Why I’m ‘Proud of East Texas’

“Family first:” it may sound like a simple enough philosophy, but I’m certain this is a shared lifestyle for most East Texans. One of the things I love most about East Texas is the values-driven, family-centered lifestyle. My parents and relatives have shown me how these relationships can be a blessing throughout life. I think that’s why East Texas feels so close to home.

No matter where you’re from, “family” could be as close as the next person you see. I know that sounds hokey, but if you stop and look for these things, I think you’ll agree. The real test of character is how people act when no one’s looking.

In our newscasts on KTRE-TV, I particularly enjoy telling others’ stories, especially those that illustrate the beauty of the human spirit. When a tornado ripped through east Lufkin in December, complete strangers left their families on Christmas to help victims rebuild their lives.

Proud of East Texas 2
Visiting one of my favorite views in East Texas, Love’s Lookout in Jacksonville.

We saw neighbors struggling with back-breaking labor to help others clean up debris. The twister’s winds stole wrapped presents from under Christmas trees. It was empathetic parents who managed to save these kids’ Christmas morning; a small act of love that helped everyone cope. In the months that followed, generosity never waned. Today we’re watching the framework of the destroyed VFW hall rise, next to the scarred spot where the previous building stood. It’s progress, funded by the generosity of others who want to restore the same sense of family that places like this create.

The concept of family in East Texas doesn’t have the constraints of brothers, cousins, and aunts. When someone is in need, everyone become your family in some form. I was recently invited to help with a 10k run for Titus Grigg, a Lufkin 6- year-old battling cancer. There, I saw hundreds of people, some who don’t even know the Grigg’s, came out to support the little boy. I talked to one woman, who heard about the fundraiser through word-of-mouth. She looked over at Titus’ picture on a flyer and said, “I brought my whole family out today, because we know other families would do the same for us.” Thousands of dollars were raised to help cancer treatment costs.  While runners hit the pavement, we all felt connected to that little boy, who keeps a huge smile on his face despite illness.

It is ingrained in our daily lives and passed down to our children- the importance of family. We want to surround ourselves with others that share these values and engage in activities that promote this fellowship. We create opportunities to bring together others in this spirit. Each year I make a point not to miss the Nacogdoches Multicultural Festival. It brings together music, food, art, and ideas from all corners of the Earth. Take a look under every tent or booth. Then look at the people walking the downtown square. Suddenly it all looks the same. People are gathering as a Christian family.

There is no limit to how we emphasize the role family in our lives.  From the way we raise our children, to the way we interact with others. People are very proud and even defensive of their families, because they deserve the best. I think is why we’re so proud of East Texas. That’s why I love living here.

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KTRE/KLTV-TV or Raycom Media.  They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2010 Lane Luckie

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