State Rep. Toureilles recognized him in Austin today

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Rev. Joe Nathan Ferrell and his wife, Ruth Ferrell stood on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives as State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles recognized Rev. Ferrell as Pastor of the Day today.

"I believe Rev. Ferrell deserves to be recognized for his service to the community," Toureilles said Monday morning.

Rev. Ferrell, 81, had a resolution read in his honor on the floor of the legislature at the state capitol in Austin today.

The recognition as Pastor of the Day was read by State Rep. Toureilles this afternoon. Rev. Ferrell led the prayer at the House Chambers.

Ferrell said Alice has been his town for 24 years.

"Since I've been in this town, it has been good to me," he said.

In August 2006, Ferrell Avenue street posts were erected to rename Old Falfurrias Highway by the city, which was approved by the council on June 26, 2006.

Ferrell is currently an assistant pastor at The Christian Church and has served in the ministry for almost 60 years in California, Texas, Washington, Arizona and Kansas under the 5th Episcopal District. He began his ministry at the age of 23 in 1947 in Fort Worth. Ferrell came to Alice in 1983 and took the ministry at the Bethel Church affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1984, Ferrell initiated the first black history program here along with a scholarship to recognize and celebrate black history and its culture.

He was born in Marshall and graduated from H.B. Pemberton High School in 1943 where he was student body president.

Ferrell stressed that in today's society, the youth need to stay in school and better themselves.

"Get your education, if you don't, you are out of order…If you drop out, get your GED because if you don't, you are out of order," he said. "Who will invest in you if you are not helping yourself?"

Since moving to Alice, Ferrell has remained active in the community. He has been a member of the planning and zoning committee for the city, Chaplain for the Jim Wells County jail in the late 1990s and involved as a committee member for the Alice Public Library. He has received several honors, including a proclamation from former Congressman Kika De La Garza for his community service in the mid-1980s and was chosen Man of the Year in the early 1980s.

Rev. Ferrell said helping each other so that everyone gets an opportunity in life is what everyone should live by. His favorite song lyric is one he strives to emulate, he said.

"If I can help somebody as I pass along," he said. "Then, my living hasn't been in vain."