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Posts published in “Day: February 26, 2004”

Woman rescued from Fire seconds before Barrett house collapses

Heroic efforts by many departments, fireman Reed


By LEWIS SPEARMAN

BARRETT STATION – An elderly, bedridden woman was trapped within a house on fire on Blanchard St. on Friday, Feb. 20. Area communities have much to be proud of due to the responses of Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept., ESD#5, Highlands Volunteer Fire Dept. Sheldon Fire Dept., and Channelview Fire Dept.

About 60 seconds after the woman was being treated by medics outside the house, the structure collapsed, exactly where she and firefighters from Crosby and Sheldon had just been.

The potentially deadlly situation was called in to 911 Dispatch that Friday at 12:29 p.m. According to Crosby VFD, the fire had started in the garage and spread quickly throughout the home. All entrances were engulfed in flame when Crosby VFD and ESD#5 arrived and took charge of the scene.

The 85 year old woman was trapped inside a front bedroom, with only a narrow window for escape. Flames came out of the roof as two fire fighters volunteered to enter that narrow opening. Justin Reed of Crosby VFD and an unidentified member of Sheldon Fire Dept. breached the narrow opening and searched to find the woman in the dense smoke- filled inferno.

According to Justin Reed, “It was so smoky, I couldn’t see the woman, I had to feel around for her, let alone be aware of who was assisting.

When I climbed back through the window another fire fighter saw the blood on my hand and took me over to the other paramedics. I still wish I knew who it was in that room with me!”

It took both men’s utmost strength to hoist the woman (weighting between 200 to 300 lbs.) up to the window and the efforts of several emergency rescue workers on the outside to lift her through the window to safety. Concern now was for Reed and the Sheldon fire fighter still inside. With herculean effort the two escaped the flames.

Reed was injured by glass while lifting the woman through the bedroom window and received eight stitches to his hand.

“I did nothing that any other fire fighter wouldn’t have done,” said Reed, “I was extremely concerned about her condition. When I returned from the Emergency Room I was informed by her granddaughter that she was doing fine, and was extremely relieved!”

ESD#5 Medics worked on the woman next preparing her for transport. Compliments from the Memorial staff were extended to paramedics for a job well done in life-sustaining efforts, because she had inhaled dangerous amounts of smoke.

A LifeFlight helicopter flew the woman to Hermann Memorial Hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation, and was reported in good condition after the harrowing ordeal. Reed was praised for his heroic efforts by other firefighters on the scene.

Crosby mourns outstanding citizen Tommy Latta’s death

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY – The greater Crosby community lost a friend, booster, and leader unexpectedly early Tuesday morning. The hardest thing to write is an obituary for a best friend. The greater local areas and perhaps the nation had a best friend go the greatest reward on Tuesday morning, February 24.

Thomas Hugh “Tommy” Latta Jr., 52, of Crosby went to be with our Lord Tuesday, Feb. 24. He was born May 21, 1951 in Orange, Texas to Thomas Latta Sr. and Mary Ann Latta.

The warmth and character that he generously gave to those in need, and stood for in numerous voluntary capacities will surely be missed. If a situation seemed intractable or futile, it was Tommy’s gift to begin an alternative approach with a gentle teasing of the frustrated follower and apply a wonderful sense of humor that shed a new light. His faith, ability and willingness to take action made him undefeated.

It is fitting that his son, Shawn Latta, presented Tommy with Volunteer of the Year at the Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce Banquet last Friday night, before a crowd of hundreds of admirers. As Shawn presented his oration to Tommy’s numerous friends, not only was there few dry eyes in the assembly but each of us came to understand the fullness of wisdom and shepherd’s guidance Tommy bestowed upon his family.

“My choice for Volunteer of the Year Every Year,” began the speech, and perhaps those of us that knew him will ever think of him in that way. But for his friends and loved ones it is far more likely that we will remember as a humorist, leader by example and benevolent influence to the community. It is fitting that he was able to support his son as his son spoke for the gratitude of those of us that came to know him.

He is survived by his loving wife of 30 plus years: Mary Latta of Crosby, Baytown P.D. Officer Shawn Latta and Shawn’s wife, Nikki, of Crosby. His parents, Thomas Latta Sr. of Kirbyville, TX, brother, Jimmy Latta of Bridge City, TX survive. His grandson, Caleb Latta of Crosby, is a survivor that brought Tommy profound joy in his later days. Many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends survive him.

His grandparents Hugh and Vivian Latta precede Tommy in death.

Tommy owned and operated Senor Smoke in Crosby and Dayton; prior to founding those stores he was in law enforcement. He was Assistant Chief in Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. before he retired from the post. He enjoyed playing golf, going for tea at Hector’s and Saturday and Sunday breakfast with friends. Tommy was involved in many different community functions and served on the boards of directors, these include: Crosby Fair & Rodeo, Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce, and ESD#5 (Crosby’s ambulance service.) Tommy not only helped mold a modern ambulance service, he also rode in the ambulance as volunteer, and was constantly learning about the service to enable its betterment. Tommy was a member of the Crosby American Legion and Commander of the Crosby Veteran’s of Foreign Wars.

Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Crosby Fair and Rodeo Rockin’ C Arena with the Rev. Dr. Larry Koslovsky officiating. Burial will follow at White Cemetery in Highlands. Visitation will be Friday, Feb. 27 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Sterling White Chapel.

Arrangements are entrusted to Sterling White Chapel, 11011 Crosby-Lynchburg Rd., Highlands, Tx 77562, phone (281) 426-3555.

