From the Dogwood Festival Publicity Committee
This year the Tyler County Dogwood Festival Operating Directors have made Dogwood history by selecting the first ever husband and wife team as the recipients of the prestigious Mr. and Mrs. East Texas Award. The 2022 honorees are Kerry and Belinda Trest from Sour Lake, Texas and are the owners and operators of KAT Excavation & Construction. The couple truly embodies the meaning behind the saying “a servant’s heart”. It is evident in the way they give back not only in their hometown, but throughout Southeast Texas. Kerry is a fifth generation Hardin County resident and business owner and Belinda hails from neighboring Jasper County with ties back to our own Tyler County. Together, they have made it their mission to “go the extra mile” by putting their faith first, family second, and the belief that everything else will just fall into place.
Kerry started his construction business in 1989 with the purchase of his first piece of equipment, a Cat D4 dozer, and started doing site work and land clearing just east of Beaumont.
In 1996 Kerry saw an opportunity for growth and started buying dump trucks and went from a construction company to a dump truck company. By 2009, Kerry had 28 trucks and was hauling material for himself and other contractors in the area. However, when the recession hit, he had to make some tough decisions and downsize. “You can’t live on the promise of others, but we still have to live up the promises we make,” Kerry says. Kerry and Belinda, who stepped into the business full-time in 2013, have forged a business partnership they call TEAM KAT. The couple have worked hard to incorporate innovative and positive ideas that have produced success for their TEAM – not only professionally, but personally as well.
TEAM KAT believes in community involvement and giving back – everything from charity cookouts and community events to supporting community organizations including Texas High School Rodeo, Chamber of Commerce, 4-H, FFA, Special Olympics, The Texas Oilman’s Bass Classic, The American Cancer Society, and others. Belinda has contributed to work specifically highlighting Tyler County by working with Christus to bring the Women’s Conference to the Jasper, Tyler & Hardin County area. She has worked as an advocate for senior healthcare services in Southeast Texas in various roles and has always looked for opportunities to promote “the hidden gems” of our area. The couple continues to work tirelessly in roles with Go TEXAN, the BBB of Southeast Texas, Hardin County Strong, Southeast Texas Food Bank Distribution, Texas Workforce Solutions, Gear Up for Game Wardens, Homes for Wounded Warriors, and many other civic and community organizations.