Written by Teresa Dennard.

For the sake of a precious child

Avery is a beautiful three year old girl who loves to sing and dance. She doesn’t really like girly things…being a tomboy is more her style. To know her is to love her. She has touched more people’s lives in three years than most people do in a lifetime. She has cancer and it’s growing at a rapid pace.

Not long after Avery was born, her mother, Samantha Skillern, noticed Avery’s eyes shaking. A trip to an ophthalmologist determined that she had Nystagmus, an involuntary movement of the eye that could possibly be caused by a tumor. An MRI was scheduled. “I was positive she didn’t have a tumor,” recalls Samantha, “but I should have known by the symptoms. She threw up a lot and screamed from the time she woke up until the time she went to bed. It took two weeks to get the results back when it should have taken a day. I was taking a shower when the pediatrician called me, so she left a message saying she had gotten the results and to call on her cell phone. Doctors never leave you their cell phone, so I freaked out and started crying. She said the results took so long because they had to send it to Houston for a specialist to read. My worst fears had come true--it was a tumor.”

Sandra Walker

Written by Teresa Dennard.

She made a difference

Sandra Walker grew up in Penelope, a small Central Texas town where basketball was king. She played in her first basketball game in 6th grade wearing a uniform her mother made. As a sophomore they won the state championship. In 1956 Sandra graduated from high school and went to North Texas State University. At the time, colleges did not have competitive girls’ basketball, so Sandra joined a group that put on demonstrations and skills evaluations at area high schools. In the spring of her last year at North Texas, Mr. Q.M. Martin came to the campus and interviewed Sandra for a coaching position at Carthage High School. “You know, Mr. Martin could sell a row boat on the Sahara desert,” says Sandra.

Judy Emberton

Written by Teresa Dennard.

was determined to play ball

Do a search on Google for “competitive person” and a photo of Judy Sanford Emberton is bound to come up. It doesn’t’ matter what the challenge, Judy is going to try her best to beat you. It’s just her nature. She grew up playing with boys, so she developed a toughness that most girls don’t have. Her first chance to play any organized sport was the end of her 8th grade year. She tried out for the high school basketball team and made it. “I’d never even seen a girls basketball game. I had no idea you had to stop at the center line,” says Judy. “The only two things I had going for me was my competitiveness and I was a tomboy.

The Story of Robert Dennard

Written by Teresa Dennard with Robert Dennard.

Finding a creative solution

Robert Dennard was born in a small town in Texas in 1932, in the middle of the Great Depression to a loving family of very modest means, but great pride. By the time he was growing up, the family moved to a small farm in Clayton, a rural area in East Texas. They lived in a house that did not yet have electricity. His father farmed the fields and raised the livestock, while his mother kept them fed and provided with clean clothes. He started his education in a one room schoolhouse with three grades in different rows of desks. After a couple of years he moved to a little larger school where his fourth grade class was in the same room with a fifth grade class.

Rob Anthony

Written by Teresa Dennard.

A taste of victory

Rob Anthony likes a good challenge. That’s what got him started in competition grilling. A friend of his daughter, Sterling, had been competing for several years and was bragging on his barbecue. “I’d eaten it and wasn’t that impressed,” claims Rob. Sterling and her husband Stephen encouraged Rob to enter the upcoming competition in Shreveport. The challenge was on.

Murvaul Marina

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Memories are precious

After several years of inconsistencies, the Murvaul Marina is now in the hands of capable managers Sharon and Gary Stewart. They have made the marina a friendly place to visit. At 17, Sharon’s parents sold the home in which she was born and bought a resort at Lake Wappapello, Missouri. She, along with her brother, his wife and their five kids helped her parents make it a family affair. Now, having her own marina has brought back fond memories of working alongside her parents. “I was thinking back and realized that Mom was 50 years old when they bought the resort,” recalls Sharon. “I’m 62, so no wonder I’m so tired all the time!” She opens the store seven days a week by 8am each morning and closes around 6pm, or when the last customer leaves. She calls it “Doodlebugs”, a name her brother has always called her.


Written by Teresa Dennard.

Three guys leading a triple threat

Very seldom do coaches have an opportunity to coach kids who are so talented that they never lose a game…in any sport. Paul Bishop and his coaching staff of Jeff Griffin, Brian Caver, Bryan Stacy and Damon Roberts are the lucky ones. They have. It happened this school year, 2013-2014. The 8th grade A team went undefeated in football not only this year, but in their 7th grade year as well. They posted a record of 16-0 with two district championships under their belts. They didn’t just beat teams; they beat teams with a vengeance! They averaged 48 points per game while allowing only 10 points per game. Their biggest wins in district were 52-12 over Jasper and 64-0 over Center. The 8th grade B team won district championships in 7th and 8th grades as well. They beat Center, 26-0, Jasper, 30-0, and Diboll 20-0.


Written by Teresa Dennard.

The real pioneers

When Lincoln King heard that Gary, Texas, had an opening for a history teacher, he and his wife, Mary Nell, had to get a map to find out where it was located. Unable to find the small town on the map, Mary Nell’s grandmother overheard the conversation and offered her assistance. Come to find out, she and her husband had taught in Gary in 1903 in a one-room building with a blanket hung to separate the older and younger kids. The King’s made the trip to Gary and Lincoln was hired. It was 1972.

Texas Country Music Hall of Fame

Written by Teresa Dennard.

On with the show

It’s that time of the year again when country music is King in Carthage. To kick off the festivities for the summer is the John Ritter Tribute Showcase auditions on June 28. Contestants from the surrounding area perform selections of traditional country music in hopes to finish in the top 30. The finalists get the opportunity to then perform at the John Ritter Tribute Showcase in August for a chance to win a grand prize package that includes a featured position on the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame “Texas Tour.”

The Remarkable Life of Frances Ross

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Sharing what she's been blessed with

Frances Ross is a remarkable woman. At 96 years of age, her lifestyle has slowed down considerably, but there seems to be no end to her giving spirit. Born in 1918 on the Baldwin family farm in the Woods Community, her parents, Clara and Lloyd Baldwin, raised Frances with her two younger sisters. She atended school in Tenaha. In 1940 she married Elvin H. Ross who was a rural mail carrier, a rancher and raised Hereford cows. They lived in the original home of his parents and had one son, Daniel Lloyd who grew up to become a very talented artist. Mr. Ross suffered an untimely death in 1972 and Frances decided it was time to leave the secluded farm life and move to town.