I am not believing that Christmas is exactly one month away and Thanksgiving Day is Thursday. The city of Lufkin is busy making the holidays festive, and there is plenty to do between now, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I would love to share some of the events and groups we have participated with this month, and I have never been prouder of a city or its people during the last 30-plus days.

The Chamber’s Leadership Tomorrow group came to city hall a few weeks ago and learned all the ins and outs of our city from Jason Arnold, assistant city manager; Mike Flinn, Parks & Recreation director; and police Sgt. Travis Strickland. Each city presenter did an outstanding job describing the workings of your city.

We are certainly excited about our new Parks & Recreation facility on Montrose Street at the former home of Calvary Baptist Church. Please make time to go by and see what Flinn and Lauren Stacey have done with this great facility. Expanded programs can now be presented because of the space and layout of the building. It is a perfect fit for an active and flexible Parks & Recreation Department in Lufkin.

Strickland was an outstanding presenter for our Lufkin Police Department. He was informative in giving advice to the Leadership Tomorrow class, and they had many great questions. He had just come off an undercover case and had only four hours of sleep, but he did a fantastic job of presenting real facts about the life of a Lufkin police officer. He makes me proud of the whole police department under the leadership of chief David Thomas.

The next event that touched my heart was reading a proclamation at the annual National Adoption Day in Judge Bob Inselmann’s courtroom, with Judge Clyde Herrington presiding. This is one of my favorite events. You get to witness new families being made as unselfish adults give their time, resources and love to youngsters who just need someone who cares and loves them to step forward, and pledge to take care of them.

This is my seventh time to participate in this event, and it restores my faith in our community each and every year. This is a wonderful community to live in and raise children, and there is nothing that pleases me more than to witness the outpouring of love in such a special setting. Well done, Natalie Thornton with CASA, Child Protective Services and the Angelina County court system.

I have never been more proud of our convention center and Tourism & Visitors staff than last Monday morning in downtown Lufkin. Thanks to the U.S. Forest Service and the Texas Forest Service, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree came to downtown Lufkin and parked on First Street in front of The Pines Theater for more than an hour. There was a fabulous turnout as school children, forest-related caregivers and producers, and just interested and proud Lufkinites filled the street.

We are blessed that the decisionmakers chose the route through Lufkin to help make another remarkable page in our history books. Thank you to Brant Lee and Taylor Commiato for having downtown Lufkin the showroom for the Capital Christmas tree.

It was an honor and an educational highlight to be included by The Heart Institute of East Texas to discuss health issues in our community this past week. Dr. Ravinder Bachireddy’s presentation was certainly an eye-opener, and I pray it will become the theme for our New Year’s resolution to “Create a Culture of Health” in Angelina County for the year 2020.

Bachireddy has given his life and total professional career to making our East Texas area a healthier place to live and work. His presentation includes Life’s Simple 7 — get active, eat better, lose weight, control cholesterol, manage blood pressure, reduce blood sugar and stop smoking. Thank you for sharing these goals with us, doctor.

Congratulations to chairwoman Erika Neill of Angelina County United Way, for reaching the 2019 campaign goal. This accomplishment does not go unnoticed in our community or in the eyes of economic development prospects who have their eye on Lufkin. We are a can-do community and we pull together and work hard each and every year to always set a goal and then go out and reach it. It gets a little lonely in late October and early November, but all of a sudden, we come together and make it happen. Job well done, Erika’s team.

As we sit down as families this Thanksgiving, let us remember how blessed we are to live, work, shop and worship in the best city in Texas. Let us remember the empty chairs at some family’s tables who lost loved ones this past year, but let’s also celebrate the treasured memories we have to remember the bright light that person brought into our lives.

God bless and happy Thanksgiving.

Bob Brown is the mayor for the city of Lufkin. His email address is mayorbobbrown@cityoflufkin.com.

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