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On February 21, Family Services of Southeast Texas hosted the 15th Annual Celebrate Families Luncheon, an annual fundraiser benefitting the Family Services Programs including the Counseling Center, Kid’s Connection, Battering Intervention and Prevention, Supervised Visitation and Exchange, and the Beaumont and Jasper Women and Children’s Shelter.

We are pleased to announce that through generous sponsorships, ticket sales, and an amazing raffle, Family Services raised more than $36,000 $38,000!

This year’s honorees were:

Family of the Year

Eric and Kathryn Grace Meadows are both native to Southeast Texas.  They have 5 children that range in age from 11 to 21. They are active in the Southeast Texas community and have passed their sense of civic responsibility on to their children.

Kathryn Grace is a ROAR volunteer, a supporter of their children’s schools and activities, an active member of the Symphony League of Beaumont, the Neches River Festival and St. Anne Church, and host to area Young Life and Campaigners gatherings.  She was a member of the Junior League of New York and is currently a member of the Magnolia Garden Club.  Eric, too, volunteers holding leadership positions on boards or advisory boards at institutions including, the Meadows Foundation, M.D. Anderson, University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, Neches River Festival, Texas Energy Museum, Symphony of Southeast Texas, Texas UIL Foundation, Edaren Foundation, Beaumont Metropolitan YMCA, IEA, Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, Monsignor Kelly High School Foundation, Christus Hospital Foundation and Baptist Hospital Foundation, among others.

Despite career pursuits and civic contributions, the Meadows say with rare except family always comes first. Kathryn Grace says, her family is her greatest gift, and Eric says the couple strives to teach the children to be humble, have an open mind and be willing to try new things.

Those who know the Meadows are real clear about this couple’s legacy – it’s a strong family, rooted in love, trust, and respect – five children raised to know the importance of honesty, integrity and giving back to your community. For these reasons, Family Services was proud to recognize the Meadows as Family of the Year.

Family Business of the Year

This year’s Family Business of the Year dates back to the 1800s – J.S. Edwards & Sherlock Insurance Agency, owned by Martin Edwards, Craig J. Sherlock, E.Jay Sherlock and Lum C. Edwards, III, is a thriving business of 33 employees that strives to put the needs and interests of clients above its own and to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and integrity with a caring attitude toward all clients.

Over the years and across the generations of these two families, the Edwards’ and the Sherlocks have proudly served their community by meeting the insurance needs of the families and businesses of Southeast Texas. The Agency also supports many worthy causes including the Boy Scouts of America, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Y.M.B.L., Boys Haven and the Humane Society, The Beaumont Symphony League, Beaumont Main Street and the Neches River Festival among others.

The principles say they are “most proud of being one of Beaumont’s oldest family owned businesses that proudly contributes to the growth and quality of life of in our community.  We are pleased that J.S. Edwards & Sherlock is large enough to provide a full range of insurance products and services, but not so large that we forget to attend to each client individually”.

The fifth generations of Edwards and fourth generations of Sherlocks hope to continue to grow and remain a vital force in the Southeast Texas region as their families carrying on the proud tradition of service to clients and community, which is why we celebrated J. S. Edwards & Sherlock Insurance Agency as the Family Business of the Year.

Bill Leger Family Advocates of the Year – Dual Honorees

This year’s Bill Leger Family Advocate of the Year is not one but two people who joined forces to protect families and the community, and they’re still at it, committed to a cause to strengthen families.

Dr. John Adolph, pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and Randy Feldshau, pastor of Cathedral Church immediately responded to the violence erupting around the nation in 2016, forming an alliance between their two churches and an initiative called “#NotInMyCity.” The nationwide movement stands against urban chaos when police are forced to use life or death measures in the line of duty.  In the words of Pastor Adolph, “We stand for God, with the people, alongside the police officers for the sake of harmony and unity for everyone.”

In October, the church leaders held special services with guests speakers who brought messages of unity, hope and peace and hundreds attended.

Although the initial goals were to respond to the violence erupting around the nation and say to the world we stand against such behavior, the movement continues under the leadership of these brave men.  At present, the goal is to create a First Responders Communal Team, a community-based group that responds first should any civil disturbances break out in our region.

Both of these men are engaged daily in helping families stay together. They have devoted their lives to mentoring, coaching and building families. Pastor Feldshau, who has been married for 38 years and has two married children, sees the family as the core of a thriving nation saying, “strong families build healthy churches and healthy churches build a strong nation.” Likewise, Pastor Adolph, who has been married for 21 years and has two children, says the biggest threat to families today is divorce and therefore devotes his church’s resources and ministries, as well as his time and pursuits, to strengthening families. Antioch offers a married couples course, two annual marriage retreats, a family conference to be held in June, and Dr. Adolph just finished a relationship book focused on strengthening marriage.

Feldshau and Adolph have and continue to be committed to the families of Southeast Texas. As Pastor Adolph says, “Racial prejudice is a sociocultural demon that needs to be destroyed.  The church must lead the charge in this effort and Pastor Randy is helping us lead the way in this endeavor.” For their continued efforts to advocate for and strengthen the family unit, we honored Pastors John Adolph and Randy Feldshau.

Family Services Volunteer of the Year

The Young Men’s Business League is a 501(C) 4 organization committed to bettering the Southeast Texas community and likely best known for hosting the South Texas State Fair. However, it’s the outcome of the Rodeo and Fair, the organization’s only fundraiser that host 100,000 people a year, that the organization is committed. Through the proceeds of the prosperous event, the YMBL has likely contributed to nearly every charitable organization in Southeast Texas during its history.

YMBL, a member only organization of nearly 1000 men, was started in 1917 by Ed Paggi, a far-sighted visionary and Beaumont business tycoon. He and some civic-minded individuals met to determine how they could serve the community beyond the regular course of their businesses. The YMBL was founded and has been a powerful force in Beaumont ever since, constantly striving to make the area a better place to live. The civic enthusiasm and hard work started by Paggi has continued for 100 years now and considerable progress has been made in dozens of different fields and ventures.

The YMBL has helped Family Services in the recent past with needs at the Shelter. In  2008 they provided funds for playground equipment and a sun shade; In 2009, the organization gave money for new steel exterior doors for the Shelter; In 2012-building repairs were needed after termite damage at the Shelter and YMBL came through for those expenses; And in 2016 YMBL provided funding for mattresses and air-conditioning units for the shelter bedrooms.

The YMBL has more than lived up to expectations. In a congratulatory letter to the organization on its 65th anniversary in 1982, President Ronald Reagan said, “The YMBL is living proof that organizations of good purpose have a vital place in the life of every city.”

“The YMBL is living proof that organizations of good purpose have a vital place in the life of every city.”

For all that they give – time and money – to the Southeast Texas community, we were pleased and proud to recognize the YMBL as the Volunteer of the Year for 2017.

If you missed this year’s Luncheon but would like to get an invitation next year, please let us know.

Thank you to our 2017 sponsors!

Check out the photos from the 2017 Luncheon.