Toast to Texas—Despite rainy weather and gray skies, the annual Toast to Texas was held Monday at Heritage Village to celebrate Texas Independence. There were lots of kids, speeches and these Sons of Confederate Veterans who fired a a salute to the state. (Rachel Iglesias Photo)
The weather outside was messy Monday, but the 2015 Dogwood Festival Princesses lit up the front of Tyler County Courthouse while giving away Dogwood trees Saturday to a steady stream of Tyler County folks who braved the weather. Shown, from left, are Leann Monk, Kiley Young from Warren, Rhannon Odom from Woodville, Laken Read from Chester, Hannah Conner from Spurger, Morganne Ross from Colmesneil and Rodney Monk. The trees were donated by Tyler County Chamber of Commerce.
A dedication ceremony was held at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 20 in the John and Rosemary Bunch Meeting Room at the Allan Shivers Library and Museum in honor of Mary Francis Hickman. Mary Francis Hickman was a long time board member and volunteer at the library. She was also Mrs. Rosemary Bunch's mentor in making the library what it is today. Because of Mrs. Hickman's many years of loyal and dedicated service The Allan Shivers Library and Museum continues to be a very important asset to the community and the people of Tyler County and surrounding areas. In attendance were: Brian Shivers, Judge Jacques Blanchette, Commissioner Rusty Hughes, Rosemary Bunch, Tommy and Patsy Morris, J. Huntley Kenesson, Mr. Lawrence Rainey, Mr. Fred Sullivan, Chuck and Bette Vonderlin, Harry-Lou Shield, Walt Davis and Adalaide Harrison.
Tyler County Sheriff's Department takes thousands of calls a month into the communication center, and in 2014 received more than 12,014, 9-1-1 calls.
Of those calls, 5,058 were calls to service. That's on average 32 calls a day, with at least five of those calls being service calls. According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Tyler County communication center is the hub of the entire Sheriff's Department.
The communication center fields calls for not only the Sheriff's Department but all the local fire departments, the National Park Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the City of Woodville, plus after hours calls.
"Tyler County Communication center has the ability to transfer a 9-1-1 caller to other jurisdictions with the touch of a button while staying on with the caller during the transfer just in case we are sharing the same jurisdiction at the time," Weatherford said. "We also always ask where someone is located when they call, because we cannot rely on the location provided by your cell phone GPS because it is only moderately reliable. It's important to always be aware of your surroundings and be able to provide location information to emergency personnel and do not trust your safety to imperfect technology."
Weatherford also says it is very important for citizens to know their actual 9-1-1 address. If you do not know your 9-1-1 address, contact DETCOG at 384-5704.
In addition to 9-1-1 calls, the communication center also received 26,712 TLETS (Texas Law Enforcement Terminal System) transactions for the area in 2014, which are calls requesting the center to run a license plate or driver's license during a traffic stop, for example.
"The numbers speak for themselves," Bump said. "With almost 27,000 transactions, that's 27,000 contacts that have been made. Each one is a specific person with a specific contact."
Weatherford said that the communication center's job is to assist the officer and keep citizens safe. "It is controlled chaos," Bump said. "When you put that human equation in there and its always different. No situation will turn out the same."
Weatherford said that it's a position that requires a person to be calm, cool, collected and educated and that it takes a special person to do the job.
"Tyler County residents are fortunate to have the staff that we do in the communications department," Weatherford said.
Sergio Ramos holds a Booster from 1970, proudly showing a photo and story we printed when he became a U.S. citizen.
Woodville celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. day Monday with the annual parade and program in Kirby Gym. Sergio Ramos, a long time Woodville educator, addressed the crowd, talking about equality and his own experience as a Naturalized Citizen of the United States. The text of his speech is reproduced below.
A Tribute To All People On This Martin Luther King Day
by Sergio Ramos
Let me begin my remarks today by thanking for inviting me to be part of this celebration of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing, Ms. Mayme Brown. Ms. Mayme Brown is a great woman of vision who has contributed so much and given of herself to our schools, churches and community through all her activities in Woodville and Tyler County.
She has asked several of us to share with you today the contributions that each person's National background represented on this panel have contributed to our local community, and so, we give tribute to all people and races gather here today.
On this day, we celebrate the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing through his teachings of peace and non-violence, of courage and compassion. As I reflect on my own personal life and how I came to Woodville, Texas, I remember Dr. King's words as he said "the ultimate measure of a man is not seen in times of comfort but,in times of challenge and controversy."
I've been involved in Education all my life. I started my teaching career in 1966 as a young Graduate Assistant working on my Master's Degree at Stephen F. Austin State College (now a University).
