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                               JASON CHLAPEK I PCE JT Drake (seated) recently organized a lemonade and hot dog stand that raised more than $4,000 dollars – all of which went to Making Sports Possible. Jason (second from left) and Gisele Ivy (third from right) are the co-founders of MSP, which helps underprivileged youth in Polk County pay for sign-up fees and equipment to play sports. Also pictured are JT’s parents Rachel (far left) and Marty Drake (second from right) and his sister Sully (far right).

Local youth raises $4K for nonprofit sports organization

By Jason Chlapek

JT Drake likes to play sports, particularly baseball.

JT, 7, plays Little League in Livingston and Select in Kingwood. Recently, the son of Marty and Rachel Drake did something that most children his age wouldn’t think about doing – start a fundraiser.

JT was the brainchild behind a hot dog and lemonade stand that brought in more than $4,000. The money isn’t going to his college fund either.

Each dollar of the $4,076.37 that JT and his family raised that Saturday afternoon was donated to a local nonprofit organization called “Making Sports Possible.” Gisele and Jason Ivy are the heads of MSP, which provides funds for sign-up fees and equipment for underprivileged children who otherwise can’t afford to play.

“I wanted to make sports possible so more kids could play,” JT said.

The Drake family began selling hot dogs, cookies and lemonade on their front lawn at 10 a.m. that day and stopped selling at 3 p.m. While the entire amount was not raised in that five-hour window, there were other methods people used to donate to JT’s cause.

“People also mailed money in and we had a lot of online donations,” Rachel Drake said. “We posted on social media that we had a lemonade stand.”

Last Tuesday, Gisele and Jason Ivy presented a trophy to JT at Bull Shack Coffee and Smoothies. The couple also has a connection with the Drake family, which includes younger daughter Sullivan, or “Sully.”

“We know Marty and Rachel from coaching the Go-Getters with Marty,” Gisele said. “We know their heart. We were surprised when we found out that JT wanted to do it, but we weren’t surprised that they did it because JT is such a sweet boy. It’s a blessing and perfect timing.”

MSP was organized in 2017 and started paying for underprivileged Polk County youth to participate in sports in 2018. The organization partners with youth basketball, baseball, football, soccer and softball leagues in Polk County.

“We saw the need to pay for some kids to play sports when my nephews played,” Jason said. “You would have kids show up one year then not show up the next because they didn’t have the funds to play.”

Jason Ivy graduated from Livingston in 1998 and joined the Army, where he served for 10 years. He and his wife, Gisele, LHS Class of 1994, moved back to Livingston in 2008.

“One year we had a pair of brothers on a team that had to share the same bat, the same glove and the same helmet,” Gisele said. “They couldn’t be on the field at the same time.”

Those instances inspired Jason and Gisele to put their heads together and try to figure out a way to not only make sure Polk County youth didn’t have to share playing equipment, but also make sure they had enough money to sign up to play.

“We reached out to friends and tried to fund it ourselves,” Gisele said. “But then we got together and decided to start this nonprofit.”

MSP also has a governing board of six members. In the previous three years, the organization has helped an average of 50-60 youth participate in sports.

“Almost every member on our board has been a member of the board since we started this organization,” Jason said. “Everybody continues to be an internal part of what we do. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible. We’re grateful for each and every board member. It’s a big family-oriented organization. The more people know about us, the more the funds increase. We want to help more kids and reach out to the community.”

A year ago, MSP was planning its annual color run fundraiser when Covid-19 hit. That fundraiser, as well as others, were canceled.

MSP also had raffles, motorcycle rides, sold tacos and set up booths at Hometown Christmas. The timing of JT’s fundraiser couldn’t have been more ideal.

“It was a God-send that he decided to do that right then and there,” Gisele said. “We were pretty low on funds and this is our biggest sign-up season because it’s baseball, softball and soccer all at the same time. This is the time where we have the most kids, so for him to decide to do that was amazing.”

According to the Ivy’s, JT’s fundraiser was the only fundraiser that MSP had this year. In addition to baseball, JT also plays basketball and golf, but baseball is his favorite.

JT plays on the coach-pitch level in both Little League and Select. Although he can play catcher, any of the three outfield positions, shortstop or third base, JT has his favorite position.

“My favorite position is third base because you have to have a strong arm in order to get the ball over to first base,” he said.

After the five-hour fundraiser, there was still plenty of food left. JT’s generous nature kicked in when he and his family were deciding what to do with the leftovers.

