City of Henderson host grand opening of new city annex Tuesday

The City of Henderson held a grand opening of the new annex building Tuesday, dedicated in honor of former council member Thomas Ward. He was given this honor as appreciation of his dedication and loyalty to the City of Henderson and community.

The special event was kicked off with a welcome by City Manager Jay Abercombie and a brief speech about the annex and Ward by Mayor Buzz Fullen. Following the reveal of the name, speeches were made by council members Steve Higginbotham and Michael Searcy. An ribbon cutting was done by Ward with help of the Henderson Area Chamber of Commerce to officially open the Thomas Ward Annex.

Ward is a Henderson native, having graduated from Henderson Colored High School (Hill High School) in 1954. He attended Jarvis Christian College before signing up to serve in the United States Army in 1955.

After being honorably discharged, he returned to Henderson, where he has worked in types of positions, including Henderson Clay Products, Tom’s Groceries, Tractor Supply and currently Lowe’s Home Improvement, where he has been employed for 15 years.

Ward served on the Henderson City Council for 24 years representing District 3; during his tenure, he also served as Mayor Pro Team for six years. Ward has served on the Board of Directors for the Henderson Area Chamber of Commerce, Henderson Economic Development Corporation, East Texas Council of Government, Rusk County Crime Stoppers and City of Henderson Planning and Zoning Committee.

He is a 2012 graduate of Henderson Citizens Police Academy. On March 9, 2012 he also receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Henderson Area Chamber of Commerce. He plans to continue to be involved in the political community in Henderson.

Ward is a member of Pine Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, where he serves as Sunday School Superintendent and Elder. He has also served the church for many years at the district, state and national levels. 

He was married to the late Pearlene Hill Ward for 58 years and has one daughter Kay Frances Ward Creer. Pearlene taught for Henderson ISD for 30 years and Kay is employed by Henderson ISD as a school nurse. 

The official name of the new building is the Thomas Ward Annex.

The finance and utility departments have moved into this building to better serve the residents of Henderson. The Thomas Ward Annex was approved, constructed and completed in roughly a year’s time. 

Architect and design was handled by BRW Architects, based in Dallas. RPR Construction was the general contractor on site.

The Thomas Ward Annex takes the place of the old City Annex, was was in need of extensive repairs and remodeling. The former annex building will be demolition to create more parking for residents who have business at the Annex, City Hall or Municipal Court. 

In addition to the utility billing service, the annex building has a more personal fell to it, with the drive through window, giving the public an opportunity to connect directly with a city employee. The main area is equipped with monitors showing current city information as residents wait in line to pay bills. 

The annex also has a public access restroom available during business hours. 

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