'Mattress Mack' to headline annual Reagan Dinner

Brian Blalock/ SHSU CommunicationsJim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale addresses students and administrators during a speech at Sam Houston State University last year. The Houston-area icon will return to Huntsville for the Reagan Dinner sponsored by the Walker County Republican Party on Feb. 21.

This year’s Reagan Dinner is poised to be a memorable one, with star power and a well-deserved remembrance taking center stage at the annual tribute to America’s 40th president.

The Republican Party of Walker County and Walker County Republican Women are putting on the event, which will take place Feb. 21 at the Lowman Student Center ballroom on the campus of Sam Houston State University. The evening will begin with a reception from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by the program and dinner.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture and one of the most iconic businessmen in Texas, is set to be the guest speaker.

“I think it spurs some interest with people coming to watch him speak,” said Linda McKenzie, Walker County Republican Party Chair. “In the years we’ve had the Reagan Dinner, it’s not often that we have someone that is not an elected official or political figure, so we’re excited.”

In addition to McIngvale, Congressman Kevin Brady and Representative Ernest Bailes are expected to make appearances.

The dinner will also feature a tribute to Andrew and Ila Martinez, who passed away last year. Andrew and Ila were heavily involved with the Republican Party and community for decades, with both serving as election judges and precinct chairs. Andrew was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Walker County for several years, while Ila helped found the Republican Women of Walker County.

“You kind of forget the impact someone has over time,” said Russell Martinez, the son of Andrew and Ila. “As time passes, those memories fade. I think it will be humbling for our family to know that our parents made such a difference in the party and the community.

“Although we witnessed it, we may not remember it. To have that tribute to remind us of their impact, and all those that helped them while they were in those positions, that’s going to be quite touching.”

Guests attending this year’s Reagan Dinner will be able to park free of charge at the Lowman Student Center parking garage. Those wishing to attend must purchase their reservations in advance by Tuesday at the Republican Party of Walker County headquarters, located at 1201 University Ave.

The cost of a reservation is $50 person. There are also gold and diamond tables available for purchase that cost $550 and $600, respectively, and seat 10 guests.

For questions, call Linda McKenzie at 936-661-5754.

Asst. Sports Editor / Reporter