Born and raised in a little farmhouse situated on a grass farm somewhere between Blessing and Midfield, Paul Law Piwonka is a near-lifelong resident of Matagorda County’s precinct four.
He was raised in a farming family of 10 children.
“In that family, with nine other siblings, if there ever was a mediator and a peace-keeper, it was me,” said Piwonka.
“I was a nice experience.”
When he graduated Tidehaven High School, he was married with his first child on the way, something that he said ruled out college for him, although he had always wanted to attend.
“I had to go to work and I did,” said Piwonka.
However, not one to shy away from challenges, Piwonka said he realized his dream of attending college later on in his thirties when he worked pushing lawn mowers to feed his family of four all while putting he and his wife through Victoria College.
But with a family to support and a wife who was also in school, Piwonka said it became impossible for both to continue on with their studies so he left school so that she could obtain her degree in nursing.
“But the biggest academic achievements I ever made, which was supposedly impossible, I decided to get into the private college business and I did,” said Piwonka.
He said the biggest challenge in owning private colleges was obtaining the seal of accreditation so that the students could receive federal assistance to attend.
With a driving force in his life of seeking new experiences and to accept new challenges, Piwonka said it is pursuing the less-traveled road of accepting new challenges and unique experiences that “breathes life into him.”
While he owned a business in Austin, he joined a blues band where he played the guitar and took center stage as lead vocalist.
Just before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, Piwonka had left a successful business in Austin to come to the aid of one of his daughters who was dying of a disease.
After seeing her through ordeal, Piwonka said he had come home to Blessing for the first time in many years to regroup and figure out a new plan.
He wasn’t home for long before he hitched up and old travel trailer to his pick up truck and headed toward the devastation of Katrina.
“There were so many people who needed help, and I just wanted to help,” he said.
“Of course I also had to find a way to make a living while I was doing it.”
Once he arrived in Hattiesburg, Miss. He realized the best way he could help the victims and also earn some income was to become a claims adjuster.
So he spent 16 hours a day for two weeks studying inside a Kinkos office supply store to become an insurance adjuster, which he did in the hurricane zone and then returned to Blessing with a new career.
“If I’m anything at all in this life, I’m simply resourceful,” said Piwonka.
Once he returned to Blessing, Piwonka took over the family grass farm business, which was struggling, in a recessed economy. He was able to get it back on its feet before he turned the reigns over to a new manager, only to return again a few years later to help out and get the farm in a good shape to sell.
Piwonka still helps out with the grass farm, and he lives with his English bulldog Bobo not far down the road from the little farmhouse he grew up in.
He was married for 20 years and has four grown children who live in other parts of the state.
“I enjoy being in the country again,” said Piwonka.
“I like the small towns where the people are great.”