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County employees honored at luncheon

Cove Leader-Press 
The Gatesville Civic Center was filled with the aroma of Texas barbecue, smoked by Coryell County fire marshal Billy Vaden, as Coryell County employees gathered to a luncheon given in their honor by the county judge and the four county commissioners. 
“This is a thanks for all you do, and a small way the commissioners court can show our appreciation,” Firth told the group. Firth, along with commissioners Don Jones, Justin Latham, Daren Moore and Jack Wall, personally paid for the catered meal, which was served up by members of the employee appreciation committee. Local businesses donated numerous door prizes for the employees. 
Entertainment during the meal came from among the ranks of the Coryell County Sheriff's Department in the form of “East Leon.” The acoustic guitar-strumming duo is made up of Deputy Billy Holder and county jailer Josiah Mace. The two played covers of recent country hits as well as two of Mace's own original songs. 
A highlight for the county overall was receiving a 2014 safety award from the Texas Association of Counties. Only eight of the 254 counties in Texas received the award for 2014.
“I don't know that the county has ever received this award, to my knowledge, at least since I've been here,” Firth said. 
Jack Coffey, the northwest region's risk control consultant with the Texas Association of Counties, was on hand to present the award, which was received by Sheriff Johnny Burks, interim road and bridge administrator Tim Clary, recently retired road and bridge administrator Allen Neel, as well as Pamela Williams, the county's director of human resources. 
Coffey said while at a conference last year, he was giving out safety awards to various counties, and afterward Williams approached him about how she could help Coryell County earn a safety award. 
“I said, 'It's going to take a lot of work. Let's get the elected officials to buy in, and we can get a safety program started in Coryell County, and hopefully y'all can earn a safety award in couple of years. This doesn't happen overnight. Pamela got started, working hard. It didn't take a couple of years; she did it in one year,” Coffey said. 
Last year, Coryell County began implementing a health and safety program for all of its employees, and especially for those in higher risk positions, such as the sheriff’s department and the road and bridge department.
“Last week in Austin, I gave out one Making A Difference award. This goes to a special individual that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to really excel at promoting safety and health in the workplace,” Coffey said. “That person is Pamela Williams.”
Also at Friday's event, employees with five years to as many as 30 years of service were given certificates of appreciation. 
CCLP/LYNETTE SOWELL Sheriff Johnny Burks holds a safety award given to Coryell County by the Texas Association of Counties, This is the first time the county has received this award. Pictured are interim road and bridge department director Tim Clary, human resources director Pamela Williams, sheriff Johnny Burks, recently retired road and bridge administrator Allen Neel, and Jack Coffey from the Texas Association of Counties.

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