Parker County Today May 2016 - Page 10

Hall, Blaisdell took the reins as interim city manager in September 2008 and became the official holder of that title on January 6th of 2009, a title he held for 7-1/2 years. Then on April 30th of 2015 he retired from the City of Weatherford. We will never forget Jerry’s loyal dedication and service. Jerry Durant Award for Outstanding Philanthropy At 23, Jerry Durant took his savings and bought a shuttered Chevy dealership in Weatherford. He then worked from sunrise to after sunset to make Jerry’s Chevrolet synonymous with customer care and “Paying It Forward.” He gave 80 acres of prime real estate to build a high school that generations of young people would be proud to call their school. Then Durant stepped up to the plate again, donating funds to build a Health Science Center for Weatherford College in honor of his friend Don Allen. He recently donated another 30 acres for a senior center so that older folks would have someplace wonderful to go and that they would enjoy. He made countless other generous contributions so this place would be better and its residents happier and prouder.
For this reason the Jerry Durant Philanthropy Award is given each year to honor those who go to extraordinary lengths to make this county a better place.  Jim Duncan Regal Realtor Award Jim Duncan’s name is well known to Parker County residents who have seen it on real estate signs in front of commercial and residential properties throughout the county. His illustrious career began in 1968 when he joined forces with his father C.T. Duncan. Today Jim is with CENTURY 21 Judge Fite and was recently recognized for being the number three producer in his company in the world. The Jim Duncan real estate award celebrates a young realtor who helps companies and individuals make their property dreams come true. MAY 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY Larry Fowler Law Enforcement Hero Award 8 Sheriff Larry Fowler has been Parker County’s top cop and we all appreciate his hard work making the streets safer and allowing all of us to sleep a little better at night. His distinguished career began with his graduation from the Federal Law Enforcement Academy and a stint with the US Marshal’s Service. He finally returned to Parker County as our sheriff. His tough love with lawbreakers and compassion with those who have been wronged is legendary, so there are big boots to fill for the recipient of the Larry Fowler Law Enforcement Hero Award. Jim Wright Political Science Award Only 16 when his parents bought a Victorian house in Weatherford, Jim Wright called it his “home” for the rest of his life. He is buried here.
Mr. Wright was so nice that Weatherford soon forgot he wasn’t born here. 
In 1946, at 23, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, served his term, and then headed home to Weatherford. He ran for mayor and at 26 became the youngest mayor in Weatherford’s history. As mayor, he addressed numerous issues including the need for parks, added a public pool and began construction of Lake Weatherford. 
In 1954, Mr. Wright ran for Congress, won and served 34 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
He went on to serve as Speaker of the House from 1987 to 1989. He resigned from office and retired from politics in 1989.
Mr. Wright worked as a professor at Texas Christian University teaching the course, Congress and the Presidents, and wrote several books. He never stopped calling Parker County home. Mary Kemp Award for Historical Preservation Miss Mary knows where all the bodies are buried — no, really, she does. She spent years cataloguing abandoned cemeteries in Parker County and restoring them. Anyone with a question about genealogy or the history of Parker County need only call Mary, who more than likely has the answer. Mary, the author of several books on local history and characters, is also the founder of the Abandoned Cemetery Association, a former member of the Parker County Historical Commission, and organizer and hostess of the annual Parker County rite of spring, the Shaw-Kemp Open House.

 Dr. Noel Bryan Veterinarian Medicine Award Dr. Bryan bought an existing veterinary practice in Parker County 60 years ago and for the first 15 years was the only vet in the county. His first office consisted of half of a battery shop behind city hall. In 1958, Doc Bryan built his office on Mineral Wells Highway where he still practices. In his early days as a vet he treated all species, large and small, and worked eight counties due to a lack of vets. He once boarded a kinkajou, a South American honey bear, until the family who owned him, and were expecting a baby, arranged for him to have a new home at the Fort Worth Zoo. Dr. Bryan retired in 2009, but continues to work part-time. Patsy Hooks Pet Rescue Award She was Weatherford’s beautiful first lady. Throughout her life, Patsy Hooks had a huge heart for animals and advocated for their care and helping them find forever homes. She also believed in serving others. Through her efforts Weatherford’s dog pound became an animal shelter. It was natural that Weatherford’s new Dog Park was named for Patsy, who passed away in 2013.The Patsy Hooks Pet Rescuer Award honors someone who goes beyond the call of duty to help otherwise unwanted pets.