On February 23, Family Services of Southeast Texas hosted the 14th Annual Celebrate Families Luncheon, an annual fundraiser benefiting the Family Services Counseling Center and the Beaumont and Jasper Women and Children’s Shelter.
We are pleased to announce that through generous sponsorships, ticket sales, a raffle and a silent auction, Family Services raised more than $33,000!
This year’s honorees were:
Family of the Year
Will and Joy Crenshaw, who have started the Brooks Road Community Garden on a large piece of property they own.
From the program:
This year’s Family of the Year has sown seeds of generosity, rooted kindness and is growing inspiration for our entire community, not to mention lettuce, broccoli, beets, flowers and potatoes. Joy and Will Crenshaw, long-time residents and family business owners, have donated 10-acres of land in the old Cheek community off Brooks Road and established a true community garden – the Brooks Road Community Garden is open daily 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone and everyone to plant, grow and harvest local, fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and flowers. Instead of me telling you the purpose of the garden, Joy can tell you herself. We have a video that resides on the Garden’s website, we’d like to show you.
The next vision or phase two of the garden: They want to offer anyone who wants a garden of their own to plant and work a 16-by-4-foot box space. Joy envisions people who live in town versus out in the country (7 minutes give or take from the West End) a little garden of their own. Joy’s only requirement to having a box of your own in the garden is that you don’t let it go to weeds and if you bring your children, which she hopes you do, you watch them.
The parents of four and grandparents to 10 also hope to host regular Bible studies, educational seminars and healthy cooking classes. Joy envisions walking paths and places to exercise.
Joy and Will Crenshaw’s roots run deep in care and concern for Southeast Texans. We were extremely pleased to honor them and the standing ovation they received during the luncheon was well deserved.
Family Business of the Year
From the program:
This year’s Family Business of the Year, Kinsel Motors, Inc. has had more than 70 years of success in Southeast Texas. Located on the Eastex freeway just north of Lucas, Kinsel is a household name in Southeast Texas in its fourth generation. The family members are leaders in the country’s automotive industry, and the company has twice been recognized as one of the top 10 automobile dealerships in the country by Time Magazine.
Kinsel Motors started in Hebronville, South Texas in 1922. E.A. Kinsel bought a dealership where he was the bookkeeper. He moved around to Eagle Pass and Corpus Christi but settled in San Antonio where he owned Broadway Cadillac. In the late 1930s he moved the business to Beaumont and bought the Ford Dealership. By that time his son, Joe Bob, was serving the Air Force in WWII. After five years or service around 1944 Joe Bob came home, married Jane (They became the original Joe Bob and Jane Kinsel.) and the whole family, including Joe Bob, went to work for the dealership. Joe Bob, Jr. was born in 1947 and began working in the parts and services end of the dealership when he was 12 but with no intention of working in the automotive industry, Joe Bob, Jr. went to the University of Texas, graduated with several business degrees and went to work for IBM in 1969.
However, the lure of the family business was strong and because Joe Bob, Jr. saw potential in the dealership and had learned some things he wanted to do he and his dad, Joe Bob, Sr. talked and Jr. decided to come home. The two worked together for many years during which time they bought and sold a number of franchises in the area, and three Kinsel boys were born, all exposed to the family business at a very young age. However, Joe Bob, Jr., told all of his boys to diversify and to “please” get a post graduate degree. They all – Todd, Scott and Craig – went away to school and became lawyers.
This fourth generation appeared not be interested in continuing the family business until Craig, who had married Beaumont native, Keely, and settled into a law practice in Beaumont, decided to give the automotive industry a try.
That was 16 years ago, during which time, Joe Bob, Sr. passed away and Joe Bob, a copy of the original and Craig have been running the successful business. Joe Bob says it’s been his and Craig’s mission to take the business to the next level. “All the credit for that belongs to Craig,” said Joe Bob, who now spends part of the year in New Mexico with his Jane (also a copy of the original) and he is “of counsel” for the company.
