Kissin’ Kuzzins

Published 7:35 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017

By Dickie Dixon

For Posterity’s Eyes November birthdays:  1st:  Retired Colonel David Patten 3rd:  Burnice Blackstock, Mary K. Tucker 4th:  Beth Fleniken, Emily Fleniken, Charlotte Wagstaff 5th:  Paula Campbell, Becky Walker 6th:  Midge Lee 7th:  Doris Polasek, Sharon (Barrett) Storey, Nicole (Turgeau) Timme, Margaret (Bennett) Coker 8th: Melinda Stanaland, Dulce Melchor 9th:  Aaron Patten, Ken Mechell

A Baptism by Fire  On November 1, 1990, I and the other chaplains for Marketplace Ministries assigned to Pilgrim’s Pride in Lufkin and Nacogdoches went in to the work place to minister to the 1100 employees and their immediate families who worked there, living in six counties.  Rev. Melvin Bell, Rev. Herman Fernandez, and Lydia Medina constituted the original group of chaplains/counselors I supervised as the Lead Chaplain/ Counselor. Later, we would add Mary Harris, Roy Smith, Alex Montilla, and Kathryn Green. At the time, Marketplace Ministries provided chaplains to 100 businesses in twenty-three states.

A pastoral counseling group, we wore pagers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Any of those 1,100 employees and their immediate families could page us any time of the day or night.  As the supervisor of the program, I was the only full time chaplain and the only one to go to all the worksites on each shift, on each location. Two weeks before, on October 15th, I had been assisting to get our program off the ground and the Pilgrim’s Cares office ready downtown in the Jim Waters Building.  In addition to supervising the program, interfacing with management, and looking for new businesses to take the program, I was to write a monthly devotional article called “Chaplain’s Corner.”

Things got off the ground quickly, and, since they had told us in Seminary “to be ready to preach, pray, or die,”  I was ready to go.  On my third day on the job, I began about 8:30 a.m. I took Melvin Bell’s business cards to his father, Rev. L. D. Bell, because Melvin had already scheduled his vacation long before the program began.  Then I visited the plant on Frank Street in Lufkin and discovered three women had had babies, a Nigerian was about to be evicted from his home, and a woman’s daughter had been shot in the shoulder.  Once I discovered these referrals, I undertook to minister to them.  I think I went to visit Leo Acosta at the Live Haul Shed, and then I visited the hatchery, feed mill, office and truck shop in Nacogdoches.  My next task was about a 110 mile loop to visit the company broiler farm, the four breeder farms, and the pullet farm before returning to Nacogdoches.  En route, I discovered Paul Smith wanted me to pick up some Spanish books for management at the SFA bookstore.  The clock on the wall in the personnel office said 10 of 6 p.m.,  just as I was about to leave,  when they referred a female employee who had been beaten up by her boyfriend. Four and a half hours later, I had dropped her off at the Nacogdoches police station for the Women’s Shelter to pick her up.  So, on my third day on the job, I worked from 8:30 a.m. and finished at 10:30 p.m.  I guess you could say, my third day on the job as a “Chicken Chaplain” was a baptism by fire.

Save the Date! The Vernon Historical & Genealogical Society will meet Saturday, November 4th at 12:30 PM, in the meeting room of the Vernon Parish Library. The library’s address is 1401 Nolan Trace (Hwy 8)in Leesville, Louisiana. Stanley Fletcher will be presenting “The Earliest Communities of Vernon Parish” about 1:15 PM, after the annual business meeting and election of 2018 officers. Everyone is invited.
The Angelina County Genealogical Society is honoring veterans who served at Pearl Harbor for its November 20, 2017 meeting.  Titter Hogan’s husband, Bobbi Allen’s stepfather, and Helen Kimmey Forrest’s brother will be honored in the presentation which begins at 4:00 p.m. in the Railroad Depot of Kurth Memorial Library on 702 South Raguet Street in Lufkin, Texas.  At 3:30 p.m. guests and members of the Society will enjoy refreshments and desserts together.  For more information, please call Dickie Dixon at (936) 240-8378, or email him at

For book notices or reviews please send me a complimentary copy to Kissin’ Kuzzins  P. O. Box 151001 Lufkin TX 75915-1001

Send your queries to by mail to Kissin’ Kuzzins P. O. Box 151001 Lufkin TX 75915-1001 or by phone to (936) 240-8378