council, and Mrs. Aleman had her be on the student council for both the 4th and 5th grades.

As a direct result of Mrs. Aleman’s encouragement and support, Eleanor joined Reading UIL. She was made to feel not only a part of the class but also a part of the community—that is, Dora Romero.
So now it is moving season for the Ebanks family, and they will be leaving the Los Fresnos community due to a military obligation. Even though the 5th grade graduation had already passed and was a great event, Mrs. Aleman had a surprise in store. She had made a special effort to have all the students sign a decorative poster board telling Eleanor a special goodbye. She also made a blanket with all her classmates’ signatures that said,” WE WILL MISS YOU.”

This gesture was greatly appreciated by mom Jesselyn, who became very emotional at Mrs. Aleman’s unwavering commitment to her daughters. Mrs. Aleman saw what each of her daughters needed throughout their time with her, and the Ebanks family is very thankful for the time spent in her classroom.
To the Ebanks family: It’s understandable that as a military family, time in the communities you move to may feel fleeting, but the memories created will endure for a lifetime.

Even though your time in the Los Fresnos community was brief, please know that you will always be considered part of the family here. While physical locations may change, the cherished memories will remain with you wherever you go. Please remember that the doors of Los Fresnos will always be open for you to visit. Dennis Ebanks’ commitment and sacrifice for his country and family are truly appreciated by all of us.

The Ebanks family will be moving to Williamsburg, Virginia, where Dennis will be an instructor at the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia.
The Los Fresnos News would like to thank Jesselyn Ebanks for sharing her family’s story and wish them good luck in their future endeavors.
Photos by Jesselyn Ebanks

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