More than a hundred people came out to honor retiring State Representative Rick Hardcastle and raise money for a project important to the entire Vernon community. The event was held at the Red River Valley Museum and had all the trimmings of a state dinner with some Texas flare.
Rep. Hardcastle has worked in Austin representing the 68th district for the last 14 years. He said, "It's a neat experience for Nancy and I both to have this many friends come out and also to offer this much help to the museum.
The Mayor of Vernon, Jeff Bearden attended the event and said Rep. Hardcastle is a voice for small Texas communities. Bearden said, "Those of us in west Texas and in the small towns who want to maintain a viable future for small town west Texas, need a voice like Rick."
The museum benefit and dinner were in Rep. Hardcastle's honor, but the events also raised money for the Western Trail historical project. Eight years ago, Rep. Hardcastle helped plant the first marker on the trail. Now, the Red River Valley Museum is raising money to renovate and expand its facilities to include an interactive exhibit.
Even though his official retirement is still 8 months away, Rep. Hardcastle is already looking toward his next challenge. He said, "I hope I've retired young enough to go back to making money again and get a paying job. I hope to have 10 more years of work left in me and find someone that will pay me to work".
Mayor Bearden says phase one of the Western Trail project is about 2/3 funded. When the interactive exhibit is complete it will be named in Rep. Hardcastle's honor.