STEPHEN HEMELT — 2022 Progress section celebrates our unique community

Published 12:34 am Saturday, April 9, 2022

The best part of 2022 so far is knowing we made it through the unprecedented 2021 and 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic thrust us all into uncharted territory.

Where can we go? Who can we see? Is it safe to touch that?

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Is it safe to hang out with my friends and loved ones?

I used to ask myself all those questions, which makes me the same as each and every one of you.

Thankfully, common sense and general
goodwill have mostly prevailed throughout Port Arthur and Mid County in two years since Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick first issued the initial declaration of disaster.

COVID talk and the constant political fallout that followed — FINALLY — does not dominate our life. And although it certainly deserves some of our attention, it can’t be all we think about.

There is certainly more to discuss and share with our community.

With that in mind, Port Arthur Newsmedia is launching a four-part series this month dubbed “Building Back Stronger” that profiles the people, businesses and organizations that have provided a roadmap to a brighter today and tomorrow that exists post-COVID.

One of the few silver linings in times of distress are the examples of ingenuity and invention that inevitably occur.

There is plenty taking place all around us.

Our “Building Back Stronger” series publishes each Saturday in April with a different theme each week.

This edition’s theme is “Leaders,” with upcoming weeks highlighting

examples of “Care,” “Fun” and “Industry.”

I invite you to take advantage of these special sections. Each comes with tremendous sponsorship from local businesses and organizations. Consider their services and products in the future, as now more than ever, we must all shop and support local.

The “Leaders” issue is especially eye-opening as we take a peek behind the curtain to explain how some of our most successful ventures and people got that way, and more importantly, stay that way.

When helping put this month-long special section together, I called Jillian Fertig, who is helping with a featured spotlight this month on the CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System.

CHRISTUS recently announced one of its physicians successfully surgically implanted three CardioMEMS devices in three patients with congestive heart failure last month.

This made CHRISTUS the first healthcare organization to offer this procedure in Southeast Texas.

It’s pretty cool knowing the tiny device, which is implanted into the pulmonary artery, optimizes medical therapy for systolic and diastolic congestive heart failure by monitoring fluid status.

It alerts a patient’s cardiologist of an abnormal fluid level before the patient begins to experience symptoms, which can sometimes take weeks.

There is greatness all around us, with so many of our friends and neighbors making an amazing impact on their professions. Yet, it’s the personal stories that set this community apart, making it a hotbed for current and future “Leaders.”

We think you will agree as you look through today’s special edition, as well as the three more publishing April 16, 23 and 30.

We have all proved strong enough to pull through this COVID-19 crisis and Build Back Stronger.

Hurricanes, explosions and freezes have come and gone, yet something special always remains.

Our reward for such persistence is opportunity.

We have a lot of great stories to tell. Many thanks to our friends and neighbors who helped us spread the word to a deserving community.

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