2020 FINALISTSGATEWAY TO THE GULF CONGRATULATIONS on your nomination, MAYOR HOCKING! Cheers to the longest-tenured Mayor in the history of our city! La Marque is a better place because of you. 2020 | Citizen of the Year | The Daily News | 3 E very year since at least 1988, The Daily News has selected and honored a resident, and in some years more than one, as its Citizen of the Year. We consider this to be the highest compliment the newspaper can pay to people who, through their personal or professional work, made the county a more prosperous, more livable, more civil, more civic or other- wise objectively better place. For all of those 31 years, that eﬀort has been mostly in-house. The publisher, the editors and other organizational leaders would meet a few times and make nominations, and we’d attempt to argue those down to the one. We talked about the good things nominees had accomplished during the previous year and often considered the whole scope of their works and reputation in deciding who to name. The list of honorees going back to 1988 is a who’s who of movers and shakers whose inﬂuences were wide and tremendous, and a few who did a lot in a smaller footprint. In 1988, we named Fletcher Harris, the World War II veteran and Galveston curmud- geon, for his long service in civic and community groups and for being the voice of the people, always informed and ready to speak up in eﬀort to keep the government, and sometimes the newspaper, honest. Since then, we’ve honored Walter P. Hall, the banker, civic leader and political kingmak- er who helped shape modern League City; Alfreda Houston, a Galveston community and civil rights leader; and Jimmy Hayley, former executive vice president of Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce, for his service to mainland communities. Both Robert L. “Bobby” Moody and George P. Mitchell have been honored for things too numerous and well-known to need mentioning again, as have mayors Chuck Doyle of Texas City and Pat Hallisey of League City; and former state Reps. Craig Eiland and Mike Martin. The list goes on and on — tireless community improver Betty Massey, who’d make a great nominee today; businessman Mike Dean; Dick and Horacene Daugird, founders of the Lighthouse Charity Team; and, most recently, both Chuck and Mary Ellen Doyle for their lifetimes of good work. We’re proud of having honored more than 30 Citizens of the Year and for recording their names and deeds for history. In recent years, however, we’ve talked about opening the nomination process to the public, and this year, we did that. Beginning in January, The Daily News accepted public nominations for 2020’s Citizen of the Year. From those nominations, The Daily News selected 20 ﬁnalists and, from those, one Citizen of the Year. At the time of this writing, not even I know who the Citizen of the Year will be, that being revealed weeks after this magazine went to press. I know the honor will have gone to a worthy recipient, however, because all 20 of the ﬁnalists are among the ﬁnest people in the county. On behalf of The Daily News, I congratulate and thank them all, and all the people who made nominations and all those who worked for months to pull this project together. It’s a celebration of the good among us, let’s all enjoy it. MICHAEL A. SMITH The Daily News Editor 2020 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS FROM THE EDITOR José Boix .........................................4 Amelia Collins ...............................4 Peter Davis .....................................6 Ernie Deats .....................................6 Carla Geters ...................................8 BJ Herz .............................................8 Bobby Hocking ..........................10 Amber Jinkins ............................10 Julie Masters ...............................12 Warren Nichols ..........................12 Maureen Patton ........................14 James Pittman ...........................14 June Collins Pulliam .................16 Dr. Ben Raimer ...........................16 Connie Ricketts .........................18 Gina Spagnola ...........................18 Marilee Stripling .......................20 Jason Tabor .................................20 Billy Ray Wagner........................21 Kimberley Yancy........................214 | The Daily News | Citizen of the Year | 2020 In what ways are you involved with the community? Quality Improvement & Patient Safety Committee (QIPSC) – HCA Healthcare; Texas City Historical Preservation Board; Fatima Education Foundation (FEF) Board VP; TCISD Foundation for the Future Board; program coordinator for the TC-LM Community Advisory Council (CAC); St. Mary’s Men’s Club vice president; member of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber Golden Division; member of St. Mary of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church, Usher and Money Counter Teams. What do you like most about serving the community? I enjoy serving the community for three reasons. 