GUSHER: For the East Texas Food Bank for providing and Longview Rotary Clubs for stepping up to facilitate food distribution last week in our city. More than 1,500 Longview-area households received supplies of canned and packaged goods and fresh fruits and vegetables enough for 16 meals. Such help is badly needed in these tough times, and we applaud those who see the need and do something to help.
DUSTER: For news of deepening layoffs across the region, and especially for those apparently leading to permanent closure of Halliburton’s operations in Kilgore. Low crude oil prices are taking their toll on the global oil field services provider, but also on other area mainstays including U.S. Steel’s Lone Star Tubular Operations, FTS International and many smaller companies. With added pressure on businesses from shutdowns forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a difficult period for many of our neighbors.
GUSHER: For Luke Stinnett, the Pine Tree Middle School sixth grader who created a newsletter to keep his classmates connected and up to date while they’re apart because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first edition of his Quarantine Times newsletter included submitted stories and photos of classmates’ quarantine activities, news and even a cake recipe. It’s a great exercise in and reminder of the importance of media that connects communities. Great job, Luke.
GUSHER: For Thomas Kokenos of Carthage and his “Blessing Box,” which allows neighbors to help neighbors anonymously. The box allows residents to leave items they think others might benefit from receiving, and others to take what they need free of charge. Beyond the social media aspect of the project to keep the box stocked, he says, “It’s a pretty basic concept. Bring what you can. Take what you need.”
DUSTER: For Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther for violating Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders regarding doing business, and for Abbott himself for losing his interest in the order after seeing it enforced by Dallas County. Despite the pandemic, we still are and must remain a nation of laws, and she, Abbott and other statewide officials apparently are happy to forget that when faced with outcry from those who disagree.
GUSHER: For the life of the Rev. F.F. “Jim” McCutchens, the president of the Harrison County branch of the NAACP who died at 79. His life provides a great example for all of us to follow, one that illustrates the value of providing service and being engaged in our communities. In addition to the NAACP, McCutchens was Karnack ISD board vice president, a pastor, a U.S. Army veteran, and a small business owner. Karnack ISD Superintendent Amy Dickson said of the loss: “He was visible, positive and wise. Our board will not be the same.”