Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — I’m leaving the Athens Review.
No, they’re not firing me and I haven’t joined the circus (I never got a call back). I’ve accepted the public information officer’s position at Trinity Valley Community College, an adventure that begins next week.
While I’ve had other jobs (I once spent a summer using oranges to play “Paper Towel Bowling” at a grocery store in Seven Points), the Review was the first position that required me to use my heart. And when the heart gets involved, at least in my case, the roots of my existence dig in deep. Roots are comfortable when left in place but painful when extracted.
As my roots are pulled up from this place, I’m so excited to plant them in fertile, rich soil at TVCC. The role of education in my life can’t be understated, and as a lifelong learner I will be proud to fly the flag for a great — and local — institute of higher education. I’m leaving one group of great people for another.
But here’s the deal. I’ve written the “leaving the paper” column several times before as I trotted around Texas looking for the community in which I wanted to raise my family. Five times I left the paper looking for that place, and five times I returned — the last time realizing there was a reason I kept tucking tail and running back to Athens. This is home, and I love my community. These are my people.
My people are on my mind this morning as I once again sign off to the readers of this newspaper. I honestly have no desire to spend the next few minutes of your time asking you to read more about me. Before I go, I have to know that I tried at least once more to promote a few of the groups in this area that are close to my heart.
The first is Hope Springs Water, based right here in Athens, Texas. This awesome organization was started because local folks were brokenhearted by a devastating statistic — 1.2 billion people in the world have no access to pure drinking water. Having walked the red dirt roads of Malawi, in Africa, I’ve seen the fallout of that lack of water first-hand. People are dying, and a growing group of folks from right here in our own backyard are putting up a heck of a fight to save lives.
There’s so much more to tell, but since I need to be brief, know that your support would be greatly appreciated. You can find out more by visiting hopespringswater.org or calling 903-292-1781.
While the Hope Springs folks are reaching around the globe, Henderson County Labor of Love stays plenty busy here at home. Labor of Love, which has been around here since 1986, provides home repairs at no charge to homeowners who can no longer maintain their homes due to age, disability or other circumstances beyond their control (yeah, I lifted that right off their website). This ministry reaches so much further than you might think, and while I haven’t talked to any folks at LoL lately, I suspect they deal with what most aid organizations deal with — infinite need and finite resources.
To find out how to donate manpower or funds to this resource, call the Athens Samaritans at 903-675-LOVE.
While this county has several food pantries, a couple immediately come to my mind. In Athens, we have the Henderson County Food Pantry that’s located at 715 East Corsicana Street (903-677-1600) and in Malakoff, there’s the Faith In Action Outreach (103 South Terry Street, faithinactionoutreach.com).
My church is involved with FIAO, so my experience is limited to this organization, which offers not only food, but spiritual counseling, a clothes closet and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Here’s what I can tell you about both — they need your help. Funds are always tight. While these organizations are glad to get any kind of help they can, they need money. Let me repeat that — they need money. Canned goods are great, but $1 donated to a food pantry can stretch so much further than your $1 at the grocery store. The East Texas Food Bank in Tyler often sells produce for a penny per pound, if that gives you any idea.
As a Christian husband and father, my concern is about leaving a legacy for my family. That’s my job. These organizations are leaving a legacy of care and compassion for an entire community. That, to be sure, is our job.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — I’m leaving the Athens Review.
Rolling into something new
She did it.
My baby girl rolled over for the first time this past week while daddy and mommy were watching closely.
As other major news broke across the county, watching my baby roll over for the first time was by far the biggest news of the week for me. Odd.
Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season
I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”
The greatest country in the world has hungry children
No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.
Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
It means no worries for the rest of your days.
It's our problem-free philosophy.
Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler
Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable. The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday. It changed things just a little bit.
Time away is necessary for everyone
I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
Do you ever have those days when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.
Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work
Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.
Remember who you are
Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.
CSUMC provided a memorable experience
My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.
Independence ultimately won on battlefield
I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.
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