STEPHEN HEMELT — Port Arthur LNG provides $65K hand up for numerous local environmental champions

Published 12:22 am Sunday, April 16, 2023

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Jesús Acosta called it “refreshing” to welcome the community to Bob Hope Elementary School in Port Arthur last week.

The school’s brand new auditorium opened in December and then hosted Jenna Bush Hager the next month for a celebration of charter schools.

Acosta, Bob Hope High School director, said the new space gives the school the opportunity to interact with the community.

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On Tuesday the venue was home for the second annual Port Arthur News Environmental Champions Initiative sponsored by Port Arthur LNG, where more than $60,000 was presented to local grant recipients.

Funding benefits environmental projects for our neighbors throughout the region.

Bob Hope is now a two-time Environmental Champions grant recipient.

“We really appreciate everything they have done for the high school. We started our agriculture program with the grant they gave us last year,” Acosta said.

“We hope to continue it with the grant this year. That partnership has helped our students. As a matter of fact, our students are at a poultry judging competition and that is all because of the grant we received last year. We have a garden going. Our kids are learning about sustainability and where your food comes from. We have actually been going to a veterinary assistance tract with our students. The seed that helped start that was the first PA LNG grant.”

Port Arthur LNG Environmental Champions grant recipients pose for a picture. (Courtesy photo)

New to the effort this year was the team behind Linda’s Lighthouse, which was created in memory of Linda Griffin Lucas, an avid supporter of Port Arthur.

Now the focus is uplifting and providing “opportunities for youth and elders.”

Communications officer Ta’Shara Brantley said she and executive director Amber Lucas heard about the grant opportunity and discussed ideas to benefit the community.

“One of the areas that we focus on and have been looking to focus more on is our senior citizens,” Brantley said. “We do a lot of activities that involve the younger generation and children. For the older senior citizens, we thought it would be a great idea to have something they can be actively involved in, such as a garden.”

Brantley said, with a new grant via Port Arthur LNG, the garden effort is going to be intertwined with the youth.

Experienced gardeners will team with the younger community to help tend to the effort, keeping them active while also beautifying the city.

“It’s exciting to get this type of opportunity,” Brantley said. “It allows us to be more involved in the community, meet more people who want to help us become more involved in the community. It’s a new area for us. Any opportunity for us to expand what we do and become more involved, we try to take advantage of it.”

Linda’s Lighthouse is active on Facebook and Instagram for those who want to learn more about their efforts.

Linda’s Lighthouse and Bob Hope School were two of 16 nonprofit organizations awarded grants on Tuesday. A total of $65,000 in grants was presented.

Special thanks goes to Port Arthur Newsmedia editor Monique Batson for helping lead a selection committee of five community-minded individuals who worked through more than 40 applications from those seeking assistance through this effort.

Port Arthur Newsmedia marketing director Candace Hemelt spearheaded the online application process and advertising of the opportunity, which created record participation.

This effort began almost on the fly early last year and has now grown to significant impacts across Port Arthur and beyond.

Sempra Infrastructure External Affairs Director Kelly Prasser and Community Outreach & Events Advisor Iman Garrett-Price have been more than great partners with The Port Arthur News, they are true champions of our community.

There are groups and businesses that talk about partnerships and then there are those who invest in a community in hopes of creating greater outcomes.

We’re lucky to have that with Port Arthur LNG and Sempra Infrastructure. Our shared future looks bright.

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