Posted by : June 13, 2013| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
EUSTACE–The 38th annual Pioneer Day is slated for Saturday, June 15. So gather up your dad (Father’s Day is Sunday) and plan for an outing that honors the local heritage.
The day kicks off with a 5K fun run with awards for all ages at 8 a.m. on the square. This event hosted by the local cross country team always attracts runners from around the state and a few rival schools for a very exciting finish. Vendors display their handiwork at 9 a.m. and lots of food vendors will be on hand to cool you off and fill you up. In years past there has been a crawfish vendor and ice cold watermelon, not to mention all the homemade baked goods. Artisans will bring their one-of-a-kind creations, perfect for decorating or finding a gift for a special someone. Don’t forget the bargains to be had on various toys, pets, sunglasses, bedding, etc.
The annual Pioneer Day parade trucks down FM 316 from the Eustace High School at 10 a.m. It features favorites like the members from the Model A Club of Cedar Creek Lake as well as reunions from various classes of graduates from EHS. Then there are games of skill, including horseshoe pitching, 42 Tournament, the dunking booth and many other attractions.
Throughout the day entertainment will proceed from the gazebo, starting with a cakewalk around it at 10:30 a.m., which benefits the intermediate teachers. A pageant for pets follows at 12:30 p.m. This is the festival for including our furry friends at the end of a leash.
Festivities close with a street dance that gets underway at 8 p.m. provided by John Allen.
Posted by : June 13, 2013| On :
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–The ETMC Athens Auxiliary recently held its annual awards luncheon honoring the dozens of men and women who volunteer their time and talents.
“We appreciate you so much,” ETMC Administrator Pat Wallace told the gathered auxiliary members.
“There’s so much all of you do that is not just relegated to the hospital environment. You serve our hospital and our community.”
Auxiliary president Ruth Lang announced Leah Walker and Stacy Callaway as recipients of auxiliary nursing scholarships.
“You’ve had a hand in helping these two women pursue their dreams,” she told her fellow volunteers. “And now we can watch them do it.”
Auxiliary first vice president Pat Rogers awarded pins indicating hundreds and even thousands of hours donated to service at the hospital. Among those given award bars were Tommie Avera and Pat Rogers for 7,500 hours, Patsy Thornsberry for 8,595 hours, Margie McDaniel for 10,041 hours and Gertrude Wahoviak for 12,272 hours. Vera Jernigan was given not only a bar for 10,013 hours of volunteer service, but also a 25-year bar commemorating her quarter-century as an auxiliary member.
ETMC Athens director of food services Mark Tankersley installed the 2013-14 auxiliary officers.
They are president Ruth Lang, first VP Jack McCall, second VP Betty White, recording secretary Mary Bess, corresponding secretary Mary Forrester, treasurer Alberta Pingel and historians Janet Davis and Margie McDaniel.
Tankersley was recognized for his longtime support of the auxiliary by being named an honorary member of the volunteer organization. “This makes me feel really special,” he said, holding the plaque he was given. “I will cherish this.”
Lang also recognized another longtime friend of the auxiliary and hospital employee Louise Graham, who died this past February. “She loved us heart and soul,” said the auxiliary president. “She laughed with us and cried with us. She’s up in heaven laughing now.”
Awards luncheon chairman Tommie Avera was thanked for organizing the gathering. She announced she will not be heading up next year’s event, which has been her labor of love for the past nine years.
Also recognized was Nan Mann, who plays the piano beautifully every year at the luncheon, and Junior Auxiliary Volunteer Laura Ashley, who received a special pin.
For more information on becoming an ETMC Athens Auxiliary member, call the hospital gift shop at (903) 676-1137 or pick up an application in person.
Posted by : June 10, 2013| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Harbor Baptist Church in Payne Springs pastor, George Yarger recently returned from Moore, Okla., where he was part of a disaster relief team for a week.
The May 20 EF5 tornado traveled 17 miles on the ground in a little more than half an hour, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Norman, Okla. The storm initially touched down 4.5 miles (7.2 km) west of Newcastle, Okla. at 2:56 p.m., and dissipated 4.8 miles east of Moore at 3:26 p.m. The Oklahoma governor reported 24 killed, including nine children and 324 injured in a metropolitan area of 55,000.
“I got involved with HAM radios because they needed people trained in emergency communications,” Yarger said. That was Katrina. Since then, Yarger has taught others how to operate HAM radios in emergency situations during workshops and weekend trainings.
However, since Yarger is relatively a young man at age 48, they needed him to operate a Bobcat in Moore. He was part of a three-man Skid Steer Team under the direction of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention disaster relief ministry. They left here May 23 and returned a week later.
“Our job was to share the love of Christ. I just did it from the seat of a Bobcat,” he laughed.
A second team member acted as the spotter and a third served as chaplain.
Yarger’s job entailed moving heavy debris, like a bedroom wall, so a resident (police officer) could retrieve his wallet, badge and gun from the top dresser drawer.
The spotter was to ensure safety and to spot items that a homeowner might want to retrieve; such as memorabilia, photo albums, safes, intact collections and medications.
“People were happy to get back that mattered to them,” Yarger said. “I enjoyed that a great deal. It was like a treasure hunt.”
Once a home site had been picked over, Yarger would clear the slab by moving everything else to the curb. The team was able to do about a house a day, he said.
The city dispatched huge dumpsters and a track-ho to pick up the debris and put it in the dinosaur-size dumpster. “A house can fill one of these pretty quickly,” he said.
“Residents seemed to gain hope from seeing the slab cleared off, as if they could start over again,” Yarger observed. “They weren’t at all worried about their loss, they were glad they and their loved ones had survived.”
At first they said they didn’t want any of their stuff that made up the debris, as if they viewed it as cursed or they felt relieved of not having to own it anymore, Yarger said. However, that would change, as the team would uncover a sentimental object, school award or important photo or document. “One woman got all tearful when we found a small box that held a collection of baby teeth from her children’s growing-up years,” he said.
Work stopped and the team had to clear off when President Barack Obama made a tour of the devastation, May 26. “We saw Air Force One fly over twice, before he returned to Washington,” Yarger said. At first, Yarger found it unsettling and inconvenient to have to clear out so Obama could come in and said he understands now why President Bush didn’t tour Katrina, citing that it would just hamper relief efforts.
Yarger recalls one family of renters who were eager to see the rebuilding process begin as their landlord said he would rebuild and that they would get a say in the furnishings and design choices.
Yarger said his team bedded down at a Baptist church in the area and started their day at 7:30 a.m. and ended it at around suppertime.
“There were lots of volunteers there. It seemed like every fifth person I met was from Joplin, Mo. the site of another devastating tornado in 2011. He told of another couple from Norfolk, Va. The man had attended Biarwood Elementary in Moore as a kid. “They came with a rake and a shovel, so we let them help us look for stuff,” Yarger said.
When it was time to leave, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed with the enormity of what’s still left to be done, he said. “But to each family we ministered to, it meant something to them (that we came). Love will always make a difference.”