Then, in August of 1967, I had the privilege and honor of being given a teaching contract by Mr. B.H. McGuire. This was right before we had "forced integration"and...my days of challenge and controversy began. I remember when I got to Woodville we had two schools, Kirby H.S. (the white school) and Scott H.S. (the black school). As a young professional teacher, I must tell you, I felt some discomfort because I was lonely (not alone), I could feel the "challenge and controversy" in our community.
I had my first African American students back then...Our Superintendent and School Board actually made fairly easy for our two schools to integrate and merge into one school...right here in Woodville,Texas we got along fine. When the 2 schools finally merged into one...the name of the school was changed and became Woodville High School. I remember we had the best of the best in our integrated faculty and student body. I have so many fond memories and I could talk for hours about those early days (but, I have only 10 minutes!).
I came from Mexico...went to college in Marshall and Nacogdoches,Texas. I came with a student visa and a passport...So when I started teaching here in Woodville, I was not a "citizen of the U.S." I had all the pre-requisites: passport, visa, work permit, etc. These things gave me the opportunity to work, to continue my studies, to worship and to contribute in every community activity...but, I could not "vote". So in April 30,1970 I fulfilled my dream of becoming a "Naturalized Citizen of the United States of America". I have voted in every election since then, local, state and federal. It is an awesome privilege and responsibility. I became a citizen of the U.S.A. right before Congress authorized President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 to proclaim the National Hispanic Week. Then, 20 years later, in 1988, this week was extended to a whole month. September in now,the National Hispanic Month.
Many Americans believe that Hispanics have made a contribution to the U.S. only in recent years...especially with so much emphasis on illegal immigration. However, Hispanic settlers have greatly influenced our U.S. culture and history since the beginning of the U.S.A. for years.
The term "Hispanic" does not refer to a nationality or country, but rather it combines many ethnic roots. More than 400 years ago, millions of people have come to the U.S. from the Caribbean regions, Central and South America, Cuba,the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Spain. The cultural heritage of Hispanic bloodlines include Aztecs, Spaniards, Mexicans and many more than 20 nations.
Cesar Chavez, a great Mexican-American activist in Migrant Education and Migrant work said, and I quote: "We need to help students and parents cherish the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community—and this nation." This has been a dream of mine...and I agree with Cesar Chavez as well as what I said before about Dr. Martin Luther King. Let me finish my remarks by restating the date of my U.S. Citizenship: April 30, 1970. On that day I took the Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America. This great step in my life brought many rights and privileges, but along with these rights came many responsibilities and duties. One of these duties is to protect, defend and respect the flag of the United States. The initials of the United States are U.S. - that spells "US". One of the great opportunities in our lives is that we can stand for what we believe in. We can stand for our homes, our families, our school, our churches, our God, and for our ideals, and for everything we believe in. We can stand for AMERICA and human freedom.
Now, I encourage and challenge you to be proud, to defend, to protect and to respect our flag.
David Rust on bicycle going to work at the Gib Lewis Prison, Woodville, Texas
Editors Note: Many Booster readers will remember David Rust as a long time columnist for the Booster, who wrote a regular column called PROfessions. David was a kind and caring man who lived his calling every day. Michael Maness offers this fitting tribute to him.
By Michael G. Maness
On Christmas morning, Dec. 25, 2014, 1:30 a.m., my good friend David Rust went to heaven, after a long and storied life, survived by his wife, Eugenia, and children and a host of friends.
This was published some time ago. We will miss him.
On Thursday, April 8. 2010, Gib Lewis Prison Volunteer Chaplain David Rust, Warden Gary Currie and staff Chaplain Michael G. Maness went to Austin for the fifteenth annual Governor's Volunteer Award ceremony. Among about fifteen categories, Rust received the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's (TDCJ) Institutional Division Award. Only one person each year is selected from the vast Institutional Division, the supervising authority for all of the prisoners in Texas.
Volunteering is in David Rust's blood, and he is a natural leader every ready to help.
Along the way to Austin, a few stories were shared. While on leave in Southern California, David Rust said, "I was a Lieutenant and squad leader, with two tours in China under my belt leading squads of Flying Tigers. But at 20 years of age, they would not let me into a bar. That doomed California for me—no more California for me." It was their loss and about 40 years later our gain in Tyler County.
Stories were shared by the trio as they travelled, and it became apparent the senior member of their crew was experienced in many diverse areas, including mechanics. On one outing with the soldiers, their armored personnel carrier's carburetor linkage broke. Guess who volunteered to ride on the fender, manually tweaking the carburetor in sync with the driver shifting the transmission as they drove up the mountain to their retreat? None other than David Rust.
