Hardin residents gathered Tuesday evening for the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting and to recognize Bob McKinney as Hardin Citizen of the Year. The Christmas tree moved this year from the corner of FM 834 and SH 146 on the First Liberty National Bank property to Harvest Event Center, 9775 SH 146.
In announcing the Citizen of the Year, Rev. Jamie Blume, pastor of Hardin United Pentecostal Church, said that several wonderful candidates were suggested but McKinney was selected for his 20 years of service to the community, most notably to the Hardin Community Center and the senior citizens who gather there on weekdays for meals.
“[McKinney] is a member of one of our local churches and has been active in many faith-based ministries for homebound citizens of our community,” Blume said in announcing the award. “[McKinney] has, on many occasions, stepped in to help organize and aid many day-to-day operations of our local civic organization and steps up whenever and wherever a good neighbor is needed.”
In putting others before himself, McKinney demonstrates the true meaning of Christmas, Blume added.
“He is a man with a very big heart who is always willing to help. He moves throughout the community reaching out to anyone in need. He has never wanted any attention or accolades. We thank you, sir, for your hard work and dedication to this community,” the pastor said.
Accepting the award, McKinney’s eyes glistened with tears. The award followed a pretty rough Monday when he was involved in a motor vehicle wreck and lost his truck as a result.
Humbled by the award, he said a quick ‘thank you’ and stepped down from the dais to join his family members and friends.
Prior to the presentation, Pct. 3 Deputy Constable Hugh Bishop shared something he had written titled, “The True Meaning of Christmas.”
“When I was asked to speak about Christmas, I pondered the meaning myself. In doing so, I found the meaning of Christmas can still be found today. The story of the nativity – both in fact and in symbolism – can still inform and guide us today, not just at Christmas but every day,” he said. “Christmas is where Jesus started, where it began for us Christians. That foundation still holds up for us today.”
Bishop said that despite a person’s station in life — whether they are the CEO of a large company or a lowly field hand – they can all do right “by moving toward Jesus to be with Jesus.”
“Even if your circumstances are meager, you can still give the gift of your time – our most precious gift. Give of yourself, give freely and give often,” he said.
He referenced the Bible verse John 3:16 to talk about God’s love for the world and its people.
“There is a reason you see this scripture in the end zone of football games because you better know it and live it by the time you reach your end zone,” Bishop said. “That’s the Word. That’s the promise. That’s the real reason of Christmas.”
Hardin Lions Club members were also presented with food items for their upcoming Christmas food distribution. The food was donated by Brookshire Bros., Hardin Bank, First Liberty National Bank, Hardin 4-H, Roxanne Richards with Maci Feeds, C.W. Campbell, Keisha Robinson of First Liberty National Bank and Carol Smart.
“On behalf of the Hardin Lions Club, I thank you. During the Thanksgiving holiday, we collected food donations and were able to help 38 families. For Christmas, we are going to help even more. Those are families that otherwise would not have had a Thanksgiving meal if not for people like you,” said Amanda Vanya Patton, representing the Hardin Lions Club.
By Vanesa Brashier, email@example.com