Candidates selected for Island oral history project

Special to the PRESS

At their June meeting, the South Padre Island Historic Preservation Committee began making plans to conduct an Oral History Program with video interviews of members of the community who were instrumental figures during the development of the City. The committee revisited the discussion and moved forward with the project at last week’s meeting.

Due to health concerns, committee member Joe Townsend, who had taken charge of the Oral History Project, resigned from both the Historical Preservation Committee and Economic Development Corporation. Unsure of who would take over in his absence, members decided to submit names for the list to be the first candidates interviewed.

For the ongoing project, the committee will select a few names at a time for interviews. The first seven people selected were Troy Giles, Dennis and Richard Franke, Melba Fassold, Speck Sanders, Mary Ann Tous and Sherman Lee.

According to committee member Susan LeMiles, “The list is composed of people who were involved in the Island’s development and eyewitnesses to events that had great impact on the Island.” She added, “Troy Giles, Dennis and Richard Franke are all leaders regarding Island development.

Melba Fassold was/is an advocate and leader in establishing safety and emergency services. Speck Sanders was a driving force and intricately involved in the establishment of South Padre Island as a city. Mary Ann Tous is a relative of ‘The Turtle Lady’ and has carried forward the message and work of environmentalism and nature tourism. Sherman Lee has been through every storm, ‘disaster,’ ‘triumph’ and economic cycle that has come and gone.”

LeMiles also noted that the committee has not specified a method or timeline for distribution but will consider print publication, SPI website postings, recordings at a future South Padre Island Museum and any other suggestions.

The project will remain on future agendas for updates, further selection, discussion and action.

In addition, the committee revisited the planning to clean historical markers on both county and city property. Members decided to wait until at least September when the traffic on the Island slows down. Committee members also considered reaching out to volunteer groups connected to beach cleanups as well as to the Point Isabel School District.

The next meeting for the SPI Historic Preservation Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11 at 4:15 p.m.

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