Starting in 2016, a Commercial Bank of Texas staff member named Vickie Hubacek noticed distrust and anger toward firemen and police officers due to political controversies at the time. During this upset, she began to put on an annual BBQ luncheon as a way of thanking and to honor first responders – an honor that this year is being given to the SFA UPD. After Hubacek’s retirement, the project is now run by the CBTX Administrative Assistant Ruth Ann Peterson.
The luncheon, to be held Friday, is put on solely by the staff at CBTX who take the time to smoke all the meat for the BBQ, and each department chooses a side dish to prepare and serve. During the free meal, the staff members will also take the time to sit down with the first responders, as well as buying plates to raise money for a department necessity.
“[A cook team of five staff members] cook 25 pork butts, and all the rest of the employees from the bank cook beans, potato salad and all kinds of other stuff,” Brad McGuire, an MBA student from Kingsport, Tennessee, said. “We probably have about 100 to 125 employees chipping in and pitching in on it.”
In 2018, this CBTX event was given a Cornerstone Award by the Texas Bankers Association as a cornerstone in the community. The SFA UPD was chosen this year as a way to give back to the SFA community and, in turn, the Nacogdoches community as a whole. Along with the free meals for the officers, Commercial Bank is also buying the UPD tasers for University use and is looking to replace body microphones for the parking officers.
“It is an honor for the police department to finally be recognized for what we do for the campus community,” John Field Jr., chief of police, said. “One of the things that I found when I got here is that the police department wasn’t getting the thanks for what they do. It is not about the police department; it is about what we do for our campus community. Everybody wants to feel the thanks sometimes. It is a great opportunity for us and a great opportunity for the University also.”
CBTX has been honoring first responders since 2016, and this is the first time the SFA UPD officers have been chosen for the luncheon. The officers will get to enjoy the free food catered by the CBTX staff members for the majority of the afternoon. “We appreciate getting honored,” UPD Sgt. Doug Mask said. “We don’t always get enough (thanks) in our line of work. Anytime we get anything extra, it is awesome.”
The bank holds a stance of using this luncheon as an opportunity for first responders to be honored and given thanks. The luncheon is the bank’s way of giving back to not only first responders, but to the community they serve.
“Commercial Bank cares about the community,” McGuire said. “SFA is a part of that community. We just wanted to give back. Hopefully, it is a way to bless the community we serve.”
The luncheon is being held at the Commercial Bank of Texas office on Main Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Community members are invited but will be required to buy a plate of food, as only first responders are allowed to eat free.