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Around Town

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September 12, 2018 - The William Carroll Crawford of the Republic of Texas recognizes events and leaders that helped shape the Republic of Texas as DRT Texas Honor Days. Here are two of those events.

Texian Navy Day - September 15th

In September 1835, the first naval engagement of the Texas Revolution occurred near Velasco. In that engagement between a Texian privateer, the San Felipe, and a Mexican war schooner, the Correo, the schooner was forced to unconditionally surrender, giving the San Felipe the victory. This encounter was a month before the first land battle at Gonzales

Texas Heroes Day - September 18th

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas recognize Texas military heroes of September 18. The DRT has designated this day to honor and preserve the memory of the volunteer soldiers who died defending the Republic of Texas and to pay tribute to the men and women of the military, both past a present, who serve Texas. As for the Republic military, special emphasis is placed on honoring those who died in the Mier Expedition and the Dawson Massacre.

On September 18, 1842, thirty six volunteer Texas soldiers were killed on the field of battle in the Dawson Massacre, a battle that took place near Salado Creek, a few miles northeast of San Antonio. Three survivors escaped to tell the story and fifteen others were taken prisoner by Mexican soldiers and marched to Perote Prison in Veracruz, Mexico.

Center Noon Lions Club Announces 2018 GMC Canyon ext. Cab Pickup Raffle

Lions' Club members gather around the 2018 GMC Canyon Ext. Cab Pickup with Will Blackwell from Raymond Motor Company who supplied the pickup for the raffle. From left: Wil Blackshear, Marco Pallares, Jim Sawyer, Josh Jones, Dan Wilkins, John Jenkins, Alan Ricketson, Joey Lawson, Terry Scull, Clayton Paul Windham, Will Blackwell, Gerald Huddleston, Tim Wulf, Deck Jones, Sammy Arnold, Terry Allen, Dr John Rogers, Luke Motley, Paul Puska, and Walter Bounds. Seated in the truck is John Austin Ford.

September 10, 2018 - It's that time of year again! Members with the Center Noon Lions Club are currently accepting donations for their 2018 GMC Canyon ext. cab pickup fundraiser with proceeds benefiting community projects.

The fundraiser drawing will be held on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at the 42nd annual East Texas Poultry Festival. Donations are $100 per ticket and only 600 tickets will be sold. Tickets are available from any Center Noon Lion Club member. The first ticket drawn will win the 2018 GMC Canyon ext. cab pickup and the next four tickets drawn will receive $250 each.

Through their humanitarian efforts from fundraiser donations, the Center Noon Lions Club locally supports charities, schools, children's eye glasses, children with health problems as well as assisting with the building of baseball and softball fields.

Details regarding the Center Noon Lions Club 2018 GMC Canyon ext. cab pickup annual fundraiser and ticket purchases can be obtained by contacting Tim Wulf, Center Noon Lions Club, Vehicle Raffle Chairman at (936) 598-6333 or

September 10, 2018 - The Gateway to Texas Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas joined the William Carroll Crawford Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas on Saturday, September 8, to start a new year. Chapter President Nolan Sholar, Chapter Secretary Don Casto and Chapter members George Harrison, Leonard Irish, Gene Casto and Sean Martin welcomed guests Parker Garrett and Woody Dorman as they discussed the new year's projects and activities. The SRT Chapter regularly assists the DRT Chapter with the Travelin' Trunk presentations, medallion ceremonies and Honor Day programs. Following their meeting the men joined the DRT Chapter for their luncheon.

The SRT is open to male lineal descendants of those pioneers, male or female, who settled the Republic of Texas prior to February 19, 1846, when Texas became the 28th state. The purpose of the SRT is to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved and maintained the independence of Texas. The Gateway to Texas Chapter meets quarterly. For more information call Nolan Sholar at 936-269-4266.

September 7, 2018 - The Shelby County Sheriff's Department recently had a new flag pole installed on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at the Hurst Street entrance to the facility.

