Link and Betty Skillern have lived in Silsbee as a married couple since 1952. Link has been named the 2011 Citizen of the Year by the Silsbee Chamber of Commerce.
By DAVID LISENBY
Lincoln “Link” Skillern has spent the past 61 years as a dedicated and active member of the community in Silsbee. This year he will be celebrated as the 2011 Silsbee Citizen of the Year.
“Link has been nominated several times before, but this year he was selected,” said Chamber Executive Director Jim Willis. “He is a person in town who is very well known. He does have a lot of handicaps because he is blind and not in good health. Nonetheless, he still calls somebody to come and pick him up to go knocking door to door with his Lion’s Club vest on to sell tickets to the pancake supper. His handicaps don’t hold him back at all.”
Nominees for Citizen of the Year are made by civic clubs in Silsbee. This year, two different clubs, the Retired Teachers Association and the Lion’s Club, each sent letters nominating Link.
Skillern was born in Chireno, Texas in 1919. He worked hard and excelled in school and sports. He graduated Valedictorian of his class in 1937. He was drafted into the US Army in 1943 and served in the South Pacific during the war.
Once his military service concluded, Link used the GI Bill to attend college. During his years at SFA, he, Pete Farmer, George Barclay and Weeks Crawford all played on a team who won four straight baseball championships.
After graduating with a degree in Forestry and a teacher’s certificate, Link moved to Silsbee in 1950. He soon became a coach with Silsbee Little League and led his team to titles in 1950 and 1951. His All-Star team advanced to the regional finals both years, losing only one game shy of playing in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. He continued coaching for many years and was an Umpire in Chief for 19 years.
Link met and fell in love with Betty Moffett in April, 1952. One year later they were married and have four children, three boys and one girl. In 1957 he joined the First Baptist Church and became involved in all aspects of it. He has been an usher for the past 45 years and still, at age 91, stands at the door each Sunday morning shaking hands and handing out programs.
“He is always such a positive person,” Willis said. “We are very pleased to have him as the Citizen of the Year.”
Link and Betty were informed of the honor this past week. “I am so honored today,” he said. “The chamber has made me so proud by presenting me the award. I want to say thank you for everything that they have awarded me with. I am so glad that I wound up in Silsbee, Texas. What a great town and what a great group of people. I thank everybody and love all of you. Thanks a bunch.”
There will be a reception at the Ice House Museum on Feb. 25, the day after the Chamber banquet, to honor him between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.