Character Counts Scholarship
2019 Winning Teachers
Bridgeport ISD - Mrs. Lori Hancock
Decatur ISD - Coach David Park
Tommy and Virginia Williams have been pillars of this community for many decades. Virginia was a Wise County native. Words of character like caring, loving, faithful, strong and passionate describe who she was and the legacy she left for her exceptionally large family. Virginia spent nearly 4 decades battling a long list of medical problems that included 4 bouts with cancer. She lived many of those years with chronic, excruciating pain, yet that is not how any of us remember her. We remember a never-ending, beautiful smile, a kind, gentle greeting, a person who was always happy to see people and was always put together perfectly. Her funeral was the type of very well attended service that left no doubt that Virginia’s positive influence reached well beyond her family. It was one of the most inspirational services I’ve ever attended that left me wanting to be a better person…to sharpen my own character so that I may help sharpen others.
Virginia’s husband, Tommy Williams, is a person that you love the first time you meet him. He is also passionate, dependable, trustworthy, funny and caring. Aren’t these wonderful attributes of great character?! Tommy started Tom’s Pool Service 49 years ago and his business was built on these characteristics. Even in his later years after his grandson took over the pool building, he could be seen supervising the construction day after day and cleaning pools until he was 80 years old. When I think of Tommy Williams, however, I think of Agape love. The type of love that supersedes our ability to understand. The type of love that God has for us. Throughout the last 4 decades of Virginia’s life when she was battling health issues, he was her stalwart caretaker and companion. Always gentle, caring, kind and smiling. He cared for her tirelessly and patiently despite his having to deal with his own back pain and back surgery. They always came as a pair and they always made you glad to see them. When I hear or read 1 Corinthians 13 “Love is patient and kind….love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.” I cannot help but think of Tommy Williams.
The Character Counts program is phasing in a new component of recognition. Over time, we will give each school’s students the opportunity to select a teacher that has had a tremendous impact on them and made them want to be better people. These winning teachers will be presented with awards, receive recognition among their peers and their community and receive a cash grant. Through this program, we hope to let our teachers know that we value time and effort spent to leave positive, lasting impacts on our children. The name of this new and very special award will be the “Tommy and Virginia Williams Excellence in Character Award.”