Jacinto City’s Joyce Raines retires with Send-off dinner event

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH HONOREE

By Allan Jamail

March 1 – March 31 – 2024 – Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. My first Women’s History Month 2024 Honoree is Joyce (Adams) Raines of Jacinto City, Texas. Her birth name is Anneta Joyce Adams.

On Friday, March 1, 2024 at 6 pm, the City of Jacinto City held a retirement celebration party for Joyce Raines. She retired on December 31, 2023 from her City Secretary’s position, which she had held for 36 years. Her service span with the city covered 38 years. She was first employed with the city in 1985 as their Court/Traffic Clerk.

Two years later, in 1987, then-mayor Allan Jamail and the late City Manager JoAnn Griggs had a lunch meeting to discuss and decide who should become City Secretary, due to the late City Secretary Mae Smith’s retirement. Jamail suggested Joyce Raines and Griggs agreed. The rest, as they say, is history.

Her retirement celebration party was held at Jacinto City’s Town Center. Approximately 100 attendees were served delicious beef and chicken fajitas’ catered by Gringo’s Mexican Restaurant. The dessert was a cake with blue and white icing depicting a replica of a cruise ship. Joyce is locally known for vacation cruises, and several of her friends and coworkers who were present have joined her on cruises.

Former Constable and Mayor Chris Diaz was appointed by his wife Mayor Ana Diaz to emcee the party. After a word of prayer by Councilman Allen Lee, the open buffet food line began.

Diaz called to the podium the names of former and current elected, appointed officials and friends of Raines who were in attendance to speak about Joyce. He recognized Linda Jamail, Community Liaison for State Rep. Ana Hernandez. and Prct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s Community Liaison Sandra Zamarripa.

All of the elected’s of the city were present: Mayor Ana Diaz, Council members Carmela Garcia, Mario Gonzales, Allen Lee, Jimmy (JJ) Rivas and Gregg Robinson. They each said basically the same thing, congratulating and thanking Raines for her service to the city.

JC ELECTEDS’ COMMENTS: Lee said he mostly remembers, upon first getting elected, Joyce telling him to now start paying his water bill on time so he won’t have to pay a late charge. Gonzales said he remembers Joyce helping him though some of the difficult experiences he was having after first being elected, and that she has made JC a better place to live. Robinson said Raines is a good friend and has done many good things for the city. Garcia spoke at length on how much help Joyce has been to the city and her, and expressed appreciation for all the city’s events Joyce organized. She said Joyce will always be a part of the city’s family. She praised Raines for being such a good person and said, “Don’t change being the good person you are.” Rivas said he has recognized Joyce as playing a valuable role in the city and thanked her for it.

Mayor Ana Diaz thanked and presented Raines an engraved retirement clock from the city and said Joyce has always been a big help with the annual city events such as the Christmas Parade, Santa on the Fire Truck, and the Easter Egg Hunt.

City Manager Lon Squyres said he had two things to say about Joyce: (1) she hated computers, and (2) the mistake he felt she made when she moved out of the city. He said, “But she’s now corrected that mistake and has moved back to JC.”

Former JC Capital Bank President Al Gutierrez and his wife Deborah gave Joyce a beautiful flowered decorated traveling tumbler. Al retired just 6 months ago and he said to Joyce, “Take my advice now that you’ve retired and do not answer your phone or emails so you can enjoy your freedom.”

Former Constable Gary Freeman, who was present with his dear wife Mary, told Raines she has been a good friend of his wife and him, and they’ve appreciated her for being the good person she is.

Former Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace George Risner said he will always be appreciative for the help she has given his JP court whenever they needed her resources for the his court. And he thanked her for being instrumental in the formation of the Galena Park & Jacinto City Go Texans Committee that has provided college scholarship funds for the local high school graduates.

Police Chief Joe Ayala gave Raines a retirement gift shaped like a big golden egg and a gift card. He said he has spent lots of time with her obtaining information for the police department and he told her she will always be welcome to come by the police station to visit. He then read a Bible scripture: Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Cindy Miller, the former Heritage Hall Director said, “When I began my employment with Jacinto City in 2000, Joyce’s family and mine had already crossed paths years before. My parents were from the same town of Saltillo, Tennessee as Joyce’s and her sister Jean’s family.”

