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.
I am Iron Man, the suit and I are one
The suit is damaged, it might not hold up this time.
Like many men, I have hidden my emotions behind a suit of armor for years.
Happy, sad, excited or mad – my external emotions were never displayed.
In some ways that was a good thing, but in others...
Writing a column not always a simple task
The Athens Review requires me to write a column every other Friday. I hate to admit it, but my life is just not that interesting.
Sometimes my mind just doesn't work fast enough to come up with a column idea every other week. When writing a column, it's important to have subject matter that at least one person would identify with or find interesting.
Would you die for me?
In less than two months I will be grinning from ear-to-ear and jumping for joy as I welcome Maylee Grace into the world.
For years I wondered what it would be like to be a father. Now, my little girl has reached full term in her mommy's tummy, and it is just a matter of time before she makes her appearance.
While I wondered what it would be like to be a father, I questioned whether or not I actually wanted to bring a child into this world we live in.
Think about it.
Filtering my mouth would not be a bad thing
Cedar Creek Lake is the fourth largest lake in Texas. The lake is one of the few lakes in Texas that allows private docks and boathouses.
... but some doubted
Imagine spending more than 25 years of your life learning a certain trade only to have the rug pulled out from underneath you in a single moment.
Imagine the sudden change was one that was never considered before and a road that was far less traveled.
After three years of devoting your entire existence to this new trade, this new way of life, the rug was pulled out from underneath you again.
A little unsettling don’t you think?
Tye is gone, but forever in our hearts
I will admit it. In my business, I meet people I don't always have anything in common with. That's okay – that's what makes life interesting.
Community newspapers part of our history
Are newspaper heading for extinction? Let's hope not. Nothing can take the place of reading your morning paper with a cup of hot of coffee.
Take me out to the ballgame
There are few, if any, places that mean as much to me as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Funny thing is, it has little to do with the results of the games played on the field.
Long before the park opened on my birthday, April 11, 1994, my dad was a key figure in making sure Ranger fans had a home to be proud of.
Brownsboro High School graduate, Marshall Edward Wilson, Jr., helped build Rangers Ballpark and his name is forever enshrined near the first base entrance on a display for those who helped build the park.
Ignoring child abuse problem won’t make it go away
For those of you that might have missed it, this past week the Athens Review has been running a series of stories titled “Girl in the Closet.”
JOE ELERSON: Big Tex again proves he’s much larger than life
When I was a little kid, the thought of seeing Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas was something I could not wait to see as I entered the fairgrounds.
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- I am Iron Man, the suit and I are one