State of the State 2009 Header

The Faces of Texas


With a population of more than 23 million people, Texas is a rich blending of culture and history, dreams and abilities, people and possibility. In his state of the state address, Governor Perry related his vision for guiding Texas through the worldwide economic crisis, sustaining our economic strength and maintaining safety across the state. Because the guiding premise is improving lives for individual Texans, Gov. Perry introduced several individuals who represent the positive effects a successful legislative session can have on the people of Texas.

Regan Hunt

Boy Scout

Regan Hunt

On July 19, 2008, Regan Hunt was visiting Idaho with a group of friends. As he walked back to his car, he heard cries from several of his friends walking ahead of him. He ran to where the cries were coming from, and saw two of his friends caught in a whirlpool in the river. Regan ran to his car and grabbed tie downs in order to assist the young men who were drowning.

When he returned, three more of his friends, who had tried to save the two men, were now also caught in the whirlpool. Regan threw the tie downs to them and managed to pull three of the young men to safety. However, in order to rescue the other two men, he had to physically lower himself into the whirlpool. Eventually they were freed from the whirlpool’s currents and were swept downstream and washed ashore. Regan immediately began performing CPR on one of his friends while another friend performed CPR on the other young man who was unconscious. One of the victims regained consciousness, but the other had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. He died two days later.

Although Regan saved four of his friend’s lives, he still has a difficult time retelling the story. Because of Regan’s actions, four young men are alive today. He received the Boy Scouts of America Honor Medal for his heroic efforts.

Mike Coolidge

Caterpillar Technician

Mike Coolige

Mike was born in Lansing, Michigan in1962, and moved to Belton, Texas at age 15. Mike enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1980, at the age of 18. Trained as a generator technician, he was stationed in Italy, Germany and Saudi Arabia and the U.S. In 2000, following 20 years of duty, Mike retired from the Army as a 1st Sergeant.

In August of 2000, Mike joined HOLT CAT as a generator technician in Holt’s Power Systems Division. Mike performs repair and maintenance on standby power units for major facilities throughout the Austin area. He has developed an excellent reputation with HOLT customers, often being requested by name for service calls and receiving numerous letters commending his for professionalism and attention to detail. Mike’s pursuit of excellence also led to his recognition as “Technician of The Year” in HOLT’s Power Systems Division.

Mike resides in Morgan’s Point near Belton with his wife of 27 years, Mary Ann. They have two children. Their son, Cody, is in the 3rd Marine Division, stationed in Okinawa. Their daughter, Echo, attends the Art Institute in Dallas.

Wounded Warriors

Wounded Warriors

Cpl. Alan R. Babin Jr. – U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne Division; injured on Mar. 31, 2003 in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Sgt. James Ford – U.S. Army, 70th Engineer Battalion; injured on Oct. 13, 2007 in Operation Enduring Freedom

Staff Sgt. Shawn Green – U.S. Army, 104th Training Division; injured on Mar. 8, 2007 in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry – U.S. Army, 2nd BN 75th Ranger Battalion; injured in October 2008 in Operation Enduring Freedom

Lance Cpl. David Molina – U.S. Marine Corps, 1/23rd Weapons Company; injured on Feb. 2, 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Spc. Razan Saied – U.S. Army, 431st Civil Affairs Battalion; injured on Jan. 22, 2008 in Operation Iraqi Freedom

 

John Cox

State Trooper

John Cox

Trooper John David Cox, 33, is stationed in Eden, Texas. He has been a Highway Patrol trooper since July 2002, and has been stationed in Eden since graduating from the Department of Public Safety recruit school. He is married and has two children.

On Dec. 31, 2008, a double shooting that resulted in a homicide was reported in San Angelo. The San Angelo Police Department broadcast vehicle and suspect descriptions for a white 1995 Cadillac DeVille. The suspects were reported to be armed with a 12-gauge shotgun. Later that evening, Trooper Cox stopped a Dodge Stratus. The passenger in the vehicle opened fire on Trooper Cox as he approached the vehicle. Trooper Cox returned fire, striking him. The passenger was later pronounced dead. Trooper Cox sustained minor injuries to his belt area and was treated and released. The driver of the vehicle has been charged with attempted capital murder.

 

Chad Foster

State Trooper

Chad Foster

Trooper Chad Alexander Foster, 28, is stationed in Dalhart. He has been a Highway Patrol trooper since March 2008. He served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army in Iraq from April 2003 to March 2004, and from March 2005 to February 2006.

On January 18, Trooper Foster conducted a traffic stop on vehicle for impeding traffic. The vehicle turned into the parking lot of a cafe. The passenger in the vehicle stepped out of the car, stood up and then got back in the car. As Trooper Foster approached the vehicle on the driver's side, the passenger again got out of the car. Tr. Foster told the passenger to get back in the car and the passenger complied.

Trooper Foster could not easily see into the car because of dark window tinting, but he was able to see the driver of the vehicle making furtive movements at the car's center console. Trooper Foster retreated to the rear of the vehicle--as he was trained to do--and the driver got out of the car with a pistol in his hands. The driver fired his weapon at Trooper Foster, striking him in the left calf. Trooper Foster returned fire, striking the driver, who fell to the ground. The driver pointed his gun at Trooper Foster again, and Trooper Foster fired at the driver, who was later declared dead at the scene. The passenger fled during the exchange of gunfire, but was later apprehended and charged with attempted capital murder. A small amount of narcotics was later recovered from the vehicle.

Dr. Doug Stringer

Founder, Somebody Cares America

Dr. Doug Stringer

Dr. J. Doug Stringer is the founder of Somebody Cares America/International, a network of organizations that impact their communities through unified grassroots efforts. Somebody Cares began in Houston in 1981, as Doug began identifying community needs through his work in the inner-city, then spread to locations across the U.S. and internationally. In 1995, United Cerebral Palsy recognized the work of Somebody Cares by giving Doug the Barbara Jordan Leadership Award. The organization’s work has also been recognized by the Houston Police Department’s Community Outreach Division for its contribution to cultural diversity. Doug is also co-founder of the Global Compassion Network, and appointed by the governor as a founding member of the One Star Foundation.

Somebody Cares has implemented several citywide strategies across the nation, including mentoring programs as well as anti-gang and at-risk youth intervention materials. The collaborative network—which has become a model that is impacting cities across the world—has proven to be a key element in connecting needs with resources and manpower during several natural disasters, including the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. As a result of these experiences, Doug has served on several disaster relief discussion panels—including a forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C.—and Somebody Cares has developed Disaster Response and Preparedness Training that is used in churches and organizations to prepare them to serve their communities for future incidents. Somebody Cares first facilitated the collaboration of local organizations to supply aid after the Indonesian economic collapse in 1998, which sparked the formation of a “compassion coalition” in Indonesia, and also helped with recovery efforts during the tsunami in late 2004 and throughout 2005.