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April 7, 2015 (Related article) - The Center Police Department performed a street raid on Mildred Street on the evening of March 27, 2015 and Shelby County Today was on scene as officers and K-9 Taz searched the area for illegal narcotics. Information has now been shared by the police department indicating one man was arrested.
The following is information provided by Center Police Detective Chris Knowlton: Based on an ongoing narcotics investigation, in addition to numerous citizens’ complaints about possible drug trafficking at the location, Officers made contact with a large group of people who were found to be loitering and illegally parked on Mildred Street.
Upon further investigation LaJuan Cole, 48, of Center was arrested on scene as he was found to be in possession of “crack” cocaine. Said suspected “crack” cocaine totaled 0.9 grams in weight.
Additionally, upon K-9 Taz alerting on the vehicle, approximately 4.3 ounces of suspected marijuana was found secured in the trunk of Mr. Cole’s vehicle. Also found in the trunk was a set of digital scales.
Also found on scene was a Scope bottle containing suspected phencyclidine (PCP). Said bottle totaled approximately 22.3 grams in weight. At this time the identity of the owner of the aforementioned recovered PCP will not be released as the Center Police Department is waiting for the DNA test results on said bottle to further confirm ownership of the bottle. Additionally, the Center Police Department is waiting on lab results on said suspected PCP to confirm that it is in fact said controlled substance.
March 29, 2015 - The Center Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire at Brian Borders property located six miles from State Highway 87 South on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 10:16pm.
When the firemen arrived at the scene a mobile home located between a litter barn and chicken house was engulfed in flames. The firemen quickly worked to extinguish the flames and were successful in preventing the fire from spreading to the neighboring buildings.
Shelbyville Volunteer Firemen were dispatched to the scene with a tanker truck at 10:55pm to help completely extinguish the fire.
Residents in the home were reported to have not been present at the time the fire started and it is unknown at this time how the fire started.
Center Fire Department returned to the station at 12:03am.
March 27, 2015 (Related Artilce) - Officers with the Center Police performed a street raid on Mildred Street in Center during a party on Friday evening, March 27, 2015 at 7:35pm.
Taz and Sgt. Burkhalter could be seen going from vehicle, to house, to yard in search of narcotics and it appeared a variety was located. During the search a small Scope mouthwash bottle was located and was suspected to contain PCP (Phencycline). Marijuana and possibly other narcotics were located in a vehicle at the scene.
A Buick Century, which was located in the middle of the roadway, and a Hyundai Elantra were towed from the scene by Joey Ross Towing.
At this time the Center Police Department has not released any information including who was arrested. A press release on the operation has been promised.
March 27, 2015 - A chase ensued on Friday, March 27, 2015 sometime around 10:30pm when a driver allegedly failed to comply with Center Police Officers on Loop 500.
Several individuals occupied a blue Chrysler 300 as it led officers on a high speed chase down County Road 2050 (Africa Road). After several miles and before the vehicle reached State Highway 87 South, officers performed a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver which quickly brought the car to a stop on the dirt roadway.
Additional officers from the Shelby County Sheriff's Department arrived at the scene to provide support, and Texas Department of Public State Trooper Jade Lavergne to investigate the vehicle collision.
Shelby County Today was on scene when prescription bottles were located in the vehicle as well as alcohol. Officers searched the roadway previous to the collision site where it was suspected narcotics were thrown from the vehicle and whatever substance was allegedly tossed from the vehicle was found.
According to jail records Danie (Danny) Larome Bell, 38, of Center was arrested for evading arrest with vehicle, delivery of a controlled substance, tampering with physical evidence, unlawful restraint and on a warrant for parole violation. Two women from the vehicle were taken into custody and transported to the Center Police Department jail. Neither of the vehicles received more than cosmetic damage. More information will be provided on Shelby County Today via a press release provided by the Center Police Department.
(Update) : According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade Lavergne, on March 27, 2015 at 10:47pm on CR 2050 a white 2010 Chevy Tahoe with Center Police Department driven by Detective Christopher Knowlton, 30, and a approved ride along passenger Kevin Sage, 53, had lights and sirens on and was in pursuit of a vehicle.
