Reporting Bud Gillett
TIOGA (CBSDFW.COM) - As Randy Travis’ condition worsened this week, people in his adopted home town of Tioga (in Grayson County) prayed for him as though he was always as one of their own. Banners went up on the outskirts of town Wednesday before Travis took a turn for the worse, urging people to pray for the country crooner. “We’re just sending prayers,” said Myrt Mitchell, one of the people behind those banners. She spent Wednesday helping create them, and putting them up that night… before news of Travis’ emergency surgery. “It’s horrible,” she said of the singer’s downturn, “everybody in town is talking about it, Facebook is just blowing up.”
Before Travis moved to the community a few years ago, Tioga’s claim to country music fame was as the birthplace of Gene Autry, whose legend still looms large. But Travis has embraced the spirit of community and volunteerism in Tioga, and in return people have welcomed him. “He’s done a lot for this town,” said Mitchell.
“Any time they have a benefit, he’s there. He has donated things to the fire department and the police department.”
Mitchell’s grandson helped place the banners, and considers it a privilege. “It felt great,” Peyton Lindsay told CBS 11 News, “because that means I’m giving support to Randy Travis.”
In addition to donating his time and name, Travis has supplied personal items for charity auctions. His sense of giving seems boundless. He autographed a guitar displayed for one of the owners of Clark’s Outpost Barbecue in Tioga. Co-owner James Hilliard says Travis is just a regular guy. “He’s been in here and people come up to him for autographs when he’s in the middle of taking a bite or in conversation with somebody and he’ll stop what he’s doing and sign autographs.
While Tioga residents are aware of some recent run-ins Travis with the law, folks here accept them as mistakes and are not judgmental. “He’s very friendly and very respectful of people,” Hilliard said adding, “And he treats people the same way he’d like to be treated.”
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