Texas Bank & Trust (TB&T) has provided Buckner Children and Family Services with a title sponsorship. For the last 13 years TB&T has been such a faithful sponsor for this event that it is known as the Texas Bank and Trust Sporting Clays Challenge. This annual double-barrel (clay) bird blaster is Buckner’s most profitable local fund-raiser. All proceeds from this event benefit local families served by Buckner Children and Family Services.

The Clay Pigeon Shootout was a three-day skeet celebration held July 11-13 at Prairie Creek Sporting Clays at 15250 County Road 3111 in Gladewater. The event has become a staple, anticipated attraction for those involved, both shooters and onlookers, none of whom allow the blistering heat of an East Texas July to keep them away. Texas Bank and Trust’s Scott Dickerson co-chaired and emceed the event; explained that July is the ideal time of year for it because spring has too much inclement weather, and autumn is hunting season. Dickerson also describes TB&T as a faith-based institution that takes corporate citizenship seriously. Upon the event’s inception in 1999 TB&T perceived an opportunity to become a Title Sponsor, and thus it now holds the highest status of sponsorship.

“The work Buckner Children and Family Services does is near and dear to us,” said Dickerson. “They take care of the most vulnerable in our community, provide adoption and foster care services, summer lunch programs, back-to-school supply train, prevention programs, senior adult services and much more.”

Dickerson took his praise yet higher.

“Buckner’s work in the community has positive long-term effects, consequently the bank’s interest in supporting Buckner,” he continued. “The more we can strengthen our community the better off it is for everyone.”

Shootout participants were also delighted by the opportunity to test their marksmanship on high-speed targets called clay pigeons, clay rabbits or simply clay targets.

Shooter Laney Newman from the firm Johnson and Pace is an ardent sportsman.

“I like the fun and the smell of gun powder,” he said. “But most important of all is the opportunity to support a worthy cause.”

Wade Johnson is another Johnson and and Pace employee, and this is his sixth time to participate in the shoot. His reasons for taking part are simple and unselfish.

“It is a good cause,” he said. “I love to get out and shoot.” John Livingston is yet another Sporting Clays Challenge fan. A STEMCO employee, he was part of two of his company’s teams that took part in the shoot. STEMCO employee Stephen Trull personified his firm’s commitment to family by bringing his wife Kate, son Ty and daughter Alexis. The event was also strictly non-sexist even though shooting has a masculine connotation.

Two all-women teams took part and shattered many clay pigeons. It was just one more of the day’s attractions, which included raffling off a 2012 Nissan Altima.

Buckner Administrator David Ummel explained his company’s role as a community and global partner.

“For over 134 years Buckner has been caring for children, families and the elderly locally as in Longview and in 18 international locations,” he said. “We are grateful to Perry Creek for hosting the event. We thank Texas Bank and Trust, our title sponsor of 14 years, Patterson Nissan for donating the Nissan Altima that was raffled off, Lonesome Charles for providing the awards. We are appreciative of all the sponsors, donors and volunteers who gave to the event.”

TB&T Vice-President for Public Relations Karen Partee described her bank’s 14 years as sponsor as being the best example of its commitment to public service.

“Our bank empowers [its] employees to give their time, talent and treasures as evidenced in the 14th annual Texas Bank and Trust Sporting Clays Challenge,” she said. “We are a community bank. We live, work and play in the community where we are located whether it is in Longview, Cushing, Gladewater, Tyler, Marshall, San Augustine or Terrell.”

This poignant articulation of her bank’s concept of public service and corporate responsibility is easy to understand and appreciate. A Title Sponsorship of 14 years is an example of how TB&T goes beyond what is generally perceived as the “normal” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of institutions the size of hers. TB&T exercises positive social actions in every community where the bank is located because being one of the best corporate citizens is central to its mission for public service.

“We work closely with our customers, and believe the more we help the least in our community the better off everyone will be,” said Partee. “We work on fulfilling the dreams of our customers. When our customers do well, we do well, and this goes for all the places where we have branches.”

After emphasizing TB&T’s faith-base she added, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Event Co-Chair Frank Chaney has overseen the shoot since its inception. He praised Buckner Children and Family Services Special Event Coordinator Kim Wright for putting the “real sparkle” in the occasion. When asked why the event has grown so much he replied, “It is a good event, and we make sure participants know that the funds raised are used for area children and families.

A great admirer of Buckner, Chaney added, “The quality of services that Buckner delivers is unmatched. They fill a niche and provide services that touch and change lives. Buckner opens doors for people.”

This year’s clay shot raised approximately $200,000 to finance local Buckner ministries. Participants also came out ahead. Attendee James Hortman won the Altima.

Skeet winners were the team from Howell Oil and Gas, who shot a 386 out of as possible 400. Wright described this marksmanship as, “pretty incredible!”

Buckner started serving vulnerable children and families throughout Northeast Texas in 1992. In 2012 Buckner assisted 8632 people through foster and adoption programs, services to At-Risk Youth (the STAR program,) parenting education, Jobs for Life, Ninos de Promesa, and the Family Hope Center. Buckner also provides a home for 282 senior citizens at Westminster Place. This living community for the elderly provides for assisted living, independent living and advanced memory care.

Buckner Children and and Family Services is a branch of Buckner International. This global Christian ministry serves more than 450,000 people yearly in the United States and in 18 other countries.

For more information on Buckner, or to learn how to serve on its committees please visit www.buckner.org or call Kim Wright at (903) 757-9383.