Sweetheart Banquet attracts hundreds in Port O'Connor (w/video)
Feb. 14, 2014 at 5 p.m.
Updated Feb. 13, 2014 at 8:14 p.m.
PORT O'CONNOR - Men in red aprons carried serving trays piled with 10-ounce charbroiled steaks at the 19th annual Sweetheart Banquet on Thursday evening.
"We recognize outstanding citizens, and there is nothing else like this in Port O'Connor," said Doyle Adams, who started the event 18 years ago with his wife, Bernice, who has since died. "We have honored important citizens who don't get much recognition, like our librarian and our EMS driver."
Also acknowledged were couples married for at least 50 years as well as the couples married the longest and shortest lengths of time.
More than 200 guests dined on steak dinners that included potatoes, green beans, salad and homemade cookies while children maneuvered push-carts stacked with cups of water and iced tea between tables.
The event, which was sponsored by First Baptist Church, was at the Port O'Connor Community Center.
After dinner, Adams named Judy Anderson the 2014 Citizen of the Year.
Anderson taught kindergarten for 19 years before she claimed her current post in first grade.
She has taught in the same Port O'Connor school classroom for 36 years.
The biggest reward is the growth the students show after only nine months, she said.
"They are babies when they come in - they can't read or write, and they don't have math skills," Anderson said. "They leave reading experts who can write two-page stories, they add and subtract, they tell time, and they count money."
Anderson said she is proud to be the daughter and mother of teachers.
Adams presented Howard and Evelyn Lewis with a gift basket for their 67 years of marriage.
"Do it now - start the biggest adventure of your life," they advised couples. "And put God in your marriage."
John and Kim Jones also received a gift for their almost two years of marriage. They were the most recently married couple attending.
"We're smitten with each other every day," Kim Jones said. "We're still on our honeymoon."
Inspiration for the event came from a church in Minneapolis, where the Adams lived before they retired to Port O'Connor.
About 50 volunteers began working on the event after Christmas, Adams said.
"We do everything ourselves," he said. "We make the tickets, print the programs, decorate the center and cook the dinner."