Dorothy Vacek and Sid Schutte were named Senior Texan Volunteers of the Year for Navarro County at a luncheon Tuesday sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

The volunteer recognition event honored 10 nominated seniors, people who give time to their churches, the hospital, the city and abused children, despite being of retirement age.

Xavier Villareal, chief executive officer of Navarro Regional Hospital, spoke to the group, praising them for their work and how much they contribute to the community. The friendly volunteers at the hospital were the first people to greet him when he came for a visit, and it was that warmth that helped convince him to take the job, he told them.

Senior volunteers are “absolutely priceless to our community,” Villareal said.

Each of the volunteers honored Tuesday received a Texas flag flown over the capitol from Rep. Byron Cook, and gift certificates to the Cotton Patch.

The two volunteers of the year are:

• Dorothy Vacek, nominated by Our Lady’s Altar Society of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. She has been a volunteer with Food for Fitness, American Heart Association, Heart Walk, Corsicana Chamber of Commerce’s tourism committee, Corsicana Downtown Association, James L. Collins Catholic School Foundation, among others.

• Sid Schutte, nominated by the Friendship Sunday School Class of the First United Methodist Church. He serves on various church committees, as well as Christmas in Action, Rice Volunteer Fire Department, Noon Lions Club, Hospice of Mercy, Meals on Wheels and is a former councilman and mayor of Rice.

Other top volunteers nominated, and some of their many contributions, are:

• Beatrice Gee Beaty, nominated by the Brown Chapel AME Church in Pelham. “Aunt B” has served in a variety of ways through her church, including food and program committees, Sunday school, church secretary and choir member. She puts flags on veterans’ graves for Memorial Day, works with the Extension Education club, and helps with the February community dinner.

• Dr. R.L. Campbell, nominated by Navarro Regional Hospital Auxiliary. He is involved in Believers Bible Church, hospital auxiliary, public health department, national association of American Physicians and Surgeons, House of Refuge, and other organizations.

• Sandra Curtis, nominated by the Navarro Regional Hospital Auxiliary. Through her church, she is active in Food for Fitness, prayer card ministry and homebound, and she is also active in American Red Cross, the hospital auxiliary, the Pearce Collections Museum at The Cook Center, Kinsloe House, and Daughters of the American Revolution.

• Doris Long, nominated by Barry United Methodist Church. In addition to serving as church secretary and Lord’s Acre chairperson, she is also active in the Barry Crime Watch, Barry Friends of Youth, and American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

• Ruth Nelson, nominated by First United Methodist Church Women. She has served as a church leader, and with United Christian Fellowship at Navarro College; American Cancer Society, ombudsman for Twilight Home, Meals on Wheels, United Methodist Women and Road to Recovery program driving people to their doctor’s appointments.

• Leila Rasmussen, nominated by the Heritage Oaks Retirement Village. She sends out cards and prepares food for grieving families through Cornerstone Baptist Church, picks up people who need a ride to church, and helps with Bible studies and music at Heritage Oaks.

• Farrisa Smith, nominated by Child Advocates of Navarro County. A community and church volunteer, she has been a volunteer with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, a parenting class teacher, an advocate for abused children, and trains advocate volunteers.

• Leland Vernon, nominated by the Kerens Kiwanis Club. In addition to serving through his church, First Baptist of Kerens, he is also a member of the Kerens Kiwanis, Kerens Area Chamber of Commerce, Meals on Wheels, VOICE, Kerens Library Board and Kerens Ex-Students Association board of directors.


Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at

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