Wednesday, June 12, 2024

'Above and beyond’

Precinct 2 residents present Constable John Shirley with Certificate of Appreciation

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Precinct 2 Constable John Shirley received a unique honor Tuesday morning when he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Hood County Commissioners Court.

But instead of the county issuing the certificate, this recognition goes even deeper.

Shirley was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the residents of Precinct 2 for going “above and beyond” the call of duty in serving his precinct.

Before the certificate was presented, several residents came up to voice their appreciation for Shirley in doing his job as constable.

Former Granbury City Council candidate Alex Wolf explained how he moved to Granbury 10 years ago. During that time, he has gotten to know his neighbors, Granbury City Council members, Precinct 2 Commissioner Nannette Samuelson, and of course, Shirley himself.

"John is not just a constable; he is an integral part of our community,” Wolf said. “He actively participates in local events and engages with residents to understand and address our concerns. He keeps us up to date with town halls, social media and even picks up the phone when I call. This commitment to serving and protecting us has been nothing short of exemplary.”

Wolf went on to say Shirley serves the community with integrity and care and explained how he upholds the law of compassion and wisdom.

"Constable John Shirley has shown unwavering dedication to our community — consistently going above and beyond to ensure our safety and well-being,” he continued. “Thank you, John, for your service and dedication, and the positive example you set for all of us. I'm proud to have you as my constable.”

Samuelson then read a “mail-in” letter she received from Thomas Mead, former president — and resident — of Pecan Plantation.

In Mead’s letter, he explained how he had recently retired as president of the Pecan Plantation Country Club and Homeowner’s Association. During that time, he had gotten to know Shirley and had observed his “devotion to serving his community firsthand.”

"Those who live within the gates of Pecan know that emotions can get stirred up and social media can get used to fan the flames when some issues are faced by the board,” Mead’s letter reads. “John has always kept up with the pulse of his community and stepped up without asking. When committee and board meetings address volatile subjects and mutiny with a bound, John would make sure either he or his deputy were present to assure peace and safety to our community. John has always listened to those within our community and has taken action when needed or provided simple answers when appropriate ... John has always done what is right, not what is popular, and has taken the stones cast upon him knowing there is refuge in truth. And for this, we say thank you and well done.”

Mead also spoke as a resident of Pecan Plantation, rather than a representative of any other organization. He expressed his thanks for Shirley, stating that his presence in the community has made a difference, and that he serves with the tenacity of a bulldog.

"Your experience in dealing with people with autism, communication disabilities and other differences shows your compassion and judgment, and should set a benchmark for others to follow,” Mead continued in his letter. “Your dedication to finding facts before forming opinions shows you seek truth and justice for those who serve and fairness even for those who are on the wrong side of the law. You understand the laws you are sworn to uphold as well as your duty of due diligence and the accused rights of due process. There was always more to the story and you're always willing to read to the end and serve without bias, prejudice or agendas."

Within the past few months, Shirley has been instrumental in advocating for Precinct 2 residents regarding the fan noise from the Bitcoin data center. Earlier this year, he also started issuing $500 citations to the owners of the plant, Marathon Digital, LLC, under the Texas Penal Code involving disorderly conduct — a situation that Precinct 202 Chair Craig Mayberry brought up during his statements.

Mayberry spoke on behalf of his constituents in saying “kudos” to Shirley for going above and beyond his duty in every way imaginable. He stated that Shirley has been devoting his time to serve the people of Granbury and Hood County, whether it’s helping children across the street or “engaging with the large technocratic giant that has had an impact on our community.”

"He has just committed himself nonstop day and night, above and beyond duty for the folks here in Granbury and for Hood County,” Mayberry said. “For that, we thank you.”

Precinct 218 Chair Clint Helton told the court Shirley had assisted him on three separate occasions with issues aligning with his duties as constable. He also added that in his experience, Shirley has been just a phone call away.

“During the primary campaign season this year, I knocked on hundreds of doors in Pecan Plantation, campaigning and promoting John Shirley and others for election," Helton said. “During that time, there were so many people where I wouldn't have to say anything to promote John Shirley. They would just stop and say, ‘Hey, John Shirley, he's a great guy. He helped us. He's got our vote.’ Outside of that context, they told me how John Shirley helped them in their time of need and all hours of the day or night, once staying virtually all night up at someone's home to help them.”

Helton added that Shirley is readily available to help and that he’s a tireless, big server to Hood County residents.

"Precinct 2 is very blessed to have Shirley as our Precinct 2 constable,” he added.

Following the conclusion of public comments, Hood County resident John Highsmith presented Shirley with the Certificate of Appreciation to honor his dedication and exemplary service to all Precinct 2 residents.

“I just wanted to add this also,” Highsmith said. “So, whenever I have had conversations with people about you (Shirley), a certain phrase comes up. And it's amazing. It comes up it seems like every time and that phrase is ‘above and beyond,' so with that, we in Precinct 2, we want to show our appreciation to you, on May 28, 2024.”