Rockport Mayor Patrick Rios presented the “Spirit of Rockport” Award to Tana Neel and James Smith at the Tuesday, July 14 Rockport City Council meeting.

Neel began volunteering at the local animal shelter several years ago and saw that many of the dogs where not leaving the shelter. She knew something needed to be done and began researching rescue programs.

She started taking photos of the dogs and sending them to outside organizations. As her actions began producing results, she started the non-profit Another Chance RFT in late 2016, which facilitates fostering, adoption, and relocation of dogs from the Aransas County Animal Control.

All dogs receive medical care at a discounted rate from three local veterinarian clinics - Companion, Horizon, and Rockport - before continuing on to their forever homes. Another Chance RFT is an all-volunteer organization with operating costs funded by grants, special events and donations. To date, more than 1,300 dogs have been saved.

Smith is a familiar face at Rockport City Council meetings. Sometimes, the only face when no one is there to address items on the agenda. A resident for more than a decade, Smith knows the importance of being an involved and informed citizen.

“For 13 years I served in an elected position on the County Water District Board in my Colorado town,” he said. “It was disheartening to sit up there and none of the residents showed up for meetings or budget hearings. I vowed then, that I would always support the local government wherever I lived.”

Smith is a volunteer with the Coastal Fishery Division of Texas Parks and Wildlife and a regular blood donor. Recently, he stepped up to buy gifts cards for needy families when the ACISD free lunch program ended.

About the award

The “Spirit of Rockport” award was developed to recognize individuals and organizations that exemplify the unique spirit of Rockport and go above and beyond to make the community a better place.  Each recipient receives a limited edition, commemorative medal designed specifically for the city’s Sesquicentennial.

The city is accepting nominations for the award, and presentations will be made at council meetings. Additionally, the city seeks to recognize the oldest living resident and the first child to be born in 2020. Nomination forms are available on the Sesquicentennial page of the City’s web site

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