“Both Joyce and her sister Jean were a tremendous help to me when I started at Heritage Hall. I am truly grateful and thankful for the bond we share because of our family’s roots, and the friendship we’ve built working together on city activities. She’s talented in so many areas and one of the hardest workers I have ever known. I cherish you, the guidance, encouragement, and the knowledge you have given me, I wish you the very best,” Miller concluded.

Linda Jamail presented and read the following resolution from Rep. Ana Hernandez.

WHEREAS, Joyce Raines retired as the city secretary of Jacinto City in December 2023, drawing to a close a notable career with the municipality that spanned more than three and a half decades; and

WHEREAS, After moving to Jacinto City in 1959 from Tennessee, Ms. Raines became a member of local government in 1985, when she began working as the municipal court clerk; two years later in 1987 she was appointed city secretary, and her responsibilities included serving as the custodian of records, keeping the minutes at city council meetings, handling open records request, and overseeing the local city elections as the Election Administrator; and

WHEREAS, Over the course of her tenure, Ms. Raines also played an integral role in coordinating special events, such as the Christmas Parade, Santa on the Fire Truck, and Toys for Tots as well as several other city functions; and

WHEREAS, The dedication, professionalism, and commitment to public service demonstrated by Joyce Raines have greatly benefited the residents of Jacinto City and earned her the respect and admiration of her peers, and she may indeed reflect with pride on a career well spent as she embarks on the next exciting chapter of her life.

Adrian Garcia’s Community Liaison Sandra Zamarripa presented Raines a Certificate of Appreciation from Garcia. Zamarripa said, “I’ve not work very long with the county, but when I first met Joyce and learned of her long tenure with the city, it inspired me. I was so impressed with her dedication and work ethics; it really charged me to try to obtain that same commitment with my job as she’s done all these years. She’s been so nice and helpful to me and I’ll always strive to maintain our friendship.”

Former Mayor Chris Diaz thanked Raines for her service and thanked everyone who helped with Joyce’s party. He said, “In regards to my being one of the mayors when Joyce was city secretary, I was like the problem child and/or black sheep of the bunch that’s worked with her.”

Former Mayor Mike Blasingame was present, but when Diaz called him to come up to say a word about Joyce, he wouldn’t get up and come forward to the podium as all the others had. He remained seated in the back and said some unintelligible words.

Former Mayor Allan Jamail said: “When Joyce and her sister and brother-in-law Jean and Damus Garey came to Texas and helped make Jacinto City a better place to live in 1959 from Tennessee, it reminded him of others like Davy Crockett and his 30 fellow Tennesseans who came from Tennessee in 1839 to help defend the Alamo, and which this led to Texas getting its independence from Mexico.”

He said it was fitting to honor Joyce today because Women’s History Month started today on March 1st. He said had this event been a few days later, it would have been on his 80th birthday of March 20th.

Jamail said he first met Joyce 39 years ago in 1985 when she became the city’s Court Clerk. Two years later in 1987, when he was mayor, she became city secretary, a position she held for 37 years until retiring, proving us to be right.

He continued, “One day Joyce brought her daughter Nikki as a small child into my Mayor’s office. She had a red ribbon in her hair, I can still see her now. Joyce always put ribbons in Nikki’s hair as a child. Now Nikki has given Joyce 2 granddaughters, Jordyn & Kelsey.”

Jamail said Raines worked with seven mayors and three city managers. She always treated each of the different mayors with the same respect as the others. She never meddled in politics and kept her mind on her job, which she has done very well.

Former Mayor Jamail said most any event in the city in the past 37 years has Joyce’s fingerprints on them. Maybe she was not always out front where you could see her, but behind the scene she touched those events in some way. She was his and others’ go-to. If you wanted to know anything going on or coming up in JC, you went to Joyce.

Jamail also said Kathy Greiner (city’s bookkeeper) and Joyce were his “Gold Dust Twins”; they worked as a team. Gold Dust Twins refers to anytime there are two people who have like interests and work with one another to achieve their interest and goal.

“My one word to describe Joyce is loyalty. Loyalty comes in different types. Not everyone can demonstrate loyalty. There’s loyalty with your co-workers, loyalty with friends, loyalty within your family loyalty to your employer, etc… Joyce has been the true example of loyalty. She’s been a blessing to Jacinto City and was very loyal to it.”

He concluded by asking the mayor and council to consider making a Joyce Raines Day in the city. Just six months ago they made an Al Gutierrez Day for his service to his bank. Joyce deserves that same recognition for her service to the city.

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