Six years ago, Todd and Scott, both quit practicing law and have diversified the business running a distribution side of the company that provides all manner of products for the automotive business and covers a seven state area. In addition, the partners four have also embarked on the biggest expansion investment in the company’s history, currently ongoing, with a Toyota Dealership. Joe Bob said, “The fourth generation is doing everything that I ever hoped they could do and they are working together as business partners.”
This astute family of businessmen has aligned with manufacturers who produce vehicles that are popular in this area but they also take care of employees and customers. When speaking of the success of Kinsel Motors Joe Bob said, “When you go into any business in a competitive environment, you take very seriously the tenure of employees and their ability to make a living for their families and to progress; and you ensure experience that exceeds what the customer is looking for.” Kinsel Motors recently recognized employee tenures and celebrated the first 50th anniversary of employment of Bobby Jones.
The Kinsels have never hesitated to be a part of civic and social activities providing support, leadership and guidance for all nonprofits, school boards and religious institutions. The company and its leadership works to be good corporate and private citizen in the community and in the industry.
Both Joe Bob’s – Sr. and Jr. have been named Beaumont’s Citizen of the Year, and the Kinsel family is the only family to have had three chairmen of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. Their leadership and success is renowned nationally also. Twice the company has been designated as one of Time Magazine’s top 10 automobile dealerships in the nation. Joe Bob said:
“It’s fair to say we’re proud to be a part of this community, and we appreciate all of our employees and customer support; we’re always striving to make ourselves better and to be better citizens for Southeast Texas and Beaumont.”
Kinsel Motors is a locally owned family business that Southeast Texans can be proud of not only for their excellent business values, but also for their outstanding contributions to our community.
Bill Leger Family Advocate of the Year
This year’s Bill Leger Family Advocate of the Year are the seven men and women chosen July 2014 by state Education Commissioner Michael Williams to serve on the board of managers of the Beaumont Independent School District. Their experience spans several fields and they are serving school district, in this volunteer capacity some of them in their retirement, wonderfully helping to rebuild our district which is essential to our community’s future and invaluable to every family in Southeast Texas. The “Magnificent Seven,” as some have called them, in alphabetical order, are:
— A.B. Bernard, president at BGI Contractors, Inc. and United Marine Shipyard, Inc. Bernard has more than five decades of experience in business and management principles, strategic planning and the coordination of people and resources. In addition to his professional experience working in large companies, Bernard has a strong record of community service, including stints on the boards of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, Communities In Schools of Southeast Texas, Communities In Schools of Texas Foundation and the Three Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
— Lenny Caballero, director of event facilities for the City of Beaumont. Caballero, a decorated Navy veteran who served during the first Gulf War, has an extensive professional work history in organizational management, external communications, labor negotiations, and operations and facilities management. Caballero has served on numerous boards in the Beaumont community. He and his wife have three children – two of whom attend campuses in the School District he now helps supervise and one fast approaching school age!!
— Jack Carroll is a partner in the Beaumont law offices of Orgain, Bell & Tucker, LLP. Carroll’s principal areas of practice are personal injury and commercial litigation. He earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Baylor University and a law degree from the Baylor University School of Law. Carroll was also a certified public accountant for 12 years and worked for DULOIT Haskins & Sells before attending law school. He and his two children are graduates of the Beaumont Independent School District.
— Joe Domino is former president and chief executive officer of Entergy Texas. Domino completed a long and distinguished career with our local utility, where he established a well-deserved reputation for quickly addressing issues to maximize performance, strengthen customer service and strengthen the company’s overall reputation. He has served as a trustee on the Lamar University Foundation and as chair of the Trusteeship and Governance Committee. Domino holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University and a master of engineering science degree from Lamar University.
