Port Arthur Jr. Bees keep rolling thanks to Town & County Ford donation

Published 10:51 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

Coach Brad Coleman didn’t let something like a broken down passenger van keep him from bringing youth to various sporting events, such as watching a Houston Texans game or a Lamar University football game in person.

Instead, him along with other representatives of the Port Arthur Jr. Bees, used their own vehicles or raised money to rent and use a school bus.

But as of Friday, alternative transportation is no longer needed due to a donation from Town & Country Ford.

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The vehicle had been in the repair shop for more than a year as Coleman made payments toward the bill while working with the Bees organization, which is a nonprofit.

Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie announced what he called an act of kindness by Town & Country Ford that translates to “investing into the community” with the dealership’s donation of more than $3,000 for parts and labor for the repair of the van.

James Marion, general sales manager of the dealership, thanked Coleman for his near 40 years of commitment he has given to the area.

He likened the coach’s commitment to the analogy of bacon and eggs — “the pig was committed, the chicken was involved.”

Jr. Bees

The Port Arthur Jr. Bees organization is a labor of love for Coleman and his wife, Dr. Brenda Coleman, who is a longtime educator and works with the group’s scholarship portion. Their daughter, Brooke Coleman, also an educator, is a sponsor of the Port Arthur Honeybees.

Brenda Coleman said they try to roll the kids from one sport to the next to keep them engaged the entire year, which is beneficial to the child.

The youth in the Jr. Bees programs take part in multiple sports. There are ages 5 to 13 for basketball, ages 5 to 12 for football and ages 3 to 15 for the Honeybees dancers.

Coleman also coaches a semi-pro football team and coaches at the YMCA.

Last year the longtime coach was inducted into The Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame/Hall of Honor.

He has seen seven of his players go into the NFL draft, one coaching in the XFL; the list goes on.

Why he does it

Why, after almost 40 years, does he continue to work with youth?

“Because I love it,” the coach said. “God gave me a purpose, to be with the kids. I’m retired from work but I’m not retired from kids.”