NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A special tribute was paid this morning for a man instrumental in completing Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County.
Former project manager, George Perry Campbell dealt with many obstacles to make it happen.
Now in retirement, Campbell is fighting his own personal challenge of brain cancer. Campbell's friends lifted his spirits Thursday.
Dignitaries and friends of George Perry Campbell gathered at the entrance to Lake Naconiche. They say thank you to the former land agent and project manager for working over two decades to bring the reservoir to fruition.
"This is a great day, and I'm honored and privileged that the county and others are recognizing my efforts on this reservoir," Campbell said.
Cancer medications play with Campbell's emotions. He fights through with the same determination that aided him during the development of Lake Naconiche.
"I think it took somebody like George who would step on a toe every once in a while or would make a hard decision to get the lake done," said Jimmy Mize, the chairman of the Naconiche Parks Board.
"Without George this lake wouldn't be here today," said Jerry Don Williamson, a Nacogdoches County commissioner. "And I want to thank you from the county."
Lake Naconiche was a 1950's brainstorm. Campbell knows the history better than anyone. In the 80s he was back and forth to Austin meeting before state agencies. Environmental lawsuits, permitting, title, and funding issues occurred at every step along the way.
"It got done. It took a long time," Campbell said. "We fought a lot of battles."
Just about everything about Lake Naconiche takes time.
The pretty entry was named in Campbell's honor five years ago, but the sign wasn't erected until Thursday. Even the unveiling required a bit of perseverance. Seeing the struggle to get the cover off the sign brought a smile to Campbell's face.
Campbell remained reluctant to accept the credit his admirers give him.
"I didn't do it by myself," Campbell said. "The people of this county did it. That's who did it."
Campbell always looked forward to the day he could fish and enjoy the recreational watershed he helped accomplish.
Shortly after his retirement in 2012 Campbell fell ill. Following an operation he still deals with the effects of cancer. Today he said he's working through it.