Please start wearing red on Fridays.

All of you.

This request goes out to not just the ardent supporters of Ricebird football, but also to anyone who has any reason at all to want to see the city and community that is El Campo thrive.

No, simply donning a red shirt is not going to fix all the woes you’ll find from West Alfred to Sam Houston Drive or Ellwood to Roosevelt streets, but it will serve as tangible evidence that you believe in this small Texas town that considers a $10,000 fundraiser “just a little bit of help” and a $200,000 one as “working hard to do what we can.”

I’m not from El Campo and, honestly, there’s still a few bits of its tradition and “normal” day that throw me a curve ball every now and then. However, I choose to call this place home.

A job brought me to “The Pearl Of The Prairie” back in 1993, one I figured I’d keep about six months and then move back to the big city or at least the suburbs.

It’s now been 26 years.

I’m not sure exactly what happened.

Maybe it was something in the water. Or, maybe it was Mr. B who told me I was NOT taking a job. I was joining a family. Perhaps it was the elderly couple who lived next door who started treating me like family almost immediately.

Maybe it was that first firefighter who, at two or three in the morning, offering a big smile, rubbed a sooty glove into my hair and proclaimed, “Good morning, darlin’” or the one who brought me into a room and let someone else set it on fire. Hmmm. Well, I guess that’s possible.

Could be something else, like the folks started trying to decide what family I was related to and the ones who proclaimed, “Yep, she’s one of ours. Somehow.”

Witnessing dozens, no, hundreds of folks dropping everything to answer a need in the community was something amazing at first. Now, I just shrug and say, “That’s the way they do things around here,” before offering a hand myself.

Whatever “it” is, it works in El Campo, Texas, USA, and that’s thanks to you – all of you.

So I ask each of you to join this community wide effort to show your pride in this place we all call home this Friday and every Friday to come.

Why? Because that other person wearing red is probably going to be one of those folks who steps up to help when you’re in need.

Are you willing to do the same?




– Shannon Crabtree is editor & publisher of the El Campo Leader-News.

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