Coke-Sterling Farm Bureau. Coke-Sterling Farm Bureau provides scholarships, leadership training, contributes money to the Coke and Sterling County Stock shows and the coke County Food Pantry. They also pay expenses for a local fireman to attend the Fireman School and Training at Texas A & M University. The Board of Directors holds an Ag Day for the 4th grade students of Bronte, Robert Lee and Sterling City. The directors and wives host the Coke-Sterling Farm Bureau Convention each year.
Hayrick Masonic Lodge No. 696. Thy Hayrick Masonic Lodge No. 606, the oldest fraternal organization in Coke County, was organized at Hayrick, Texas, on December 11, 1890. When the County Seat was moved to Robert Lee in 1891, the lodge was moved, but by vote of the membership, the name “Hayrick” Lodge was retained and it is still known by this title. The two-story building in downtown Robert Lee was built in 1906 by the Masons. They met upstairs and rented downstairs to many businesses including the US Post Office. The two-story building was sold to West Texas Utilities in 1986. A new building, ground level, was built in 1986 on the corner of Commerce and 9th Street in Robert Lee. For more information call Bobby Roberts at 325-453-2957.
Hayrick Lodge Cemetery Association: On September 29, 1892, early settlers, L.B. Harris and Eugene Cartledge as officers of Austin & Northern Land and Cattle Company sold for $1.00 the 11.7 acre burial ground. It was deeded to Hayrick Masonic Lodge No. 696 for “Sole use as cemetery grounds for the members, relatives and friends.” The Robert Lee Cemetery Association was reorganized about 1964. Jeffie Roberts and Sue Shoemaker, members of Robert Lee Eastern Star No 187, secured many names and addresses of those who had relatives buried in the Robert Lee cemetery. A list was prepared and donation requests were mailed. Due to IRS regulations, it was recommended that the organization name be changed to Hayrick Lodge Cemetery Association and operate under the Lodge tax exemption. Volunteers hold work days and a spring fund drive. Call Jeffie Roberts 453-2957.
Housing Authority of the City of Robert Lee. The first organization of the Housing Authority was held on May 4, 1965. The by-laws were adopted and officers were appointed. The first officers to serve as volunteer commissioners were Weldon Fikes, J.O. Rudd, H.S. Lewis, and William H. Allen. The first Director was Yvonne Devoll. The purpose of the Housing Act of 1961 was to provide decent, safe housing for low-income families. Three building projects have occurred, in 1967, 1972, and in 1980. The Authority is governed by a voluntary board of directors. Mr. Allen, an original director, continues to serve on the board with the Authority’s appreciation. The Commissioners, director and maintenance staff are striving to make the Housing Authority’s apartments and grounds a source of pride for the residents and the community. Call 453-2912.
Mt. Creek Golf Club. A volunteer board of directors established this golf course in the early 1960’s on the banks of Mountain Creek. Volunteers divided themselves into teams, each responsible for the construction of a green. Billy Wayne Roe and Bill Allen belonged to two of the teams. The teams provided their own equipment and invested their sweat equity to construct the golf course.
The nine-hole golf course hosts tournaments and provides a practice area for the local high school golf team who make Robert Lee proud in many competitions across the state.
The golf course is an economic asset to the City of Robert Lee as it brings visitors to town and provides recreation for the residents. The golf course is also an incentive for folks to settle in this area. Memberships are the basic support of Mt. Creek, with fees and rentals as additional income. The course has a full-time greens keeper as well as a volunteer club operator. It was fortunate that a group of volunteers got together and decided to build a golf course. Mt. Creek Golf Course is a lasting tribute to some far-sighted, innovative volunteers. Call 453-2317.
PIPs (People in Progress): Basketball techniques taught to young children is a way of encouraging positive and life-long developmental qualities such as self-discipline, self-esteem, team effort, and social skills. Begun in October 2000, volunteers Becky Ross, Jo Nell Blair, Debbie McCabe and Douglas Roberts set the ground work for the program. The PIPs perform locally, at ASU basketball games, and in district and state competitions. Volunteers continue this program.
