East Texan of the Year

The newest recipient of the Ralph W. Steen East Texan of the Year award is former Woodville Mayor Jimmie Cooley.  She received that honor Thursday during the annual meeting of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments.  Obviously surprised, Cooley said receiving the award was an honor and she was pleased.  "Community service and volunteerism is a reward in itself, and then you get one of these."

The 2007 recipient of the award, former Houston County Judge, Chris Von Doenhoff, said "It's been said the sign of a truly sincere community builder is one who never seeks recognition, but privately and quietly enjoys the fruits of their work.  This is true of Jimmie Cooley. She has done so much for Deep East Texas, yet she has rarely received recognition for her work, nor has she sought it.  Her practical, common sense approach to problem solving has been an asset to everyone who has worked with her," Von Doenhoff said.

Cooley is a long time member of the DETCOG Board of Directors.  She has served on several DETCOG committees, including the Grants Application Review Committee, the Executive Committee and the Budget Committee.  One of her most important achievements was during her tenure and service as Chairman of the Building Committee where she helped secure a new state of the art facility for the DETCOG staff.

She has represented Deep East Texas on two statewide committees after being appointed by Governor Rick Perry.  She serves as Chairperson of the Deep East Texas Community Development Regional Review Committee.  Cooley also serves as a board member for the Lower Neches Valley River Authority.

Cooley served three terms as Mayor of Woodville before retiring.  She has been a Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Board Member, a Woodville Team City Board member and a Tyler County Economic Development Board member.

The Ralph W. Steen Memorial East Texan of the Year award 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 twelve county DETCOG region.