• 91°

PA Council considering naming Pavilion, Development Services Building after war hero, community trailblazer

The Pavilion in downtown Port Arthur is one step away from being renamed after a Vietnam War hero.

The Port Arthur City Council has asked for a resolution to be drafted for vote that would rename the Pavilion after Lt. Adam Ernest Simpson, who became the city’s first resident to die in the war on Oct. 3, 1965, at age 26. He had served one year when he died in Quang Nam on hostile ground.

“Council had directed me at that point to go ahead and do everything necessary to conclude and confirm the gentleman had given human service to the city and the country at large,” City Manager Ron Burton said.

“Through the legal department, we have confirmed through the Veterans Affairs that the records are correct and the presentation [Thomas Jones] gave was accurate. So, what we have done is take the second step to follow up and follow through on what I promised the council with the information based on the individual.”

Fellow Vietnam veteran and journalist Philip Caputo documented Simpson’s actions in a 1977 book, “A Rumor of War.”

Jones, a Port Arthur native and friend of Simpson’s family, suggested a name change to the council in December.

“I think it’s fantastic it occurred around Memorial Day,” said Jones, who lives in Arizona. “I didn’t realize they were moving on it in the background.”

The Pavilion in downtown Port Arthur could be named in memory of Lt. Adam Simpson.

Jones said he would love to be at the Pavilion if and when it’s dedicated in Simpson’s honor.

Burton also recommended the Development Services Building, aka the “One-Stop Shop,” be renamed after Inell Moore, who served on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for 48 years until her death on May 7. She was 87.

Moore also became the first African American teacher at Sam Houston Elementary School (in about 1967) and at Port Arthur College (in 1971), now Lamar State College Port Arthur.

District 3 Councilman Thomas Kinlaw III filed a successful motion for the resolution, which also asks Burton to inquire about adding either pictures or busts to honor Simpson and Moore in their respective buildings.

Completion of the $2.5 million Development Services Building, located near city hall on 4th Street, is projected for the end of summer.

Jones has an idea for a bust honoring Simpson.

“If they do the bust — the city manager mentioned he was in the [Lincoln High School] marching band — I would name it ‘The Drum Major.’ That’s what he was. He was a leader,” Jones said.

The resolution was not listed for a special meeting Tuesday (June 2), when the council will meet to renew the declaration of disaster in response to coronavirus. That meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. The next regular meeting is scheduled for June 9.

All meetings are conducted via teleconference and can be viewed at portarthurtx.swagit.com.

 

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.