The vehicle being pursued was a 2008 Blue Chrysler 300 driven Danny Bell, 38, with front right passenger Laquita Watts, 38, and back right pass Denise Nobles, 41. After attempting to stop the Chrysler, a PIT maneuver was attempted by Detective Knowlton and this caused Bell to lose control of the Chrysler.
Detective Knowlton then intentionally rear-ended the Chrysler to prevent the occupants from fleeing. Both vehicles came to a complete stop and the three occupants were taken into custody.
March 27, 2015 - A new Tahoe for the Sheriff's Department was approved by the Shelby County Commissioners Court following a presentation by Shad Sparks, Chief Deputy. The commissioners also decided to purchase a new building for Mike Crouch's Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 office.
Allison Harbison, County Judge, went on to discuss the Sheriff's Department Chevrolet Tahoe and her understanding is there are two remaining Ford Crown Victorias in use by the department which are in failing condition. One of those cars are expected to need a great deal of repair ranging from $7,000-$8,000.
Chief Deputy Sparks addressed the commissioners to discuss the purchase of the new vehicle and the current state of repair on the Crown Victorias in use. He stated the department is down to one Crown Victoria on patrol because the other one is in the shop receiveing head repair. The results of that repair won't be known until next week.
Two other vehicles have been parted to sustain the active patrol units and there is a courthouse vehicle which the bailiff drives and keeps in front of the courthouse. That vehicle is also used at night on patrol and it currently has 187,000 miles on its odometer.
"The other two Crown Vics that we are using, one has to be parked at the office due to the light bars, the light bars run in excess of over $2,000 and you're putting a $2,000 light bar on a $900 Crown Vic. It has right at 200,000 miles on it also, and the other one the light bar, half of it's out."
Sparks informed Judge Harbison two of the vehicles are 2008 year model vehicles and one is a 2005. He said they are to the point of getting a new vehicle or are they going to spend $5,000-$6,000 on a $900 vehicle which has the potential for more problems.
Judge Harbison stated the Sheriff's current budget looks pretty good with 55% remaining at this time, and suggested moving forward with what finances are in the current Sheriff's Department budget and if they end up in the red, make up the difference out of the contingency fund. A motion was carried for the Sheriff's Department to purchase the Tahoe.
The commissioners approved the purchase of a new building for the Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 office in the amount of $19,878 out of the contingency fund. Although Mike Crouch, Justice of the Peace Precinct 5, felt a portable building would be a downgrade to his current facilities, Judge Harbison's opinion was to the contrary as she stated the new building would be very much like a mobile home and that utility bills would be much less than they are currently. The city council of Timpson approved a motion on placement on the building and they are going to try to find the best and most accessible place which will have the best parking. It was stated the utilities will likely have to be paid out of the contingency fund as well.
Judge Harbison recognized the certificate of compliance from the Texas Department of Jail Standards for the Shelby County Jail, "So excited to get a good report on the jail, I would like to commend Chief Deputy Shad Sparks is here and the Jail Administrator William Cox is here. I personally just want to thank you guys for all your hard work and I went over there to talk to the gentleman that was inspecting, really nice guy, had really great things to say about the staff and the jail."
An item tabled during the meeting was resuming maintenance of a portion of County Road 4670. Don McGuffin is one of the landowners requesting it be maintained once again and he addressed the commissioners about his request, "What we have is property that has been in my immediate family for several generations. The road that's in question has always been our legal ingress egress. I do know that there are no other legal access methods to get to this property other than this road."
McGuffin described the road as having been a grated and drained road according to a map from 1961. According to McGuffin, it was not depicted as the same as a county road, but at that time was depicted as a drained and grated roadway. At this time the roadway is described as being in well maintained shape; however, this maintenance is not performed by the county.
Bradley Allen, Commissioner Precinct 4, informed the court he traveled the area with a man who has worked in Precinct 4 for the county for 30 years and during that time he does not recall the roadway having been maintained.
Travis Rodgers, Commissioners Precinct 3, asked Gary Rholes, County Attorney, how long a road has to stay unmaintained for it to turn to the landowner, "I have not seen a case where there's a period where that happens, unless the road is under fence at this point in 20 years," stated Gary Rholes, County Attorney. Judge Harbison interjected, "Unless it's been closed through court," to which Rholes agreed. "But just on maintenance, I've not found anything that says it takes a county road out of the status of a county road," said Rholes.
