Decker retires from Tool PD
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
TOOL–Assistant Police Chief Martha Decker, following 15
years of dedicated service with the Tool Police Department, has
announced her retirement.
Her final day on the job was Friday, she said.
said she is going to miss working with her fellow officers, the city
staff and the community.
Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Tool Police Chief Warren Loscuito (left) says
farewell to Assistant Police Chief Martha Decker, who leaves the city to
work as an investigator for Child Protective Services in Dallas.
“Being here as long as I have, I’ve watched the
community grow. I have a lot of years invested in the area,” she said.
She’s seen Tool go from a retirement community to a family-based city.
“In 1993 (when she started) there were very few children in the area.
Now there are children on almost every street,” she said. “There has
really been a change in the population make-up.”
The busy police department has also undergone changes.
“We have gone from a police department with patrol cars that had the
bare minimum to well-equipped patrol cars,” she said.
In addition to the standard police equipment, she said they now have
thermal energy equipment for night use.
“It’s a hand-held machine that can track someone in the dark, even if
they run into the woods,” she explained.
Decker has worked on quite a few high-profile cases, including the
scammers at the Bingo Hall.
“I spent six months working on the Maria Elena Garza fraud case,” she
Garza, her son and sister all went to prison for their convictions in
conspiracy, mail fraud and impersonating a federal official.
The family took money from immigrants under false pretenses, Decker
She also worked on several very serious child abuse cases and in crimes
“One shaken baby case resulted in the father and step-mother being
convicted on felony counts,” she recalled.
“And there were several suicide attempts that were unsuccessful, due to
department intervention,” she added.
Another interesting case occurred when the department was looking for an
individual for one set of problems and the case escalated into the
discovery of eight burglaries, before they were reported by the owners
of the missing property.
Decker said she has especially enjoyed working with Police Chief Warren
“I really appreciate all the time Warren has worked with me – especially
all the training and encouragement I have received from him throughout
the years,” she said.
It’s expected that sometimes being a police officer gets dangerous.
One time, she helped wrestle a violent prisoner down and received a
broken wrist and other injuries for her trouble.
Then there was a bad wreck in which she received serious injuries.
“It was in 1999. I was in my patrol car when a drunk in a car ahead of
me. He suddenly made a U-turn and hit me head-on,” Decker said.
“I was off work for nine months. My leg was broken in seven places, two
of the breaks were compound,” she added.
Decker underwent a lot of pain and three surgeries correcting her
The Department of Public Safety worked the accident and the driver faced
“He pled guilty and received 10 years probation and served 30 days in
jail,” she recalled.
Decker will not be sitting at home when she retires. Instead, staring
Monday, Nov. 19, she will be working for Child Protective Service in
Dallas as a senior investigator.
“I hope someday to work closer to home,” she said.
Decker is a very active person. Her hobbies include writing and she has
an e-Bay store.
Her interest in local history has earned her a seat on the board of
directors for the Kaufman County Historical Society.
She likes to travel and to hike and has a vivid interest in photography.
She has served as a hostage negotiator and was on the Gun Barrel City
Fire Department’s dive team.
Decker believes in training and keeping up with new technology.
Her training initially began with the Reserve Academy for the Palestine
Police Department, then finished with the Police Academy at Cedar Valley
College. She had continuing training at A&M, The Blackwood Institute,
Navarro Police Academy, Collin County in McKinney and numerous other
Decker, her husband Ken and children live in Kaufman County.
Ken is a member of the last all-male graduating class of the West Point
Dr. Wallis goes to Washington
Honored at national Principal of the Year
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–It was just a little over a year ago that Mabank High School
Principal Dr. Tommy Wallis learned he was Texas’ Principal of the Year.
that, he was named Region 10 Principal of the Year.
It was the state honor that entitled him and his wife, Nicole, to attend
the National Principal of the Year awards banquet in Washington D. C.
Mabank High School Principal Dr. Tommy Wallis and wife Nicole recently
attended the National Principal of the Year Awards banquet in Washington
D.C. Wallis is the Texas state Principal of the Year.
The banquet was held Oct. 22, and the event is
sponsored by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School
Principals, Wallis said.
The couple stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel along with the state
principals of the Year from other states.
“We were treated like royalty,” he said.
“I am proud of the students at Mabank High School,” he said. Mabank High
School is among the top 75 Texas high schools, Wallis noted.
“Mabank High School (students and staff) works as hard or harder an any
high school in the state,” he said.
“People should be proud to have their students attend here,” he added.
It was also at that time the top principal in the nation was named, a
lady from Alabama.
Jack Schell inducted into
Texas Radio Hall of Fame
Narrates Dallas Veteran’s Day parade
Special to The Monitor
DALLAS–Gun Barrel City resident Jack Schell was one of 12
Texas broadcast veterans inducted in the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in
Schell’s successful and influential radio career began in Waco in the
He got a break in Dallas radio after a year in Waco, working most of his
radio and television career in Dallas.
In 2006, he became semi-retired. He still heads into Dallas for fill-in
on-air work for vacationing regulars.
Other lake area residents, former Dallas mayor, Wes Wise (2005) and talk
show host Ed Bush (2002) have also been inducted into the Texas Radio
Hall of Fame.
The list of honorees over the years includes many other familiar names
(among others) from Texas radio, including, Ron Chapman, Eddie Barker,
Walter Cronkite, Bill Mercer, Jim Lowe, Neil Sperry, Verne Lundquist,
Norm Hitzges, Suzie Humphreys, Hugh Lampman and Troy Dungan.
Some of these are most recognized for their television career, but were
also involved in radio during their Texas careers.
Schell is still active in the media by producing audio and video from
his Cedar Creek Lake studios.
His voice is presently on radio and TV ads running in the metroplex.
He narrated the 154 unit Veteran’s Day Parade as it passes in front of
Dallas City Hall next Saturday, Nov. 10.
His big-screen video productions have won national awards, with local
work appearing on the stage/screen for the Greater Cedar Creek Area
Chamber of Commerce’s Spring “Taste Of Cedar Creek Lake”
According to Schell, probably the best entrance-point to his wide range
of pursuits is online at wwwjackschell.com
From there links take you to his video work for the Sunset High School
50th reunion, the KVIL Radio 40th reunion parties for next year and the
award-winning documentary for the Red Cross Donut Dollies.
Schell says of his “retirement” to the lake: “I can’t seem to stay up
late enough – get up early enough to get to everything.”
He agrees with so many retirees, who wonder how they ever had time for a