I want to start by thanking Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon for filling in for me last month following my accident. One can never know how a weekend trip to the mountains for some rest and relaxation will turn out. Sometimes these trips are wonderful, and sometimes they turn into spending six days in intensive care in a hospital out of state. However, it may also give you the opportunity to be blessed by the prayers and concern of so many friends and colleagues. I can’t thank all of you enough for your thoughts, cards, and especially your prayers. I am blessed that all my injuries will heal, and I will be 100 percent very soon. I have also gained some very valuable knowledge. It can be extremely dangerous to ride a four wheeler down a steep grade, and a 60-something-year-old does not always need to try to keep up with the 20-year-olds.
I could never say thank you enough to all those who made this year a very special one for me. I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge of county government during my travels around the state. I have also gained an incredible amount of respect for county officials. You are the cream of the crop when it comes to government officials. You are the ones who make the tough decisions concerning local issues and taxes, and then you go to the coffee shops and churches and face the public on an everyday basis. Because of you I have enjoyed this year more than I could have imagined.
I want to say a big thank you to Jim Allison for all he does for the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas. I don’t know of an individual who spends more time or invests himself more in counties than Jim, and we all owe him a great deal for what he does. I would like to thank Gene Terry and all the staff at the Texas Association of Counties for all they do and how important they are to county government and all county officials. Their efforts for county government are essential, and we could not function without them; I cannot thank them enough for all their help during this year. I would also like to thank the entire staff at County Progress for always keeping us informed and assisting us in so many ways.
Wow! What a wonderful week we had in Odessa at the conference. Those of you who were there know what I mean. For those of you who were unable to attend, we missed you, and you missed a lot of fun as well as some valuable education. I would like to thank everyone who made it so special. There is an incredible amount of work that goes into putting on these conferences, and I want to thank Jim Allison and his staff, the staff at the Texas Association of Counties, Rick Avery at V.G. Young Institute of County Government, Becky Frost and the County Progress staff, Ector County, and the city of Odessa for all their hard work and for being such wonderful hosts. And as all of you know, we could not provide these conferences without our wonderful sponsors and vendors; thank you all for your friendship and your support of county government.
This has been a difficult year for counties, but because of your efforts I think we have come through it very well, and I look forward to working with all of you as we move into next year. My prayer for you is that it will be the best year ever both for you as individuals and as counties.
I began this year by encouraging you to be more than involved in county government by also being engaged in the process of county government at the local, state and federal levels. I believe if we continue to do this, then we can have a positive impact and will leave this state and our counties much better for future Texans.
Remember, “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalms 62:7-8.