Bradley Allen, Commissioner Precinct 4, seemed reluctant to resume maintenance of the roadway at this time and made a motion to table the item to look into it a little more and at the next meeting to have it on the agenda to make a decision.
During the meeting the commissioners also considered the possibility of allowing Tri County to use the Old Elementary School gym and assume responsibility for the utility payments and liability insurance, removing this responsibility from the county. Rodgers stated he would like to see the building vacated and used for county office space. The commissioners decided to table the item until the next meeting.
Agenda items receiving approval include: 1) Pay monthly expenses. 2) Reimbursement of utility cost to Mike Crouch, Justice of the Peace Precinct 5, in the amount of $790.33. 3) Purchase of new building in the amount of $19,878 for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5. 4) Payment of utilities for the present office of Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5. 5) New automobile for the Sheriff Department at a cost of $30,857.57. 6) Appoint Allison Harbison and David Chadwick to the Deep East Texas Rural Transportation Planning Organization. 7) Appoint Florencio Singson M.D. as the Local Health Authority for Shelby County. 8) Recognize income received from sale of seized vehicles and adjust the Constable Precinct 4 forfeiture budget for increase in income and proposed expenses in the amount of $1,655. 9) Change locks on Old Elementary school gym. 10) Ann Blackwell’s request for funding to have a dividing wall placed in the Treasurer’s office. 11) Adjournment at 10:30am. Agenda items tabled during the meeting include: 1) Resuming the maintenance on a portion of CR 4670. 2) Action on allowing Tri County to use the gym and assume responsibility for utility payments and liability insurance. 3) Rental of old Elementary School gym to Denetra Slaughter and Celia Aguilar for one year.
March 27, 2015 - The Joaquin Community Pantry distributed food boxes for the first time on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 with the support of the East Texas Food Bank Mobile Pantry and volunteers. They distributed 59 total boxes. The mobile food pantry will come to Joaquin on the 3rd Wednesday of the month which will be on the 15th for the month of April and starts at 10:30am until 12:30pm at First Baptist Church of Haslam.
Lauren Hovey, a senior at L.S.U.S. studying Psychology and the agency director for the Joaquin Community Pantry, spoke about the pantry and how it got started. Hovey was aware of various churches and groups who were already collecting food and clothes to help people in the community.
She visited with the East Texas Food Bank about programs available to help organize the food collections and became interested in 'Unified Hunger,' a program offered by East Texas Food Bank which spreads awareness for hunger in our community. Once she realized none of the Joaquin food programs were registered at the East Texas Food Bank, she visited with Bro. Jody Hooper, pastor at First Baptist Church of Haslam, about hosting a mobile food pantry program at the church.
After getting paperwork going, the first community meeting was held and it had a great turnout of 20 or so people which according to the agent with the East Texas Food Pantry was 4 times as many people which normally attend initial meetings. Hovey said, "We have had a lot of community outreach which has been amazing to have."
How the mobile pantry works is for two and a half years East Texas Food Bank Mobile Pantry brings all of the food. The Joaquin Community Pantry has to have $100 per month to purchase the food and the money goes into a scholarship account for the Joaquin pantry. After the two and a half years are over, the money is given back for the Joaquin pantry as start up for them to be able to purchase the food from then on. At this time, the pantry doesn't need food donations until the two and a half years is over; however, they are seeking money donations which will go to the cost of buying food from the East Texas Food Bank now and in the future. Volunteers are always nice to have as well especially during the summer months when people are on vacation.
Hovey wanted to express appreciation to everyone who helped make the food pantry possible, "Big thanks to Mrs. Gail of Joaquin Christian Services for all of her influence and knowledge. She has done so much. Also, Mr. Baker for helping us spread awareness. So many people have helped make it amazing. We ended up serving 59 boxes which is amazing for a first day!" She also said the food pantry's success so far can be attributed to all of the Joaquin community. Volunteers who have helped aren't just from First Baptist Church of Haslam but are from many different churches, students from the school, council members, and the community.
"For me the most important thing is awareness. If anyone knows people that are in need in the community, let them know that we do have it here because I know there are a lot of people that are in need and I want to make sure that we are reaching out to everyone."
