By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
Several hundred people donned their Western duds and ambled into the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on Tuesday night to honor Harker Heights' top public servants of the year and hear West Texas humorist Tumbleweed Smith crack jokes and play recordings of people he had interviewed on Texas back roads for 40 years or more.
The event was the 19th annual Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce banquet, dubbed the "Stars and Spurs Banquet." Chamber president Bill Kozlik said 427 members and guests, more than half the chamber membership, dined on barbecued beef, sausage, beans and potato salad.
Smith was introduced by state Sen. Troy Fraser, who said he was a neighbor of Smith's in Big Spring many years ago. He said Smith and his wife, Susan, are "great civic leaders" who probably have the largest oral history archive in Texas.
Attorney and board chair-elect Ted Smith, master of ceremonies, introduced Jim Endicott of the Harker Heights Public Safety Commission, who announced that firefighter and paramedic Frank Adams was the firefighter of the year and Sgt. Jerry Dugger was the police officer of the year.
Adams joined the fire department in May 1999. Fire Chief Jack Collier said he has "almost single-handedly" developed the Comprehensive Clinical Management Program to make the Harker Heights Fire and Rescue Department the first department in the state with that designation. He has been working on the project for more than two years. Final approval from the state is all that remains.
Dugger joined the police department in 1989. He became a detective in 1994 and a sergeant in 1998. He has served on the Central Texas Narcotics Task Force since 2001. His citation tells the story of the arrest of a narcotics trafficker "who was responsible for the importation of at least hundreds of pounds of cocaine into the Harker Heights and Killeen area per year."
The individual learned he was under investigation and fled the state with Dugger and partner John Mosley continuing to track him across the country. Dugger eventually arrested the man in Houston.
Other honorees included:
Terri Smith, Ambassador of the year, for attending all meetings and ribbon-cuttings. She was named co-chair of the Ambassadors.
Mariko Cross and Judy Folan, volunteers of the year, for faithfulness in assistance whenever they were needed.
Eva Keagle of ERA Colonial Real Estate, small business of the year, for assisting at all events, particularly the annual golf tournament.
H-E-B Harker Heights, large business of the year, for constant support of the chamber and community with constant sponsorships and donations.
Outgoing board chair Rich Kaye could not attend to hand the gavel to his successor, Randy Sutton, but Sutton took the podium to thank his family, friends and employer for their support.
Contact Don Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7557