By Melissa Tortorici
TEXAS CITY – The Texas City ISD Foundation for the Future has selected the eight inductees for the 2017 Hall of Honor and Legacy Hall, the prestigious programs recognizing outstanding Texas City and La Marque graduates.
“The Foundation is pleased to be inducting more accomplished alumni into the Hall of Honor and Legacy Hall,” said Deborah Laine, executive director for the foundation. “These honorees have distinguished themselves professionally with exceptional careers. They also have displayed selflessness through all of their volunteer efforts in their communities and abroad.”
This is the 12th year for the Hall of Honor, in which four alumni from Texas City’s high schools are selected for induction. This year, the foundation is reinstating La Marque’s Legacy Hall, which began in 2008. Both programs are designed to recognize Texas City and La Marque graduates who have excelled in their field of expertise and made significant contributions to their respective communities.
The 2017 Hall of Honor inductees from Texas City High School are Christopher Doyle, Class of 1984; Matthew Deggs, Class of 1990; Dr. Raul Mata Cruz, Class of 1974; and Maj. Steven Mount, Class of 2004.
Doyle quietly, and without fanfare, is a true leader working for the common good in his community both civically and professionally. He is president, CEO and a member of the board of directors of Texas First Bank. He also serves as president and is a member of the board of directors of Texas Independent Bancshares, Inc. Doyle is currently serving on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas where he provides input into regional economic conditions as part of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy function. Besides his professional achievements, he gives back to the community in multiple ways through Boy Scouts of America and the Texas City-La Marque Jaycees. As the former chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Doyle is currently co-chairing a nearly $3.3 million capital campaign to relocate and build a new Center of Hope for the Salvation Army in Galveston.
Deggs has received many accolades for a successful career as a baseball coach; however, those closest to him know that his true accomplishment is developing good character in his student athletes. During his tenure as head baseball coach at Sam Houston State University, Deggs led his team to win one regular season and two Southland Conference championships, participated in two NCAA regionals and won the 2017 NCAA regionals that allowed the Bearkats to play in their first NCAA Super Regional. Along with the on field success, his team posted its highest grade point average of 3.18 for the 2016-17 academic year. Deggs’ 21-year coaching career has included stints at Northwestern State, Texarkana College, the University of Arkansas, Texas A&M University and the University of Louisiana.
Cruz uses his expertise as a head and neck surgeon to not only improve the lives of his patients, but to take care of those in foreign countries through medical missions. He has been an otolaryngologist at the Oakland Medical Center for 20 years and trains other doctors in the head and neck surgical specialty. Cruz belongs to the Bay Area Surgical Mission which provided medical mission care to the Philippines. He is also a volunteer surgeon for Operation Access, a nonprofit organization offering free ambulatory surgical services to the working poor in the San Francisco Bay Area. He recently served as president and is now on the executive council for the Pacific Coast Oto-Ophthalmological Society, a West Coast medical society. Cruz is the founder and organizer of the East Bay Men’s Book Club.
Mount embodies service before self through his patriotism as a United States Air Force officer and pilot as well as his more than 350 volunteer hours for the Special Olympics. He has been deployed five times to Afghanistan to support the War on Terrorism during combat operations against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Mount also was awarded eight combat Air Medals, two in support of hostage rescue operations during those deployments. During this same time, he finished his master’s degree. He is currently a flight commander and pilot of the U-2 Dragon Lady, one of the Air Force’s most unique, exclusive and mission-critical aircrafts. Since 2015, Mount has accomplished 13 operational surveillance missions in South Korea and has flown 17 additional combat missions. Even though he is often overseas, he continues his work with the Special Olympics and even earned a spot as a game’s team management member.
The 2017 Legacy Hall inductees from La Marque High School are Dr. Robin Armstrong, Class of 1987; Jeffery Banister, Class of 1982; Michael Matranga, Class of 1995; and Dr. Martha Rac, Class of 1999.
Armstrong learned from an early age that good citizenship requires community service. Not only is Armstrong on staff at Mainland Medical Center in Texas City, but he also serves as a board member of Clear Lake Regional Medical Center and is president of the medical staff at Mainland Medical Center. Armstrong has been consulted twice recently by the White House in the national initiative to reform healthcare. In addition, he was recently elected to serve a four-year term on a three-person committee to represent Texas at the Republican National Committee. He has volunteered in politics on many local and state levels, from poll watcher and election judge to convention delegate and State Republican Executive Committee member for Texas Senate District 11.
Jeff Banister could have ended his baseball career in high school and college due to major medical issues, but he persevered to fulfill his goals. From threats to amputate a leg in high school to being told he’d never walk again while in college due to paralysis, Banister never let go of his dream of a career in Major League Baseball. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the University of Houston in 1986. Following his playing career, Banister stayed with the Pirates as a coach for their Minor League Baseball affiliates and as a bench coach for the Pirates. He was hired during the 2014-15 offseason by the Texas Rangers as their manager. In 2015, he was named the American League Manager of the Year.
Michael Matranga has fulfilled his goal of achieving the highest level of protection training the Secret Service has to offer. In 2010, he was selected to attend the United
States Secret Service Counter Assault Team’s training. He was selected as the team leader on this elite team that was trained to deploy should someone actively seek to harm the president of the United States. In addition to this protection, Matranga was responsible for the advance logistics for presidential visits all over the world. After serving as a counter assault operator for four years, he transferred to a more visible role in the presidential division of the Secret Service. He also has experience as a special Agent and criminal investigator for financial crimes. Matranga began his law enforcement career as an adult probation officer in Galveston County.
Rac has known what is means to be the first in state since being a pitcher for the 1997 4A State Champion softball team. As an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in maternal fetal medicine at the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, she developed a Zika-specific obstetrics clinic in 2016, the first in the state of Texas. The clinic helps expectant mothers who have been exposed to the Zika infectious disease through mosquito bites. Additionally, Rac serves as co-director of the High-Risk Obstetrics Infectious Disease Clinic at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston. She was recently featured on Houston Public Media’s NPR and Texas Monthly’s Super Doctors 2017 Rising Stars.
The Hall of Honor and Legacy Hall inductees’ photos and biographies will be displayed at their respective high schools in honor of their accomplishments and to serve as role models for Texas City ISD students. In addition, there will be an induction ceremony and banquet on Thursday, Oct. 12 at the Charles T. Doyle Convention Center. The community is invited to purchase tickets to attend the dinner and silent auction. Individual tickets are $75 and tables of eight can be purchased for $750. Early reservations are encouraged as seating is limited.
Three others will be recognized during the Hall of Honor dinner. The Foundation for the Future will present the Visionary Award to Neal Mora for his work in fundraising efforts for students through the Texas City Police Department’s Annual Golf Tournament. TCISD Executive Director of Maintenance Marion Godeaux will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award for his dedication to education through auxiliary services. The Spirit of Education Award will be presented to Pastor Robin Reeves for her leadership in multiple partnerships with the schools through Garden of Hope, Backpack Buddies and Lemonade Day.
For more information about the dinner or about the Community Recognition Celebration, call 409-916-0108 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa Tortorici is Communications Director for Texas City Independent School District.