In Honor of Columbia

The Columbia astronauts and their families are remembered with prayers from the San Augustine community.

Duke Lyons, the San Augustine city manager, said, "I believe the purpose of being in the path of the shuttle Columbia was important, and I can trust in God that we were exactly where we should have been on those days that followed."

San Augustine remains proud of its contributions after the shuttle explosion. A sign in town reads "NASA Thanks the San Augustine Community."

Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas said, "We got to see a small portion of East Texas to pull together in a big way. The people here don't have much, but we gave everything that we had. We showed the nation that, here in East Texas, we have got a big heart, and we are here to make things a lot better for people we don't even know."

San Augustine County Judge Wayne Holt said, "From the smallest child to the oldest man, if you needed somebody, they were there."

The Air Land Emergency Resource Team, or ALERT Academy group, brought nearly 140 men to help in the recovery effort. Col. John Tallen, of the academy, said, "Some of us worked in the EOC. We helped produce maps, helped coordinate. Our men went out and began covering the ground and gridding it off, looking for parts, to help this county be successful."

It's hard work that won't be forgotten, and a memorial to remind everyone why the community's dedication was so important.

Patrick Fussell, the San Augustine mayor, said, "We here in San Augustine had many volunteers that went above and beyond the call of duty. We salute you, and God bless you."