Dozens to be honored Saturday at Bill Dirks Awards Ceremony

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Nov 16, 2007 - The Hopkins County African American Leadership Conference will present almost 40 awards Saturday to area peace officers, firefighters and others at the first Bill Dirks Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony.

The ceremony is slated to begin at 6 p.m. at the Cypress District Building, located at 400 Como St.

Bill Dirks was the first African American sheriff of Hopkins County.

"His life is a living legend," according to a press release from the Hopkins County African American Leadership Conference, which is hosting the awards presentations. "He is a devoted man of God; family values are paramount in his life, a veteran with an honorable discharge, a community and civic leader, and a loving father and grandfather."

Dirks started his 16-year career in the Hopkins County Sheriff's Office in the early 1980s. He was named chief deputy after Mark Bassham was elected sheriff in 1998, then appointed sheriff in 1990 when Bassham resigned to become an investigator for the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers' Assocation. Dirks was elected to a full term in 1992.

Former Hopkins County Judge Joe Minter will be the keynote speaker for the event, which is open to the public. There is no charge for admission, and free food will be served after the program.

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