Robert Lee Economic Development Corporation 4A: Five members are appointed and serve voluntarily to over-see community projects which are dedicated to maintaining and recruiting jobs. The economic development sales tax was instituted in Robert Lee in 2001 and requires a five member board.
Robert Lee Economic Development Corporation 4B: Seven members are appointed by the City Council and serve voluntarily to fund community projects from the economic development sales tax funds. The primary focus is to retain and recruit jobs and to improve community quality. Call 453-2495 or 453-2169.
Robert Lee Gun and Archery Club: In 1985, a gun and archery range was developed on Scott Lane by Richard Johnson, Gerald Brasuel, the late Kenneth Green and 12 other volunteers. The club has from 80-100 members, 50% of whom retain a membership although they live out of the area, and several are from the Metroplex. The fun range is certified by the State as a police range; a volunteer concealed handgun instructor is available; classes are held by request. The group holds 4 silhouette shoots a year which draws shooters from all over the state. A once-a-month shoot is the goal for the group. An archery range exists although there is as yet no volunteer to head up an archery group. Liability exists for the ranges paid for from a $20 membership fee. The group is non-profit and shares any balance at the end of the year with youth-oriented groups in the area. Call 325-453-2031 FMI.
Robert Lee Head Start: The Head Start program began in Robert Lee in February, 1998. A four member volunteer board serves the program. Parents serve in volunteer capacity to help maintain the program. Three to five year olds receive readiness for school training by trained personnel. Volunteers are welcome to interact with the children and usually it is the volunteer who gains the most. Call 453-2536.
Robert Lee ISD Band Boosters. One certainly does not have to be musical to be a Band Booster. The Band Booster Organization supports the Steer Band and its director. Band Booster volunteers make yard signs as well as signs to exhibit at football games. They serve much appreciated refreshments during the hot days of August when band practice starts. The volunteers host early morning send-off breakfasts on band contest days and usually help with equipment at marching contests. The beautiful “Steer Band” trailer that the band pulls for instruments and other equipment was a volunteer project of the Band Boosters. The volunteers built it and painted it themselves. Volunteers provide an extra level of support to band students.
Amphitheater Project: The goal of this group is to retro fit and maintain the existing amphitheater built originally by Wilson Bryan to stage the ole Coke county Pageant written by Lucille Bryan. The project will encourage local, regional and state and national music and theater productions. The project will be a part of an over-all tourism plan for the area which includes music, theater, museums, art, nature sites, and shops. A six member volunteer board directs the project. The organization is a non-profit, tax exempt arm of the Coke County Pageant Association. Volunteers are needed to join in financial support and physical labor. Call 453-2495.
AON is a service club which was organized around 1975. The group has built the play ground in the park and provides the Kirk Bagwell Scholarship for RLHS seniors each year with funds raised through a highly anticipated spaghetti supper requiring hours of volunteer labor.
Bluebonnet Brigade: Several volunteers gathered at the gazebo in the mini part in Robert Lee in the spring of 2004 to discuss the fact that Coke county had as many bluebonnets as the Hill Country that year. The volunteers thought that if Coke County had more bluebonnets, tourists might eventually be directed by the media to the mesas and valleys of Coke County on bluebonnet tours. Working in small groups, or on their own, volunteers gathered seed pods from local bluebonnet patches and spread them throughout the county. The next year, the bluebonnets spread magnificently with a good amount of rain. As bluebonnets are wild flowers, they do as they see fit and this year’s crop is a little short. Volunteers from across Coke County await the announcement in the Observer/Enterprise to gather at the gazebo to plan the Brigade’s next venture. The goal is to replace the Hill Country as a tourist destination.
