Earlier this week, Mickey Barker and Neal Barker each resigned from their positions on Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District Board. Brad Johnson and Steve McCullough were recommended to fill those seats as Hopkins County’s representatives on the NETEX Board.
Hopkins County Commissions Court unanimously approved a resolution during the Jan. 18, 2022, court session officially appointing Johnson and McCullough to replace Mickey Barker and Neal Barker on the NETEX Board of Directors.
Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom offered thanks to Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker and his nephew, Neal Barker, who have both served on the (NETEX) Board of Directors for the past few years.
Newsom said the NETEX Board at one time was not making as much progress as it seems to currently be doing.
“I want to give a lot of credit to Neal Barker and to Mickey Barker for your service, because things changed when you got on the board, truly positive changes,” the county judge said. “We’re excited to have new members coming on but we want to honor you.”
Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley noted the difficulties he faced while serving on the NETEX Board. He stepped down when Mickey Barker agreed to fill his seat on the Baord.
“I had the had the opportunity to serve on the board prior to Mickey Barker,” Bartley said. “During that time, it seemed like things were going backwards. It was a tough, futile effort to try to get anything done. I felt it was time for me to step back. When Mickey came on board, he faced some challenges, then Neal came in. I know, Brad Johnson back there was big in a lot of it too, he represented the Coop. It’s made a lot of progress and it’s good to see that because it’s going to help our economy around here in Hopkins County and surrounding counties also. I applaud you for the work you did.”
Newsom presented a plaque to each, to “thank you for your service to Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District Board. Your time and your talents made a very positive difference to the railroad and to Hopkins County.”
The commissioner’s plaque noted his service from 2018 to 2022, and Neal Barker, who has served as treasurer of the NETEX Board for a couple of years and told the board earlier this month that he did not wish to be reelected as treasurer, denoted his service from 2019 to 2022 on the NETEX Board.
Neal Barker offered thanks to the Commissioners Court for asking him to represent Hopkins County on the board.
“It meant a lot to me. In 2019, I was just at a place in my life where I had to kinda serve and I knew about this railroad from previous projects and from several years of learning about it. So, when I spoke to Commissioner Bartley and to you judge. Then, you guys kind of put your faith in me to get on there an make it better, I can’t express that. It meant a lot to me. We did make progress. The whole board did. I’m just thankful that you entrusted that to me. Thank you for letting me put 2 years in,” Neal Barker said.
Mickey Barker said he’s served about 4 years on the board. The organization bylaws call for members to step down or change every 2, so he is stepping down.
“My love is for that rural rail transportation district that we have. It’s very vital to this Northeast Texas area. I cannot explain to you how vital it is to us. So, that’s why my passion is for the rail and I believe its the same for Neal, and I’m sure the two new members will have that same passion,” Mickey Barker said.
“Oh, they do,” Neal quickly noted.
Newsom then called on Brad Johnson and Steve McCullough, who were recommended to fill the two seats vacated by Neal and Mickey Barker, to join the outgoing NETEX Board members, Mickey Barker, Neal and Shannon Barker (who was named executive director of Hopkins County Healthcare Foundation in September 2020) and their 2 children, before the court.
McCullough recently moved to Sulphur Springs with his wife, and is Neal Barker’s father-in-law. Brad Johnson is general manager for Northeast Texas Farmers Co-op
“We’re glad to have you in Sulphur Springs and really glad that you’re willing to serve on this board,” Newsom told McCullough.
Newsom noted Brad Johnson’s faithfulness in attending so many of the NETEX meetings in the past few years.
“I just want to add that these two individuals bring a lot of knowledge of the rail to the table. We didn’t just pick them out of the phone book. They have a lot of knowledge concerning the rail and rail in general so think they’d be very good assets to the board,” Commissioner Barker said of Johnson and McCullough.