Man and Woman of the Year

Osborne, Lowery lauded at annual Chamber event

Posted 2/11/20

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce presented its Man and Woman of the Year Awards to Clark Osborne of the Madisonville Cemetery Association and Heather Lowery of Madisonville Little League for their tireless work in the community this year at organization’s annual banquet at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church Friday.

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Man and Woman of the Year

Osborne, Lowery lauded at annual Chamber event

Posted

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce presented its Man and Woman of the Year Awards to Clark Osborne of the Madisonville Cemetery Association and Heather Lowery of Madisonville Little League for their tireless work in the community this year at organization’s annual banquet at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church Friday.

Animal Control Officer Ellie Haynes was presented with a Dedicated Service Award for her work she does as the sole member of Madisonville’s Animal Control Division.

Each recipient was acknowledged by Texas District 57 Representative Trent Ashby, who was in attendance, as well as as a member of Congressman Kevin Brady’s staff.

Mayor Bill Parten, who was the Chamber’s Man of the Year in 2019, presented the award to Osborne.

“It is kind of like that old saying, ‘it hits you in the feels’,” said Osborne on Parten’s speech and the recognition. “I appreciate the accolades, but I do not look at what I do as special. If anybody thinks what I do stands out above anybody else, it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Those giants include Osborne’s father, uncle, grandfather and countless members of the community who have shaped his journey over the years.

“When you grow up in a household with dad, if you do not develop a work ethic you will probably develop some calluses on your posterior,” said Osborne.

Osborne singled out numerous individuals who he has worked for or with in Madisonville during his lifetime, such as J.R. Parten, W.R. Hensarling and Ray Lee Redding, as well as countless educators from his time at MCISD.

“When you see those kind of people, you try to emulate them,” said Osborne.

Osborne earned the award for his work as President of the Madisonville Cemetery Association. In his tenure, he has orchestrated dramatic improvements to the look of the cemetery as well as identified over 90 unmarked graves and counting. Much of this work was done by digging through old sales records and using equipment to locate possible old burial sites.

“I am just trying to get it to where I leave it in better shape than how I found it,” said Osborne. “It is one of those things where the better the cemetery looks, the more people will bring flowers, and the more people bring flowers, the better it looks.”

Osborne’s background in computer science helped him map out the entire cemetery, making it easier to care for as well as giving visitors a more convenient idea of the layout. He has also updated to website to include photos of the headstones and information about the deceased.

While accepting the award, Osborne’s final call was for further community involvement when possible.

“I appreciate the accolades, but I would like your help,” said Osborne. “We think what we are doing is best for the cemetery, but I would like some input from some other folks.”

The Association’s annual meeting, which had an underwhelming turnout last year when it was held in August, will be held during the first week of April.

The Chamber’s Woman of the Year was presented to Heather Lowery for her work as President of the Madisonville Little League Board. The award was presented by last year’s recipient, Pat Harper.

“I want everyone to know that I take this honor very seriously and I will continue to strive to be a person who deserves it,” said Lowery. “Being a part of this community is a big thing for me. My dad was born and raised here and I think, if he were alive today, he would be super proud of me. I wish he could have seen it, but it was pretty awesome.”

Like Osborne, Lowery admitted that she did not feel deserving of the honor. However, the work done by Lowery and her fellow board members not only heightened the quality of Madisonville Little League, but ensured the kids a place to play at a time of extreme uncertainty in April.

“It was not just me when we started this, there was a whole group of us,” said Lowery. “I initiated it, but I could not have done it without the help of our board. Specifically, everybody we brought on that night (in April). There are two other women on that original board that deserved this just as much as I did if not more.”

Lowery also used her platform to thank all of the members of the business community for their donations and support of the league throughout the season.

“I knew the team we had together was capable of really good things, but we could not have done what we did without the help of the community behind us,” said Lowery. “The whole league is based on donations. If we do not have donations and people supporting us, we would not be able to offer these kids a league to play in.”

Lowery also highlighted the importance of maintaining the league’s goal of including every child in the community.

She would also like to remind the community that Saturday is the final day to sign up for the new season. They are hoping to build the softball program back up and are in need of more girls.

The Chamber’s Dedicated Service Award was presented to Officer Ellie Haynes of Madisonville Animal Control for her tireless efforts in assisting with the town’s sizable stray animal population.

Madisonville Police Chief Herbert Gilbert presented the award to Haynes.

Along with organizations such as Rufus Refuge, Haynes constantly works to find safe shelter and homes for the animals she encounters throughout the county. While her jurisdiction ends at the Madisonville city line, she receives numerous calls throughout the county regarding dumped or neglected animals in need of assistance.

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