Local church hosts Vacation Bible School at George Wright homes

IMG_7981The Paris Biker Church is extending their mission to the George Wright homes over the next few days by offering Vacation Bible School to children at 6 p.m. each evening through Saturday.

The VBS started on Wednesday, and the first night’s turnout was good (approximately 30 children). On Thursday, despite the rain, even more kids came to enjoy the fun and learn about the Word. According to coordinators the number of children will likely keep growing, as news of the event spreads among the children and their families.

Each evening the children sing praise and worship songs, then enjoy Bible ‘story time’, prayer, arts and crafts, and more.

“Paris Biker Church decided to come to the George Wright homes because we felt the call to come and try and tell some people about Jesus that may not get to hear it,” church elder, Ronnie Melton, said.

By Josh Allen, eParisExtra

Red Cross of Lamar County encourages community to help send holiday cards to our troops

The Red Cross chapter of Lamar County kicked off its inaugural “Holiday Mail for Heroes: Messages from Home” campaign last week, beginning an effort to get the community involved in sending cheerful holiday cards to active-duty soldiers during the coming holiday season.

Female soldiers receiving personnel hygiene items from the Red Cross facilities in Bagdad (Photo by Peter Macias/American Red Cross)

Female soldiers receiving personnel hygiene items from the Red Cross facilities in Bagdad (Photo by Peter Macias/American Red Cross)

The entire community was invited to the free festive event to learn how to get involved in the campaign for our troops.

This is a four-month campaign, in which ‘card-raising’ teams comprised of local citizens receive 50 Red Cross holiday cards that they will encourage friends, family members, acquaintances and anyone they can to sponsor the cards for $20 each. Once they sponsor a card, individuals can then customize it with messages of gratitude and support.

There are many opportunities for corporate sponsors to get involved as well, Red Cross officials said.

This campaign will culminate into a holiday card send-off event at Heritage Hall on November 6, where all the teams and corporate sponsors will gather to acknowledge the work of the teams, while also recognizing a local ‘Community Hero’ and ‘Military Hero’.

All the sponsored cards will then be gathered and shipped to deployed service members and military hospitals in an effort to bring them cheer during their holiday time away from family.

Santa delivers a Christmas gift from the American Red Cross to a wounded soldier during the holidays. (American Red Cross photo)

Santa delivers a Christmas gift from the American Red Cross to a wounded soldier during the holidays. (American Red Cross photo)

“We wondered how we could raise funds to support our work with service members at Camp Maxey and other local military families without trying to pull off another golf tournament or gala or walk,” Red Cross Lamar County executive director, John Davis, said. “With the creative help of a great board and volunteers, I think we’ve conceived a great campaign that will raise both awareness and funds for Red Cross service to the armed forces programs in Lamar County and also generate holiday cards and messages from home to send to deployed service members.”

The campaign committee is chaired by long-time Red Cross Lamar volunteer, Sally Hensley, and Captain Michael Ford of Camp Maxey.

“The campaign has been extremely well received by the community”, said Sheree Williams, Major Gift Associate with Red Cross in Lamar County. “Our local committee has been busy recruiting teams and sponsors and putting this campaign together.”

If you are interested in forming a team, joining the committee, or becoming a corporate sponsor, please visit www.redcross.org/redcrossnortheasttexas or call Sheree Williams at (903) 737-4390.

American soldier poses with a Red Cross 'pet volunteer' at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southwestern Germany. (American Red Cross photo)

American soldier is visited by a Red Cross ‘pet volunteer’ at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southwestern Germany. (American Red Cross photo)

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, teaches skills that save lives, provides international humanitarian aid, and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/northeasttexas, Facebook.com/redcrossnetexas or @RedcrossNETexas on Twitter.

Red Cross Offers Free First Aid/CPR Class

American-Red-Cross-LogoAs part of the ongoing “Be Prepared Paris” initiative to increase local emergency preparedness, the American Red Cross Lamar County is offering a free 2-year First Aid / CPR / AED certification course on Saturday, August 9, 2014, from 9am – 4pm.

Registration is open now and deadline is Wednesday, August 6, 2014.  Those interested should register online at www.redcross.org/takeaclass or by calling the training support center at 1-800-733-2767.  Registrants must use coupon code: PREPAREPARIS1214.


Normally a $110 expense, the course is being offerred free to our community with generous support of St. Joseph’s Community Foundation, The Paris Legacy Foundation, Inc. and Wells Fargo Advisors. 

The program is designed to encourage those whose employer may not cover the expense of training, or who might otherwise forego certification due to cost – such as volunteer coaches and referees, civic and service group members or other non-profit organizations.


Disaster preparedness, relief and recovery services – especially life-saving first aid skills – are important to the medical well-being of our entire Lamar County community.  Sign up today!

Texas Homeless Network to host free webinar on practices to end homelessness today

Everyone is invited to attend the Texas Homeless Network’s free monthly webinar focusing on best community practices to be used to end homelessness in Texas. The webinar is Tuesday, July 29, at 3 p.m., but you must be registered by 2 p.m.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 10.25.31 PMCalled ‘Bloc Talks’, these free monthly webinars will provide the community the opportunity to learn how to more effectively serve your homeless population through exploring successful practices in housing, mental health and education.

In this monthly webinar THN will bring guest speakers who can talk first-hand about the practices that they are involved in and then they will link you with trainings for the practices if you decide to incorporate them.

Keep in mind, the target audience is the local coalition for homelessness and all parties that make up this group — business owners, case managers, program directors, etc.

These sessions will be brief, twenty minute presentations with fifteen minute Q&As  following. So as to give you the best service snap-shot in a time sensitive manner, the sessions will begin and end on time.

Also, due to the nature of these sessions, there will be no CEUs (continuing education) offered.

In this July webinar, the focus will be on ‘Best Housing Practices’, featuring Johnny Riley from the Texarkana Housing Authority.

To register for this free webinar, click here. Please register by 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The webinar will start at 3 p.m. Once you register you will received a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Turtles float past civic center to raise $37K for Boys & Girls Club

TurtleFloat_17Hundreds of turtles raced down the drainage ditch in front of Love Civic Center on Saturday to raise $37,890 in the Boys and Girls Club of the Red River Valley’s 11th annual Johnny Stallings Memorial Great Paris Turtle Float.

This year marked the first time to hold the race at the civic center.

“I think it’s a great idea to move the race over here,” Gene Stallings said. “I’m sure we’ll have a record number of turtles that will be adopted, and that’s a good thing.”

Executive Director Henry Shaw also expected to do well with the Turtle Float, which is one of two major fundraisers for the club each year. The other is the annual youth auction.

“Last year was $35,000. Our goal this year is $40,000. We’ll be close. We’ve had a ton of walk ups,” Shaw said. “Thank you to the community, our staff and our most excellent board of directors for supporting ‘the positive place for youth’ – your Boys and Girls Club of the Red River Valley.”

This year, 5,000 turtles were up for adoption at $10 each or a herd of 11 for $100. Mark Rhea won $3,000 for first place. The second-place prize of $2,000 went to Big Country Farm and Ranch. Gary Bassett earned $1,000 for third place as well as the fourth-place of two Rangers tickets. The fifth-place Yeti cooler went to Wayne Kirby. Ten turtles were also selected at random for a quick-pick $50 prize.

The event is named for Stalling’s son, and it was Stallings himself who brought the idea for the float to Paris.

“When I coached the Phoenix Cardinals, they had the Great Duck Race,” he said. “It was $100 a duck, and here you can get 11 turtles for $100. But they were giving away a Mercedes.”