1) Being an active and eﬀective partner within a group or team of established individuals having shared values; 2) Experiencing and making an impact that strengthens our community; and 3) Because it just feels good! What motivates you to get involved in your community? It was an evolutionary process rooted by American values that began when I landed in the USA in 1960 and was blessed and fortunate to take advantage of the just-implemented Cuban Refugee Act. From that time on, I personally beneﬁted by the countless eﬀorts from total strangers — basically communities — who shared their time, talents and treasures in innumerable ways. It is my belief that such a process and model was the key to molding my thinking and to help reach my goals. So, as I look back, it seems that my involvement in my community is driven by the earlier learned process and model. In a way, I see it as part of the cycle of one’s life. What’s something that most people don’t know about you? That I am a poor book reader! Something that, with time, I am trying to change! In what ways are you involved with the community? I volunteer at the Acute Care for the Elderly Unit at University of Texas Medical Branch and Moody Gardens Special Peoples Ball and Friends of Moody Gardens. Also, I volunteer at The Grand 1894 Opera House as a docent and usher, as well as at police and sheriﬀ fundraising events, my church and the Lighthouse Charity Team with the motto “People Helping People.” What do you like most about serving the community? I like meeting people, making friends and keeping them. I love the fellowship when any of us get together. What motivates you to get involved in your community? God has been good to me, as has my community. So why not give back to the community that I love as a BOI (Born on the Island) should. Even though I will be 88 years old in April, I don’t plan to stop. What does it mean to be named a ﬁnalist for Citizen of the Year? It is an honor, even if I’m not the one you’re looking for. It will be an honor that I will not forget. Why do you think it’s important to give back to the community? I look at the long life that I have had, and think “why should I sit around and do nothing when there are so many places that need our help?” Volunteers are needed all over the island. If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be? Travel more with my son. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard? Be yourself — and I am! JOSÉ BOIX CITY OF RESIDENCE » Texas City OCCUPATION » Retired, chemical/environmental engineer AMELIA COLLINS CITY OF RESIDENCE » Galveston OCCUPATION » Retired, University of Texas Medical Branch 2020 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR FINALISTSTHE NEWS YOU WANT DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX GALVNEWS.COM/NEWSLETTERS6 | The Daily News | Citizen of the Year | 2020 In what ways are you involved with the community? I serve the community through my work as the head of the Beach Patrol and though the various community programs we’ve started, such as Wave Watchers, Survivor Support Network, Galveston Marine Response, Junior Lifeguards and Water Safety School Educational Program. Also, I am involved in the community through my participation in various committees around town and through community art projects, like the SeeWall Mural, St. Vincent’s “Roots and Wings” mural, the Aids Coalition Aids Awareness Murals and school educational program. What do you like most about serving the community? Galveston is an amazing place with amazing people and history. I’ve traveled and lived all over the world, and, while there are some wonderful places, there is really nothing that compares to this community. What motivates you to get involved in your community? Partly the people. Partly because I’m a seventh generation Gavestonian who comes from a long line of people who were deeply invested in this place and believed in what it can be. What does it mean to be named a ﬁnalist for Citizen of the Year? It’s an unbelievable honor, especially considering all of the people here who are so altruistic and work so hard to make this place what it could be. Why do you think it’s important to give back to the community? A big part of being a fully developed person is that you give back to the places and people that you live with. This applies from the micro level of immediate family to the broader community level. In what ways are you involved with the community? I am involved with the Dickinson Independent School District Education Foundation, M.I. Lewis Food Bank, Dickinson Cemetery, Methodist Church and Dickinson Historical Society. I have written 13 books, and all the proﬁts from the sale of these books go to scholarships for less-fortunate students in the Dickinson school district. What do you like most about serving the community? As a fourth generation Dickinsonian with deep roots in this city, I love the people who are always willing to help. What motivates you to get involved in your community? The feeling of giving back to help others less fortunate. I was raised poor on a small ranch south of town, and we didn’t have much in the way of material things, so I know what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet. What does it mean to be named a ﬁnalist for Citizen of the Year? It is an unbelievable honor to even be considered. Hopefully, it would make Dickinson proud for one of their citizens to be chosen. Why do you think it’s important to give back to the community? Dickinson has been good to me and my family. To