Decorating the derricks in Kilgore - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Decorating the derricks in Kilgore

Jose Dorado just hanging around. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV. Jose Dorado just hanging around. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.
KILGORE, TX (KLTV) -

Signs of Christmas are already popping up here and there throughout East Texas, including in Kilgore.  Folks in Kilgore, of course, decorate downtown and place some season’s greetings on the 85 foot oil derricks.

But who handles that one? Well, it’s the amazing tower man. Jose Dorado has been climbing the professional ladder for seven years now.

“Did you do a lot of climbing as a kid?” I asked him.

“As a kid?” Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I didn’t have quite as much protecting me at that time or holding me up there but, yeah,” he grinned.

Now he owns Dorado Connection Services and if there’s trouble on a tower, he can do something about it way up there.

“Out here I replace the light bulbs on the stars and the down lights. Make sure that they’re all running,” Dorado said. 

So he’s not just a holiday guy. He had help raising them but the signs are a challenge.

“As short as I am, I have to use a lot of my additional ropes to position myself in the right place so I’m doing a lot of hanging,” Dorado explained.

His harness lets him sit, so it wasn’t that bad once he got used to it. He says going up is the easy part, but down is a little tougher because:

“You see the ground, so when you see where the ground is it’s a little different,” Dorado stated.

But he’s had plenty of training.

“I’m a certified tower climber, so that helps out a lot, too” Dorado said.

“So you know the ropes,” I offered.

“Yes,” he laughed.

John Bolton and Darrell Gilcoat with the Kilgore Historical Preservation Foundation don’t climb towers these days, but offer words of encouragement as they supervise.

“How come his name’s not Derrick?” I asked John.

“It could be,” he laughed.

“You ever get attacked by birds?” I asked Dorado.

“I did once. Out here,” he recalled.

But that has not deterred him from helping deliver Kilgore’s holiday messages to everyone. And while he does it he’s pretty much literally hanging on every word.

Kilgore’s lighting ceremony takes place on November 16 when the big switch is thrown and Christmas lights up downtown.

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