The Panola College Alumni Association is proud to announce the selection of Mr. Charles (Jack) Reeves, Jr. as the 2010 Panola College Alumnus of the Year. Reeves will be recognized at the Panola College graduation ceremony scheduled for Friday, May 14, at 7 p.m. in the Arthur M. Johnson Gymnasium.
Reeves has a long history with Panola College that dates back to September 1, 1948 when he and 55 other athletes reported for the first day of football practice at Panola Junior College. For two weeks the team worked out six or seven hours a day. The squad was eventually pared down to about 30 players. One of those surviving players was Charles W. Reeves, Jr. – “Jack” to his friends.
A native of Carthage, Jack attended Panola College from 1948 to 1950. He played linebacker for the Ponies and sported the number 53 on his jersey. During 1948, the Ponies only won half of their ten game schedule, but they gained a lot of experience.
In 1949 Jack and his fellow Ponies began their second season. The Ponies roared through their schedule, out scoring their ten opponents 293 points to 94. That year, the Ponies won the Eastern Division of the Texas Junior College Athletic Conference. Jack and his fellow players then traveled to Odessa to play the western division champs. Before a crowd of 1,500, the ponies defeated the Odessa Wranglers, 14-7 to win the State Championship. The State Champions then challenged McNeese Junior College to a post-season contest on December 9 at Martin Field in Carthage – the first annual Gas Bowl. The Ponies defeated McNeese 33-8.
Jack and his fellow players earned widespread respect and publicity for Panola Junior College. Their notoriety and success helped the new institution to reach its enrollment goal of 200 students that year, ensuring the future of the College.
In 1952 Jack enlisted in the military. Later that year, he applied for and was accepted to the Aviation Cadet Program and began Primary Flying school at Bainbridge AFB., Georgia. Upon completion of flight training, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at Bryan AFB, Texas on August 17, 1953. For most people this would have been enough excitement for one day, but not for Jack. On that very day he was also awarded his wings, becoming a pilot in the USAF; and most importantly, he married the love of his life, Patsy J. Adams, also of Carthage, Texas.
In 1968 Jack reported to Da Nang AB in Vietnam. While serving in Southeast Asia, he served as Flight Commander and Instructor Pilot and flew 218 combat missions in both the F-4D and F-4E aircraft. During his 28 year Air Force career, he served in numerous capacities that included being an Instructor, Fighter, Tanker, and Bomber Pilot, Inspector General and ultimately Wing Commander at Robins AFB in Georgia.
During his career, Colonel Reeves was awarded the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross (First Leaf Cluster), the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Basic through Tenth Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Force Commendation Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, RVN Gallantry Cross with palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Jack retired from the Air Force in 1980 and returned to Carthage with his family. Later he was hired by R. Lacy, Inc. as a corporate pilot and continued to fly for the next 15 years. Jack has not lost his passion for aircraft. He is currently a member of the Panola County Airport Board and flies in his spare time.
Over the past 62 years, Jack has made significant contributions to Panola College and the Carthage Community. He has donated his time by serving multiple terms as a Board member of the Panola College Alumni Association and is a long time ambassador and champion for the College. Most recently he supported efforts by the Panola College Foundation to expand the M.P. Baker Library.
This is not the first time that Jack Reeves has been selected by the College for recognition as an exceptional alumnus. In 2002 Panola College nominated him to represent the school in a national search by the American Association of Community Colleges for their “Outstanding Alumni Award.” Nominees had to be “individuals who attended community college and had made outstanding contributions in their chosen fields of endeavor.” Jack’s contributions to Panola College, and his country made him the natural choice to represent the College.
Jack and Patsy Reeves have two sons, Randall Guy and Michael Scott, and one daughter, Jacwelyn Patricia. All three of their children attended Panola College.