updated 7:00 PM UTC, May 27, 2020

Community

Babin named ‘Citizen of the Year’

Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin (left) and Sheriff Bryan Weatherford were named the Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year and Hometown Hero, respectively. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin (left) and Sheriff Bryan Weatherford were named the Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year and Hometown Hero, respectively. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)

 

Weatherford is 'Home Town Hero'

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Members of the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce paid a surprise visit to District Attorney Lucas Babin’s office on Monday evening to deliver some news.

Babin was named the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year, an honor he said he was surprised, yet thankful, to receive. “My objective as DA is simple to do the job I was elected to do; see justice is done in Tyler County. I can’t do it alone. It’s a team effort,” he said.

Another top law enforcement officer in Tyler County, Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, was also feted by the Chamber with the Hometown Hero award. Along with Chamber members, family members of both men were on hand to help them celebrate.

Babin and Weatherford both spoke of how their roles were part of a team effort toward effective law enforcement in the county. “If one part of that system is broken, it doesn’t work,” Weatherford said.

“You’ve got to have investigations, arrests, cases built. You’ve got to prosecute. It’s all working hand-in-glove,” said Babin’s father, Rep. Brian Babin, who was present to congratulate his son, along with Babin’s wife Luciana.

Along with the Citizen of the Year and Hometown Hero honors, Chamber president Leann Monk announced the other award recipients for 2020. The Chamber recognized the following individuals and businesses:

*Carlos Bullock Lifetime Achievement Award: Ofeira Gazzaway
*Business Member of the Year: Modica Brothers
*New Member of the Year: Eason’s Service Center
*Member of the Year: Naskila Gaming
*Future of Tyler County: Jordan Wilson
*Tyler County Enrichment Award: Drs. Paula Denson and James M. Brown
*The Good People Award: Martin Spurlock

The recipients will receive their awards at the annual Chamber banquet, which will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29 at Triple D Ranch in Warren.

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Heritage Society hears speaker at annual meeting

Jan McCartney shares the history of Mount Hope, Peach Tree Village and Chester with members of the Tyler County Heritage Society at the organization’s annual meeting on Monday night at the Pickett House. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)Jan McCartney shares the history of Mount Hope, Peach Tree Village and Chester with members of the Tyler County Heritage Society at the organization’s annual meeting on Monday night at the Pickett House. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)

 

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Heritage Society held its annual meeting on Monday evening at the Pickett House. Along with a dinner and business of the group, members heard a presentation on a topic in local history.

Jan McCartney, a Chester resident, was the speaker for the year’s TCHS meeting. McCartney spoke about the history of Mount Hope, Peach Tree Village and Chester. “My story begins with Indians being the first to settle in this area,” McCartney began her presentation.

The presentation indeed began with information about the Alabama and Coushatta tribes in the early 19th century, who settled in Peach Tree Village, which they called “Ta-Ku-La,” which means “Peach Tree.” McCartney provided a detailed timeline and spoke of how Anglo settlers came to inhabit the region.

McCartney’s presentation provided an overview not only of the settlements that came to be in the northwest part of Tyler County, but also of historic settlers to the area, such as James Barnes, Peter Cauble and Valentine Ignatius Burch. She also gave context to the time with information about the battle for Texas independence, Texas’s eventual statehood and the subsequent Mexican-American War.

Some of the first settlers were Barnes; Seamans; Wilson; Cauble; Wheat and Barclay families, McCartney said. McCartney, herself, is a descendant of James Barnes.

The presentation depicted life in the then-prosperous communities, which each boasted blacksmith shops, saloons, hotels, churches and stores. McCartney’s narrative also explained the decline of Mount Hope and Peach Tree Village, which was exacerbated by the railroad that bypassed them, and led to prosperity for Chester.

McCartney said the reason for settlers buying land and building the communities had to do with what the land itself had to offer for agricultural pursuits. “This is a rare area with many different types of soils, good climate and water,” she said. “It has been referred to as ‘The Garden Spot of Texas’; the land of milk, honey and pork.”

McCartney’s presentation ended with an overview of present-day Chester.

