LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A room packed with government leaders from around East Texas celebrated DETCOG's 50th anniversary Thursday.
The group also honored Jasper County Judge Mark Allen with the Ralph W. Steen Award East Texas of the Year Award. Allen has spent his life in public service. Allen has been county judge for over 10 years and a member of the DETCOG board.
Allen has also been an assistant emergency management coordinator, a district attorney investigator, and a police training officer. He has also been appointed by the governor to serve with the Texas State Juvenile Justice Department.
He was presented the award by last year's winner, Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter.
Also honored was Sam Collins, who received the Founders Award. Collins, who is from Newton County, served as a state representative and was a driving force behind the completion of Toledo Bend.
Rusty Phillips was honored with the Key Contributor Award. Phillips has served DETCOG for 29 years and was interim director in 2016.
Jorge Ayala, the regional director of the US Economic Development Administration, received the first-ever Star Partner Award.
San Augustine County Judge Samye Johnson received the Presidents Award for her continued service to the elderly in her county.