BIG SANDY — Hugs, photos and small talk were not in short supply Wednesday as Big Sandy residents warmly welcomed Gov. Rick Perry for a small town Fourth of July breakfast of fresh, hot waffles.
“Well, how y’all doin’?” Perry said, greeting the crowd that packed the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship Church to catch a glimpse of the governor and former presidential candidate.
As a guest at the Big Sandy Rotary Club’s annual Independence Day waffle breakfast, Perry spoke to a full house about the importance of America’s freedom and remembering the sacrifices that are made daily to preserve it.
“Today is great day to think about the freedoms that we have in this country,” he said. “We think about this extraordinary country that we live in and how blessed we are to wake up every day in a country that was founded on principles that our founding fathers did get right.”
“We have strong beliefs, a strong community, and we’re very proud of what we do,” Patty Jones, Big Sandy Rotary Club president, said.
Perry made a speech that commemorated not only the day, but also the people who have willingly given up their lives to protect their country. To him, that fact only is cause for celebration and remembrance.
“Today is when we stop and think about how fortunate we are and to honor those who defend those freedoms,” he told the Tyler Morning Telegraph after the speech. “They allow all people here to live without having to be under the heavy hand of tyranny.”
“We’ve proven that it can be done,” he said during the speech. “We’ve survived to inspire others and spread the principles of freedom.”
Growing up in Paint Creek, a little community just outside of Haskell, Perry knows the lifestyle of small towns and enjoys helping and visiting them.
“This is a little community, and I’m blessed to get to go to a lot of different places as I represent this state, but Big Sandy is kind of a reflection of who I am,” he told the crowd. “I really enjoy going to our smaller communities.”
“Part of the Rotary here is to support the community. This is always our biggest fundraiser of the year.”
Mrs. Jones appreciated Perry speaking to their little town, saying that he could have been anywhere in the state or with his family to celebrate this holiday.
“This was his true-blue self coming out today,” she said. “He didn’t come to meet his needs but to meet ours.”