The presentation represented what TCHS’s members strive to achieve in preserving the heritage of the area. TCHS President Sarah Reinemeyer, in her remarks prior to McCartney’s program, encouraged members who were present to spread the word into the community for anyone interested in history to join.

TCHS, a non-profit organization, owns and operates Heritage Village, and provides memberships to individuals, families and small businesses, which range in annual dues from $20 (for individuals) to $60 (for small businesses.) Anyone interested in being a part of TCHS can obtain a membership form from the website Heritage-village.org or by stopping by the Heritage Village Museum Store located on the Village grounds in Woodville.

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Crowds come out to pay respects to fallen hero

Edwin Findley PhotoEdwin Findley Photo

The body of Army Specialist Jacoby McFarland was accompanied by a large procession of bikers, first responders and citizens, all of whom wished to pay respects to the young man.

McFarland died on base at the age of 25. He was transported from George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Coleman’s Family Mortuary in Woodville via hearse. McFarland was a native of Jasper.

Several schools also brought students to pay tribute to McFarland along the route.

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Leos get county youth involved in service

Tyler County Leos, pictured left-to-right, front row: Aly Tullos; Madison Benthall; Annie Rayburn and Jasmine Mitchell. Back row: Logan Tullos; Abby Wilson; Ken Jobe; Briana Kort and Payton Corona. Not pictured: Trey Spencer (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)Tyler County Leos, pictured left-to-right, front row: Aly Tullos; Madison Benthall; Annie Rayburn and Jasmine Mitchell. Back row: Logan Tullos; Abby Wilson; Ken Jobe; Briana Kort and Payton Corona. Not pictured: Trey Spencer (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)

 

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – In the wild, a young lion is called a cub, however, in Tyler County, a group of young Lions is committed to serving the area under the name “Leos”.

The Leos (which is an acronym for “Leadership, Experience, Opportunity”) are the youngest members of Lions Clubs International. According to Lions International’s website, “Leos embody the best qualities of our incredible organization. They are devoted young people who realize the power of action.”

Tyler County has had a Leos chapter since October 2016, and Ken Jobe is its sponsor. Jobe, who also serves as president of the Woodville Lions Club, said the organization provides a valuable opportunity for the youth of the county to serve in various projects, as well as earn scholarships.

“My goal is to always get a graduating senior some money,” Jobe said.

The Leos meet every second and fourth Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Lions Den in Woodville. Jobe said the club currently has nine members, but he hopes those numbers will increase. The age of Leos is 14 to 18, and to be a member, one must live in or go to school in Tyler County, Jobe said.

The club members enjoy the fellowship aspect of Leos, but also recognize the value in putting service above self. “You meet new people, but at the same time you are doing things that impact the community,” said club member Annie Rayburn.

Another member, Abby Wilson, said it makes her happy to do service projects for others. “Doing service makes me feel like a better person…makes me happier,” she said.
Wilson added that being a Leo gives her something that she can put on her resume that not many others can.

Some of the projects the Tyler County Leos have had a hand in include cleaning the Kirkland Springs park near Woodville, helping with the Lions’ annual rodeo and travelling to the Hill Country to help out at the Lions’ Children’s Camp.

Some of the Leos who took part in the trip to the camp reminisced fondly on volunteering there and of the shared fellowship on the trip, and all of the members share respect and affection for Jobe—and his lingo.

During last Monday’s meeting, many of the members used the word “stupid” as a positive adjective. “This pizza is stupid good!” one of them chimed in, as Jobe shook his head and said “I gotta stop using that phrase.”

Rayburn, with a chuckle, said “Being a Leo is stupid good,” which in turn elicited a hearty laugh from everyone else in the room.

All of the current Leos said they want to join Lions Club after graduating high school and remain active in service. Chester junior Brianna Kort said being a Leo helps her realize how much good can be put into the world through volunteering.

“It helps to show how many people go without, and how you can help in any situation there is,” she said.
Anyone interested in joining the Tyler County Leos Club can contact Jobe through the club’s Facebook page.

 

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