Casey’s co-founder Peggy Smith was visibly shocked Thursday night when the Lea County Women’s Network honored her “heart of gold,” unbelievable work ethic and a lifetime of achievement.
A packed room of family, friends and peers gathered for the 19th annual LCWN banquet applauded Smith as she walked up to accept Janet Seagrave Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hobbs Country Club and thanked the room for the honor that recognizes women achieving milestones over an “extended period of time” in categories like community service, professional service and entrepreneurship. Seagrave was one of the network’s founders, which focuses efforts on mentoring and awarding scholarships to young Lea County women.
“I was shocked. I was just shocked,” Smith said. “It was amazing, awesome…I wasn’t expecting it.”
She said she thought it’d be given to someone else.
In August 1977, Peggy and her husband Kenny Smith opened the Hobbs hamburger staple in the Downtown Mini Mall on West Broadway. Decades later, Casey’s is an establishment in the mini mall as customers continue to flock for its hamburgers, fries and other foods. The restaurant celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.
“Most of you in this room probably know Peggy,” Joyce Hatley, LCWN scholarship director, said while recounting Smith’s life and family. “She has a heart as big as gold. Her work ethics are unbelievable. Her family has followed in her same work ethics. Her honesty and her character are unquestionable. If you’ve ever been in Casey’s, she’s like the little Energizer bunny rabbit. She’s just go, go, go.”
Hatley praised Smith and explained she “devotes countless hours” taking care of anyone in need, recounting her personal experience at the restaurant after her home burned down years ago.
“If Peggy had a dollar for every free meal she’s given away, she could retire today,” she added.
LCWN’s recognition didn’t stop there. Cynthia Lose, a licensed psychologist, took home the Career Achievement Award, while more than 10 women received scholarships. Lose accepted her award from past recipient Marianne Westbrook, who recapped Lose’s educational background, work as a special education teacher for students with behavioral disorders and noted her “desire to serve.”
“She pursued this line of a work as a special educator for some 20 years before going on to earn a doctorate degree in psychology,” Westbrook said. “Again, she chose to work with a very difficult population … those incarcerated in prison.”
Throughout Lose’s career, she’s served as a staff psychologist in several prisons before becoming head of behavioral health services at a local prison and has taught graduate courses at the University of the Southwest. She also provides psychological evaluations at a mental health clinic and now takes classes to become an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church.
“I do believe in the (LCWN) mission and I’m extremely excited about the mentoring program and it’s always wonderful to know that women in Lea County are being supported by other institutions,” Lose told attendees. “Thank you for this honor.”
The two awards capped off an evening of food, networking and a visiting speaker, Marita Noon Tedder, who entertained the crowd with the story of her life and how it didn’t turn out like she expected. Tedder, perhaps known to readers for her energy columns, gave a speech “Life Changes, You Change,” about career evolution throughout her life. An author of numerous books, Tedder started out wanting to enter the restaurant business, but her career features conducting seminars for color analysis, Christian speaking, entering the energy field with Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE) and ultimately starting to flip houses with Triumph Properties in Lubbock, as her life and industries changed.
“What I want to encourage you tonight, is to look around you to the contacts you have, the experiences that you have and the opportunities that might be sitting before you,” she said.
Tedder noted life seldom turns out like planned and you have to “keep reinventing yourself to stay relevant.”
Visit lcwn.net for more information about the women’s network’s events, programs and scholarships.
Kelly Farrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.