NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - On Friday, the Greater East Texas Community Action Program celebrated its years of service.
Fifty years ago President Lyndon B. Johnson launched President John F. Kennedy's initiative to fight the "war on poverty." The formula called for a combination of federal funding, local leaders, and the people who are served into community action.
The Greater East Texas Community Action Program followed.
"A lot has happened in 50 years," said Karen Swenson, the executive director of the Greater East Texas Community Action Program.
Swenson let all of the recognition fall on the front line workers who serve a 12-county region Friday.
"If we did not work together, then there is no way we could begin to touch the issues that challenge the elderly and the disabled and families with young children," Swenson said.
Corporate and agency partners, teachers, case workers, and even local media received honors.
They follow in the spirit of GETCAP pioneers C.L. Simon, Arthur Weaver, and State Representative Jerry Johnson. Their families carry on the legacy.
"Some of us would not be what we are today if it was not for those three families," said Royce Garrett, the vice chair of GETCAP's governing board.
It means Polk County outreach case worker Angela Figgs has been making a difference in East Texans' lives for 28 years.
"We don't consider it a handout," Figgs said. "We consider it a hand up."
Head Start provides some of that stability.
GETCAP advocates hate to imagine life in East Texas without the services.
"They have more of an opportunity with the services that we provide in this organization to move out of poverty," said Robert Crowe, the chairman of the GETCAP Board of Directors.
A Community Action promise is that the fight against poverty will continue - one child, one adult, and one family at a time.
The Greater East Texas Community Action Program's next event is "Fill the Bus" on August 14th at the Nacogdoches Walmart. School supplies will be gathered for the disadvantaged children in Nacogdoches County.