Caliche Loop Bird and Wildlife Association: In 2001, volunteers identified five sites around Robert Lee which were documented as bird refuges. The names were submitted to the TxDOT/TPWD to be included on the Panhandle/Plains Wildlife map. Following the map’s release, Noel and Quincey Gregston and other volunteers set up the Caliche Loop Wildlife Group and a Friends of the Birds Club. Nineteen original members donated funds to kick off the development and maintenance of the sites. The group received a grant from RLEDC4B for maintenance and improvement. Students and Scouts have been given programs and tours at the sites. Sunday evening gatherings are held, pheasants have been released and a bat habitat is in the planning state. The goal is to provide viewing and birding opportunities for tourists and residents of the area and to maintain the habitat so wildlife will continue to flourish.
Children and Youth Summer Baseball: This program has been a summer activity for children of Robert Lee since the 1980’s. The teams are coached, managed, uniformed, and cheered by volunteers. This activity teaches discipline, sportsmanship, respect for others. It teaches them how to win and lose and the players become acquainted with their peers from neighboring towns. Adult volunteers recognize the need for this activity and have maintained a high quality, district winning group of young people over the years. When a team plays in the district contests, funds are raised from local citizens and businesses so that all team members can afford to participate. Call 453-2474 for information.
Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT): Training is offered several times a year in disaster preparedness; disaster fire suppression; disaster medical operations (basic first aid); light search and rescue operations, disaster psychology and team organization; and course review and disaster simulation. The Robert Lee CERT was formed October, 2005. Since then, the group has responded to several emergency situations. Each activation is coordinated by the Coke County Sheriff’s Department. All members have emergency numbers and maps, along with issued backpack and ID’s. Call 325-944-9666 (Concho Valley Council of Governments).
Coke County Appraisal District: A volunteer board of directors has the following primary responsibilities: Establish the appraisal district’s appraisal office; adopt the appraisal district’s annual operating budget; contract for necessary services; hire a chief appraiser; make general policy on the appraisal district’s operation. Volunteers are appointed by county school, city, and county entities.
The Coke County Extension Office is a county, state and federal organization that has responsibilities for educational and informational programming in four areas: 4-H and Youth, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Science and Community Development. Family Consumer Science programs affiliated with the Texas Cooperative Extension Service provide continuing educational and informational programs for the people of Coke County. Many local volunteers assist the county agent with programming efforts for Head Start children, elementary and high school students, senior citizens, study clubs and community programs. For more information call 453-2461.
Coke County Food Pantry: When local citizens realized that there were people in the community who needed food, the Food Pantry was established by volunteers. No money is asked from any governmental agency. Volunteers stock the shelves with donations and items from the San Angelo Food Bank. They provide a neat, clean, efficient, and safe environment for the approximately 45 families throughout the county who come each week. As the poverty level has risen, the Pantry has moved several times from the original location at the Methodist Church to its current location at 710 Washington Street in order to accommodate the visitors. Approximately 35,000 pounds of food was made available in 2005. Physical labor, food donations, memorials, and money are needed and accepted. Call 453-2492.
Coke County Historical Commission: The CCHC is a local arm of the Texas Historical Commission. While this commission has been inactive in the last several years, it is hoped that a revival is near. Results of former volunteer dedication can be seen throughout Coke County in the THC historical markers. Mrs. Jesse Yarbrough’s definitive A History of Coke County also was instrumental in preparing documentation for the historical markers.
Because of the interest in historical tourism, a local historical movement will be vital to the economic development of Coke County. The Texas Forts Trail tourism map includes the Coke County area. There are many historical sites in Coke County which deserve protection and documentation for the education of future generations. The old Coke County Jail (1907) has been emptied and readied for preservation requirements. The building was documented by Kara Dotter, a University of Texas graduate in Historical Preservation, and because of the building’s unique structure and lock-up system, it is now listed on the national Register of Historic Places. Volunteers worked hard to empty the jail with every item noted and either returned to its owner, or stored in a unit provided by Clendennen Storage.
