By Richard Hudson
Special to The Progress
GEORGE WEST – More than three years ago ,the Live Oak County Historical Commission (LOCHC) initiated discussions with county authorities about relocating Narcotics Agent Patrick Allen Randel’s monument from the intersection of IH-37 and US Highway 59 where he was killed by drug dealers.
Today, through efforts of the LOCHC, county, TXDOT and law enforcement officials, the monument sits permanently in front of the new Live Oak County Justice Center where a memorial and monument unveiling in Agent Randel’s honor is planned for Saturday, July 13, at 10:30 a.m.
“Agent Randel’s monument became obscured from public view due to highway construction,” said Ross Harris, LOCHC Chair. “For over three years, the LOCHC looked for ways to restore the monument to public view. It now sits honorably and permanently in front of the new Live Oak County Justice Center for all to see.”
According to LOCHC treasurer and former chair, Leslie Walker, the tradition began in 1995 when Richard Metcalf set the first monument. It was for Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Carlos Ray Warren killed while stopping a kidnapping.
“Officer Warren had written Metcalf a speeding ticket before he read about his death by the kidnapper a few days later,” Walker said. She described how Metcalf set the monument alone and said a prayer for Trooper Warren.
“Before Metcalf’s death in 1998,” Walker continued, “he began a foundation called ‘We the People of the State of Texas’ and asked his brother, Don, to continue the tradition. Richard set 27 more monuments in memory to officers killed protecting the public. Because of him, there are now over 100 such monuments throughout Texas.”
In the initial stages of the relocation, Ross Harris consulted with the Patrick Randel’s children seeking their approval for the move. Additionally, Harris sought approval from DPS Regimental Commander Jose Rodriquez. Harris also conferred with County Judge Jim Huff and Sheriff Larry Busby who gave their approval about locating the monument near the Live Oak County Justice Center.
“TxDOT removed the monument,” said Walker, “and worked with Commissioner Richard Lee to set the monument at the Justice Center.”
Wayne Gondeck, architect for the new Live Oak County Justice Center, had his contractors replace construction debris with new rock and landscape around the monument.
Grace Wilson, LOCHC appointee and president of Unify to Beautify, suggested some finishing touches. She asked Curry’s Nursery to plant a 20-gallon crepe myrtle with brilliant red flowers at the site in memory of Agent Randel.
The Saturday morning ceremony, according to Harris, “will also recognize the Department of Public Safety and each branch of our local law enforcement community. This includes Sheriff Larry Busby, the Live Oak County Sheriff’s Department, Chief David Perkins and the George West Police Department, and Chief Vance Roberts and the Three Rivers Police Department.”
Keynote speaker will be Col. Steven McCraw, Texas DPS executive director.
The Texas DPS Honor Guard will present the colors and D’Anna Woodmanse Wallace will sing the national anthem.
County Judge Huff invites all to attend Randel’s memorial and monument unveiling at the new Live Oak County Justice Center in George West.
“In honoring Agent Randel’s memory,” said Huff, “we renew our pledge to make this country a better place to live and raise our children. Let’s not forget him and the men and women today that continue in Agent Randel’s footsteps. I thank the Live Oak County Historical Commission, TxDOT and the many who have made this recognition possible.”
“It’s the right thing to do,” Huff emphasized.
The Texas Legislature authorized counties to establish county historical commissions to assist county commissioners courts and the Texas Historical Commission in the preservation of state and county historic and cultural resources. All Live Oak County CHC volunteers are appointed by Judge Huff and the Commissioners Court to serve two-year terms.