Lauren Hovey told a little about what got her wanting to help with the food pantry, "I have been extremely blessed. My parents are very giving people. Growing up I had good examples; they have always been in the community doing things." Lauren continued saying, "I believe that Christ died for my sins and he has blessed me so much and I don't deserve it. My mom is a teacher at [Joaquin] school, I [substitute teach] and I have seen how a lot of kids struggle and that breaks my heart. I know there are a lot of families in need. I'm excited and nervous; I kind of feel young but, I know that it's gonna prosper because God has it under control and we have so many great people in our community who have given and done so much. I can't wait to see the future of the pantry."
Requirements to qualify for food boxes: Texas residence (Information can be given to Louisiana residents for a food pantry in Logansport), a household make less than 185% of the poverty level ($21,257 or less for a household of 1; $28,694 or less for a household of 2; $36,131 or less for a household of 3; $43,568 or less for a household of 4; etc.)
Hovey can be contacted by email at email@example.com. The East Texas Food Bank Mobile Pantry agent for Joaquin is Michelle Rodriguez who can be contacted at 903-617-2017 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be mailed to First Baptist Church of Haslam, 154 County Road 3590, Joaquin, TX 75954. Church phone number is (936) 269-3587.
All the volunteers who helped to make it happen!
March 26, 2015 (Related indictment story) - The Shelby County Grand Jury appointed for the January term of the 273rd Judicial District Court indicted 40 cases on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.
William Bryce Moore and Angela Marie Moore each received an indictment for capital murder, capital felony. Each indictment alleges on February 16, 2015 the Moores caused the death of Ariana Moore, an individual younger than 10 years of age, by striking her in the stomach.
Bret Wayne Anderson was indicted for criminally negligent homicide, state jail felony. The indictment alleges Anderson caused the death of Taylor Keith Keele by discharging a firearm, striking Keele in the chest.
Jeffrey Hudson received four indictments for aggravated sexual assault, first degree felony. All four indictments allege Hudson penetrated four girls under the age of 14.
Everett Johnson was indicted for burglary of a building, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on May 19, 2014 Johnson entered Shofner's Washateria in Center attempted to commit or committed theft of a stand alone safe.
Stephen Wayne Implom received an indictment for burglary of a building, state jail felony. The indictment alleges Implom entered Medico Pharmacy in Center and attempted to commit or committed theft of hydrocodone pills owned by Medico Pharmacy.
Stacey Coats was indicted for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on February 10, 2014 Coats, during a traffic stop, concealed a pocketbook containing, needles, syringes, and a small digital scale with intent to impair its verity as evidence in the investigation of an official proceeding. Coats was also indicted for possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony. That indictment alleges on May 21, 2014 Coats was in possession of methamphetamine in an amount less than one gram.
Sirtonio Emerson Evans received two indictments for delivery of a controlled substance, state jail felony. The indictments allege on March 24, 2014 and April 7, 2014 Evans delivered Xanax in an amount of less than 28 grams to a confidential informant.
Rodney Dewayne Swindle received two indictments for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, second degree felony. The indictments allege Swindle threatened to kill Donny Jenkins and Travis Ray Handy as he displayed a black handgun during the commission of the assault.
Evan Russell Lutz was indicted for deadly conduct, third degree felony. Lutz is alleged on November 14, 2014 to have discharged a firearm in the direction of Ashley Lutz and her small child.
Elidio Santi-Garcia was indicted for driving while intoxicated with child passenger, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on May 4, 2014 Santi-Garcia operated a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated with the vehicle being occupied by a child under the age of 15.
Erik Ramirez was indicted for failure to stop and render aid, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on April 25, 2014 Ramirez drove a vehicle involved in a crash which resulted in injury to Diann H. Price. The indictment continues by alleging Ramirez left the scene of the crash without giving his name, address, vehicle registration number, liability insurance information or rendering aid to Price when it was apparent she was in need of medical attention.
Ricky Lee Myers received an indictment for intoxication assault, third degree felony, The indictment alleges on May 8, 2014 Myers drove a vehicle while intoxicated and did by reason of such intoxication cause serious bodily injury to Daphne Wilkins by striking her with his vehicle.
