Sour Lake has an honored tradition of awarding a resident with the “Old Timer Award”. This tradition has been around since the beginning of the now defunct Old Timer’s Day Festival. It is bestowed upon a person who has contributed their time and resources to the Sour Lake community.
For 2017, the award was presented to a man who has deep roots in Hardin County, Ken Pelt. The award presentation took place during the Trunk or Treat Block Party at Sour Lake’s Lions Park.
The Sour Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Rebecca Gardiner, says they have been working to revamp the old festival and reprise the award. They have a nomination committee of local leaders and they send in their nomination ballots. One person’s name was on those ballots this year, Ken Pelt.
Pelt is a long-time Sour Lake resident and has served Hardin County in a variety of ways: Hardin County Commissioner for the last 21 years, 19 years as Judge Pro Team of Hardin County Commissioners Court, Hardin County Historical Commission for 25 years, Founder and President of Petroleum Well Services, Inc. for 25 years, Hardin-Jefferson ISD Board for 12 years, Hardin-Jefferson Varsity Football announcer for 31 years, past President of Big Thicket Association, President of Sour Lake Economic Development for six years, two terms as President of Kirby Hill Museum, two terms as President of Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission, Chairman of the Regional Review Committee for Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange Counties (present), Chairman Texas Commission on Environmental Emissions Advisory Board (present), President of the Ice House Museum in Silsbee (past), and President of the Beaumont Art League (past).
In addition to all of these roles, Pelt is a talented folk artist, author, and poet.
On hand to present the award to Pelt was Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel and State Representative James White.
Rep. White presented a certificate to Pelt and said he is “a great mentor to us and a great example. You’re so fortunate to have someone like this who is a statesman. He is also a scholar and an artist. On behalf of the Texas House of Representatives, here’s a certificate honoring your distinction, I don’t think you’re an old-timer, but you’ve done great Ken. I just want you to know as a believer, a friend, and a fellow elected official, thank you so much for your service to this great county and our great State of Texas.”
Pelt was surprised by the honor. “As I was walking up here and trying to think quickly, I thought about this very place where we’re standing. I attended school here for 12 years and it’s very precious to me. Right across the road where the bus barn is, I played football for five years. About two blocks from here I was born in a little three room brick siding/tar paper siding doctor’s office where the fire station is now. It means a lot to me to get an award from a city that is my hometown, always has been my hometown, and will always be my hometown.”