Occasionally in the life of a community someone comes along who transcends the high calling of helping others through both their professional and personal involvement with a purpose that inspires us all.
My wife Sylvia and I have had the opportunity to know such a person for the past five decades. But we are simply fortunate to be among a cast of countless others who have shared that privilege.
Being neighbors with Faye Reeder and her family in those early years led to her and my wife becoming friends in the days of their PTA work at Key Elementary, Gunn Jr. High and Martin High School as our children attended school together.
That relationship even opened the door for Faye’s son Brandon to be named as the Texas PTA student legislative liaison, an opportunity that ultimately led to the development of his current long and successful career representing clients across the state with their lawmakers in Austin.
As a close friend, Faye was whom Sylvia called upon for a quick ride to the hospital when she couldn’t locate me on the occasion of the onset of labor that was quickly going to result in the birth of our youngest daughter.
Their relationship expanded when Faye joined the efforts to launch the River Legacy Foundation and its mission to build the Living Science Nature Center and further enhance the community’s experience in what became the city’s largest park project.
Later I would have the opportunity to recommend her services to the Star-Telegram, where she became the paper’s community representative across the cities the paper served.
In that role, she became involved in just about every event, activity and occasion of the community’s charitable and public service organizations. That meant she worked every day and most nights as an active leader and participant helping to improve the quality of life for incalculable numbers of people.
She probably holds the record as the person who has attended more meetings, parades, community concerts, receptions, luncheons, dinners and myriad fund-raising events than anyone else.
While I don’t have an actual accounting of it, I feel perfectly safe in saying that very likely there are no community service organizations that have not benefited from Faye’s work both in her capacity as a newspaper representative and simply serving personally as an active volunteer with their work.
Her job included authoring weekly columns in the paper and all its electronic outlets that made her the “go-to source” for information about what was taking place throughout the area.
That almost 20-year career came to a conclusion with her recent retirement that has led to an outpouring of congratulatory and grateful expressions that have lit up the social media in ways rarely seen before.
Hundreds of likes, shares, and comments have come from community leaders, school board and city council members, service clubs, non-profits, grateful citizens and friends wanting to express their appreciation for her service and love.
I’ve room here for just a couple that represent so many more who have wanted to express their appreciation for this special lady.
The Star-Telegram’s former executive editor Jim Witt’s Facebook post summed up the view from the paper: “You’ve been the epitome of what the Star-Telegram should represent.”
Retired teacher and principal Jeanne Paull-Turner recognized the depth of Faye’s involvement: “Life presents opportunities and the best people take those great opportunities and do for others. You are a treasure!”
By her side throughout her record involvement in all the activities and events of our area, her husband Jim Reeder may have said it best: “Congratulations to my incredible wife. You have made an amazing difference in the lives of so many. Well done. I love you dearly.”
Confident that God has plans for their future, Jim concludes that he is looking forward to the blessings yet to come in their lives together as they enjoy travel, family and lots of activities among the community they both love and that loves them back.
Richard Greene served as Arlington’s mayor from 1987-1997, was appointed by President George W. Bush as Regional Administrator to the EPA, and currently teaches in the University of Texas at Arlington’s graduate program in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.