Remembering Tommy Latta…


by Dr. Don Hendrix

Tommy was glad they served breakfast on Saturdays. How else would we know about the really important things in this world told by experienced schoolmen of the world? I watched the interaction, on many mornings, as a group of Saturday friends met over breakfast at Hector’s. Tommy made this port of call almost every Saturday. He had a way with people that settled you and made you feel like you were important. It was a skill he cultivated from his soul. Nothing could have taught him better than the experiences of a life well led where respecting people was the hallmark. Often I would talk to him on the way in or out. In the fall I could always count on football stories. You see, Tommy Latta did many wonderful things and one of those was calling football games in the golden triangle. “Where ja call Tommy?” There was always a cogent story that followed that ended up with him explaining a rule to me, or telling me what a good guy some coach was, or talking about whether his knees would finally give out on the field. Large schools, small schools, it didn’t make Tommy any difference. It was just one of the lives he led.

Lately, I noticed the EMS around him. I served on the ESD Board in its founding days and now Tommy was at the heart of their operation as a Board Member. He would keep me up to date. I watched him drink coffee with the EMS techs and knew this, also, was a part of his life.

Tommy Latta was a special man who had remarkable insight into not only events of the time, but into himself also. He was a person of many passions who was never consumed by himself. He was a person who tried to look at a lot of points of view, and succeeded. I feel fortunate to have known Tommy and to have had my life åtouched by his. Words do not exist to tell everyone how much he meant to so many people.

Typical of Tommy was when Shawn Latta was introducing him at the Chamber banquet just a day or so before he passed. Shawn was full of emotion and before long you saw Tommy creeping toward the podium to help his son. No one picture of a person’s life could have been more clear than Tommy helping a family member through something. Some of us have remarkable moments. Tommy had a remarkable life, every day. Touching all of us in countless ways. I was not even on the radar in terms of being one of Tommy’s inner-circle, but it was enough just to have contact occasionally.

Everyone always says how someone will be missed. Often, that is a temporary thought and we go on to the next point in life. Tommy will actually, truly, for real, always be missed. He was one of a kind.

I just wish he could have finished explaining defensive holding to me, or maybe more about how to live a good life.

May he rest in peace…

We attended funeral services for the Mrs’ Father yesterday.

R. I. P. Don McAninch, my pa-in-law.

On the date of his death, our twin was in flight from Pennsylvania to Texas bringing his wife and 7 month old son. The twin was bringing him to Texas to see his grandfather before he passed away but there just was not enough time. The little fellow was introduced to him anyway.

The funeral home had the immediate family off to the side and up front.

I kept staring at the high dollar wooden box that he was going to be cremated in and simply shook my head. My mind wandered and the preacher man came out and said words that would make you think he knew the deceased.

As “Amazing Grace” was played in a soulful version, I whispered to the Mrs. that he would rather hear Eddy Arnold. She smiled.

The twins sat in the row behind us during services and of course the 7 month old was directly behind me. He’d jabber on occasion and make baby sounds. About midway through services I heard a grunt and another fine grunt indeed. Sure enough during his great grandfather’s funeral service he allowed nature to do its thing.

His grandfather smiled and wiped his eye. The Mrs. said her Dad would have found that funny.

In talking to Don’s brother during visitation, I mentioned that he sure didn’t like me when I first married Rosetta because we eloped. That did bring a smile on his face and he agreed, telling me that he had discussed that with him before; it just took time for him to come around.

Driving back to the house on Goose Creek I asked the Mrs. about funeral services for us as we have talked of this previously and she reiterated the fact that she does not want any visitation or services. None, nare bit.

You got your plans made up for when you kick the bucket? It is a true eye opener indeed at the cost of a funeral service. Why even to run an obituary piece in the big city paper for one day cost $450.00 – well, when you have lots of family to mention.

Heard of a court case once involving a tall person that was to be buried. During visitation the relatives wondered how the funeral home got the long body in the casket. Come to find out the funeral home had cut the person’s legs off to make the body fit. It ended in a lawsuit of course.

Filing period opens for School Trustee elections in May

By BOBBY HORN JR.

EAST HARRIS COUNTY- Forget about the primaries, an election process which has a direct impact on the residents of Crosby, Huffman and McNair has now begun.

Filing began last week for the Crosby, Huffman and Goose Creek CISD Board of Trustees elections.

The election will be held May 15, with early voting beginning on March 16 and lasting through May 11.

Each district will have two seats up for election this year. In Huffman, positions 4 and 5 are on the ballot. Currently, these seats are being held by Pat Buzbee and Kent Hjerpe. As of press time the only candidate to have filed for a place on the ballot is Charles Mason for Position 4. Both of these seats are at-large positions so all voters whithin HISD boundaries can vote.

Crosby has two single-member districts on the ballot. These are Positions 3 and 4 currently held by Lindy Murff and Sheryl Shaw respectively. Position 3 covers the eastern quadrant of the school district, from FM 2100 east to Cedar Bayou and the Liberty County line near Huffman. Position 4 voters are those living in the western parts of Newport, closest to the river with the exception of Section 10.

As of presstime only Shaw has filed for the election. During the election, only those living in the specific districts can vote.

In Baytown, Districts 1 and 4 are on the ballot. These are held by Phletria Barnes and Dr. James Lewis.

District 1 covers the western part of Baytown, primarily the McNair sections north and south of I-10 and extending to the area around Pumphrey Elementary. District 4 in located in Central Baytown. Carl Burg is sole candidate to date. He is running in District 4.

The deadline to file for a spot on either of the three ballots is March 15 at 5 p.m. If a district has no contested races at that time they can, under state law, cancel the election and declare the candidate winner by default.