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Around Town

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December 30, 2015 - Twice in one week, the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department felt the pain of losing a member of their family. On Monday, December 28, 2015 firemen and fire trucks from around the area once again came together to bid farewell to a comrade, Elmer Mathews, Assistant Chief and Training Officer.

Mathews was a founding member of the Joaquin VFD which was organized on March 8, 1973. He served as Fire Chief from 1977 until 1987 and from 1993 until 2000.

Mathews was honored, along with recently fallen comrade Mike Wood, at the Joaquin VFD Christmas party where he was one of four to be inducted into the Class of 2015 Wall of Honor.

Shelby County Today had the honor of featuring a story in 2014 in recognition of Mathews celebrating his 80th birthday.

Related article - Elmer Mathews Celebrating His 80th Birthday

December 30, 2015 - It was a magical night as 'Musical Expressions of Christmas' was presented by the Pineywoods Harp Ensemble and Fourte Cello Ensemble at Tenaha First Baptist Church on December 14, 2015. Delta Gamma sponsored the two groups from Project String Power, Inc. for their December meeting and invited the public to enjoy the beautiful Christmas sounds. Many attended and enjoyed the delicious refreshments afterward.

Delta Gamma is the the local chapter of key women educators from Shelby, Sabine, and San Augustine counties which belong to the Texas State Organization and The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

December 29, 2015 (Album) - Shelby County 4-H clubs and projects collected and delivered nonperishable food to Shelby County Outreach Food Pantry on Tuesday, December 15th. 4-H members, parents, County Judge Allison Harbison and Commissioner Travis Rogers presented Sherry Harding with Shelby County Outreach Ministry’s Food Bank with over $1,400 of food items. Mrs. Harding expressed her appreciation to the group stating that the food will go to supply the Meals on Wheels program. Lane Dunn, county Extension agent, was very excited with the turn out and participation of youth and parents in support of this community service project. Shelby County is a great place to live!

If you would like to participate in this project or any other 4-H project in Shelby County, contact Lane Dunn, County Extension Agent – Ag/NR at 936-598-7744 or email at

December 29, 2015 - I would like to thank Dellinger’s Store and Trees for the beautiful Christmas tree that they donated to Shelby County.

Dellingers has donated the tree for the courthouse for many years and this year’s tree was the fullest and prettiest one yet. Thank you for being such a wonderful part of our community and thank you for the beautiful tree. We appreciate Dellinger’s support and acknowledge their contribution to the county during this most blessed Holiday Season.

December 28, 2015 - This Christmas, Santa had some new helpers thanks to the Center Police Blue Santa team which delivered gifts to over 60 children through out Shelby County including children who were on the Shelby County Outreach Ministries' Angel Tree. The training room at the Center Police Department was over flowing with gifts waiting to be delivered.

Family members of patrol officers, dispatchers, as well as other volunteers assisted in wrapping the gifts which were delivered on Christmas eve.

This was the first year for the Center Police Blue Santa Project to assist Santa.

Facebook Thank You post - Thank you to everyone who helped the Center Police Blue Santa Project 2015. We were able to provide gifts to over 60 children this Christmas!!!!!! Lots of people to thank and let me assure you that we could not have done it without you!! From the sponsors, the little elves that helped us wrap the gifts, and the people who helped us find children, we appreciate you all!! You each played a very important part in making this happen and you made a difference to a child. God is great! Merry Christmas to you all!!

December 22, 2015 - Fire departments from the area attended the funeral of former Fire Chief Mike Wood on Monday, December 21, 2015 along with a many others to bid him farewell and to give condolences to Wood's family.

To honor Wood, fire trucks from Joaquin, West Shelby, Timpson, Tenaha, Center, Carthage and Logansport were part of the funeral procession as well as staged along the route to Truitt Cemetery. Center Fire Department and DeSoto Fire District 1 of Logansport were positioned at the turn-off of CR 3173, Truitt Cemetery Road, with their ladders extended and an American flag suspended between the two. Carthage's ladder truck extended an American flag over the exit to the funeral home.

