Annual Dinner features state and national leaders joining the local community showing their appreciation for County’s Emergency Responders
by Jimmy Williams
Local citizens and personnel from numerous public safety agencies filled the Walker County Storm Shelter Thursday night for an event organized by a volunteer group known as the “Walker County Emergency Personnel Appreciation Committee”. The organizers include local business men and women, as well as elected officials, and was first organized in 2001 by the late Judge John Pasket, who served as Justice of the Peace for many years in Precinct 4 before his untimely death. Judge Pasket first organized the event in 2001 with the very first one taking lace in February of that year, just a few short months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Over the years, the committee has fulfilled Judge Pasket’s vision, offering numerous scholarships to first responders and their families, as well as organizing the annual appreciation dinners, giving citizens a chance to show their support. Each year, a number of area businesses provide door prizes for honorees, while others provide the food for the dinner or sponsor the committee’s scholarship program.
This year’s dinner was provided and prepared by volunteers from Northside Baptist Church and served by both County and City Officials. Representatives from nearly every public safety agency in the county were on hand, including those from state agencies that serve our community. An estimated crowd of over 250 attended the event, including 167 emergency personnel and local officials, prompting organizers to place additional tables and chairs, filling the room to near capacity.
County Judge Danny Pierce acted as MC for the program, turning it over to Congressman Kevin Brady to lead the group in our country’s Pledge of Allegiance. The guest speaker, Texas Department of Emergency Management Director Nim Kidd, traveled from Austin to tell of his own experiences, starting as a Volunteer Firefighter, eventually rising to the highest ranking state emergency management official, facing numerous challenges up to and including the response to Hurricane Harvey.
Director Kidd emphasized the role our public safety personnel play in keeping our communities safe, not only here in Walker County, but across the state of Texas.
Anyone interested in sponsoring future efforts or working with the committee is asked to call Kim Williams at First Financial Bank in New Waverly. She can be reached during normal business hours at 936-439-1874.