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Homecoming Roast doesn’t happen without Bob West

Port Arthur has not seen the likes of a Port Arthur News Homecoming Roast since 2002 when Joe Washington Jr. was honored. In an event that captivated each and every guest in attendance at the Carl Parker Center last night, Port Arthur’s own 2015 Homecoming Roast honoree, Jamaal Charles, showed everyone why he is held in such high regard by his hometown, teammates, family and friends. It truly was a night to remember.
But as great as this event was, and will be talked about in private and media circles for weeks to come, I’m not going to focus on the event. I want to talk about the man behind the “Roast.” The man, who without his connections in the sports industry, this event and the 11 prior ones dating back to 1988, might not have come to fruition.
Bob West was the sports editor of the Port Arthur News for 44 years. As many of you know, Bob “retired” from his position this past April. However, you may not know that during that time since announcing his retirement, Bob has been at the Port Arthur News office every day except for two. Every day he walks into the office showing complete disregard for our dress code, wearing shorts and a polo shirt. Why? Because he’s “retired.” Haha And that’s Ok!
Bob still continues to produce our golf page each week and has agreed to continue working with us on the “I Beat Bob West” football contest, which will begin again this coming season. But much of his time lately has been devoted to the Homecoming Roast, which is near and dear to his heart. He put in endless hours making sure the event went off without a hitch. And it did!
Bob will be the first to say he didn’t do this alone and give thanks and praise to the committee that helped to pull off this event. Those individuals being:
• Sam Monroe
• Jeff Hayes
• Tom Neal
• Sara Bellian
• Charlene Commings
• Mitch Osborn
• Genie West
Although each one is important to the project, they also know it definitely might not be the event it actually was without Bob West.
Take the time to realize Bob did not just throw some football names together, pick a menu and then let the chips fall where they may. He was in charge of almost everything from hotel rooms for the roasters, transportation for many of the guests and the detailed seating arrangements. He put together the program information, worked with the people in charge of the video clips, and almost every other detail was first approved by Bob.
And in fact, I know it is named “The Port Arthur News Homecoming Roast.” But in reality, it is actually “The Bob West Homecoming Roast.” Hold it, there might be an idea?
To the man that truly deserves it, for his years of professional service to our sporting community, “Thank you Bob West.” You Da’ Man!
Rich Macke is publisher of The Port Arthur News. Contact him at rich.macke@panews.com.