Get to know this year’s “Mr. Nederland” — the Rev. Jason Burden

Published 12:38 am Friday, March 3, 2023

NEDERLAND — Much can be said of having a servant’s heart.

It is those people who put others’ needs before their own.

This can be seen with the Rev. Jason Burden, who was recognized by the Nederland Heritage Festival for his works.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Burden is pastor at First Baptist Church Nederland and is the 2023 Mr. Nederland.

The reverend said he is humbled to be part of this group of individuals.

“It’s an honor to be considered by my peers as someone who had an impact, and I hope I can inspire someone else to contribute to our community,” Burden said.

But he doesn’t take all the credit.

“Being a pastor of a really generous church, I get to be the front person, the first contact a lot of people have with either the Red Cross or Texas Baptist Men or those who come for relief,” he said.

Burden and his church are known for their generosity in helping others during crises or other times.

Nederland Heritage Festival officials noted Burden opened the doors to the church to give shelter during Hurricane Harvey, Tropical Storm Imelda and the TPC Group explosion.

“He worked closely with the Red Cross to provide resources for their operations during times of tragedy. Jason led his church to form a special agreement with the City of Nederland to partner together in providing shelter in times of crisis,” according to the NHF program.

Burden has also worked closely with Texas Baptist Men on all local disaster relief efforts over the past decade and serves as president of the organization.

That’s not all.

In the summer of 2020 a fundraiser led by Burden made it possible to distribute more than 1,000 box fans for free to people in the community.

The title of Mr. Nederland is given by a group of past recipients, all of who are known for giving back to the community.

“To all those who threw my name in the hat, I want to try to live up to the standard that my predecessors lived up to,” Burden said. “I truly love Nederland, Texas, Southeast Texas. All of my little family is down here, my grandchildren are here.”

Burden and family are no strangers to attending the annual Nederland Heritage Festival.

He found it a bit difficult to pin down one favorite part of the multi-day festival.

“I love going by all of the different vendors and sampling all of the wares. Sometimes I overindulge,” he said. “We go down there and watch people, visit with friends, eat some of everything. That’s kind of the highlight of March. Visit friends that we see not only at church on Sunday, see people outside the context of norm and develop friendships.”

Burden’s church also has ties to the festival in that every year they feed the carnival workers, give them a gift bag and some homemade goodies — give them some Southeast Texas hospitality, he said.

“We want them to feel like they are part of our community during the time they are here,” he said.