Michael Lee Smith was indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, second degree felony. The indictment alleges on April 9, 2014 Smith caused bodily injury to a child younger than 15 years of age by injecting the child with a syringe of methamphetamines into it's arm. Smith received two additional indictments for abandoning or endangering a child, state jail felony, by allegedly exposing two children to methamphetamine on April 9, 2014 and not delivering the children to an emergency infant care provider.
Sarah Hite received two indictments for abandoning or endangering a child, state jail felony, by allegedly exposing two children to methamphetamine on April 9, 2014 and not delivering the children to an emergency infant care provider.
Rafael Acevedo was indicted for assault, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on April 11, 2014 Acevedo caused bodily injury to Lisa Simmons, a family member, by impeding her breathing or circulation of blood by applying pressure to her throat or neck and/or blocking her nose or mouth.
Travis Goodrum was indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on October 11, 2013 Goodrum took possession of a gray 2012 Can Am 1000 side by side ATV valued at $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Joshua Harris without his consent.
Jamie Ray Barnes was indicted for burglary of a habitation, second degree felony. The indictment alleges on November 29, 2014 Barnes entered the home of Judith Barnes with intent to commit an assault against her.
Edward Eugene Moorman was indicted for aggravated assault, second degree felony. The indictment alleges on May 15, 2014 Moorman caused bodily injury to Nathan Cheshire by hitting him against the head with an unknown object.
Detria Lashun Hamilton was indicted for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on December 3, 2013 Hamilton intended to harm or defraud David W. Bishop, an elderly man age 65 or older, by using a a financial institution account number belonging to Bishop to set up a ACH Auto-pay on her Sprint Telephone/Cellular phone bill.
(Dates in parenthesis indicate the date of the alleged incident)
Joseph Rondell Gipson, evading arrest, 3rd degree felony (April 20, 2014).
Michael Anthony Hill, Jr., possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (May 25, 2014).
Randy Lynn Fountain, possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (May 21, 2014).
Kristin Paige Wilburn, possession of a controlled substance, second degree felony (May 14, 2014).
Kevin Randall Nash, possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (April 17, 2014).
Jeremy Caraway, possession of a controlled substance, third degree felony (April 18, 2014).
Marcus Yarbrough, unlawful possession of firearm, third degree felony (March 22, 2014).
Thomas Justin Brown, possession of a controlled substance, second degree felony (April 15, 2014).
Bryan Keith Green, evading arrest - prior convictions, state jail felony (April 22, 2014).
Cynthia Smith, driving while intoxicated - 3rd or more, third degree felony (April 19, 2014).
Kenneth Wayne Hart, driving while intoxicated, third degree felony (May 12, 2014).
***Indictments and Information are not a conviction, and are a matter of public record. All individuals are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
March 26, 2015 (Related indictment story) - William Bryce Moore, 28, and Angela Marie Moore, 25, of Tenaha have each been indicted for capital murder by a Shelby County Grand Jury set for the January term of the 273rd Judicial District Court. The indictments mirror one another and they allege the Moores intentionally or knowingly caused the death of Ariana Moore an individual younger than 10 years of age by striking her in the stomach.
Shelby County Sheriff's Investigators Kevin Windham and DJ Dickerson arrested William Bryce Moore on February, 19, 2015 charging him then with the capital murder of his 6-month-old daughter. Angela Marie Moore was arrested the following day on February 20, 2015 and she was charged with criminally negligent homicide.
It was reported a 9-1-1 call was received on February 16, 2015 at approximately 3:49am in reference to Ariana who was found unresponsive at a residence in the Kyle Parmer Trailer Park located on County Road 4356 in Tenaha. Ariana Moore was transported to the Nacogdoches Medical Center-Center Emergency Department by ACE EMS and was pronounced deceased by Maxie Eaves, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1.
Indictments and Information are not a conviction, and are a matter of public record. All individuals are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
March 26, 2015 - The 2015 Center Rotary Club 'Fun For Funds' fundraising event for the Catherine Pinkston Roughrider Scholarship Foundation was held at the John D. Windham Civic Center on Tuesday night March 24. The preliminary results are in and indicate at the close of the online auction the event brought in $33,350 for Center students.
For four hours Rotarians worked the phones, commentated on the internet, television, and radio to raise funds to help further the educations of those students worthy of receiving the benefit.
