Family Peace Project says it is time to take a stand and ‘Be A Man’

Pictured are, from left, Louisa Garrett of the Family Peace Project, Jeff Weinstein, and Jon Garrett of Athens Screen Printing, which is printing the t-shirts.

DETAILS: ‘Be A Man’ shirts are on sale now through Monday, Nov. 20, and will be delivered Monday, Nov. 27. The Family Peace Project is asking men to wear their shirts Tuesday, Nov. 28, in solidarity with victims of domestic violence. Short sleeve shirts are $10 and long sleeve are $20, with larger sizes $2 extra. You can order your shirts online at or at the Family Peace Project in Athens at 720 East Corsicana. Contact Louisa Garrett at for more information.

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCNow

It’s time for men to stand up and say enough is enough when it comes to domestic violence — and the Family Peace Project has a way to start.

The FPP recently rolled out new “Be A Man” t-shirts and the organization is asking the men of Henderson and Kaufman counties to take a stand against domestic violence by purchasing one.

“The goal is to create a social change,” Louisa Garrett of the Family Peace Project told me this afternoon.

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CASA seeks to ‘close the gap’ for abused children

By Emily Heglund/CASA

Her name is Withelma, but she goes by the nickname “T.”

The contradiction is fitting, for Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew’s life today could not be more different than her childhood. Taken into foster care at a young age, Pettigrew later became a victim of the $96 billion human trafficking industry. Before she was old enough to be in junior high, she was being sold on the streets and in strip clubs and massage parlors for sex.

Today, Pettigrew is a survivor, college student, motivational speaker and advocate for those trapped in the darkness and violence of human trafficking. In 2011, Glamour named her as one of their Women of the Year; she testified before Congress in 2013 and made Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People in 2014.

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Labor of Love has been ministering to Henderson County since 1986

Labor of Love provides free home repairs to those who can no longer maintain their homes “due to age, disability or other circumstances beyond their control.” (Courtesy photo)

Podcast by Tim Howard
Story by Michael V. Hannigan

Since 1986, Labor of Love has been providing free home repairs to those who can no longer maintain their homes “due to age, disability or other circumstances beyond their control.”

The faith-based organization averages 130 to 140 projects a year and has had an incredible impact on the people of Henderson County, one ramp and one repair at a time.

HCN’s Tim Howard sat down recently with Athens Samaritans Labor of Love President Roy Talbot to talk about the program. (Listen to the podcast above for some great stories from Roy Talbot)

Talbot says Labor of Love covers the entire county.

“Trinidad to Chandler and all points in between,” he said.

Applicants do go through a screening process stating their income level, age and circumstances.

“In 99 percent of the cases we see it is obvious that the home repairs are needed,” said Talbot.

Labor of Love spotlights four major groups: the handicapped, indigent elderly, single mothers raising children, and grandmothers raising grandchildren.

“Our primary focus is health and safety issues,” Mr. Talbot said.

Talbot said that includes things like installing grab bars in the bathroom, widening bathroom doors to accommodate wheelchairs, changing out bathtubs for standing showers and, of course, installing wheelchair ramps.

“One of the neat things about our organization is, for the volunteers and the project managers, they can immediately see the difference in the life of that person,” said Talbot.

Labor of Love works all year long.

“All of my searching across the internet convinces me that we are unique in the nation,” Talbot said. “That is an amazing statement to make. There are other organizations that are similar, but none do what we do.”

Major contributors for the program are Henderson County United Way, the Cain Foundation, the Murchison Foundation, other foundations, churches, businesses, and individuals.

Contact the Labor of Love office by calling 903-675-LOVE.

(Follow Michael V. Hannigan on Instagram/Twitter @mvhannigan)

Burn Ban expires in Henderson County

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

The two-week burn ban initiated by Commissioners’ Court on Sept. 26 expired this morning without any action.

Henderson County Fire Marshal Shane Renberg said the ban was allowed to lapse because recent rains had pushed the Keetch Byram Drough Index down nearly 100 points.

“Today it was around 545,” he said, “and we need 575 for the threshold to put (a ban) on.”

Renberg said residents still need to be careful when burning.

“When you’re burning outside, you just need to stay with your fire, pay attention to the wind direction, and make sure you have water available in case it does get out of hand,” he said.

Event highlights our diversity

Mrs. Leilani Smith Tyler Branch Manager for Telco Plus Credit Union spoke about her Hawaiian heritage. Here she is showing a hand carved wooden cake lid that has been in her family for generations.

By Delanda S. Johnson/Henderson County Black History Committee

On Saturday, October 7, the Henderson County Black History Committee hosted its 2017 Multi-Cultural Extravaganza at the Malakoff Community/Senior Center.

The event was hosted by Billy Williams and Humberto Rivera. The event highlighted guest speakers talking about their cultures.

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