STEPHEN HEMELT — Port Arthur nonprofits get boost from corporate giant

Published 12:05 am Sunday, September 11, 2022

Simeon Queen has a bold but simple plan: feed 100 Port Arthur-area families this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

As the president and CEO of Grace Hub Inc., Queen teams with organization members, volunteers and supporters to provide turkeys and pork roast to needy families, while helping them partner with other service organizations in an effort to create a hand up for those facing hard times.

“The main thing is to make sure there is food on the table for every family that is in need,” Queen said.

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We had a chance to speak recently at the Safe Communities Initiative Grant Awards Reception in Port Arthur, where Grace Hub was receiving a grant from Port Arthur LNG.

In all, seven local nonprofits were honored during the ceremony for their commitment to health and safety.

Those that received Safe Communities Initiative grants were:

  • Christus Southeast Texas Foundation
  • Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas
  • Grace Hub Inc.
  • Southeast Texas Food Bank
  • Southeast Texas Veterans 4 Veterans
  • United Board of Missions
  • YMCA of Southeast Texas

Additional Safety Awards for 2022 went to:

  • Inspire, Encourage, Achieve
  • Gift of Life

Also representing Grace Hub that evening was Brandon Bartie, who is a longtime member of the Port Arthur ISD School Board.

Bartie told me he has witnessed something remarkable and amazing with Port Arrhur LNG and the company’s willingness to empower local organizations.

“They are willing to give back to Port Arthur,” he said. “They are willing to give back to organizations in the community, which they see is beneficial to the community.

“I love it. It’s helping our community, and they are getting the word out. They are some great individuals for the city of port Arthur.”

Having partnered with Port Arthur LNG on numerous community grant initiatives, we at Port Arthur Newsmedia and The Port Arthur News can attest to the actual investments taking place in our city.

It’s far from “just talk.”

But lets address some of the “talk” that took place during the awards evening.

Director of External Affairs Kelly Prasser said Sempra Infrastructure, parent company to Port Arthur LNG, is committed to safety.

“We live it every day. It’s the No. 1 priority at our company,” she said.

She lauded the Road for the Future Texas 87 Relocation project, which lasted more than two years, was completed in 2022 and included rebuilding approximately 3.5 miles of highway. The effort received the National Safety Council’s Perfect Safety Award for 1.7 million work hours without a loss-time accident.

So let’s go back to November of 2019 during a press conference at Keith Lake Boat Launch at Walter Umphrey State Park in Port Arthur. That was the groundbreaking ceremony to commence the $100 million-plus project.

At the time, a Port Arthur LNG spokesperson said, “We are building the road and we will donate it to the state. It’s been designed to the standards of the Texas Department of Transportation, and they have given us the authority and we will donate it to them. We will get the old right-of-way.”

And now, nearly three years later, the company is celebrating the safe clearing of the waterfront adjacent to the Sabine-Neches Waterway for ship access. That success is being shared with the community and local interests are using their means to create more hand ups for those in need.

Now, that is truly something to talk about.

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.