The Beeville Country Club was packed with Chamber members and guests present to hear the speakers and witness the announcement of the business and citizen of the year 2012. The evening included an emphasis on “excellence in education” and “building on our strengths,” as well as the rewards of selfless devotion and commitment to the community.
Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, Coastal Bend College president, told of her humble beginnings and her desire to see all area residents have an opportunity to pursue higher education. She noted that CBC continues to offer students career paths in such fields as nursing, dental hygiene and cosmetology, as well as oil and gas technology and commercial drivers classes tailored to the Eagle Ford Shale play.
Sen. Judith Zaffirini was a strong advocate of education and community colleges meeting the needs of the work force. Zaffirini, who was replaced that day by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst as chair of the powerful Higher Education Committee, concealed her disappointment.
She said she will continue to champion education issues, still serving on that committee, and will now chair the Senate Government Organization Committee, which will consider important “sunset” legislation that reviews state agencies for possible revamping and reorganization — including the Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Both the business and citizen of the year have longtime ties to Beeville dating back to the 1970s when they returned to their hometown to begin their respective careers.
Mark and Debbie Parsons, owners of Hogue’s Jewelry, were cited for their humble beginnings (with humor) and opening their attractive store downtown in 1985. They offer amazing quality jewelry for a city this size, as many visitors here will attest.
Tom Beasley, citizen of the year, who has held many offices and been active for decades in Beeville, appeared surprised when he received his plaque and upon seeing many old friends who came from out of town in the audience.
Beasley credited his grandfather, parents and several longtime family friends for instilling his values. He said his wife, Karole, “has been a spiritual rock in our family.”
He commented on the necessity of the Chamber of Commerce, saying this was his fourth tour of duty on the chamber board. “The Chamber of Commerce is vital to a community because it brings the community together. For us to do what has to be done, we’ve got to be working together.”
As presenter John Galloway noted, this honor for Beasley is long overdue.
– Chip Latcham