— Vernice Monroe is a longtime local advocate for children. Monroe currently serves as liaison to the president on Multicultural Enhancement at Lamar University. The former director of the Social Work program at Lamar, she was awarded the honorary title of Associate Social Work Professor Emeritus upon her retirement in 2008. As board president of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Monroe was named Child Advocate of the Year and has been a volunteer advocate since 2005.
— Jimmy Simmons, former president of Lamar University. Simmons resigned his prestigious position in 2013 to return to the Lamar faculty as a music instructor. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful presidents in the university’s history, winning numerous awards for his successful administration. During his tenure as president, Simmons led efforts on multiple fronts to strengthen opportunities higher education in the region and bring more students to Lamar. A graduate of Beaumont High School, Simmons has deep ties to the community as well.
— Robert Turner, well-known business leader in the region. Turner was the first African-American to serve as chairman of the board for the Greater Beaumont Area Chamber of Commerce. He moved to the Golden Triangle in 2000 and purchased JK Chevrolet, a longtime General Motors dealership. Turner later opened the Subaru dealership under the same name. He and his wife are parents to former and current students in the Beaumont Independent School District. They have four boys, two girls and four grandchildren.
Today in recognition for the hard work, diligence, late hours, exhausting issues and immense responsibility not to mention the true devotion and care that you – the Magnificent seven – have for our community and its families, namely its children in public schools, we thank the Beaumont Board of Managers for making Southeast Texas a better place for families, and name you the 2016 Bill Leger Family Advocate of the Year.
Volunteers of the Year
This year’s Family Services Volunteer of the Year is the extraordinary congregation of Peachtree Baptist Church in Jasper. They not only donated $10,000 to Family Services Pineywood Safe House but continue to support this Family Services satellite domestic violence shelter in Jasper with needed supplies.
Pineywoods Safe House, operates much like Family Services Women’s and Children’s Shelter, providing residential and nonresidential services for victims of domestic violence as well as community education.
In 2015, Pineywoods Safe House served 156 clients for a total of 2,730 bed days; 1,338 children were among those counted in bed days. The Safe House, a two-bedroom facility with five sets of bunk beds that sleeps 10 to 15 plus playpens and cribs, is constantly booked.
Safe House Shelter Manager Wanda Whitcomb said no matter how booked they are they never turn anyone away in the case of an emergency in the middle of the night.
Because the Safe House serves such a critical need in the community when a lapse in funding threatened its operation in 2013, Peachtree Baptist Church helped fill the gap.
Wanda reported when they realized that funding was lost, they made a few calls to the community and Peachtree was the first to respond. Wanda said the Pastor at the time, Jarrod Hillyard, called her at home and said the church would make a sizable donation but didn’t say how much. She assumed it would be a small amount. She knew the church was small and couldn’t imagine they had the resources for a large donation. To her surprise and delight a Committee within the church had decided to make a more sizable donation to meet the Safe House’s need – $10,000.
Dusty Fussel, who was the youth minister at Peachtree at the time, and on the committee that ultimately decided to give the Safe House the money, said the committee looked at the money they had to donate and what the needs were in the community, prayed and just felt like God was leading them to give the money to Pineywoods. “We knew what kind of services they gave and how much that service was needed,” said Fussel.
Wanda also reports that Peachtree, whose mission is “to bring glory to God through actions and deeds as we love and serve those around us” has continued to support the Safe House since that time. The congregation calls and asks what’s needed in the form of supplies such as toiletries, pantry goods and other basic supplies to run basically a small hotel, the shelter. The Safe House continues to benefit from the congregation’s random acts of generosity and kindness.
It goes without saying but Wanda will be the first to tell it like it is: Without the help of Jasper citizens, particularly Peachtree, Pineywoods Safe House would not have been able to continue operation in 2013.
Thanks to these caring volunteers – a congregation who has given of their resources, financial as well as time – Pineywoods Safe House services were uninterrupted. Residents including children, were and are provided the vital residential and educational services needed to heal from the pain suffered as victims of domestic violence. This caring contribution will benefit families for many years to come.