Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Warden Justin Eddins has been named Citizen of the Year. The prestigious honor came on Friday evening during the 98th Annual Chairman's Banquet of the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce. The event was once again held in the Wesley Center at First United Methodist Church.
Eddins is a veteran officer with the agency. In addition to enforcing state and federal laws which protect wildlife and property, Eddins is also a member of the department's dive team and has been involved in numerous water rescues in this area. Eddins has also participated in countless situations across the state where he and other members of the team conduct the sad and grim task of recovering those who have lost their lives in water related incidents.
Eddins is a Jasper native and has spent his entire life in the woods of Deep East Texas, and he knows our local lakes, rivers, and creeks like the back of his hand. Additionally, Eddins and his fellow game wardens are featured on the hit TV show "Lone Star Law" on the Animal Planet network.
Meanwhile, several other awards were handed out during the event.
The Young Person of the Year Award went to brothers Paul & Chris Rutledge. They and their family own and operate Complete Performance in Jasper, and the two are very involved with volunteerism. The family has also responded to several natural disasters across the country, hauling much needed supplies in their signature green and black customized 18-wheeler.
The Newcomer of the Year Award went to Charles Warren, who has quietly become very involved in several philanthropic activities since his arrival here.
The Chamber Member of the Year Award was given to Rhonda Adcock, who is very active with the Spay & Neuter Initiative Pet Society ("SNIPS"), and is a strong advocate for animals.
The Small Business of the Year Award went to Chris Lanier, the owner of Jasper based LRG Group Inc., a security and safety consultation company. However, "small business" hardly describes LRG, which now covers 16 states and serves numerous clients, all while being headquartered in the century old Lanier Building on the Jasper County Courthouse Square.
The Hometown Hero Award went to Lynn Dickerson, a 1976 graduate of Jasper High School who is the former publisher of the Modesto Bee newspaper in California. Dickerson was also vice president of operations with the McClatchy Company, where she oversaw the operation of eleven newspapers on the southeast United States, including Texas.
The New superintendent of the Jasper Independent School District, Dr. Gerald Hudson, recognized four educators; Kim Collins, Elaine Harrison, LeAnn Simmons, and Mary Ann Summerall.