TEEA recognizes club members, honors former president

Special to the E-T

The Texas Extension Education Association is a long-standing group, dedicated to serving their communities and strengthening and enriching families through educational programs, leadership development and community service. Founded in 1925 as the Texas Home Demonstration Association by 399 women who took a farmer’s short course at Texas A&M University, the organization has continued to expand and develop into the Texas Extension Education Association (TEEA), Inc. They work closely with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office to provide quality programs and service in their local communities.

Within Erath County, there is a rich tradition of TEEA membership and involvement, with three clubs being active at this time -Three Way, Clairette, and the Achievers’.

Founded in 1962, the Three Way TEEA club meets the first Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. at either the Three Way School or the Pony Creek Baptist Church, depending on activities. This club is active in serving their community and works closely with the Three Way school in a variety of projects.

The Clairette TEEA club is the oldest active club in Erath County; founded in 1935, this club meets the second Monday of each month at 2 p.m. at the Clairette Baptist Church. This group is active in community events, hosting potlucks and holiday dinners at the church, along with a variety of other projects.

The Achievers’ TEEA club was organized in 1989 and usually meets in Stephenville on the third Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. This club also serves its local community through a variety of projects and activities and has actively donated to hospitals and nurses’ funds over the years. In the past year, all three clubs have worked to create face masks to donate to those in need, and to make Christmas Ornaments for recipients of Meals on Wheels to bring them some extra cheer during the holidays.

This year, several of the clubs and club members received longevity awards and recognition of their service.

The Clairette TEEA club was awarded for 85 years of activity as a club, while club member Lena Williams was awarded for 50 years of membership. The Achievers’ TEEA club was awarded for 30 years of activity as a club, while club member and president Wanda Stephens received an award for 20 years of membership.

Wanda Stephens, who was born on April 19, 1932 and passed away on Oct. 29, 2019, had previously worked for the local AgriLife Extension office for more than 30 years. Her former Extension Agent, Joe Pope, described her as a servant, simple and practical, treating all she met equally with humility and respect. He said she always had a chuckle or a smile to welcome anyone to the office and turned complicated tasks into workable solutions. Wanda loved her church, Calvary Baptist, and devoted any extra time she had to teaching at Sunday School, baking for others, and mentoring the young as well as the old.

Wanda was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 50 and continued working for two years after her diagnosis. In all, she had cancer a total of five times along with a host of other illnesses, but she never let it stop her or get her down. She continued her service as president of the Extension club right up until the day she passed, assisting in any way that was needed, just as she had throughout her life. Though she is no longer with us, her legacy lives on in the club and organization she so dearly loved, and the work they continue to do to serve residents of Erath County.