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Awards Acknowledge Joe Homer's Contributions

Groom Mayor Joe Homer accepts Carson County Junior Livestock Association's

Halle Barkley

Groom Mayor Joe Homer accepts Carson County Junior Livestock Association's "Distinguished Service Award" at the Carson County Livestock Show in January of this year. Homer has put in more than 24 years as a bus driver and has volunteered for more than 30 years in several capacities at Groom School and throughout the community. “I did it for the kids, not the adults,” Homer said.

One man can be found in a key seat on most days year round – and especially during the school year – and that seat usually places him up front and in charge. Whether he was at the head of the city council table or at the front of a school bus, Groom Mayor Joe Homer could be found serving others.

This year more than one group noticed Homer’s efforts and acknowledged them with an award. On Thursday, May 11, the FFA group presented him with an “Honorary Chapter FFA Degree.” Before that, the Carson County Junior Livestock Association presented him with “The Distinguished Service Award” at its annual stock show ceremony in January. Homer has worked with this organization for more than 30 years, including serving in the role as its president. In the past, other groups also have recognized his efforts, including The Groom Alpha Mu Xi Sorority, which recognized him with the organization’s “People Helping People” award.

“Joe is always there to help, wherever he is,” sophomore 4-H and FFA member Halle Barkley said. “Whether he is at the stock show or the school, he wants to help. Joe is a giving man and never fails to help where it’s needed.”

Homer, who also is a member of the Groom Lions Club, has been driving buses for Groom School for 24 years and counting. Homer said he isn’t afraid to get out and help the students and faculty to get where they are going. Homer drives one of the morning and evening bus routes for the school. He also has driven the bus for many field trips and UIL competitions.

“I did it for the kids, not the adults,” said Homer, who has earned his living farming in the Groom area throughout his adulthood, about his bus driving gig.

“Joe Homer has always been a great colleague and a reliable friend,” school secretary Frances Payton said. “He is generous and willing to help with everything – from cooking sausage and burgers for the concession stand to driving the bus on field trips that last all day and night. He can always be depended upon.”

In addition to helping at school, Homer has refereed basketball games and umpired for the local Little League Baseball program. Homer has been called “joyful,” and other descriptions by those who work with him, including the school principal.

“He has a big heart and would do anything for the students,” principal Stephen Vanderpool said.

For his love of food, the school, and the community, Homer said he cooks for the Groom School concession stand. Homer has volunteered for more than 30 years at Groom ISD, helping at football games and sometimes basketball games by cooking sausage and burgers. Sometimes, he even provides a special menu on the side for a few people who also volunteer with the students and the community.

“When the rest of you are eating sausage at the football games, we are eating barbecue chicken,” community member Melissa Lambert said. “And, it’s good.”

Homer has been mayor of Groom since he was asked almost 21 years ago to run. He said he helps the community in any way he can. Homer’s father was mayor for 10 years. He said he and Groom’s other elected officials work together to deal with all of the city’s needs, including water issues, street repairs, animals running loose around town, or even disorderly conduct from community members at the city office.

“He has a great love for these kids and has had the wonderful experience of watching many of them grow from the time they entered kindergarten until high school graduations,” said Barbara Homer, who has been married to Joe for more than 48 years.

Homer, who started dating Barbara while they were both GHS students, said he and his wife get much of their inspiration to help others from their son, Robert, who received serious head injuries from a car wreck that occurred on Dec. 21, 1981. The same wreck claimed the lives of three other family members.

“Learning is a privilege,” Homer said. “Not everyone is able to learn.”

They have three other sons: Joe (Tony), Daryl and Stan. The three oldest boys live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The youngest son lives in Atlanta, Ga. The Homers have five grandchildren: Tony’s two boys – Zach and Conner – of Dallas, and Stan’s three children – Jack, Sarah Grace, and Sam – of Atlanta.

“Most of our vacation time is spent traveling either to the Dallas area to visit family – and, during Spring Break always to Atlanta to see the kids there, ” Mrs. Homer said.

Homer credits his father for inspiring his work ethic. He said his father made him get out and work, no matter what the weather was like. He gave him the inspiration to “work hard” and “give it all you have.” Homer has been operating his family farm throughout his entire career.

“First and foremost, he loves farming,” Mrs. Homer said. “It is all he ever wanted to do.”

When it comes to both his work as well as his extra service activities, Homer said he tries to follow his own advice: “Challenge life, and get out and give it all you got,” he said.

 

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