City, school district and Town & Country Ford team up to donate clear backpacks to Port Arthur students

Published 1:51 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

Students in Port Arthur Independent School District in need of a clear backpack will soon have one courtesy of a collaboration of city and school leaders and a local car dealership.

Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie and his son, PAISD Board President Brandon Bartie, along with James Marion, general sales manager at Town & Country Ford, met outside city hall Friday, where they announced the donation of 150 backpacks.

They were joined by a number of campus leaders as well as city employees.

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The group stood near the front doors of city hall; boxes of backpacks labeled with the name of the campus they were deemed for to the side.

Marion explained the donation means a lot to his business, the ownership and the community.

“This is just a small fraction of what is to come,” Marion said. “We believe we should all get together as individuals, as humanitarians, as people, and help out. It is very important to me and it is very important to us that we give the kids the tools that they need.”

Town & Country Ford is located at 4545 Twin City Highway in Port Arthur.

Mayor Bartie expressed gratitude to Town & Country Ford, as well as others who assisted with “being sure all students are in compliance.”

“Our future in this community rests with the educational pursuits of these students, therefore, this gesture of furthering a safe environment is paramount,” he said.

Brandon Bartie said the 150 backpacks would be divided up with 50 going to the high school and 25 to the rest of the schools. If a student needs a backpack they can go to the administration of the school for assistance.

On July 28, PAISD administration mandated the use of clear backpacks only for this school year for all campuses as an added safety measure.