Casa del Valle’s Park of the Year award was for the “Small Park” category, which had 11 different parks from across the state competing this year. To be considered small, a park must have 200 or fewer RV sites on its premises.

The VIP La Feria RV Park won the other Park of the Year award for the medium park category. In total, the Texas RV Association represents close to 100 RV parks across the state.


ALAMO — Marie Howard is making the Rio Grande Valley a safer and friendlier place for Winter Texans to visit with her Casa del Valle RV Resort, which recently received the Texas RV Association’s coveted Park of the Year award.

Howard runs the day-to-day affairs at the park at 1048 N. Alamo Road. It serves as a retirement community for its roughly 750 residents who come from across the country to escape to warmer climates during the winter season.

“This award is not just for me,” Howard said, “but for everyone who makes this the greatest resort in the Rio Grande Valley.”

One group of people working to make Casa del Valle a great place to live are the First Responder Program members at the RV park. The program is composed of retired nurses, doctors and EMTs that continue to provide first-aid support for RV parks across the Rio Grande Valley.

“I’m very blessed with having lots of first responders,” Howard said. She noted that the First Responders Program helps boost the morale of its members as well.

“When you use people, and you make people wanted and needed, they’re happy,” she said.

The first responders are all trained in CPR, first aid and the use of automated external defibrilator machines. If there is a medical emergency or concern at the park, there is always at least one first responder on duty to address the issue and provide assistance for the affected individual.

That’s good news for an aging population at the RV park. Howard stated that in recent years the average age of the population has increased steadily. She attributed that trend to many elderly people continuing to work as a result of an economy that has produced poor retirement plans.

For those who did make it to retirement, however, Casa del Valle provides an entertaining respite from the cold winter climates. Some are even happy that the park’s population is getting older.

“It has its advantages, I can outdrive most of the guys here on the golf course,” said Jim Joyce, who at 55 is one of the youngest residents at Casa Del Valle.

In addition to regular golf outings, residents of the RV park also enjoy onsite games of tennis, horseshoes and shuffleboard, as well as activities such as bingo and weekly dances.

“We like to say that if you cannot find something to do, you just are not looking, as we have something for everyone here at Casa del Valle,” Howard said.

For many, the thing that sticks out most about the community is its ordered, tidy appearance.

“We like the cleanliness of it, the way it’s kept up … if we have a problem someone is there, really, pretty quick,” said resident Linda Jensen, who splits her time between Casa del Valle and her other home in Kansas.

Jensen runs a line dancing class for eight hours a week at the park, one of many engaging activities that are drawing people to Casa del Valle.

“I’ve got people moving out of other parks coming here just because we’ve got line dancing all of the time,” Jensen said.