STEPHEN HEMELT — Families, graduates, artists & entrepreneurs shine in Greater Port Arthur The Magazine

Published 12:10 am Saturday, January 23, 2021

It was a random moment when seemingly through the thousands of Facebook posts that show up randomly that one caught my attention.

It came from Raquel Ochoa and was her reflection on a decision she made years before as a teenager.

Ochoa, co-owner of Golden Port Construction with her husband Oscar, projects confidence and business acumen to those who know her today, yet she said that was not the case when she became pregnant as a 14-year-old in Port Arthur many years ago.

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Yet, she decided to keep her baby, marry her boyfriend and today they have four wonderful daughters.

In her post, she talked about that decision many years ago and how today is has been so beneficial for their special family.

I reached out to Raquel and asked if she would allow her family and their story to be featured as one of our spotlights in Greater Port Arthur The Magazine.

Some of her initial responses showed the gracious nature passed on by her parents and the lessons she and Oscar are instilling in their children:

  • If our story will at the very least encourage one teen mom to keep their baby, it’s totally worth it .
  • Being teen parents made us realize that the best we can give our kids is not just everything we did not have, but to teach them everything we did not know when we were their age. We fully support our daughters and their dreams; they are young entrepreneurs. Both businesses starting amidst the pandemic, they put all their time and energy in creating businesses that will make them grow. Our two younger daughters will sure follow in their footsteps.

The full story is now available in 2021 Volume 1 of Greater Port Arthur The Magazine.

Pick up a complimentary copy by stopping at our office, 2349 Memorial Blvd. in Port Arthur. If you are interested in receiving a 6-edition-per-year subscription delivered directly to your mailbox, call 409-721-2400 for details.

If you have any editorial questions or story suggestions, call 409-721-2445.

The Sabine Pass Lighthouse

Other highlights of this month’s edition include:

  • The Sabine Pass Lighthouse was built in 1856 and its sole purpose was to guide ships to the ports in Jefferson and Orange County. As time continued and technology progressed, the lighthouse became obsolete.

In 2012, restoration began to ramp up with several companies inspecting the structure and laying out a plan and timeline for rehabilitation. Shortly after Andrew Tingler became president of the Cameron Preservation Alliance and the project became all hands on deck.

“Over the last year, we have installed stainless steel tension bands across the top to stop the cracks,” Tingler said.

“We sealed out the water in the interior area at the top. We built a temporary wooden structure. We took out the collapsed interior stairwell after several feet of water from Hurricane Ike rocked the cast iron structure loose. We repointed masonry at the top to preserve the more decorative features.”

Shaylynn Allen

  • Shaylynn Allen joined thousands of proud Port Arthur ISD alumni in style by becoming the fastest to complete the Wilson Early College Program.

The 17-year-old graduated in December 2020 with her high school diploma from the Port Arthur Independent School District while simultaneously graduating Cum Laude from Lamar State College Port Arthur.

Her plans include more education and professional development.

Deborah Mahan

  • When Deborah Mahan was commissioned for a painting at Immaculate Conception-St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Groves, she turned to her normal source for inspiration — God.

Mahan credits the Holy Spirit inspiring all of her artwork and in gaining insight when talking with a client.

Those profiles along with helpful hints about the perfect chocolate to give on Valentine’s Day and a great recipe for chocolate ganache that is easy to make and enjoy at home are included in this special edition. Don’t miss it.

If you have any editorial questions or story suggestions, call 409-721-2445.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at 409-721-2445 or