Junction extends generosity to Rehab center
Pastures are beginning to green up across Kimble County after several inches of rain, but the North Llano River remains mostly dry.
On the other hand, the South Llano is low but still running after almost two years of drought. Located at the confluence of the South and North Llano Rivers, the town received its name from those forks.
In good times, more than 300 miles of running streams substantiate the county's claim as "The Land of Living Waters."
David and Margaret Farmer Akers have three pecan orchards along West Copperas Creek where cedar trees once grew.
Now the property grows pecans, and in good years about 1,000 trees produce from 6 to 10 tons.
"We had one of the driest and hot summers on record, but our pecans are big and good," David Akers told me. "We are anticipating a good harvest season."
The Akers Ranch barn was converted into a packinghouse many years ago to accommodate equipment for shipping their pecans across the nation. During the normally heavy fall harvest, the UPS truck comes to the ranch almost daily.
Plastic bags filled with shelled pecans from the Akers orchards were among popular items bringing above premium prices during the annual Round-Up for Rehab auction here Monday.
Other consignments included an array of baked goods, paintings, home décor, feed and gift certificates.
More than 85 supporters were served a chuck wagon meal at the First United Methodist Church lawn and fellowship hall, and $7,200 was raised. In its 34th year, the Rehab event at Junction has raised $313,125 to benefit the West Texas Rehabilitation Center in San Angelo, Abilene and Ozona.
Since 1953, WTRC, a private, nonprofit organization, has operated outpatient facilities and treats more than 500 patients daily. The late Shelley Smith, founding president, used to say the Rehab center was the last hope for disabled people after their insurance funding was gone.
"In a time when the health programs change almost daily, the support of local volunteers and businesses aiding our mission to serve every child and adult who seek services regardless of their financial circumstances have never been more important," said Woody Gilliland, WTRC president. "The Junction event is a good example of our 'neighbor-helping-neighbor' philosophy, which happens across West Texas every fall."
Junction volunteers included: Marc and David Dobbins, Shelia and Hubert D'Spain, Todd D'Spain, Linda and Tom Johnston, Larry and Darren Crenwelge, Johnny Lackey, First State Bank, Junction National Bank, Kerr County Credit Union, Texas Hills Insurance and A-B distributing of San Angelo.
Meanwhile, the prospects for a good white-tailed deer hunting season look to be a mixed bag, said Tom Johnston, who operates the West Bear Creek General Store in Junction, 96 miles southeast of San Angelo.
"Actually, our deer look in good shape despite the drought," Tom told me while visiting in the store before the Rehab auction. "It may not be an average season, but should be better than last year."
Johnston and his wife, Linda, will host the 30th annual hunters' welcome party, on the parking lot at the store at noon Nov. 2, the eve of hunting season's opening day.
The traditional event normally attracts about 400 folks, Tom said. Area ranchers and local merchants come together to provide visiting sportsmen and their families with food and an array of donated door prizes.
With limited forb production because of dry weather, deer are feeding on what has come up after the rain and supplemental feed hunters are placing in feeders in pastures.
Texas' highest deer production region always has been the Edwards Plateau, which takes in the western Hill Country counties of Kimble, Kerr, Gillespie, Mason and McCulloch and stretches to include Tom Green, Schleicher, Sutton, Irion and Reagan counties.
"There will be adequate game for hunters," writes John Jefferson in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. "Someone once wrote that the amount of available game Texans consider 'just average' can seem like a bumper crop to those less fortunate living in the other 49 states."
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