Once the pole was in place, an American flag and Texas flag were raised and are now on display.


September 6, 2018 - Raymond Motor Company honored first responders at a luncheon held at the business' location August 24, 2018.

Representatives of law enforcement agencies, fire departments and EMS were in attendance. Sponsors of the food prepared were Omni Environmental Solutions, Rig Tools/C.H.I., The Catch, Brookshire Brothers, and The Sign Shop.

Door prizes were offered, and when the time arrived Will Blackwell, Dealer/Owner, addressed attendees of the luncheon to offer appreciation and annouce winners of the door prizes.

"More than anything, Raymond Motor Company wants to be a part of this community as a whole," said Blackwell. "It's pretty obvious we sell cars for a living, we'd love to be your car dealer, if you're looking for a GMC vehicle."

He informed everyone General Motors offers a discount to first responders.

Blackwell commenced to drawing the names of the door prize winners and they are as follows: Ricky King, Wade Howell, Cindy Bradshaw, Kevin Windham, and Bobby Smith.

September 6, 2018 - VFW Post 8904 and Auxiliary gathered at the Shelby County Veterans Memorial on Friday, August 31, 2018 to honor those who served in the Iraq War.

From left: Post Chaplain Cynthia Islas and Richard Lundie

Larry Hume opened the ceremony and a prayer was offered by Cynthia Islas, Post Chaplain. Hume remarked on flags being at half-staff in honor of Vietnam Veteran Sen. John McCain who just recently passed August 25, 2018.

"The war in Iraq began March 20, 2003 and continued until August 31, 2010. It's been eight years since the end of hostilities and it is our duty as fellow veterans and citizens to insure this piece of history and sacrifices are never forgotten. And our gathering today is a small yet heart felt thank you for those Americans and Patriots," expressed Hume before introducing guest speaker Sergeant First Class Richard Lundie who served 25 years and 10 months in the military.

Richard Lundie speaks to those who attended the Iraq War Memorial Program

Lundie gave some details about the Iraq war and his experiences when September 11th occurred, "When 911 started I was stationed in Korea. We were going through an evaluation." He recalled being asked 'Did ya'll hear what happened in New York?' saying, " They've hit the twin towers. Next thing you know we've all got on our cellphones and everybody start calling home and find out what's going on." 

"I had about 4 more months left in Korea. When I left Korea to come back to the states, I said well I guess I'll get ready to start on the next rotation. And then the unit I left in Korea, two months later they went to Iraq. I said dad-gum I missed it. That's alright, I said I know I'll catch one of them because the general said everybody going to be involved in the fight." Lundie continued to explain two other times he missed deployments with units he had just left. He then called all of his family members and said, "Ya'll must be doing some serious praying because there wasn't no way I should have missed those rotations. There was no way I should have missed those rotations."

Lundie finished talking about friends of his in the military who did deploy to Iraq and didn't make it back, "You think about the things, the time that you had with them... you remember them." 

He spoke about the family of those deployed, "A lot of people didn't make it back, you know, and all you think about is the love ones; the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers that had sons or daughters who went over there and lost their life. And it wasn't just them, you had civilian contractors too." Lundie finished with a prayer for the fallen who have served our country giving the ultimate sacrifice and for their families.

Sandy Risinger accepts a certificate of recognition to Andrew Broussard, US Air Force, for his service in the Southwest Asian Theater. The certificate was presented by the Shelby County Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8904 and the Auxiliary and says - 'You took Freedom to a distant land and Gave Hope to a World Oppressed. We will never forget your service and sacrifice.'

Hume gave thanks to Lundie and then introduced another veteran, "One year ago when we were here today a young Iraq veteran named Shane Fenley came and joined us. And since that time, one year ago, he has joined our post and become very active, and he now serves as a trustee and our judge advocate." Fenley was then asked, in honor of all those who served in Iraq, to lay the memorial wreath.

