Armstrong Texas Ranger Research Center Construction Update
On June 21st the Waco City Council awarded Don Jackson Construction a contract to build the Tobin and Anne Armstrong Texas Ranger Research Center. The facility is State designated as the official repository for Texas Ranger archives, books, photographs, case files and related materials. Construction will begin by the middle of July.
The base construction is funded by: $500,000 in City of Waco Tax Increment Funds; approximately $100,000 in donated architectural services by James McBride of Kathy (Houston); more than $540,000 raised by the Armstrong Family in remembrance of Tobin and Anne Armstrong. Contributions were made by members of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and Texas Bankers Association.
Additional sponsorships and contributions are still being sought for compact archival shelving units, new library furniture, exhibit cases for the "Tower" exhibition space. Contact the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame for more information.
Texas Ranger Reunion 2011
Each year the Texas Ranger Association Foundation (TRAF) hosts an annual reunion of Texas Rangers at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and the Waco Convention Center. The statewide get-together attracts more than 350 active and retired Texas Rangers, their families and TRAF members.
As part of the Reunion, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) displayed the latest in Ranger technology, including: an armored personnel carrier, tactical firearms, a Kevlar reinforced patrol boat and a mobile command center. The 63-foot command center has been used on the Border and is capable of coordinating Texas DPS and Texas Ranger activities in a wide area with conventional radio and satellite feeds. A demonstration of special tactics involved a helicopter fly over the Museum with Texas Rangers repelling to the ground.
The gala dinner attracted 540 persons and featured a silent auction benefiting the TRAF scholarship program. The program is administered by Constance White of the Spindletop Foundation and grants college scholarships to children of active duty Texas Rangers.
The guest speaker was the Honorable John Cornyn (R-Texas) United States Senator. Cornyn discussed border security and his hopes for the support the Federal Government will provide on the border. TRAF also honored the oldest living Texas Ranger, Capt. John Wood, ret. who is 97. Foundation members expressed their appreciation to outgoing TRAF Chairman Steve Sikes and welcomed incoming Chairman Gary Crawford.
Captain John Wood, "The Oldest Living Texas Ranger"
John Mansel Wood was born October 9, 1913 in Colorado City, Texas. He began his career in law enforcement as a city policeman in Colorado City. After just a few months, he joined the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Highway Patrolman in November 1942. He was selected to become a Texas Ranger on January 1, 1949. His first assignment was in Midland in the Permian Basin oil fields.
As a Sergeant, Captain Wood recovered more stolen oilfield equipment than any other Ranger in the state. In 1970 he received a promotion to Captain and commanded Company "D," headquartered in San Antonio.
In San Antonio his major assignment was the investigation of government corruption in Duval Country; a job that took ten and a half years. His efforts resulted in several hundred cases against two dozen people.
After almost 30 years of service in the Texas Rangers and 36 years with Texas DPS, Captain Wood retired on October 31, 1978. Thank you, Captain Wood, for your service and dedication to the people of Texas.
Civil War Summer Camp
From June 20th through the 24th the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Historic Waco Foundation hosted a Civil War Solider Camp to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. The Summer Camp had a total of 25 campers ranging from age 8 to 11. The event received generous support from the Elizabeth Gordon Bradley Chapter of National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and Home Depot in Bellmead, Texas.
The first three days of Summer Camp were spent at various Historic Waco Foundation houses, where the campers learned about life as a Civil War solider. They made ink from berries, wrote with quill pens, constructed makeshift stretchers, built their own drum, and learned to march and drill. Fort Worth Civil War Museum docent and Civil War re-enactor, Joe Walker, visited with the children about battlefield weaponry, how to salute an officer, and what personal items a solider would have had in their knapsack. The kids also enjoyed playing with hoops and sticks, Jacob's ladders, and other old time games.
The final two days of the camp were spent at the TRHFM, where campers enjoyed a tour of the Museum, which focused on the role the Texas Rangers and the role the state of Texas played during the Civil War. Doug Baum founder of the Texas Camel Corps brought two camels, Abraham and Mary Ann, to camp for a day. Baum taught the children about the US Army experiment with camels prior to the Civil War. The camp also featured a lesson on the cavalry where the campers got to make their very own stick-horses.
The campers, as well as 300 Museum visitors, were visited by members of the 9th Texas Infantry, a Civil War re-enactment group. They came dressed in both Union and Confederate garb and featured the colorful Zouave regiment. The camp finished with a small graduation public ceremony and reception held in Knox Center.
Business After Hours
The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce
On June 28th Texas First State Bank and the TRHFM hosted a Business After Hours for The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce membership. Over 200 members of the Chamber attended the Knox Center reception. Business After Hours is a monthly networking opportunity the Chamber provides at different Waco locations. We are grateful to Texas First State Bank for introducing the Museum and Hall of Fame complex to a new group of community leaders.
Captain E.G. Albers
We are sad to report the passing of Captain E.G. Albers, ret. who formerly commanded Company "F" at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. Captain Albers was born August 10, 1923, in Lee County near Giddings. He entered military service in 1942.
He began his law enforcement career in 1946 with the Pampa, Texas Police Department. He entered the Department of Public Safety in 1949 as a Highway Patrolman stationed at Amarillo, Houston and Pampa.
He promoted to Texas Ranger in 1961 and stationed at Canyon, Midland and Waco. He was the first Texas Ranger to graduate from the FBI National Academy and received his BS degree from the University of Central Texas in Criminal Justice.