me, it’s only natural to want to give back. If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be? I’ve made a number of foolish decisions in my life, but realizing the importance of an education came after I went oﬀ to college and was paying for it myself. In short, study much harder in high school. ERNIE DEATS CITY OF RESIDENCE » Dickinson OCCUPATION » Rancher/author 2020 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS PETER DAVIS CITY OF RESIDENCE » Galveston OCCUPATION » Lifeguard/chief, Galveston Island Beach PatrolThe Dickinson Historical Society our former President and Local Historian and Author Ernie Deats on his Nomination as Citizen of the Year The City of Dickinson and Keep Dickinson Beautiful, Inc. Congratulate Dickinson Mayor and KDB Executive Director Julie Dues Masters and Local Author and Historian Ernie Deats on their Nominations for the Citizen of the Year Award C o n g r a t u l a t i ons ! ! C o n g r a t u l a t i ons ! ! Ms. Amelia, So proud of you, you are my inspiration! Always on the go - helping others at all times, and never expecting anything in return. You are such a huge volunteer, from police to books to animals and all points in between. Stay healthy my friend, and know that I pray for you every day. You are God’s very special angel. Love Always, Mel 2020 | Citizen of the Year | The Daily News | 78 | The Daily News | Citizen of the Year | 2020 In what ways are you involved with the community? Currently, I serve as board president of the Galveston County Teen Parenting Coalition, director of the youth praise dance ministry and choir director and director of Black history program at Greater St. Matthews Baptist Church. What do you like most about serving the community? I enjoy collaborating with others to help the youth of the area make appropriate and healthy decisions to become productive citizens in society. What motivates you to get involved in your community? I truly enjoy helping youth ﬁnd their way, providing guidance and knowledge to help them make healthy decisions while empowering them to be the best that they can be. What does it mean to be named a ﬁnalist for Citizen of the Year? I am honored and grateful that someone thought of me. I strive to help change lives, and the nomination shows me that I’m doing my job and helping to improve the lives of our future generations. I will be forever grateful. Why do you think it’s important to give back to the community? Working with teen parents, I have discovered that you have the opportunity to change the lives of others by teaching and inspiring the youth. With teen parents, you are not only impacting one life but the next generation as well. It’s an opportunity to change the course of their lives and impact the community overall. What’s something that most people don’t know about you? I enjoy writing stage plays that inform, inspire and educate our community. In what ways are you involved with the community? The common thread to my volunteering in the community are nonproﬁt boards dedicated to families, children and youth, such as Better Parks for Galveston, the Ronald McDonald House and the City of Galveston Families, Children and Youth Board. For example, I have been focused on rehabilitating Galveston parks for our citizens of all ages for the last eight years by participating in Jones Park renovations, lobbying for a new playground at Shield Park, working for a community pool and supporting a special-needs playground at the Ronald McDonald House. What do you like most about serving the community? I like to see positive results, so I really enjoy transforming a promise into a reality. I like tackling a problem where there is community by-in, understanding and support. My joy comes from working with enthusiastic volunteers who come through time after time after time, and year after year, to pursue and resolve an identiﬁed problem on the island. Three community initiatives that I have helped are establishing a home- away from home for critically ill children and their families through the Ronald McDonald House, developing a community board for families, children and youth, and helping with the ﬁrst-ever community pool. What motivates you to get involved in your community? The Holocaust Museum Houston calls people who throw themselves into the fray “up-standers” — those folks who run toward a problem rather than away from it. There are so many of these exceptional individuals in Galveston who have allowed me into their lives to learn and then act. Through their eyes, I have seen opportunities to help with solutions to unfair circumstances. BJ HERZ CITY OF RESIDENCE » Galveston OCCUPATION » Retired teacher/fund raiser/sales 2020 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS CARLA GETERS CITY OF RESIDENCE » La Marque OCCUPATION » Nurse coordinator, Teen Parenting Program of Galveston Independent School DistrictCongratulations to all the honorees whose accomplishments have created a better community for us all. Craig Brown for Mayor 2020 facebook.com/craigbrownformayor www.craigbrownformayor.com Congratulations B. J.! Your enthusiasm, hard work, and vision was intricate in the success of Better Parks for Galveston. Much love, from your friends at BPG!
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