“We had leftover hot dogs and we gave them to people who didn’t have a house,” JT said.

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PCSO seeks suspects in trailer theft

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SUSPECT TRUCK STOLEN CARGO TRAILERPHOTOS COURTESY OF PCSO A cargo trailer was stolen from an Onalaska residence on January 1, 2021.

From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

ONALASKA – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance in obtaining information in regard to a theft that occurred on Jan. 1, at a residence in the Pine Harbor subdivision, in Onalaska.

At approximately 2 a.m., the suspect(s) hooked up to the victim’s 2021 Cargo Express Enclosed Utility Trailer, and took it from the victim’s property.

CARGO TRAILERCOURTESY PHOTO Cargo trailer

Anyone who knows the identity of these suspects or has any information in reference to this case that will help with the investigation, is asked to submit a tip at p3tips.com, (the P3 App), or call Polk County Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP, where they can remain anonymous and may collect a cash reward for information leading to an arrest. People may also contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division directly and speak to a detective at 936-327-6810.

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Waitlist for Phase 1B of Covid vaccine

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Polk County OEM PSA COVID 19 Vaccine Temporary WaitlistFILE PHOTO Polk County OEM

From the Polk County Office of Emergency Management

On Tuesday, Polk County launched a temporary waitlist for the COVID-19 vaccine for Phase 1B.

Phase 1B includes persons who are 65 and older, or persons 16 years and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus. See the Texas Department of State Health Service’s definition of Phase 1B for more details.

Persons who wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccination may sign up on Polk County’s temporary waitlist by clicking the following link: https://arcg.is/11ePGb. Persons without internet access who do not have someone able to help them sign-up online may contact Emergency Management at (936) 327-6826.

This temporary waitlist will be used by county staff and our partner vaccine providers to distribute the vaccine to the public for a limited time. Please note, this is a waitlist only and not a registration list.

The Angelina County & Cities Health District (ACCHD) is preparing a more sophisticated self-registration and appointment program that we hope will be launched soon. When ACCHD launches their new program, it will be linked to our Facebook page and website so you can sign up.

The temporary waitlist will then be discontinued.

Please stay tuned to the Emergency Management Facebook page and website for the announcement of the ACCHD COVID-19 vaccine registration and appointment program. The OEM will also share this information with other local media outlets such as the Polk County Enterprise, PolkCountyToday.com, Piney Woods Express online newspaper, and local radio stations.

Vaccine supplies are limited and wait times will be dependent upon vaccine availability and distribution phase. As the vaccine becomes more available, eligibility will expand.

Again, for further updates from Emergency Management, visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PolkCountyEmergencyManagement) or our website at www.PolkCountyOEM.com.

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Body found in Rocky Creek

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Lights and sirensFILE PHOTO Law Enforcement lights

From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

The body of a 59-year-old man was discovered floating in Rocky Creek two weeks ago.

Gary Earl Nash, 59, was found dead after he apparently drowned weeks earlier. His body was discovered on Jan. 27, and he was last seen Jan. 12.

On Jan. 27, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Bent Wood Bend Subdivision due to a body discovered floating in the creek area. Detectives were able to identify the victim as Nash, who resided in the area.

After further investigation into the death detectives learned from the son of Nash along with other relatives that on Jan. 12, Nash returned home from a family funeral and talked about going bank fishing behind his home. Detectives discovered a spot a short distance from where the body was discovered that Nash had recently found which had a deep embankment that he had to build a make shift ladder to get to the water.

Fishing equipment identified to belong to Mr. Nash was located at the scene. It is suspected by detectives that Nash may have fallen from the embankment causing serious injuries.

Detectives suspect no foul play to be the cause of Mr. Nash’s death.

Justice of the Peace Jamie Richardson was requested to the scene where an autopsy was ordered to be conducted at the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office. The death is still under investigation at this time.

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PCSO seeks shooting suspect

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LE Flashing LightsFILE PHOTO

From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

A 19-year-old female is still hospitalized after she was shot in Goodrich last week.

On the night of Jan. 30, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in the Siesta County Subdivision after receiving 911 calls of a shooting victim. At the scene, the 19-year-old female was found to have a single gunshot wound to her abdomen during an altercation involving several people that were attending a party at the location.

Others that showed up believed to have escalated the altercation. The victim was transported to Kingwood Hospital where she is listed at this time in stable condition in the intensive Care Unit.

Detectives have conducted interviews with several persons present at the time of the shooting and is asking that anyone with information to provide to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division at 936-327-6810.

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