By Cheril Vernon
Messenger Copy Editor
GRAPELAND – Whether it was a person who helped pull a car out of a ditch, provided a meal when many didn’t have electricity, donated firewood, helped with generators or frozen pipes, or gave shelter – many showed extraordinary kindness during the “Snowmageddon” or “Snowpocalypse” in February.
As a way to show appreciation to “good neighbors” who went the extra mile to help others in the community – the Grapeland Chamber of Commerce held a special Good Neighbor Awards Dinner this week.
The steak dinner celebration was held Thursday, May 20 at First Baptist Church’s Family Center in Grapeland.
“The reason we are having this event is to let you know how thankful we are for you guys in the community. We are usually here to serve you. But I have seen time and time members of the community and outside of the community serving each other,” Grapeland Chamber of Commerce President Amber Loew said. “We are here tonight to say thank you. We are here tonight to celebrate a coming together of good neighbors who went above and beyond neighbor standards to serve. These acts did not go unnoticed. The kindness and love shown in our community has sparked and encouraged me.”
The Chamber accepted “Good Neighbor” nominations from late March to early April.
“In the midst of chaos, Grapeland neighbors and surrounding communities have stepped up and made things happen,” the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page stated when asking for nominations. “If you have someone that has impacted your life for the better this year and last, please send in a nomination for our ‘Good Neighbor’ award.”
Mayor Mitchell Woody spoke on the importance of being a good neighbor during the ceremony.
“Good neighbors look out for each other,” Wood said while describing the many characteristics of being a good neighbor.
In fact, the “Good Neighbor” awards were a joint effort of the community working together. Wood was donated by the Salmon sawmill, while the steel was donated by Nucor Vulcraft to make the awards.
Below is a list of individuals, businesses and organizations who won the awards, along with information about why they were nominated (if provided):
• Charles Hart – “Shared his generator with his neighbors.”
• Michael Gibson – “He worked very hard during the storm. He was helping people in so many ways. He has also helped feed the community on various occasions.”
• Charles Faulk – “He came out of his warm home during the winter storm to help me when my pipe burst. His help was so much appreciated.”
• Britteney Walker – “Cooked and delivered food to families during the snowstorm.”
• David Loew – “Jesse and David Loew cut and took firewood to residents in Tejas Shores when they were running low and after the ice melted – they went to a lot of neighbors’ homes to make sure the water meters were not busted and leaking!”
• Gordon Brannaka – “Came out with their tractors and cleared roads for our residents!”
• Randy Hargrove – “Came out with their tractors and cleared roads for our residents.”
• Greg Wassberg – “Truly grateful for Greg who already had firewood cut and he donated it to the cause! Super awesome people!”
• Christal Peck – “Cooked for us since we had no electricity and helped with broken water lines.”
• Grapeland Fire Department – “Went door to door checking on people and offering rides to the Crockett Civic Center.”
• Arlene Ricardo Martinez with Tamaleria Los Martinez – “Fed many people. I saw our community pull together. People helping people. Giving rides. Neighbors helping neighbors. Haven’t seen that love and compassion in a long time. Arlene Ricardo Martinez with Tamaleria Los Martinez fed many. Thanks Jocelyn Jazmine Santos and Angie C. Brown for the texts checking on us.”
• Tabbie Riddlesperger – “For sharing water when our pipes froze!”
• Stephan Till – “Gave rides and helped many with their water lines. These are only a few to name names. Several offered their homes!”
• Rolaz Taqueria – “Had their doors open to help. “
• Keshia Thomas, owner of Keshia’s Café – “Fed many people all over Crockett and surrounding areas.”
• Audice Leon Wallace – “Standing with Crockett”
• Ross Pennington- “Road clearing”
• Jason Bridges – “Road clearing”
• Frank Chapman
• Arthur Betz – “Grapeland teacher nomination”
• Kevin Watts – “Kept water on for Grapeland residents”
• Grapeland Urgent Care – “Caring for the community”
• Mitchell Woody – “His service to the community”
• Grapeland Police Department – “Services to the community”