Shane Fenley hangs the Iraq memorial wreath.

Hume remarked. "And today we gather to remember our fallen comrades and those who served in the Iraq war, many served more than one tour in Iraq and also Afghanistan, and we've said many many times that sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. Now core members of the VFW post and auxiliary that are hear this morning will never forget or let the general public which is mostly uninterested forget. And now in honor of the 4,486 fallen Iraq veterans and our own Specialist Larry E. Polley, Jr., I will now sound taps."

US Army Specialist Larry E Polley, Jr.

U.S. Army Specialist Larry E. Polley Jr. died in Iraq in January of 2004. Larry graduated from Center High School in 2001 and was 20 years old when he was killed in action. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; killed while conducting a surveillance sweep for improvised explosive devices Jan. 17, when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle struck such a device and overturned north of Taji, Iraq.

Thank you Shelby County!

September 6, 2018 - A huge thank you to the Shelby County Community for throwing a most memorable banquet for Debra Thomas and me! We felt exceptionally proud and elegant as we were the toast of the town. Simply put, we had fun!

A special thank you to those friends who traveled from near and far, as well as those individuals who came back home to celebrate us.

Also we would like to thank Mayor Leroy Hughes for his kind words as well as Mayor David Chadwick and DA Stephen Shires for the proclamations presented to us at the banquet.

And finally, thank you to all who were responsible for the execution of the production of our banquet. Much gratitude goes to Baby Lou Gardner and Claudell Price for lighting the torch and carrying it forth.

Retha Swindell

August 27, 2018 - Built God Tough Roughstock Series Bull Riding will be held at the Shelby County Expo Center Rodeo Arena on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at 7pm.

The Bullriding event is hosted by Still Waters Cowboy Church and includes Mini Bulls and Big Bulls. Riders as young as 9 years old to as old as 30 years old will test their skills.

Free admission to the event and concessions will be available. The Shelby County Expo Center is located at 980 State Highway 7E, Center, Texas 75935. For more information, contact Andy Holloway 903-754-4123.

August 31, 2018 - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service announces that Jheri-Lynn McSwain, Shelby County Extension Agent for Family and Community Health graduated with her Ph.D. in Forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University on August 11, 2018.

As part of her doctorate program, McSwain conducted a research study involving senior adult nutrition and the role a community garden could play in supplementing food assistance programs at the county level through Extension oversight and volunteerism. In addition to Dr. McSwain’s Ph.D., she holds a M.S. in Horticulture from Texas Tech University, M.S. in Education from Baylor University and a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M University.

Dr. McSwain is married to Jimmy McSwain from Center, Texas and she is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Jerry O’Donnell from Copperas Cove, Texas. McSwain is the mother of Rhyan Aljoe of Washington D.C., Ashlyn Aljoe of Lubbock, Texas; and is the step-mother of Hunter McSwain of Center. Her in-laws are Norman and Joyce Hurt of Center and the late Kenneth McSwain.

August 29, 2017 - The 41st East Texas Poultry Festival (ETPF) will be featuring local Creative Arts through the annual Creative Arts Show, sponsored by Scull Timber, along with a Can-A-Rama featuring local canned goods. The Creative Arts Committee has expanded this year’s show to include art, crafts, horticulture, woodworking and metal art along with photography, quilting and canning. 

All creative arts divisions have several classes of judging categories and are open to youth and adults that will be judged in separate divisions. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three places in each category along with a sweepstakes rosette for top point winner in both divisions. 

Creative Arts entries will be on display at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Gym Building on Thursday, October 5 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Here is your opportunity to showcase your handiwork in quilting or canning, horticulture, crafts, woodworking, metal art, photography or display your grandmother’s heirloom quilt. 

Registration packets and guidelines are available at the Chamber office, at the County Extension office’s new location at 266 Nacogdoches Street or For more information, please contact the Chamber office at 936-598-3682 or Jheri-Lynn McSwain at 936-598-7744.