David has always had a flare for being at the right place at the right time. After leaving the Army-Air Force, he began a long career as an oilfield engineer with Schlumberger, a world leader in oil field exploration and supply (SLB.com).
Did you know that coldest recorded temperature in the U.S. is in Wyoming? Rust drove thousands of miles between the various rigs there. During that time, he helped his fellow roughneck engineers by voluntarily publishing a handy newsletter, thus helping them learn from each other as they solved the problems that arose in the developing oil industry. That problem-solving initiative and leadership in the field caught the attention of the Schlumberger executives, and before long Rust was in Houston, writing and then editing their prestigious technical journal. The first-class journal was disseminated not only to fellow executives but to their elite oil and gas customers around the world. In that position, Rust translated what Schlumberger scientists created from their laboratories and what they assimilated from their field operations. The position required that he connect with everyone on any given facet of the operations, from the presidents of the entities to the scientists in their customer's enterprises. He has always been working with people, and his characteristic candor is appreciated by most. Those of a less honest or lazy nature are not that attracted to him. When he retired, he began volunteering at the Harris County Jail in Houston as a volunteer chaplain, and he volunteered at his church as well, in the role of maintenance supervisor. Yet, not all things have been easy. Rust struggled with alcoholism in his younger years, until he met his redeemer, Jesus Christ, some 40+ years ago. That conversion changed his life. Not only in church, but as an Alcoholic Anonymous survivor, he has stretched out a helping hand in faith.
David married Eugenia early on, his sweetheart, and she has stood beside him in all of their ups and downs as his best friend, confidante, and prayer partner. David enjoys problem solving and is the consummate student. At home, he always has a new book by his reading chair, and he is a regular patron at the Shivers Library.
In 1994, the Rusts moved to Woodville, and he almost immediately began volunteering at the prison, via his friend John Morrison, then owner of the Tyler County Booster. As fortune would have it, David went through the training and became a certified chaplain, allowing him access to the entire prison. Chaplain Maness said, "Rust has excelled in every way, and the staff and inmates love him. On a few occasions in the last 10 years, the wardens and senior security have viewed him as 'staff,' instead of a volunteer." An appellation earned from his steady service.
At the Gib Lewis Prison, five to six days a week, David visits especially the high security, super-max side of the prison. These prisoners are locked up 23 hours a day, with an hour of recreation in a secured area. Some of these are the most troubled in the world. Many are gang members. Some are on psych meds. For some, David is the only "friend" who sees them, in the Lord, of course.
He helps the staff chaplain, the security chiefs, and other volunteers with all aspects of the prison ministry program, and that includes the delivery of death and critical illness notifications to the prisoners. He has mentored individual prisoners, led worship services, and has led the Alcoholic Anonymous for fifteen years at the prison and in the Tyler County community.
On clear days, you can see him riding his bicycle to the prison, to help save the economy and enjoy the fresh air. He has always been an outside man.
Since the Rusts live close to the prison, one of their traditions is to say a prayer for the prisoners when the "prayer whistle" blows, also known as the count whistle, a standard fog horn at the prison that marks the beginning and end of the count times during the daylight hours. Every Saturday evening, the Rusts open their home to their Bible study group, apply named the Fellow Sheep.
He has been a long-time member of the Episcopal Church, volunteering there in many capacities. He has helped the local Caring Is Sharing in their collection and distributions. At the Heritage Village, a living museum of pioneer history of the area, he can be seen demonstrating the art of shingle splitting, mostly with cedar, as cypress is hard to come by these days.
At the local Woodville Lions Club, he has been a featured speaker on such topics as the Flying Tigers in China, oil field advances, the T. Boone Pickens Plan, and other topics.
Last but not least, for these nearing twenty years, he has written a weekly article in the Tyler County Booster under the byline of Professions. These articles recall stories from his vast experience and special studies of practical interest. You will a war story from time to time, a note about China, an oil field exploit, anecdotes and moral philosophy on history, frustrations over superfluous waste, and joking jabs at technological gadgetry and gimmickry. Often, he does a special study that informs his devoted audience of some hitherto obscure history or mechanical wonder. His family and friends encouraged him to write a book. So he did, editing a selection of his best Booster articles for his Gritty Grace (2009), available at Amazon.com and locally at the Art League and the Heritage Village.
David Rust, or "Super Dave" as the prisoners like to call him, was available with a caring heart, full of tried experience, and ready with a prayer. Thanks for all you have done, and God bless you in your eternal reward.