GATESVILLE — Every spring, Coryell County elected officials and local businesses treat county employees to a catfish lunch in appreciation of their service.

This year, 26 of the 196 employees received length-of-service certificates for tenures ranging from five to 30 years riding for the Coryell brand.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Blakley II was senior man at the shindig as he was recognized for marking three decades working for the county.

Stuart Tull, investigator for the county attorney, was honored for 25 years of service.

Picking up certificates for 20 years of service were Brenda Beebe of the tax assessor/collector staff, Harold Cohagan of the county jail staff and Precinct 2 Constable Shawn Camp.

Recognized for 15 years with the county were Commissioner Don Jones, Donna Basham of the district clerk staff and Melissa Tull of the district attorney staff.

Eight employees received certificates marking 10 years with the county — Angelika Altum with juvenile probation; Kish Derrick and La Donna Thompson of the tax assessor/collector staff; Steven Lovelady, Luanna Phillips and Luis Ramos of the county jail staff; Nancy Mannix of the county auditor staff; and George “Butch” Ronne III of the sheriff’s department.

Five-year certificates went to 10 employees — George Tatum of the county maintenance department; Jennifer Newton of the county clerk staff; Candace Lovell of the community supervision staff; Anna Sheldon of the justice of the peace staff in Copperas Cove; District Attorney Dusty Boyd; Jerry Chartier, Mike Cundiff, Ronald Morgan, Philip O’Near and Kirby Ruiz of the sheriff’s department.

Fire Chief Billy Vaden and his volunteer firefighters manned the deep fryers and cooked 75 pounds of catfish to feed the crowd.

Pamela Williams, the new human resources director, passed out gift certificates to those holding winning tickets in the door-prize drawing.

County Judge John Firth served as master of ceremonies and Commissioners Jack Wall, Daren Moore, Justin Latham and Don Jones helped serve the meal.

Spring is going full blast out at our place. So far, 10 varieties of roses are in bloom.

Contact Tim Orwig at

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