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Homer honored as Distinguished Alumnus

Published or Revised August 16, 2005

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State Rep. Mark Homer, left, looks at a certificate presented him by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville, center, Lamar County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Derald Bulls during a banquet in Homer’s honor Aug. 11. (View more photos of the event.)

A capacity crowd filled the Hunt Center Thursday evening, Aug. 11, to see State Rep. Mark Homer of Paris named a Distinguished Alumnus of Paris Junior College.

Homer, who represents District 3 in Northeast Texas, heard comments from local and state dignitaries who praised his leadership and moral values as a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

Dr. Pamela Anglin, president of PJC, presented Homer with the college’s Distinguished Alumnus Award on behalf of the Alumni and Friends Association.

She announced during the presentation that more than $22,000 has been raised by the PJC Alumni and Friends Association on behalf of Homer in order to endow a scholarship in his name.

“We are proud of Mark, and grateful for the opportunity to establish a scholarship that will assist students attending Paris Junior College,” Anglin said.

Leaders from the city, county and public schools paid tribute to Homer, along with current and former state and U.S. government officials.

Paris Mayor Curtis Fendley and Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville spoke highly of their friend. Superville told Homer that Aug. 11 had been designated “Mark Homer Day.”

Lamar County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Derald Bulls told Homer he was “the most accessible official in Austin,” while Chisum Independent School District Superintendent Diane Stegall praised him for listening to his constituents.

“Mark listens to us and tries to find out what is best for our students and our schools,” Stegall said. “His concern and dedication is appreciated by all of us in education.”

Following presentations by North Lamar, Paris, Prairiland and Roxton school districts, Paris Junior College Board of Regents President Paul Gene Roden expressed appreciation for Homer’s dedication and service to all of his constituents in Northeast Texas.

“On behalf of Paris Junior College, I want to express my appreciation to you,” Roden said. “You are a wonderful representative for the State of Texas, for the district, for Lamar County, Paris and PJC. I want to personally say thank you.”

His former second grade teacher, Elaine Ballard, said Homer was a good student and his personality hasn’t changed in all those years.

“He was always easy to get along with and never did anything half way,” she said. “He was, and still is, trustworthy, a man of his word, a friend to the community, and has maintained his good character.”

Friend and fellow Texas A&M University graduate Sims Norment credits Homer with helping build the A&M Club scholarship fund in Lamar County and for maintaining stability in Austin.

“He does what he thinks is right for his district and has concern for Paris, Lamar County and for the State of Texas,” said Norment.

The Honorable Bill Ratliff, retired state senator and lieutenant governor, said the moral values and standards of Homer and his family are characteristics he notices most. “The way they conduct their lives - there are no two people better (to represent us) than Mark and Jennifer,” Ratliff said.

State Senator Kevin Eltife was unable to attend the event, but sent a letter praising Home and his work in Austin.

“One reason I admire Mark Homer and enjoy a good working relationship with him is because he always puts his constituents first,” Eltife said. “He takes his responsibilities as a public servant seriously and is a man of character and integrity. He is truly deserving of the honor he is receiving.”

The Honorable Max Sandlin, who served in the U.S. Congress for 10 years, said Homer has earned respect in the Legislature because “he works hard, has vision, and will do what’s right no matter the issue.”

In his response to all the accolades given him during the evening, Homer thanked his family, his friends, and said that the people of Paris and Lamar County helped him grow - to become who he is today.

“It is so important to have a community like this around you,” Home said. “It makes it easy to stand up and fight for the people in my community and in my district - and for rural Texas. I have to be the luckiest representative in the House.”

Homer said he appreciates the title of Distinguished Alumnus given him by PJC, adding that junior colleges are an extremely important link in higher education.
“Community colleges aren’t just the 13th and 14th grades in higher education - they are an integral part of our community life - a vital part of the lives of every person who is seeking a higher education,” he said.

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