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Longview Rotary honors 5 men for vaccination hub efforts

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The Rotary Club of Longview held their annual Citizen of the Year awards at the Pinecrest Country Club in Longview Tuesday, but this year was a little different. This time they just couldn’t whittle it down to one, so they gave out five awards.

The Rotary Club of Longview’s Citizens of the Year are:

Christus Good Shepherd CEO Todd Hancock

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt

State Representative Jay Dean

Longview Fire Chief J.P. Steelman

Longview Mayor Andy Mack

These men were chosen for their leadership in helping to establish a COVID-19 vaccination hub in Longview.

“Without all these gentlemen, and a lot of people in this room, we couldn’t have done this. One person couldn’t make all this happen, and I go back to the community,” said Stoudt.

“It’s great that we’re being honored, but I don’t deserve any of that. Who deserves it is everyone out here, and everyone that’s been every single weekend in those hubs; those clinics, giving shots, providing care, helping people,” Mack said.

And one of those people was honoree J.P. Steelman. Although he admits he did miss one clinic.

“It’s been a challenge. The rewarding piece of it are the people that are coming through that finally have a proactive option versus being shut in their house, in some cases for more than a year; not seeing family not seeing grandchildren, not traveling, that now have a sense of security from getting this vaccine that their life has returned to somewhat a sense of normalcy. So it’s exciting to get to be a part of that,” Steelman said.

Steelman says he’s personally given out over three thousand doses.

“We’re just doing our job, and we knew that this was making a big impact on the community, but very humbling to be recognized along with everyone else that made this possible,” Hancock said.

“It’s always good that your elected officials working a really good collaborative effort to make these things happen for our community,” Dean said.

“In my mind this was our finest hour. It was made possible by people that had been prepared decades ago for just such a moment as this. And they’re on this stage today, and I salute all of you,” Hancock said.

The COVID-19 clinic is still running weekends at the Gregg County Fairgrounds in Longview. So far they have vaccinated nearly 35,000 people.

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