Heritage honor goes to Bill Reagan

September 23, 2018

HARLINGEN — Tremendously gifted and humane were the words Harlingen Police Chief Jeffry Adickes used to describe his good friend Bill Reagan.

It was just minutes before Adickes announced Reagan, the longtime executive director of Loaves and Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley, as the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce Heritage Award winner Thursday night at the TSTC Cultural Arts Center.

The award is the most coveted of the night and represents someone who has given to the community for many years.

“This recipient is someone I have the utmost respect for in the city,” Adickes told the crowd of more than 200.

According to Adickes, Reagan was one of the first people to reach out to him upon his arrival from Austin nearly four years ago. Adickes suggested some of their battles are similar against homelessness.

“He gave me a tour, and by the time I left, I was extremely touched,” Adickes said of what Reagan does on a daily basis. “This man embodies five loaves and two fishes. What he does there is amazing.”

That’s not all. Adickes said any time there is a weather event, Reagan calls the Police Department and City Hall and lets everyone know there are beds and meals available at Loaves and Fishes.

“The Heritage Award, I can’t think of a person who deserves it more,” Adickes said, before asking his friend to come up to the stage for his award as the crowd stood and clapped.

An emotional Reagan made his way to the stage to accept his award.

“I am a little emotional these days,” Reagan said as tears formed and his voice broke. “I am flabbergasted.”

He thanked the chief for his words.

“I have lived a quarter of my life in Harlingen and it has been the happiest times of my life,” Reagan said. “I have so many wonderful friends here, and I am grateful to all of you.”

Earlier, Adickes talked about what he thinks of Harlingen as a native of Austin.

“There is an energy and spirit that flows through every city,” he said. “I have said, Austin is my hometown, but dollar for dollar and person for person, Harlingen is a more generous city. I can say that from the heart.”

It’s people like Reagan that make Harlingen that way every day.

“It means so much more to me than you could ever imagine,” Reagan said about his award as he ended his brief speech.

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