With the interest created in the preservation efforts at Fort Chadbourne, history-seeking visitors will be looking for a package when they visit this area. Volunteers in this group will have a hands-on opportunity to preserve Coke County’s exciting history. Bonita Copeland Cartwright and Wanda Smith documented the cemeteries of Coke county and, along with Mrs. Russell Hearner of Bronte, was instrumental in preparing the Coke County Family history book in 1984. Mrs. Cartwright has recently authored the history of the Old Coke County Jail and Sheriffs. Proceeds of the sale of this book have been done under the auspices of the CCHC and dedicated to the restoration of the Old Jail. Jane Austin Bruckner’s Grandmother Tales local sales proceeds are also dedicated to the Old jail restoration. Call 453-2495.The Coke County Library: Volunteers provide books for circulation and sales. They direct Story Hour and serve as hands in the Library as well as provide extra financial support. Call 453-2495.
Coke County Livestock Show Association: The yearly stock show for the youth of Coke County provides an opportunity to raise an animal to show quality through feeding, exercising and grooming. Volunteers accept money from local businesses and individuals to provide prize money for the hours of work needed to care for a show animal. Volunteers provide a bar-b-que at this event. Most of the volunteer cooks have many years experience providing a meal that keeps folks coming to the coke county Livestock Show year after year.
Coke County Retired Teachers Association: All retired school personnel in Coke County make up the membership of the CCRTA. The group provided funds for Project Graduation in Robert Lee and Bronte. Each year, bought and donated books are distributed to pre-K and Head Start Classes to encourage reading by volunteer committees. The group meets for lunch each third week a month except December, June, July, and August. The Association provides support, humor, and food for each other.
The Coke County Soil and Water Conservation District, a non-taxing, legal sub-division of the State of Texas was organized by local landowners interested in conserving soil, water, and related resources. The district is self-governed by five elected landowners who make up the Board of Directors. The Board directs the activities of the district and coordinates conservation efforts of various local, state, and federal groups. By operating locally, this state agency can better respond to the needs of Coke County.
Coke County Underground Water District Board: In 1988, Coke County was a forerunner in helping to create a Regional Groundwater Alliance for continuity of ground water monitoring and protection. In 1997, the Texas Legislature adopted a ‘bottom up approach to state water planning with 16 regional groups representing all ground water stake holders. Coke County is in Region F of the Edwards Trinity Plateau area.
Robert Lee Baptist Church: The Church was organized July 26, 1904, with 14 charter members. In the early years, meetings were held in the Methodist church and in the courthouse. The first church building was built in 1907 for an approximate cost of $1,500. A new sanctuary was built in 1984 and the education building was completed in 1984. The church members volunteer their time to maintain the following committees: Benevolent, Budget, Building and Grounds, Evangelism, Floral, Food Pantry, Hospitality, Kitchen, Memorials, Missions, Nominating, Nursery, Personnel, Recreation, Website, Youth, Children, Vacation Bible School and Worship. Also sustaining the church are the volunteers who serve as Deacons, Trustees, choir, ushers, Sunday School directors and teachers. The church supports some twenty age-appropriate groups. Call 453-2724.
Southside Church of Christ: The church building under the big oak trees on the corner of 8th and Houston was once a church in Silver, Texas. The building was moved to its present location in 1967. Bible Studies are held at 10 AM and 6 PM on Sundays, with worship service at 11 AM. A 7 PM Bible Study is held on Wednesday.
Victory Assembly of God: The Victory Assembly has its roots in the Brush Arbor meetings which were held in the late ‘20’s and early ‘30’s. The original building is now used as the fellowship hall. Church records were lost years ago, but descendents of the original founders are current members. Rev. and Ms. George Frank Smith were the first pastors. Sunday Services are at 9:45 AM, 10:45 AM and 6 PM prayer meeting. Call 453-2208.