A former state senator and a television news anchor are among this year's inductees into the Carthage High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, the Carthage ISD Education Foundation has announced.
Chris Paddie, Blake Holland, Doris Gibbs and Gene Giles will be honored Friday, Sept. 23 at the Homecoming game and at a special reception that evening at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame from 4:20 to 6:30 p.m.
Doris Gibbs, '57
The late Doris Wilkerson Gibbs graduated in 1957 before earning her bachelor's degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. She began her teaching career in Brazosport in 1960. Between 1965 and 1994, she taught first grade at Elysian Fields, where she instructed her students to "help others, use your God-given and acquired talents to make this world a better place, be inclusive when celebrating accomplishments, and never lose hope."
She received the Elysian Fields Distinguished Yellow Jacket Award in 2006. In 2009, along with her husband Basel, Doris was named Citizen of the Year by the Panola County Chamber of Commerce, where she also served as a Board Member and Ambassador.
"Doris, who was born and reared of modest means in the community of Deadwood, lived as an example of what a good citizen is with her service to the community she loved," the foundation said.
Gibbs served on the board of directors of the Deadwood Cemetery Association, was involved and helped steward the Deadwood Community Water Supply, was an active supporter of the Galloway-Deadwood Volunteer Fire Department, was an active member of the Deadwood United Methodist Church, was an active member of the Texas Retired Teachers Association and served on the board of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Gibbs was also an active member of Panola County agriculture development and a vigorous supporter of youth in agriculture.
"Doris became one of the stalwarts of service in Panola County and other areas in East Texas, much like her parents Brodie LaGrone Wilkerson and Doris Wilkerson, who were successful grocery merchants: a family whose name is synonymous with service," the foundation said. "Doris celebrated 58 years of marriage to the love her life Basel Gibbs before he preceded her in death in 2019. She joined her beloved Basel on April 26, 2022, leaving behind a legacy burnished by time and memorialized in the minds of those fortunate enough to have known her."
Gene Giles, '72
Gene Giles graduated 50 years ago before earning his associate's degree at Panola College and a bachelor's degree at Stephen F. Austin State University. He began his career at Valmac Poultry Processing and Louisiana Pacific before joining First State Bank and Trust in 1978. He currently works as bank president and director at First State.
In addition to his career, Giles is a longtime member of the Carthage Fire Department. He has been a volunteer with CFD for 40 years and has served as assistant chief for more than 30 years. He has also taught at the Texas A&M Municipal Fire School for 15 years and the Northeast Texas Fire School for 20 years. He served a six-year term on the Texas Commission on Fire Protection and serves on the Panola County Emergency Service District No. 1 board.
"Gene exemplifies an alumnus who has embraced his hometown and his alma mater, devoting his professional knowledge and his volunteerism right here at home," the education foundation said in a press release.
In 1986 and 2006, Giles was named Carthage Fireman of the Year. He has also been named City of Carthage Citizen of the Year and has received the Boy Scouts of America Attoyac District Service Award. He has also served as founding member, director and treasurer for Mission Carthage; treasurer for the Salvation Army; board member for the Panola County Chamber of Commerce; City of Carthage Building Trades and Board of Adjustments and Appeals; Lion's Club; the Carthage ISD District-Wide Improvement Council; Panola College and CISD Education Foundations; Panola County Cattlemen's Association; and the Titus Class and Scholarship Committee at Central Baptist Church.
Giles is married to wife Brenda Watson Giles, and they have two daughters, Crista Black and Cara Morris, as well as four grandchildren: Cameron Black, Connor Black, Landry Morris and Campbell Morris.
"A native of Long Branch, Gene also enjoys managing the family farm that was established by his grandparents in 1927, then purchased by his parents, Charles and Faye Cariker Giles. His two sisters Judy Baushke and Nancy Roark and twin brother Dean enjoy family and friend gatherings there to celebrate the family legacy," the education foundation said.
Chris Paddie, '92
After graduation, Chris Paddie earned a degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M in 1996 and moved to Houston, where he "worked with numerous national corporations and small businesses to provide efficient and affordable solutions for construction projects."
He returned to East Texas and became general manager of the KMHT radio station in Marshall before being elected to the Marshall City Commission in 2008 and selected by commissioners to be mayor.
"Chris was known for his honesty, steadfast leadership, and his strong conservative values, as well as his ability to work with all parties," the education foundation said.
Paddie ran and was elected to five terms in the Texas House of Representatives, holding numerous leadership positions including Chairman of State Affairs and Energy Resources. During his service on the Texas Sunset Commission, he focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of state agencies.
"While in the Texas Legislature, Chris authored and passed some of the most impactful bills that created or improved policies in the areas of economic development, energy, emerging technologies, public education, and public safety," the education foundation said.
Paddie was twice named one of the Top 10 Legislators by Texas Monthly. He has previously been honored as Exemplary Conservative for Transportation and an overall Effective Conservative by the Conservative Roundtable of Texas. He was also named a Champion for Free Enterprise by the Texas Association of Business. The Texas Conservative Roundtable named Paddie a Lone Star Conservative Leader. He has also been named one of the Best in the House by the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas.
"Chris' years in the Texas Legislature afforded him the opportunity to foster close relationships with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle and state and local leaders," the education foundation said. "After retiring from the House, Chris has taken those relationships along with his knowledge and understanding of how to successfully navigate the legislative process and launched Capitol Vision, his consulting firm in Austin. Here, he continues to work to shape and affect good policy for all Texans."
Paddie is a former Chairman of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Big Pines, and he served on the board of directors for the Marshall Harrison County Literacy Council and Junior Achievement for East Texas. Chris married his high school sweetheart Brooke Hanszen (Carthage High School Class of 1993), and they have two sons, Christopher and Noah. The family attends Immanuel Baptist Church in Marshall.
Blake Holland, '15
Blake Holland was already an established newsman by the time he graduated in 2015, the education foundation said.
Holland was hired by KLTV 7 News in Tyler before graduating from the University of North Texas. He works as an anchor and multimedia journalist for KLTV. He has been named First Place Best Anchor by the Texas AP Broadcasters and co-anchors the No. 1 rated weekday 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts at KLTV.
"Blake is always quick to recognize our area, our schools, students, public ofﬁcials, and communities, looking for the good in people," the foundation said. "Blake's dedication and kindness demonstrate a servant's heart. He volunteers his talents with several organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Gold Network of East Texas."