East Texan of the Year

Jasper County Judge, Joe Folk, has been named the Ralph W. Steen Memorial East Texan of the Year. Tyler County Judge, Jerome Owen, made the announcement at the DETCOG annual membership meeting in Lufkin.

Judge Folk's contributions to the betterment of Deep East Texas are wide ranging and many. He has received so many awards and recognitions that the list would be several pages long.

Joe Folk served in the United States Army and the Inactive Army Reserves. After receiving his Masters Degree he was a teacher, principal and superintendent. He initiated the ongoing Kirbyville High School Veteran's Day Program thirty four years ago. He went on to serve as Tax Assessor-Collector, probation officer, Sheriff, DETCOG employee and County Judge.

Judge Folk has served as chair for more committees and advisory boards than any other board member in the 36 year history of the Council. His committee assignments include the grants application review committee, the executive committee, the scholarship committee, the solid waste advisory committee, the economic development committee, the aging advisory committee, the 9-1-1 advisory committee and is now serving as the President of the DETCOG Board of Directors.

His community service includes the Boy Scouts of America, Historical Society, Parent-Teacher Association, Little League, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, Junior Livestock Show and American Legion Post #456.

Since Hurricane Rita, Judge Folk has worked tirelessly, making numerous trips to Austin and Washington to help the people of Jasper County and deep east Texas recover a normal life.

The Ralph W. Steen Memorial East Texan of the Year has become one of the most prestigious and longest running, recognitions bestowed in Deep East Texas. Each year past recipients cast ballots to select who will receive the award from nominations received from the 12 County DETCOG region.