Final farewells said
The last call sounds for Deputy Paul Habelt
A countless stream of cars on U.S. Highway 175 leaving Athens accompany
fallen Henderson County deputy Paul Habelt to his final resting place in
Goshen Cemetery just north of Eustace.
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–The first of two funerals was held Wednesday for the two deputies
slain while answering a call for help.
Services for Henderson County Deputy Paul Steven Habelt, 63, were held
at the First Baptist Church in Athens.
A second service for Tony Price Ogburn, 61, was held there Thursday.
It was a somber parade through Athens as business and traffic came to a
stand still as the processions made their way out of the city.
All along the way, people lined the sidewalks, uncovered their heads and
bowed as the processions passed by in a momentous show of respect for
the men who lost their lives May 17 while responding to a call near
A third officer Kevin Harris, 40, was wounded.
Closing out a very touching service, where a flag-draped coffin was
honored in the sanctuary and miles long procession, was the final
At the grave side, the last call was made over a public address system.
The dispatcher called Habelt’s badge number to answer the call. “Clear
channel one. ... S-O Five-fifteen ... (pause) ... S-O Five-fifteen.”
And then an officer’s voice responded with the out of service code
reply: “S-O Five-fifteen is ten-seven for the remainder.”
Several hundreds of law enforcement officers line up at
attention in front of First Baptist Church in Athens Wednesday in final
tribute to Henderson County deputy Paul Habelt as his casket is loaded
and his family prepare to leave the funeral service.
Local mom wins ‘Hometown Hero’
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The letter from her middle daughter
spotlighted a very, exceptional mother in the Hometown Hero contest by
Radio Station 102.7, The Blaze, out of Tyler.
Sally Simon was named Hometown Hero on Mother’s Day and the daughter’s
letter was read on Doug Banks Morning Show.
“The radio station also called me the next day (May 14). I was very
surprised. What a wonderful Mother’s Day present,” Simon said.
A $500 check was also awarded.
The daughter, Renee Simon–Corominas wrote in her letter, that her mother
retired after 32 years as a nurse.
Then she went to the police academy at 56, and has become interested in
helping missing and exploited children and became a CASA volunteer.
Corominas also told how her mother had raised her and her two siblings
as a single mom.
Corominas was diagnosed with Crohns at age 11 and praised her mom for
being there during many surgeries.
She said to be sure and mention she was her mom’s favorite daughter.
Simon laughed and said that was a family tradition.
“I used to send them off to school or to an activity and I would go down
the line saying ‘you’re my favorite’ and then to the next one ‘you’re my
favorite,’ but each child knew I was telling the other two the same,’”
Simon’s real story includes a lot more than the daughter was able to put
in her letter.
She was born and raised in a small town in Michigan.
Her dad coached the University of Michigan football team and she still
gives the cheer, “Go Blue.”
Her two daughters and son are grown now.
“I was not doing well with retirement. I prayed about it and afterwards
decided to go to the Kilgore (East Texas Police Academy) night classes
in Athens,” she said.
She told of lots of sore muscles but discovered her younger classmates
were suffering too. The class graduated in April, 2005.
“I was hired the next day by Malakoff Police Department. I got a very
understanding and good training officer, Chief Billy Mitchell,” Simon
In the letter, the daughter said Simon went to a two-week conference in
Houston, to learn more about “Missing and Exploited Children.”
She then brought the information back and shared it with local groups
such as the local fire departments.
“Then a friend of mine encouraged me to volunteer for CASA (a children’s
advocacy group), and in April I went through CASA’s three-week training
program,” Simon said.
She is looking forward to her participation with the children’s welfare
“I was sworn in yesterday (May 21) by Judge Dan Moore as a guardian ad
litem. As a guardian I will represent the children in court,” she said.
The Child Protective Services (CPS) is a very overburdened department.
“I really admire them for the work they do. As volunteers, we are able
to help keep track of the children a lot better,” Simon explained.
She is active in her church, currently serving as the president of the
Payne Springs United Methodist Women.
As for hobbies, Simon hesitated for a moment before saying she really
didn’t do much else.
Well, there is her church volunteer work and the volunteer work with
CASA and helping others when her help is needed.
Oh yes, she loves to sing.
“I belong to my church choir and I am a member of the Avanti Singers,”
She also enjoys water aerobics at the East Texas Medical Center in Gun
Students research Vietnam War
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–The Mabank Middle School sixth grade Language
Honors Class prepared research papers on the Vietnam War.
The students then carried them on a field trip April 27, as the visited
the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall in Kaufman.
As part of their project, the students were seated in a tented area at
the site, and read their papers.
Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Mabank Middle School students were spotlighted at the Mabank Independent
School District board meeting. Pictured are (from left) students Hanna
Thai, John Holstein, teacher Jerri Cheek, student Sydney Keane and Past
Commandant Ken Henry of the Marine Corps League, the Longhorn
Ken Henry, a Vietnam Veteran and the Aide-de-Camp to the Southern
Division vice Commandant, was intrigued and listened as the students
read their work.
He obtained permission to publish some of them in the Americanism
History Book for the Marine Corps League.
At the May 21 Mabank Independent School District board meeting, Henry
presented the class with a Certificate of Appreciation and an
The teacher, Jerri Powell Cheek, was presented the distinguished Service
Henry praised the MMS students saying they were well mannered, well
behaved, and the teacher kept them under control, as opposed to other
visiting school districts that allowed its students to run around
The students enjoyed ringing the liberty bell, looking at the army tank
on display and looking up family and friends names on the wall, Cheek
Three students were present at the board meeting and read their papers
Hannah Thai wrote about the “Outcomes of the Vietnam War.” John
Holstein, wrote of the “Battle of Hue.” And Sydney Keane wrote of the
effects of “Agent Orange.”
When the students finished reading, Henry told Holstein he had served
with one of the heroes of the battle mentioned in the paper that was
Log Cabin names new chief
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
LOG CABIN – Newly seated Log Cabin Council named a new police chief
Chris Smoot, formerly an officer in Trinidad and Athens resident was
given full support as the new police chief.
Former police chief Buddy Barton was holding the post as an interim
Several meetings called last week brought Barton under scrutiny for not
following certain procedures, Mayor Gene Bearden told The Monitor.
Later, The Monitor learned, Barton had a car accident at Purtis Creek
and hadn’t informed the council of it.
They found out about it on their own, city secretary Karen Cox said,
about two weeks after it happened. “They didn’t like that,” she said.
Barton was terminated from being chief , however, he was offered a
patrol officer post, but he declined, Cox said.
Smoot was interviewed Monday and hired on the spot, she said.
Smoot has had police chief experience in Caney City, where he started
serving May, 2005 and continued with the city through April, 2007, as a
Previously, Smoot had been a trainer in the Van Zandt Sheriff’s Office
canine division and also served as a deputy constable in VZ Precinct 4.