Farewell to Steve Hostetler

Steve Hostetler, the president of the Jesse Jones Park Volunteers Board, will step down from the board in August after more than a decade of service. Although Hostetler has served six years as president and four years as 1st vice president, he’s best known as the “concessions guy.”

Thank you, Steve, for all your service! You will be missed.

Read More about Steve Below.

Although heading down a dimly lit forested path only days before Halloween may seem terrifying to some, Jones Park volunteer Steve Hostetler looks forward to the activity every year.

“The first volunteer event I attended was Haunted Homestead, and I loved it,” he said. “Right away, I recognized the importance of the event. Children need a safe space to trick-or-treat, and I wanted to be part of that.”

It was 2007, and his future wife, Jones Park Director Darlene Conley Hostetler, had just invited him to visit the park. A few years later, Jones Park staff were thinking of canceling the festival to give staff and volunteers more time to prepare for Pioneer Day in November. With time, money, and volunteers in short supply, Hostetler volunteered his company, SADL Construction, to sponsor the unique trick-or-treating event, now called Tricks & Treats Among the Trees.

“It’s now one of our most popular events,” he said. “By 2016, more than 3,000 people were attending the event. Attendance went down in 2017 right after Harvey to 2,000. But in 2018, we were back up to 3,100.”

The event marked a new chapter in Hostetler’s life and the beginning of more than a decade of service at Jones Park. A year later (2008), Hostetler joined the Jesse Jones Park Volunteers Board, where he served three two-year terms as president, two terms as 1st vice president, and a decade as concessions captain. In that time, he estimates he’s served more than 10,000 hot dogs.

“I primarily call myself the concessions guy because everyone knows me as the guy who sells hot dogs,” he said.

Marrying Conley Hostetler that year also deepened his love of nature and exposed him to new perspectives and viewpoints.

“Darlene introduced me to the park,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of neat people who are all about nature and Jones Park. I look at the park as God’s creation. He gave us the creek and trees, and everyone here works together to maintain these resources.”

Since then, Hostetler, with the assistance of all the board members involved, has helped expand the JJPV budget and led a variety of park construction projects.

“We had between $7,000 and $8,000 available to us when I first started,” he said. “Over the last eight years, we now have nearly $45,000.”

With Hostetler’s help, the board planned and contributed to the construction of the Redbud Hill Storage Facility, which allowed staff to store boats on site and to offer more boat tours. Plans also include building an office area for volunteers.

“My company provided the building design and project management,” he said. “One of the board’s goals was to have a pontoon boat barn at the park, and I’m glad I was involved.”

Hostetler is now ready to take on a new role as he steps down from the Jesse Jones Park Volunteers Board in August. Although he no longer plans to serve on the board, visitors may still see him volunteering at Tricks & Treats Among the Trees, Old-Fashioned Christmas, and Pioneer Day.

“Fifteen years ago, I never imagined myself volunteering at a park, but I’m glad I did,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful experience.”