At the end of the night, the highest bid item was the Queen of the Sabine Cruse donated by Pineywoods Seafood which went for $1,610 bid by Will Lucas. The item bringing in the second highest dollar amount was an Axis Doe Hunt donated by Venado Creek Ranch which brought in $1,400 and was won by Richard Fausett.
A special item in the auction was a Cotton Bowl Package which was a college football playoff game and was donated by Blake and Eve (Andrews) Wiley in memory of Eve's dad and former teacher at Center ISD, Doug Andrews. The Cotton Bowl Package raised $500 in memory of Mr. Andrews and was won by Howell Howard. All the auction items together raised over $14,000 of the total amount raised. (Winning bidders list)
Rotary Club President J.J. Ford expressed appreciation of those who helped make the event a success, "Every year the Fun for Funds event relies on the generosity of businesses and residents who donate items for the auction. It was a nerve racking event for me because I feel it is an important fundraiser. Center ISD students are blessed to have this resource, the Catherine Pinkston Scholarship Foundation, and I am glad I had the opportunity to play a small part in helping to raise more scholarship money for the foundation."
Ford continued, "I don't think we can ever stop raising money for this great cause. As our population grows and the cost of a college education continues to rise, graduating students and their parents have the financial burden immediately put upon them. It is important we have the funds and such a wonderful thing to know that graduating students can turn to the scholarship foundation for assistance."
Roughrider Scholarship Foundation has presented 1,544 scholarships totaling $1,213,800 to graduating CHS students and is funded by donations, not just from Rotary, but from the community.
Businesses, individuals, and others who donated items to the auction were Monco Motor Company, SFA University, Center ISD, Blake and Eve (Andrews) Wiley, Frank Parker, Bill and Pam (Parker) Wall, Rick Campbell, Bob Reeves, Fairchild Price Haley & Smith, Campbell Portable Buildings, Venado Creek Ranch, Pineywoods Seafood, Pineywoods Beverage, All Hours Fitness, General Shelters, McAdams Propane Company, Back Country Furniture Designs, Tyson Foods, Epic Fit (Whitney Scarber), Sassy Red's Bakery, Darrell's Bar-B-Que, Sombrero's Mexican Grill & Cantina, Shelby County Today, East Texas Poultry Supply, Specter Inc., ACE Hardware of East Texas, db Metal Art (Delbert Beckham), Covington Lumber Company, Dr. Dixon Golden, All American Fireworks, Portacool, Light and Champion, Panola College, State Farm Insurance (Sandy Wheeler), East Texas Tilapia, Few Ready Mix, Dr. Keith Miller, Andres Chavez & Sons Landscaping & Mowing, Center Fixtures, Self Defense America, and Center Fire Department. Others who donated items or time for the event was Center Noon Lion's Club, Jason Fulbright, Rick Thompson, Greg Stuever, Tommy Hughes, Lisa McAdams, Pam Howard, Brookshire Brothers, and Chief Imaging.
Even though the auction is over, if you would like to make a monetary donation in honor of someone or in memory of someone, it's not to late. Go to www.funforfunds.org and click on 'Monetary Donation'. Or you can contact J.J. Ford, Rotary Club President, at email@example.com with your donation request.
