County Upset When Overlooked for Shuttle Memorial Funding

The proposal from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson calls for 5-million dollars for memorials in Hemphill, Lufkin, and Nacogodoches. San Augustine was not on the list, but residents there say they were just as heavily involved in the search and recovery process as anyone.

NASA still cares enough about East Texas to send educators to San Augustine to teach children about space exploration. Then why would the same organization not include the county in a proposal for funding for a shuttle memorial?

"That's what I want to know. I want to know exactly why. I've heard around about ways how this went, but I would really like to know why. We were so involved. In fact, we were the first people to even get out to the scene. Nobody else was there. Of course, Nacogdoches was there, they had right there in their city. We had it all over the county. We had over 200 hundred people within an hour at Chichikapeen church," explained San Augustine County Judge Wayne Holt.

Holt believes San Augustine County is being ignored for their efforts. He says that more shuttle debris fell in San Augustine County than either of the other two memorial sites where debris actually did fall. He also added that Angelina County only served primarily as the site of the command center. Holt has been receiving numerous phone calls from residents who are upset.

"I've talked to several people. My phone has been ringing off the wall, right on up to the lady from NASA over their communications. She informed me that it was probably some of her fault because she did not put us in as having a memorial. And I was concerned about that because it has always been planned for 7, 8 months to have one," added holt.

Holt said it's not about getting money, it's about being able to remember what the community was able to come together and accomplish.

"It's not that we did not for any reason. We didn't have a lot of media coverage because we were doing this because we felt it had to be done, it was part of our job," said Holt.

And even if they don't receive federal funding, they will have memories for a lifetime.