Honoring Hometown Sports Heroes - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/7/08-Gladewater

Honoring Hometown Sports Heroes

Looking around at her creation, Barbara Mackey reflects on her husband.

"He always said this East Texas area was just loaded with tremendous talent," Barbara explained.

Dee Mackey was one of those talented Gladewater athletes to go pro.

"He passed away in 2001," she said, "and I decided the one thing I could do to pay homage to him if you will, is to go ahead and do something about what he had always thought about."

Starting last February Barbara gathered names, pictures and memorabilia from all around the country. The end result will debut for the public on Saturday: the Hometown Sports Heroes exhibit at the East Texas Museum in Gladewater.

"We've watched them through the years, they've had great high school careers and they had great college careers," she said. "Many went to the pros and had good careers. We are saluting those individuals too."

All of the athletes featured in the exhibit are from Gladewater, White Oak, Union Grove, Winona, Sabine or Big Sandy, like Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith.

"He did Big Sandy proud, East Texas proud and the NFL proud," Barbara said of Coach Smith.

There are sections on White Oak's Max McGee. Some featured athletes married Gladewater graduates like Larry Hickman. 

The exhibit covers more than football. East Texans in cheerleading, basketball, tennis, golf, rodeo, wrestling and baseball are all on display. In all 47 athletes and coaches are featured.

Barbara said she knows it's just what Dee would have wanted.

"These heroes are ours and we are just glad to salute them."

The Hometown Sports Heroes exhibit runs Saturday April 12-April 27th. The museum will be open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The East Texas Museum is located at 116 West Pacific in Gladewater. Admission is free.
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