Common Ground

There was dancing at the Texas Underwriter’s Ball with music provided by Common Ground on Saturday in Paris at Drake’s Party Barn. Attendees also had a chance to bid on items during a silent auction.

The Texas Underwriter’s Ball, a fundraiser affair of the St. Joseph’s Community Foundation, made a grand return Saturday after being canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Common Ground provided an evening of music at Drake’s Party Barn as attendees were invited to bid on silent auction items that included $100 gift cards to Paris Coffee Co., a $1,500 Texas Wine Country Getaway in Fredericksburg and a “priceless” Treehouse Adventure in Powderly.

“I am honored and proud to serve as the executive director to this wonderful foundation and more than grateful for the supportive community we serve and the wonderful board I get to work with,” Louisa Kessel said. “Since the foundation’s inception in 2004, we have given out over $2.1 million in educational grants and community grants supporting medical care, and this year we are so happy to add between $75,000 to $80,000 to that number due to this gracious outpouring from the community.”

Paris Junior College was the recipient of this year’s Gerald Bawcum Award for Community Service, earning the school a plaque and $2,500 check. The Raymond Armstrong and Felix Hoot Gibson Award for outstanding promotion to community health was awarded to the Puckett Family Clinic. Bobbi Jo Munson and Hannah Hodnett received the Pat Cochran Memorial Student Scholarship, including individual plaques and $1,500 checks.

This year’s premier underwriter was Paris Regional Medical Center, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amanda Green spoke of the gratitude for donors and the efforts of doctors and nurses who have worked around the clock to serve the region through the pandemic.

“Our mission is making communities healthier. When I tried to think about what to say about the hospital tonight, the first thing I thought was just how lucky we are to have it. We’ve mentioned before how the hospital is financially beneficial, pumping millions of dollars into the town a year and employing about 1 in 25 residents, but today I want to talk about how the hospital is not just a building on the loop. The hospital is the people who work inside it. Doctors and nurses pulling 12-hour shifts so our community can continue to thrive in the midst of a pandemic,” she said.

“Two years ago, I spoke on the amazing partnerships between the hospital, health district, Paris Junior College, the county, city and state, and since then this network has only gotten stronger in these tough times, and I know it will continue to serve the community in these invaluable ways moving forward,” Green added.

Jessica Waller is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6965.

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