Breakfast honors first responders
By Emily Banks Wooten
Local firefighters, police officers, DPS troopers, prosecutors and the Overstreet family were the guests of honor at the Cole Overstreet Memorial Breakfast in honor of Livingston’s First Responders hosted Wednesday by Debra Jenke’s Angelina College dual-credit government class at the Angelina College Polk County Center. Cole, an 18-year-old Livingston High School senior, was killed by a hit and run drunk driver following the homecoming game on Sept. 24, 2021.
“Every year in the senior government class when we get to Texas government, we do a project on civic responsibilities. This (the Cole Overstreet Memorial Breakfast) is what they voted on last year and it’s what they voted on again this year. This is a day of remembrance for Cole,” Jenke said.
Livingston ISD Superintendent Dr. Brent E. Hawkins thanked Jenke for her efforts. “There’s a lot of work and love that went into this. Thank you, first responders, for the work that you do in this crazy world. Students, thank you for doing this. There are very few things in life that are more precious than our friendships. Cole is a young man that was gone too soon but the one thing he has proven is he lived a lot bigger life than a lot of us. And to his family, I thank y’all for sharing him with us.”
Commenting that he had never met the Overstreet family until the tragedy, Livingston Volunteer Fire Chief C.L. “Corky” Cochran talked about how very emotional the tragedy was and still is.
“Whether we’re volunteer or career, we go out on calls and then we prepare for the next call, but the circumstances of Cole’s tragedy still weigh hard on all of us. We appreciate being honored as responders but it’s not about us, it’s about Cole – a life stolen too soon. I said this last year and I’ll say it again. Youngsters, y’all are our future and when you’re making decisions, stop and think about what is going to be at the end of that decision. We’re here to keep Cole’s memory alive and we want the family to know that we’re here for you today and tomorrow.”
Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton introduced Kari Allen, the prosecutor on Cole’s case. “Kari is retired, but there are some cases she thinks are more important than retirement and this is one of them.”
Stating that the case will probably be set for trial late fall or early winter, Allen said it will be an open courtroom and that everyone is welcome to be there to support Cole. “It is a great privilege to me to prosecute Roy Wagner for Cole’s death.”
The memorial breakfast began with a prayer given by Livingston High School Senior Lainey Galloway.
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