According to Wood's obituary, he held many titles during his life, such as cattle farmer, teacher, fireman, Mayor, and more. He was a science teacher for over 30 years, having taught at Chireno ISD, Joaquin ISD, Carthage ISD and Panola College. Wood was a member of the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department for 41 years and an instructor at Texas A&M Fire School for over 15 years. He was former Mayor and City Councilman of Joaquin, former song leader at First United Methodist Church of Joaquin, bagpiper, President of Truitt Cemetery Association, President of Joaquin Alumni, member of Joaquin Masonic Lodge #856 and Past President of Sons of the Republic of Texas.

December 23, 2015 - Center Christian Academy staff, students, and families joined forces with Shelby County Outreach Ministries (SCOM) this holiday season.

During the Thanksgiving holidays, food boxes were decorated, filled, and delivered to the Helping Hands Outreach Center to be distributed to shut-in senior citizens across the county.

This past Thursday, we filled 25 Christmas stockings with toiletry and household items to once again be distributed to our shut-in senior citizens.

The holiday season provides wonderful opportunities to help those in need, and CCA appreciates the compassion and generosity expressed by our school families!

Lakeside Assisted Living

December 22, 2015 - The Joaquin 4-H delivered Christmas gift bags to the local nursing homes on Sunday, December 20th.

4-H students Carsen Vickers and Collin Vickers presented Holiday Nursing Center, Green Acres of Center, Pine Grove Nursing Center and Lakeside Assisted Living each with a gift bag containing books, blankets, games and Christmas cards. The facilities expressed appreciation for the bag of goodies and said they would pass them along to their activity directors.

Tara Permenter, Club Manager, said this is their first year giving the gift bags and it is something they hope to continue. This is Permenter's first year as a 4-H club manager and she plans for the club to have more community related activities in the future.

Holiday Nursing Center

Green Acres of Center

Pine Grove Nursing Center

Harold Hanson leads members and guests in Christmas carols

December 22, 2015 - President Joe Anderson called the Golden Harvest Ministries Club to order on December 21 which was the first day of winter, but felt like a warm, rainy spring day.

(Right) Bro. Carl Smith installs new officers including Joe Anderson (left) as President.32 members and guests enjoyed a delicious lunch of holiday favorites. Harold Hanson led members in singing Christmas carols which created a festive atmosphere at the beginning of Christmas week. Members with December birthdays were recognized: Linda Bordelon, Blanche Haley, Margaret Robertson, and Janette Wittmann. Walter and Ellen Manning celebrated a December anniversary.

Visitors were Sharon McCoy (daughter of Helen Collard who was visiting from Atlanta) and Leigh Porterfield. Program Chair Linda Anderson recognized special guests of the media for informing the public about programs and activities of the club. They included Seve Snyder, The Light and Champion; J.J. Ford, Shelby County Today; and Rob Payne, Center Broadcasting.

Carl Smith installed the 2016 officers:

Photo from left: Linda Bordelon, Reporter; Ellen Manning, Secretary; Helen Collard, 2nd Vice President; Linda Anderson, 1st Vice President; Joe Anderson, President; and Carl Smith. Not pictured: Betty Green, Treasurer, and Melba Coleman, Historian.

The program ended with prayers for our sick in the community and members singing "Silent Night."

Linda Bordelon, Reporter

December 22, 2015 (Album) - Hundreds of children attended the Center First United Pentecostal Church (FUPC) Shelby County's Ultimate Christmas Party on December 12, 2015 beginning the holiday with a filling meal and gifts.

Center FUPC, in conjunction with the Shelby County Attorney Toy Drive, host the event annually and this year had around 450 children and adults in attendance. Volunteers from the church served everyone in their events area, and no one left without having the opportunity to dine.

Once everyone had eaten, groups were escorted to the front of the building where Shelby County Attorney staff were waiting with other volunteers to hand out gifts to the children as they left, with most receiving two gifts.

"We call it the Ultimate Christmas Party, first of all we're thankful to be able to team up with County Attorney Gary Rholes. We think the people of Shelby County are the ultimately best people, and we're thankful for the opportunity to minister to and serve them," said Andy Wilson, Center FUPC Pastor.