Weatherford College has announced that retired Weatherford Fire Marshal Kurt Harris has been selected as the 2016 WC Alumnus of the Year. He will be honored during the Annual Alumni Awards Luncheon April 15, along with Distinguished Alumni Award honorees Shaun Martin, Prissy Neely and Wayne Slimp.
Harris joined the U.S. Army reserves shortly after graduating from WC in 1969. He spent six years in the military and then 39 years employed by the Weatherford Fire Department. He began his career as a firefighter before being promoted to Captain and then to Fire Marshal for 24 years. The city awarded him their first Lifetime Achievement Award upon his retirement, an award that is now named after him.
His career also included two years as the Assistant State Fire Marshal for Inspections and his current position as the Assistant Parker County Fire Marshal. He served as President of the Texas Fire Marshals Association and was named the state’s Arson Investigator of the year in 2006.
Harris has also served in a number of civic leadership roles, including President of the Campbell Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, President of the Weatherford High School Booster Club and leadership positions in his church.
He said his time at WC was an important step in his overall growth and maturity.
“I have stated many times over the years that Weatherford College is one of the crown jewels of Parker County, and, as a citizen, I could not be more proud of what they have become,” Harris said. “I owe them so much.”
Martin played piano and drums in the WC Jazz Band from 1997 until his graduation in 1999. He has gone on to win five Grammy Awards – three as a producer for Gospel artist Kirk Franklin and two as a musician in the group Snarky Puppy. He recently released his first solo album, “Seven Summers,” which was No. 1 on the iTunes jazz chart in June 2015. Martin is also the longtime Director of Music at Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas.
Neely graduated from WC in 1967 and went right back into the classroom as a teacher in Weatherford ISD. She retired from WISD in 2006. One of her most notable accomplishments is her work on building a new Senior Center as the President of the Parker County Committee on Aging. She worked with donors Jerry and Vickie Durant to broker the donation of land for the new center, which will be built in northwest Weatherford. Recently, she was named Outstanding Citizen of 2015 by the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce.
Slimp attended WC in the 1980s and again in the 2000’s. He has worked as a police officer with the Weatherford Police Department since 1988. He currently serves as the Deputy Chief and has been honored as Officer of the Year and Supervisor of the Year. Slimp has been involved in a number of community organizations including Freedom House, Weatherford Rotary and Weatherford Junior League basketball and baseball.
The Alumni Awards Luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 15, in the Doss Student Center. The public is welcome to attend. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. To purchase tickets call 817-598-6275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.