STEPHEN HEMELT — Port Arthur comes together for a return to prosperity

Published 12:18 am Saturday, February 19, 2022

Credit goes to Pat Avery and Joe Tant.

The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce’s President/CEO and Financial/Administrator Director helped lead a team of staff and volunteers in a true celebration of what 2022 could mean for our community.

Hundreds descended on Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center Thursday night for a special evening that offered as much hope for future SETX’s prosperity in recent months.

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You could probably say years when talking about that, because we missed all similar events in 2021 due to pandemic fallout.

Stuart Salter also delivered a simple but important message that got everything going.

Let’s start exceeding our customers’ expectations again, the 2022 Greater Port Arthur Chamber chairman said.

“Lets be sure to continue providing a safe environment for our most valuable asset, our employees,” he said.

“And very importantly, because we deserve this, let’s start having fun again. It’s time for a little fun. Do you think?”

Salter delivered his remarks at the 122nd annual banquet. The event, themed “A Return to Prosperity,” packed the house in Port Arthur and celebrated the region’s resilience through COVID and offered hope for what may become.

Golden Pass LNG sponsored the night’s keynote speaker, Economics expert Dr. Ray Perryman.

Judith Smith was selected to receive the 2022 Arthur E. Stilwell Award.

The Port Arthur Health Director told Port Arthur Newsmedia, upon, hearing she was joining the prestigious list of previous winners that all accolades aimed at the health department’s COVID response truly go to the staff.

“Sometimes when we’re getting awards, you feel very proud of the accomplishment,” she said. “But I don’t ever want that to overwhelm me as my first duty, so I’m constantly praying for the Lord to keep me humble and keep me a servant so I can do what’s necessary.”

There were many, many other highlights. But most importantly, there was a sense of camaraderie and a can-do attitude.

It was a perfect place to visit and say hello with so many old and news friends. And considering what we have all been through since the word “coronavirus” was introduced to our vocabulary, it was nice to be among neighbors.

The COVID pandemic and its lasting impacts certainly wobbled us, but those who persevered gained valuable strength and improvisation skills not known before.

It was exciting to be all on the same team together Thursday night.

Thank you Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce for bringing us together for a common goal — a return to prosperity.

Nederland COVID help

The City of Nederland announced this week that the first program it planned following a $4.3 million award from the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund is geared to nonprofit financing.

The city has now made some of those funds available to assist nonprofits that lost revenue due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as nonprofits providing specific services to the community.

The first step in the process, outlined this week, requires nonprofits to complete a NOTICE OF INTENT TO PARTICIPATE form that must be submitted by March 18.

At the March 28 Nederland City Council meeting, the City will finalize the program parameters and authorize the acceptance of applications.

Any questions regarding this program should be forwarded to the city manager’s office at 409-723-1503.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes and The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at or 409-721-2445.