Thanking the Community

I just want to express my sincere appreciation to all the folks who contributed to the many school supplies that were donated to Jefferson ISD this school year. There are many people to thank, but there’s no way to know the names of all the individuals who pitched in... whether they were involved in the buying, donating, coordinating, gathering, delivering or helping out in another way.

However, I do know the names of many of the various entities who provided supplies. A huge thank you goes out to Auntie Skinner’s, Jefferson Rotary Club and Joey Romano, Norbord, FRESH, Vera Bank, Dallas Metropolitan Jeffersonian Club, Magnolia Place Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center, Marion County Fair Board, and Valley View Baptist Church of Longview. I’m sure I am leaving someone out, but just know that we are extremely grateful for everything you have done and continue to do for our kids.

Our community understands that we live in a poor county, with many families financially struggling to survive. It is very pleasing to know that, in times of need, there are lots of good folks in our surrounding areas who are willing to step up, work hard, and do some good for others.

It is true that I am proud of our school. Our teachers, administrators and staff are working very hard and doing amazing things for our kiddos every day. But I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize our community and businesses too. I’m sure you get weary from getting pulled from every side, with people routinely asking for something, a donation “for this” or a purchase related to a fundraiser “for that” or just help with something else. I understand it can become a little taxing on you all.

So, on behalf of our Board of Trustees, administrators, students and staff, thank you! Go Bulldogs!

— Jefferson ISD Superintendent Rob Barnwell

Glad to Read About Masons

I was glad to read The Marshall News Messenger article “Marshall Masons install new officers” (Aug. 4). Most residents of Marshall are probably not familiar that the Masonic presence in Marshall traces back to Marshall Lodge No. 11 being chartered to operate in the old “Republic of Texas” era of January 1845. For any organization to last 175 years takes dedication and perseverance among its generations of members who come from all walks-of-life, but share one simple belief in friendships of “Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of Almighty God.”

Basic Masonry in Marshall consists of the first three degrees (which I would compare to civic lessons in manhood and good morals). In various places in Texas and across the nation and globe, additional Masonic organizations may confer educational “degrees” such as the York Rite (with names such as Royal Arch Mason, Cryptic Mason, Knight of Malta, Knight Templar Mason — as well as the Scottish Rite, which has degrees known by ‘numbers’ and by names such as the 14th Degree called “Perfect Elect Mason” and the 30th Degree called “Knight Kadosh Mason.” Although I joined both Rites in my native Kansas, I have achieved the 32nd degree, but not the 33rd degree which my Great Grandfather did attain. All Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons advance into the Shrine. I’d encourage any good man to consider joining this worthy fraternal-order.

— James A. Marples, Longview