Bob Brown was feted with a rocking chair, a plaque and a shower of accolades as the city honored the longtime former mayor Thursday night at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center.
Community members and city officials alike showed up to enjoy the festivities and thank Brown for everything he has done for Lufkin.
“It’s a very bittersweet day,” city secretary Kara Andrepont said. “We totally enjoyed Bob Brown and we were glad to take this opportunity to celebrate what he’s done for the city.”
Brown hopes to find something else he can devote his time to that will allow him to continue to help other people.
“I’m more emotional than I thought I would be,” Brown said. “It’s hard to say goodbye; we’re not saying goodbye, but I’m turning loose to something that I love doing and just watching the people that care in this community. It’s been a great ride.”
Brown said he doesn’t like being the center of attention, but likes to stand back and watch things get better.
“I agreed to do this, and I’m glad I did now,” he said. “I’ve seen people, and it just makes me feel good that they came out and that they knew that we were here trying to make a difference.”
City manager Bruce Green said Brown is an important, critical part of the history of the city of Lufkin.
“He has been the mayor for many years,” Green said. “He has guided us through many different difficulties and growing pains for the city, especially in the last year with COVID, the winter storms — all those kinds of things. He was always a steady leader. He’ll be missed, not only because of his leadership, but also because he was a very thoughtful, caring mayor.”
For the reception part of the evening, a welcome, opening remarks and introductions were performed by Brown’s successor, Mayor Mark Hicks.
“We appreciate all his hard work,” Hicks said. “The city went through a lot the last nine years, especially the last two years. He represented us well. We’re happy that so many of you have turned out today to honor him.”
Green, along with state District Judge Bob Inselmann, offered remarks about Brown, reflecting on their time together, both working for the city and as friends.
“This year, we went through a lot this year with COVID, with the ice storm, and he was a steady leader of figureship for the city of Lufkin,” Green said. “He was ever-thoughtful, and if you had a difficulty, or were ever down, even when I was a lawyer, he was always encouraging.”
“Bob Brown is probably one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life,” Inselmann said. “And if the world was full of Bob Browns, we’d have a whole lot less problems. I think one of the things that resonates with me is how much he truly cares about everyone.”
Brown was presented with a flag that was flown over the United States Capital in Washington D.C. from Melinda Kartye, a representative from U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s office.
“On a personal note, he’s just always been very kind to me, and always had very encouraging words,” Kartye said. “I just really appreciate you, and you’re going to be really missed.”
State Rep. Trent Ashby presented Brown with a state of Texas wooden rocking chair.
“Bob, as you all know, is unique,” said Ashby. “He is a gem; he’s one of a kind. And when I think of Bob Brown, there are a lot of adjectives and terms that come to mind. For example, he’s a doer, he’s a leader, he’s a visionary, he’s compassionate, he’s the master ribeye sandwich-maker, he’s a Christian and Bob has done so much for our community over the years, not just as mayor.”
Hicks presented Brown with a plaque from the city of Lufkin.
“We really appreciate everything you did for the city,” said Hicks.
HUDSON — The Hudson City Council accepted funding from the Hudson Economic Development Corporation for various city projects on Thursday.
The council accepted nearly $65,000 to repair a section of Hortons Hollow Road, for alternative options for the June Street project and to complete the west driveway at city hall.
The city will repair about 150 feet at the entrance of Hortons Hollow Road, city manager James Freeman said.
“Everybody that uses that road will get some good use out of it,” he said. “We started at 100 (feet) and we upped it, and I think that’s what we’re going to lock it in at: 150 feet.”
The city also accepted EDC funding for the June Street Project. The bidding process opened in October 2020 and separated into a base bid with four alternative options.
The base bid was to reconstruct June Drive with 8 inches of subgrade, 4 inches of limestone and 1.5 inches of hot mix asphalt. It is also meant to replace a 36-foot culvert under the street, the driveway culverts and the turnouts needed to drain the ditches, according to the city’s bid paperwork.
The base bid from Angelina Excavating was $228,254.40; this was the lowest estimate.
Alternative 1 increased the crushed limestone base thickness to 6 inches; the top bid estimated a cost of $22,689.90.
Alternative 2 increased the hot mix asphalt thickness to 2 inches; the top bid estimated a cost of $14,797.10.
Alternative 3 added 2 inches to the thickness of the subgrade and in the cul-de-sac; the top bid estimated a cost of $446.04.
Alternative 4 replaced the remaining driveway turnouts and culverts; the top bid estimated a cost of $16,678.40.
Altogether, Angelina Excavating said it could complete the work for $282,865.84. The city accepted the $54,611.44 the EDC offered for the additional work.
“The EDC has voted to fund all four of those,” Freeman said.
“Which is great,” Mayor Robert Smith said. “You don’t know how much we appreciate the EDC.
The city also accepted $4,900 from the EDC to complete 150 feet of work on the west driveway at city hall.
The council also approved the purchase of: a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe for the Hudson Police Department for just more than $50,000, which covers the cost of the vehicle and all the equipment needed for an officer; and a 3/4-ton truck for the public works department for $42,027 with all the equipment needed for the public works department.
Abundant Life United Methodist Church will be providing child care in a Christian atmosphere with its new facility, the Life Kids Center at 1715 Sayers St.
The center provides care for children ages 1-12 years old and will furnish breakfast, lunch and a snack. The children will perform activities to meet their developmental needs, and the center will implement a spiritual aspect, including Scripture in the lesson plans.
“It’s needed in our community, especially where we are,” church member Sheila Mark, who works with the kids, said. “Lufkin is where I grew up, and we just decided it was a good thing, because in the summer we would have tutoring for our kids at our church, and we were fortunate enough to be able to get a grant, so we decided to open up a day care.”
Pastor David Briggs said the day care was a joint dream between himself, the congregation and leadership of the church.
“It was an investment in the community,” he said. “We know that kids are some of the most vulnerable people in our community, and so we didn’t want to just complain about the struggles and the difficulties they face. We wanted to invest in their future.”
Briggs said the difference between this church-affiliated day care and a privately owned one is that its primary goal is to nurture the kids, as well as to collaborate with parents and community leaders.
“We want to try to make this a hub for training children and nurturing children,” he said. “So it’s really kind of a partnership endeavor.”
Director Shante Moreland agrees that with the day care, the community works together. They’ve had people bring in resources for the day care, such as teachers bringing in things they can use to implement education with the children.
“Everybody wants to put their hand in with the children, as opposed to a private owner, where you’re just trying to figure out everything yourself,” Moreland said. “You have support. Everyone is ready to make it happen.”
Briggs said he is excited the church was able to implement the vision of a church-affiliated child care facility, and is thankful for everyone involved with the project.
“A lot of people dream of doing things in the community, but it never comes to fruition,” Briggs said. “We were blessed to be able to bring this to pass.”
The facility is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. To enroll, call 899-5480.