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  • Healthcare staff treated for National Health Center Week

    The Health Center of Southeast Texas recently observed National Health Center Week. The staff was treated to an appreciation lunch and gifts, and the patients were treated to gifts as well.The Health Center of Southeast Texas recently observed National Health Center Week. The staff was treated to an appreciation lunch and gifts, and the patients were treated to gifts as well.

    By Yvonne Cones

    The Health Center of South East Texas held a National Health Center Week recently. 

    The theme was “Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today.” The staff at every center, as well as every patient seen that week were given gifts and the staff were also treated to lunch in appreciation for all their hard work. 

    Melaney Strickland, the Marketing/Outreach Coordinator, said that the week was a success. The Centers, there is one in Shepherd and in Cleveland as well as other sites, recently held free COVID-19 testing for anyone and has been very active in the community. 

    You can call with questions or to schedule an appointment by calling Melaney at 281-592-2224 ext 206.

    The Coldspring Garden Club held its first meeting of the new year in Coldspring Community Center on Sept. 3. Social distancing and mask wearing were observed and the french doors to the lovely garden were open. 

    The talk on “Creating a Wildflower Garden for Butterflies” was given by Darnell Schrieber, a Master Gardener and Volunteer Alum at Mercer Arboretum, where she holds the title of “Seed Queen.” You can see that Darnell knows a lot about gardens. 

    She also designed the Nature Trail at Cape Royale, so this was an excellent start for the Garden Club in what has been a difficult year. I know a lot of us have turned to working more out in our yards when we were more or less house bound. 

    The Garden Club is a wonderful resource for many of us. Meetings are at 1.30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. 

    Go to the Facebook page for more info.

    Coldspring Area Art League, CAAL, is another great resource for the creative person, or even not so creative person. Art is a very subjective thing and any form can be fulfilling. 

    I know about this since I taught Art and Pottery many years ago in an English high school. Recently the League were saddened by the loss of one of their own. 

    Lou Turpin, a unique personality, full of humor and intelligence, who passed away. Turpin always brought her work to Chamber events and last year shared a space with Linda Deeter, an award winning artist member of CAAL, at Shepherd Celebration for Independence Day. 

    Go to the Facebook page to find out more about this organization.

    The Chamber phone died on me this week! I have to replace it but you can always email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please write Chamber in the subject heading. 

    I get a lot of emails. I hope to be back on track next week.

  • HOOPS FOR JESUS

    Faith Temple COGiC member Joe Walker (left) dribbles toward the basket against the defense of church visitor Dub Hill during the inaugural Hoops For Jesus event on Aug. 24 at the Corrigan church. (Photos courtesy of Faith Temple COGiC)Faith Temple COGiC member Joe Walker (left) dribbles toward the basket against the defense of church visitor Dub Hill during the inaugural Hoops For Jesus event on Aug. 24 at the Corrigan church. (Photos courtesy of Faith Temple COGiC)

    By Jason Chlapek

    CORRIGAN — Though widely known for its successful high school football program, there’s been plenty of basketball played in Corrigan recently.

    One can find a group of 10-14 people playing at Corrigan’s Faith Temple Church of God in Christ on a regular basis. Last week, there was a purpose for playing basketball.

    Church members Joe Walker, Isaac Freeman and Richard Thomas came up with the concept of Hoops For Jesus.

    “It was the first time we’ve done something like this,” Walker said. “There are some guys who play basketball, but never come to church. We made this deal where we play against the guys who don’t go to church and if we win, they come to church for one service. We believe that it only takes one encounter with God to make an impact.”

    The format for Hoops For Jesus was one-on-one. A player who is a church guest would call out a member to play one-on-one, or vice versa.

    Games were half-court and played to seven points. A basket made inside the arc was worth one point, while a basket made outside the arc was worth two.

    “We’ve had the gym open to the public for some time, but once the pandemic hit, we had to slow down,” Walker said. “Now we have it to where there’s about 10-14 guys coming in consistently. We have two great athletic directors in our church — Richard Thomas and Isaac Freeman — and they traveled around the world playing basketball. They bring different people in from all walks of life to play basketball.”

