Though neither are Dallas natives, both Padraic and Valerie Dillon now call it home and love their neighborhood and the small-town feel of their community. The couple met in 2017 through their two best friends. “We were meeting friends out on New Year’s Eve weekend, and I really didn’t want to go to dinner,” Pad laughed. “My friend, Tommy, convinced me that I really should go, showed me picture of Valerie, and at that point, I said, ‘When and where is dinner?’ We have been together ever since.”

Pad is originally from the Jersey Shore in the Long Branch and Asbury Park area. He attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and played football there while obtaining his degree in history. After graduating, he went to work for his uncle who dealt with construction materials and mining stone for highway construction. “I worked in operational improvement and then began traveling the country with a sales and marketing position in the company,” shared Pad. “I did this for over three years and eventually moved to Austin to work for a local company that we had acquired. Now, I, along with a partner, own Victory Rock, and we have four active rock quarries with one in Amarillo, two in Dallas, and one in Austin. Our goal is to be the largest limestone and sand and gravel reserve holders in Texas.”

Valerie is originally from McAlester, OK, and grew up in Altus. She attended Oklahoma State University

where she received her bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising. She lived in Oklahoma City for 10 years but traveled to Dallas frequently for work before relocating there in 2001, later moving to Highland Park in 2005. She is now a real estate agent licensed in both Texas and Oklahoma. “I had invested in real estate on my own for about a decade,” explained Valerie. “One day while on a hike with a friend, she mentioned getting my real estate license. I was really against it at the time. I was too busy with the kids and traveling back and forth to Austin to see Pad. She looked at me and said, ‘But you’re already doing it. Everything that you have been doing on your own is what we do on a daily basis. You live in this community, are passionate about real estate, and are already doing it on the investment side.’ I thought about all of this, talked it over with Pad that evening, and decided to go for it! It’s one of the best things I’ve done. I love it and never thought I’d be as successful as I’ve been.” One of the couple’s best memories is their wedding. Before their wedding, Valerie had travelled with Pad, along with his dad and stepmother, to Ireland for two weeks on a driving tour. One of their stops was to Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold shop in Galway. “My father had lost his wedding ring and purchased a Claddagh ring while we were there,” said Pad. “I also purchased a ring, and Valerie got a ring that went with her family eternity bands she wears.” Valerie continued, “The ring was shipped to me, and we

already had upcoming plans to go to a friend’s ranch. They have a beautiful property with a big tree, and we decided we wanted to get married under that tree. We planned our wedding in two weeks. The kids were there, and we were married in a field with 20 people, with Pad’s mom flying in from New Jersey as well. It was perfect.” Being a blended family with three kids, the Dillons and Valerie’s ex-husband all work together to do what is best for the kids. “Their dad lives close by and what matters to us is being there for the kids. We’re not the storybook family with a white picket fence and the ‘perfect’ family unit, but that’s ok. I actually kind of love that. Our kids have a great story.” The three children include Caitlin, Asher, and Emerson, all from Valerie’s previous marriage. Caitlin is 17 and a junior at Highland Park High School where she is a varsity cheerleader, and she has also participated in competitive cheer as well. 12-year-old twins, Asher and Emerson are in 6th grade at McCullouch Intermediate School. Asher plays baseball while his sister is involved with cheer. When asked if the twins get along, they said, “They act like they don’t like each other, but they really look out for each other and have each other’s backs.” The Dillons love their neighborhood and the proximity to local shopping, restaurants, and Katy Trail. “I came from a small New Jersey town that was very close-knit,” explained Pad. “I have the same feeling here. We have great pride in our school system here, and I feel like I get to live my glory days all over again through the kids and at Highlander Stadium. I love going into the barbershop and seeing a picture of my stepdaughter on the wall. Little things like that really give that small-town Texas feel.”