City Faces in Different Places

By Julie Perine on September 13, 2020 from City Faces via

Today's Bridgeport City Face is Hilary (Blankenship) Gonzalez. Meet her here! 
How long have you lived in Bridgeport? If not a lifelong resident, tell me what brought you here.
I consider myself a lifelong resident. I was born in Fairmont, but my parents moved to Bridgeport in 1976 just in time for me to start the 1st grade at Simpson Elementary School.
Are you married, have kids? Tell me about your family.
I am single and live in Bridgeport. My parents Bonnie and Larry Blankenship retired a few years back and now reside in Palm Coast, Florida. My children’s father and former husband of 20 years Dan Gonzalez and his fiancé Donna live just minutes away from my parents in Palatka, Florida which is nice. My oldest son, Nathan now resides in Baytown, Texas with his fiancé Nicole along with my first and only grandchild Emilia Juliet (the love of my life). Nate has started a wonderful career with Xfinity, a branch of Comcast. I was blessed with 18 years of our youngest son’s life, Noah Victor Gonzalez, BHS class of 2017. He is now waiting for all of us in Heaven.
What about pets?
Oh yes. I have a Bichon named Buster and he is the center of attention at my house. He was also a gift to Noah in the 3rd grade, so he is getting up there in years but still adorable as can be and very near & dear to my heart.
Where do you work and what do you do there?
I am blessed to have the position of Real Estate & Closing Manager for Kaufman Realty & Auctions where I work as a realtor but also manage our team of realtors along with the real estate and auction closings for our West Virginia office.
What are your hobbies/favorite past times?
With the amount of hours I work, I really do not have much time for hobbies, although I did love my Yoga class that went sideways with the whole Covid pandemic and I just bought a mountain bike, so we will see where that path takes me. But my favorite time is spent with four of my BHS classmates Staci Unger, Brianna Cain, Donna Mitchell and Carey Heslip. We all graduated together and with the lack of family in this state, they are my people, my “Rocks." 
Favorite Bridgeport spot? 
Although, my kids are obviously no longer playing sports in Bridgeport, I would have to say Wayne Jamison Football Field. There is nothing like sitting under the lights, hearing the Tribe roll through the metal tunnel and onto the field for a Friday night football game with the mighty Indians. Boy, I miss those days when my boys were on the field and my heart goes out to all of the parents and students dealing with the unknown of school, athletics and other extracurricular activities, especially the seniors.
What do you like about Bridgeport … why is this a good place to live?  
Oh that’s easy. The community. Being is a place of fellowship, commarderieand solidarity that just becomes part of you as a resident here.
One – or more – of your favorite memories of something that took place in Bridgeport ...
I could never pinpoint a favorite moment, per se, but watching my children play sports or working the concession stands and the bonds with the parents all hold a very special place in my memories. Then there was the very first Light up Night, standing in front of the Christmas tree in front of the Civic Center, the children’s choir singing and the skies opening up with huge fluffy snowflakes pouring down on us all was as if we were in a Hallmark movie. Now that was a great memory.
What is your favorite WV spot outside of Bridgeport?
I do not necessarily have a favorite spot but any river. I love camping or floating on any WV river.
How about your favorite place outside of WV?
That would have to be either Baytown, Texas or Palm Coast, Florida, simply because of my family, but I have been known to say Disney World is truly my favorite place on earth. I love the magical-ness - if that’s a word - and the faces of the children.
What are some of your favorite things?
I am not much into things per se… Now people, I love people and love meeting new clients and their families and then to find them a house for them to call home. Now that is probably one of my favorite things, well 2nd to Facetiming with my son and granddaughter, Emelia!
I don't really have a favorite. I like to support them all.
Favorite color?
Eh, I do not have one
Music genre/artist?
Again, I really do not have a favorite. I really like most all genres. As a matter of fact, a friend walked through my living room a few weeks ago and was surprised to hear Alexa belting classical music throughout the house.
What is your best childhood memory?
Trips to Disney World with my family or our many Myrtle Beach vacations rank pretty high in the memory bank. I also have a lot of fond memories of the slumber parties we used to have as kids.
Interesting fact about you and/or something you would like to add…
I am honored to hold the new position of Treasurer for the ABB, Associated Businesses of Bridgeport. We are currently preparing for the Scarecrow competition on Main Street in October and we are working together on a plan for Light Up Night. Light Up Night is such a special and important event in our community that we are not willing to skip it, even for one year. At this point we are not yet sure exactly what it will look like this year but together we will do our best to provide a special night for our community. That is a promise.
Editor's Note: Hilary is pictured (from top) with her parents; son Nathan and his fiancé Nicole with Emilia Juliet; son Noah and "her rocks" Staci Unger, Brianna Cain, Donna Mitchell and Carey Heslip.

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