    Walker said he was “called out” the most out of any church member. There was a friendly wager during the games.

    “(The guests) said if they beat me, I buy them dinner,” Walker said. “But if I beat them, they go to church.”

    Walker was involved in a key matchup against visitor Dub Hill. Walker prevailed, 7-3, and Hill will attend church this Sunday.

    “We’ve had guys who say if they win they want to go to Red Lobster or a steakhouse or Chicken Express,” Walker said. “When you stick to what you said you would do, you develop trust because you stuck to your word. This is our way of being the church. We still have the doors open so when they come in, we have drinks and food. We call them weekly to check on them.”

    Walker said the church has other ways of ministering besides basketball. He also said Covid-19 has altered the way they worship.

    “We normally have a Sunday morning service and a Sunday evening service,” Walker said. “Since Covid-19 hit, we have a small gathering in our parking lot. We have to stay in our cars and have our facemarks on. The only one out of the car is our pastor. He stands in a tent with a shield and facemark. This works out pretty good because people on the streets can hear us and we’re not just inside a wall. We have a Home for a Mission group that goes out to all of the nursing homes and the hospitals in Lufkin. We get our choirs out and sing, we give out food on Thanksgiving and back to the community.”

    Being in Corrigan along the US Highway 59 corridor, Walker believes his church is blessed because of geography. This also makes ministry to other places along US 59 easier to reach.

    “Geography and location help us out because we’re located on a highway where many people are constantly passing by,” Walker said. “By us being right there on the highway, it helps us out a lot. We have a guy in Nacogdoches who contracted the coronavirus. Some of the people from our church sent out food and prayers.”

    Faith Temple COGIC has two locations in Corrigan — the original location at 814 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and another is on US 59 South. Once human interactions can pick up again, Walker believes the new multipurpose building will be a great addition to the church.

    “With the multipurpose building, we can push the goals to the side and bring in chairs that seat up to 600-800 people for a service,” he said. “We’re still working to get the multipurpose building up to standard, but Covid has slowed down construction.”

    While Walker and the others who regularly play basketball enjoy it, he knows there’s a bigger purpose.

    “This is bigger than basketball, but we want to show them what the church is supposed to exemplify,” he said.

  • Noah’s Helpers builds extension to local food bank, receives donation

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Joyce Knierim (right) of McWilliams & Son presents a check to Noah’s Helpers to purchase tools that were stolen from the volunteer group’s trailer last month. Members of Noah’s Helpers are (from left) Larry Jander, Bill Brewster, GB Wise, Willard Moody and Craig Knowler.

    By Jason Chlapek

    LIVINGSTON – Since its inception in 2004, Noah’s Helpers has been taking care of building projects throughout the community.

    The volunteer group, which is part of First United Methodist Church in Livingston, has spent the last week building an extension to the Mannafest food bank. The project is expected to be complete next week.

    “Mannafest has added a 30x40 addition and we’re framing it out so we can build walls and they can expand their operation,” Noah’s Helpers director Willard Moody said. “We’re also taking out walls and making a big waiting room area for their clients to come and get food and a new restroom.”

    Last month, a burglary on the FUMC property resulted in Noah’s Helpers’ trailer being burglarized and several tools were stolen. But, a local business came to the aid of Noah’s Helpers in the form of a donation.

    “We responded to a Facebook post about their incident,” Joyce Knierim of McWilliams & Son said. “McWilliams & Son donates to almost every nonprofit organization that goes on in Polk County. One of our biggest contributions from McWilliams & Son is we give back to our community. Our community gives to us, we give back to them.”

    When Noah’s Helpers started, the group built wheelchair ramps, porches, stairs and handrails. It also took care of minor home problems.

    “We do this kind of work for nonprofit organizations,” Moody said. “We don’t do projects of this magnitude too often. We probably build 3-4 wheelchair ramps a month.”

    Moody said Noah’s Helpers has 11 active members. He also said that Mannafest is a food bank that was started by several churches here and it has its own board now.