A return to Amarillo — our first since the death of a good friend of mine — brought to mind something that I noticed is missing from a couple of prominent edifices around town.
It is the name of Ernie Houdashell, the late Randall County judge who in my humble view needs to be honored by having his name highly visible to anyone visiting a prominent public place.
What might that include? Two places come immediately to mind.
One of them is the Randall County Annex on Western Street. The other is the Texas Panhandle War Memorial next to where the Annex used to be located.
Why these two sites? For starters, they both have Houdashell’s fingerprints all over them.
Ernie Houdashell recognized the need to relocate the Annex from its cozy little site on South Georgia Street. He worked out a deal for the county to acquire the site that it would renovate and turn into a spacious office complex.
As for the Texas Panhandle War Memorial, I want to point out three attractions that Houdashell worked long and hard to bring to the site: the F-100 jet fighter; the UH-1 Huey helicopter (similar to one that Houdashell served on during the Vietnam War); and the piece of USS Arizona, the battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor.
I’ll admit some bias here. Houdashell was a dear friend. He and I were able to develop our professional relationship into a strong personal friendship after I no longer worked as a journalist for the Amarillo Globe-News. I saw how hard he worked as a passionate advocate for Randall County.
Ernie Houdashell loved serving as county judge, just as he loved working for state Rep. John Smithee and former Congressman Beau Boulter.
This is just a suggestion, but my sincere hope is that the county that Ernie Houdashell loved and served with honor can reciprocate by honoring his memory in a tangible fashion.