David Crook is here to help Victoria.

“Really, that’s all I want to do is just help,” Crook said.

Crook, 34, is one of three people running for mayor of the city of Victoria in the special election, July 3. Crook will be joined on the ballot by Jeff Bauknight and Emmet Alvarez.

“David wants to fight for the underdog,” said Georgia Robinson, Crook’s mother-in-law. “He wants to fight for the average guy that kind of gets left behind.”

She described him as a man with a big heart, who would stop to help a stranger on the side of the road.

Born in South Carolina into an Army family, Crook spent the majority of his childhood in Bandera, then lived in Germany during high school.

After high school, Crook came back to Texas to attend Texas A&M San Antonio, where he studied kinesiology physical education. Crook joined the Army Reserves in 2010 while still in school.

In 2014, he began a job with Pioneer Natural Resources and moved with his wife to Victoria.

A year later Crook was deployed and served in Kuwait and Iraq. While overseas, he was injured and spent the next two years at the Fort Sam Soldier Recovery Unit, previously known as the Warrior Transition Unit, undergoing multiple surgeries on his left knee and right ankle. Despite his hope to return to duty one day, in May 2018 he was medically separated from the military.

“I still have that urge to help and serve,” said Crook. “That’s kind of why I was in the military and why I keep helping with the Victoria Bad News Chairs.”

Crook has worked as the organizer for the Victoria Bad News Chairs, an adaptive sports team in Victoria, for several years.

Nick Mateo, who is also a member of the Bad News Chairs, described Crook as passionate with natural inclination for teaching and helping others.

Mateo said Crook has helped introduce him to more adaptive sports and drives him to any adaptive event they go to. Mateo, who is also a wounded veteran, cannot drive due to cognitive disabilities.

“David enjoys trying to find a door for somebody else,” said Mateo.

Crook said he’s working to find a way to expand the Bad News Chairs to serve more kids with disabilities that don’t have the opportunity to compete on their school teams.

“I want to try to get more kids with physical disabilities involved, so they know that there’s sports available to them,” said Crook. “Personally I didn’t know about adaptive sports until I got injured.”

In January, he decided to go back to school. He began studying exercise and sports science and taking business classes at the University of Houston-Victoria in hopes of being able to learn more about running a nonprofit like Bad News Chairs.

After Mayor Rawley McCoy died in March, Crook decided to run for office.

At first when Crook said he was running for mayor, Mateo thought he was joking.

“A lot of times you can’t take him seriously,” said Mateo. “But at the same time he has a passion for helping people, a passion for wanting to see change. And he has a lot of ideas.”

As an elected official, Crook said he wants to listen to and address residents’ concerns. Even now as a candidate he’s tried to be actively available, especially through social media, to answer any questions voters might have.

“He is the concerned citizen for the town,” said Mateo. “He is trying to make change for the citizens as a citizen.”

Crook said he would like to see more economic growth in Victoria.

“Personally, I would really like to work with the city and the business community and see what we can do to incentivize businesses to start coming back to Victoria,” Crook said. He began attending the Victoria Economic Development Corporation meetings in an effort to connect with business owners and local officials.

He wants to make sure, though, that no one side of the city is neglected.

“I don’t want all the funds to go to funding expansion on the north side, and then we forget about the south side of the whole city,” Crook said.

At the end of the day, he said, “if I’m not elected, it’s not gonna stop me from working for the city.”

“I want to keep trying to help our community as best I can in any way I can.”

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Cat writes about Victoria's city and county government. Questions, tips, or ideas? Let me know cdelaura@vicad.com or (361) 580-6511

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