The Francis K. Monk Regional Leadership Award was presented Wednesday night to Orange County Commissioner and outgoing South East Texas Regional Planning Commission President, John Dubose. The award is presented to an elected official who exemplifies regional leadership in Southeast Texas and is named after the former Port Neches mayor.

The finalist for the award was former Beaumont Mayor, Guy Goodson.
 “Both men brought a lot to the table. The decision was major, the decision was difficult,” stated last year’s recipient Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux read the nomination letter which told of Dubose’s youth and the fact that he was orphaned at an early age. Working at different odd jobs, Dubose saved money for college and put himself through Lamar. Certified as a public accountant, he continued his education at McNeese University with post-graduate studies.

He was a part-time instructor at Lamar for 20 years, with ten of them being in the prison system. He served on the Bridge City Council for three terms, and three two year terms as the Mayor of Bridge City. Since then, John has served as the Orange County Commissioner of Precinct 3 and is running for re-election.

Also receiving an award last night was Milton Chatham. He received the Don Kelly award. Named after a 30-year South East Texas Regional Planning Commission executive director. The Don Kelly award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the growth, cooperative spirit and prosperity of the region.
Chatham stated that he doesn’t volunteer to earn awards, but to help others. He put in a plug for volunteers in his acceptance speech. “If anyone wants to volunteer, come see me after the meeting.”

New officers of the SETRPC were sworn in, with Port Arthur Mayor Bobbie Prince stepping in as president. Orange Countians in office this year are Mayor pro tem Shirley Bonnin, city of West Orange serving as second vice president and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Stringer holds the position of secretary.

The SETRPC is a voluntary association of local governments that includes Jefferson, Orange and Hardin counties. Through a forum for the discussion and study of area issues, the group promotes cooperation and coordination amongst the different entities.