Texoma Council of Governments (TCOG) officials announced the Cooke, Fannin and Grayson county “Citizens of the Year” on Friday.
Recipients included Cooke County residents James Hughes and John Beck, who were recognized and presented with awards during TCOG’s 2013 annual recognition event, along with Judge Creta L. “Spanky” Carter II of Fannin County and Dr. Pamela Egner of Grayson County.
Each recipient was selected for his or her dedication to making a positive impact in the community by a panel consisting of TCOG governing body members from each respective county.
“We are blessed as a region to have citizens who go the extra mile and make a lasting and positive impact on the world around them,” said Susan B. Thomas, TCOG executive director. “Regional success is not accomplished nor is progress achieved without the sweat, sacrifice, and leadership of individuals such as these.”
TCOG is a voluntary association of the local governments in Cooke, Fannin and Grayson Counties. Established in 1968, the Texoma Council of Governments promotes economy and efficiency in the coordinated planning and development of the tri-county region through its community and economic development activities. Either directly, or through contractors, the council provides housing, utility assistance, and weatherization services for low-income citizens in the region and assists the elderly through a variety of Area Agency on Aging programs. The council also facilitates the delivery of grant funding for homeland security and criminal justice.
About Hughes and Beck
Hughes was born and raised in Sherman and spent eight years in the U.S. Navy, traveling worldwide during service onboard the U.S.S. Midway. After an honorable discharge, he joined the Texas Youth Commission in Gainesville as a juvenile correctional officer where he served for 28 years. After retirement from the commission in 2007, Hughes became a teacher’s aide in the life skills program at Sanger High School where he is currently employed. Hughes revived the Gainesville Juneteenth Celebration after several years of dormancy and is a key member of the Gainesville Martin Luther King Junior Celebration Committee, working with local businesses to help procure sponsorships for MLK events while personally providing sound systems and DJ services for the events. He founded Gainesville’s Community Action Support Team (CAST) five years ago to “help different community groups in Gainesville to work together for the betterment of the community.” Hughes is an avid supporter of Special Olympics and coaches and volunteers for Sanger Independent School District Special Olympics.
Beck is a longtime member of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of First Baptist Church of Gainesville. He is also a member of the Gainesville Rotary Club and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Since 2000, Beck has regularly purchased lots in depressed neighborhoods throughout the city of Gainesville and, in an effort to help revitalize those neighborhoods, has built affordable brick homes in their place. In 2006, he became involved with the Gainesville Area Revitalization Program at the request of the City of Gainesville to build affordable homes on lots deeded to him in depressed neighborhoods through the City to be sold at or below cost. He has volunteered for numerous community efforts including the GRAND Project and Day of Caring, and has assisted with building the new playground at Leonard Park with the help of other Cooke County citizens. Beck is a current member of the Allocations Committee for Cooke County United Way and is a committee member for the “Ghosts, Goblins and Gears” motorcycle rally, which benefits Cooke County United Way. He donated one of his houses to the Court Appointed Special Advocates of North Texas to provide offices for staff and training space for volunteers who are advocates for abused and/or neglected children in the foster care system. In August of 2011, Beck was the first recipient of the Star of North Texas, an award created to recognize outstanding efforts of citizens on behalf of the community; and has served as general contractor for Abigail’s Arms Family Crisis Center since March 2009, and donates the majority of his fees back to the agency.
In addition to the recognition of these individuals, TCOG also released its 2013 annual report, Broadening Horizons: Meeting the Challenges of Tomorrow, which details the achievements of TCOG’s departments & programs during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
This report can be viewed or downloaded by visiting www.tcog.com/annualreport.
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