Monetary donations made during 2015 Fun for Funds
Shelby Savings Bank - $5,000; Farmers State Bank - $3,000; Center Lions Club - $3,000; Janie Cuculic (In memory of Gail Cuculic) - $2,250; AEP SWEPCO - $1,000; Bill "Scooter" and Pam (Parker) Wall (In memory of F.E. & Doris Parker) - $1,000; John Black Insurance - $550; Sabine State Bank - $500; Jerry & Barbara Pinkston - $500; Sharon Nelson & Steve Oates (In memory of Dr. Joe B Hooker) - $250; Doyle, Billie & Selina Luman (In memory of Greg Luman) - $200; Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative - $100; Bound's Insurance - $100; Hardy's Machine & Welding - $100; Mettauer Insurance - $100; Montie Jones Insurance - $100; Paul Pustka / Farm Bureau - $100; Danny & Andy Foster (In honor of all Center Graduates who have crossed the threshold of Center ISD) - $100; Cline Family Medicine - $100; Axley & Rode - $100; Bobbie Nutt (In memory of Charles Nutt) - $100; Eileen Beard - $100; Richard Fausett - $100; Morrison Insurance - $50; Casey Williams / Edward Jones - $50; Gary Rholes (In memory of John Mitchell. Rholes will match up to $50 for any other donations in Mitchell's memory) - $50; Gary Rholes (In honor of Judge Charles Mitchell. Rholes will match up to $50 for any other donations in Mitchell's honor) - $50; Stephen Shires (In honor of Charles Mitchell) - $50; Rick Campbell (In honor of Charles Mitchell) - $50; Wendell Johnson (In memory of Gene Fields) - $50; Wendell Johnson (In Memory of Jack Bell) - $50; Bob Reeves - $50; Rick Campbell - $50; Bob Reeves (In honor of Judy Bowers) - $50; Gary Rholes (In honor of Judy Bowers) - $50; Rick Campbell (In honor of Judy Bowers) - $50; Gary Rholes (In honor of Portia Gaines) - $50; Rick Campbell (In honor of Portia Gaines) - $50; Robbie Williams / A1 Bail Bonds (Challenges all other bondsmen) - $25.
March 25, 2015 - Mayor Mike Wood received a visit from the Pink Heals Gregg County Chapter fire truck which was loaded down with firemen on Monday, March 23, 2015 during the fire department's monthly meeting.
It was slightly different to hear sirens on approach to the fire department instead of the more common sound of them leaving en-route to a fire or other emergency. The sirens instead were announcing the arrival of the Pink Heals fire truck with one of the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department (JVFD) trucks leading the way.
As the trucks arrived, firemen poured from the meeting hall of the department with Mayor Mike Wood, a 40 year fireman with the department in their company. Once the fire trucks came to a halt in front of the department, and the occupants of the building were standing out front, JVFD Fire Chief Perry Pugh announced, "Mayor, this is for you." Pugh regarded Elmer Mathews who was also present and stated it was for him as well. Although he is not battling cancer, he has had recent health struggles.
The Pink Heals firemen each greeted Mayor Wood and embraced him, followed by his daughter Janie Jones. Wood was emotional at the great show of support and stated, "Thank y'all, thanks so much. I'm overcome." Wood was then asked to sign the Pink Heals fire truck, which he did and then posed with friends, family, fellow firemen and the Pink Heals firemen.
Janie Jones, Mike Woods daughter, contacted Steve Denfeld, Gregg County Pink Heals President and his wife Tammy and asked them to pay her father a visit, "A young lady from Carthage had brain cancer and they came to her house because her dad is in the fire department in Carthage, which Randy Leidtke is a member of the Carthage Fire Department, so he volunteers with them and that's kind of how I originally found out about it. I contacted them and they said, 'we'll go wherever, you tell us where you want us to go and we'll go there.'"
Jones shared some about how Pink Heals became what it is today, "It started out as a thing for women, you know because of the pink, and they just kind of expanded from there. They don't take donations, what they get they give to somebody else and if they go to a fundraiser or something all the money that's raised at that fundraiser goes to say Texas Oncology [ for example], they don't keep any of the money or anything."
The four Pink Heals firemen who were present include: Steve Denfeld, Longview Fire Department; Dennis Gage, Retired Kilgore Fire Chief; Tim Crawford, White Oak Volunteer Fire Department; Randy Leidtke, Carthage Fire Department.
Tammy Denfeld, Pink Heals Volunteer, was with the firemen and explained the effect the program can have on someone fighting cancer and how the program works, "We've gone to people's houses that are terminal, when you can make someone that's terminal smile that's awesome"
"We're off tour right now, they'll go back on tour in a couple months. I went from Longview up through Tennessee, Mississippi, part of Louisiana all the way up to Virginia with them. I was gone about two weeks," said Denfeld. "I'll leave out again and go from Shreveport I think [Las] Vegas this time. We just all rotate, we've got over 14,000 volunteers and it's nine months, it's pretty cool. They just go and they give this program away to communities that are willing to do it, so that you could keep your stuff local."
If you have a request for Pink Heals of Gregg County you can reach them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by Facebook at Pink Heals of Gregg County or through Twitter at PHGreggCounty.