Cooke Co man receives Texoma Citizen of the Year Award on his birthday

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SHERMAN, TX-The community came together Thursday to honor several Texomans for their leadership and public service at TCOG's Citizen of the Year awards. Victoria Maranan tells us who took home the honor and how he earned it.

TCOG has been giving out the Citizen of the Year awards since 1968. A citizen from each county--Grayson, Fannin and Cooke--is selected and honored for their service. But the most coveted award of all is the Texoma Region Citizen of the Year Award, which was presented to a Cooke county man Thursday on what just happens to be his birthday.

Gainesville General Contractor, John Beck, was caught off guard when his wife took him to TCOG's Annual Event at Austin College Thursday night.

"When I came over here, my wife told me we're here to celebrate my 39th birthday--hahaha--actually my 60th birthday. We were coming over here but I thought it was strange that I was being accompanied by Judge Roane," he said.

After the Grayson, Fannin and Cooke county Citizen of the Year recipients were called out. Beck was surprised to hear his name called as Texoma Region Citizen of the Year.

"I'm really quite humbled still at this point and really still in awe at this point," he said.

TCOG Executive Director, Dr. Susan Thomas, said it's important to recognize people, like Beck, who go above and beyond to serve the Texoma community.

"All of our citizen of the year awards are about public service, it's about giving of self, about caring for others, about building communities, about changing lives," she said.

She said Beck was chosen for the award because he went the extra mile to make sure Gainesville residents have a place to call home by building affordable housing and selling the homes at low cost.

"It has to be something that comes from the heart, it's just something that I've always liked to do. I like to help people who are less fortunate and I always have," said Beck.

TCOG also honored their longtime Financial Director, Terrell Culbertson, who is retiring after 30 years of service.

"I'm a little overwhelmed about all the kind things, I was just doing my job," he said.

Thomas hope the awards would help inspire residents to step up and give back to their communities.

"I think it's important for people to realize that there's a lot of folks out there who are working very hard to make Texoma a better place for us to live," she said.

TCOG also debuted their new logo at the awards ceremony Thursday. The three blocks represent the three counties they serve: Grayson, Fannin and Cooke Counties, as well as TCOG's three major departments. And the swoop represents a bridge, connecting the region together.

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