An anonymous committee of the Hico Civic Club selected Hico Independent School District Superintendent Rod Townsend as the “Hico Citizen of the Year” on Tuesday night.
Numerous other awards were also given.
Townsend said the award was totally unexpected and “I most definitely never considered it.”
Townsend was raised in West Texas and has lived in Hico for the past eight years and said, “This is the second place I’ve ever lived. I lived in the first place for 40 years and plan on living here at least that long.”
Townsend and his wife, Velvet, have been married for 26 years and he freely admits, “I’m pretty much nothing without her.”
“Without my wife and her support I would not be able to accomplish all we’ve been able to accomplish,” Townsend said. “What’s the old saying? ‘Behind every good man there’s a great woman,’ and that fits.”
Pat Ross, club president, said Townsend was selected not only because of his contributions to the local schools but for other volunteer projects, including the Hico Steak Cook-off.
“Since he came to Hico two new schools have been built and a sports center and he’s overseen all of the construction,” Dianne Stone, club director said. “He’s put the schools in a very sound condition. And the steak cook off wouldn’t happen without him.”
Townsend is a modest man and in regards to the steak cook off claimed “I’m just a small part of it. More than 50 school employees volunteer every year.”
He attributed his success as superintendent to the community.
“Everyone should be as lucky as I am to have a job that they look forward to going to every day,” Townsend said. “First it’s because I get to work with kids and second it’s because of the community support received here. It’s overwhelming at times the support they lend.
“This whole community has a group of people that work really hard at making it a nice place to live and raise a family,” Townsend said. “It makes you want to come here and be a part of it. And I’m fortunate to have that opportunity.”
Selected Honorary Citizens of Hico were John and Ellen McStay of Dallas. Stone said each year the award is given to someone that doesn’t live in Hico, “but has an interest and invested in Hico.”
Stone said the McStays are owners of the Blue Star Trading & Ranch Outfitters downtown and have recently purchased another building that they are restoring to its original state in order to expand their company.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mack Holt for volunteering in the community most of his adult life. Stone said Holt “headed up” the construction committee for the downtown esplanade project and is a volunteer fireman. Stone said his community service includes numerous other activities.
Each year a business is awarded The Faith in the Future Award and this year the recipient was Sugar Moon Antiques and Art Gallery owned by three sisters. They are Patricia McMillin, Janie Mathews and Trena Tarpley. The store recently celebrated its one year anniversary and addition of the art gallery that showcases local and area art pieces.
Rick and Shy McClung were selected as The Golden Heart Award winners. Stone said the couple was selected for many volunteer hours spent with children throughout the community and for service on many various committees.
“She (Shy) is doing the Miss Reunion pageant,” Stone said. “And she owns Shy Bears that operates downtown.”
Stone said the couple has down a tremendous amount of work on the “Baptist Church Day Care Center.”