MARY MEAUX: PAPD, others help local woman raising her 3 nieces

Published 12:03 am Thursday, October 29, 2020

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Good deeds should not go unnoticed.

Earlier this week Port Arthur Police Sgt. Heather Rowe, who is the department’s mental health liaison, along with Lauree Chapman, qualified mental health professional with Spindletop Center’s ASAP Program, and Autumn Brown with the Southeast Texas Civilian Task Force helped a Port Arthur woman who is legal guardian and raising her three nieces.

The group was able to donate a new sleeper sofa, as well as a microwave, sheets and other household necessities to Betty Asberry.

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Rowe got to know Asberry — who is raising her sister’s three daughters — over the past year-and-a-half.

“She is a very loving, selfless woman,” Rowe said. “She receives no type of financial assistance for these girls; she struggles like the rest of us. We just wanted to do something nice for her.”

Betty Asberry reacts to receiving a new couch, microwave, sheets and household items. (Courtesy photo)

A collection was started at the police department to help get the girls some school uniforms, and then Rowe hooked up with Autumn Brown, who was able to get the couch, microwave, sheets and other items for Asberry.

Rowe, a veteran police officer, is one of a number of certified mental health officers with the PAPD. She works closely with the Spindletop Center, as well as local hospitals and mental health authorities.

The officer said Asberry is a proud woman, always grateful for anything done for her and has never asked for any type of assistance.

The donation was captured in photograph on PAPD’s Facebook page this week.

Brown, with the non-profit organization SETX Civilian Task Force, said the group has been helping with disasters since Hurricane Harvey.

“Our program addresses disasters. A disaster can mean something to everybody,” Brown said. “The goal is to try and help as many people as possible.”

There may be a man suffering loss from a house fire or a husband experiencing the loss of his job and struggling with food or school supplies.

Brown said she doesn’t want the recipient to feel like they’re receiving charity — “we want to preserve their dignity in a respectful way.”

The SETX Civilian Task Force has worked with numerous other groups and helped not only local individuals but also people in need in other states.

“It’s important for people to know we’re all in this together and in order for it to be successful we have to work together because when you are vested in your community, as (the police) are, it all works for the greater good,” she said.

The Spindletop Center offers a variety of mental health services including outpatient services, crisis, screening and assessment, substance abuse services, community services, work placement and mental health first aid.

The crisis line is available 24 hours a day/seven days a week at 409-838-1818 or 1-800-937-8097.


Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at